Katy fourth-grader has four movies under his belt and tells what it's like to work with Hollywood A-Listers.
KATY MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019
by Natalie Cook Clark
Gavin Warren, 10, seems like your typical Katy kid until the he tells you about the time he played baseball with Ryan Gosling while on break from a movie set. The child star recently played little Rick Armstrong (Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy's son) in First Man, a film about astronaut Neil Armstrong. Gavin already has four films to his credit; First Man (2018), Back Roads (2018), Mack (2018) and The Descendant (2019), with more on the horizon.
Adam Sandler Inspiration
"When I was 7, I decided I wanted to be an actor," says Warren. "Actually my brother and I loved Adam Sandler movies and I wanted to be like Adam Sandler."
While at a weekly gymnastics class with his brother, Gavin announced to his mom, Niki Warren, that he wanted to be an actor. Her son continued to talk about acting again and again so Nikki decided he could give it a try.
Little Kid with Big Dreams
"I looked into the International Modeling and Talent Association," says Niki. They had a contest coming up so I put together a monologue for Gavin. I just took scenes from movies that he liked and we worked on it. We had a lot of fun with it and he won!"
Gavin and co-star Ryan Gosling behind the scenes of First Man (2018.)
Photo courtesy of Niki Warren.
After that win, Gavin had over 40 agencies interested in him. "We never considered leaving Katy," said his mother." This is home. I was born and raised here and Gavin has lived here since he was a year old."
Niki and Brett Warren have three sons. Austin, 17, attends Seven Lakes High School and Blake, 12, attends Faith West Academy. "I try to let each kid have their own thing so they can feel good about themselves and not compete against their brothers," said Niki.
Raising a Child Star in Katy
Gavin signed on with a local agent, Pastorini Bosby. He also has a California agent. Gavin is home-schooled now to allow the flexibility to manage his filming schedule.
"Being a mom of a child actor is way harder than I anticipated," says Niki Warren. "It comes with so many highs and lows. For instance, he books a job and we find out the day before. Suddenly it’s a whirlwind. We are expected to drop everything pack for months and leave the rest of the family behind. I try to always have a back up plan for my other kids and our dog b/c you can get a call at any moment. I often feel very guilty leaving my kids and husband behind. Luckily they are all supportive and understand that I will do anything for all of them."
Gavin is on a roll with his fourth film The Descendant scheduled to release this year.
Getting the Role
Gavin's mom Niki says the audition process for First Man was really long. "He submitted tapes and then we were called to go meet with the director and cast," explains Niki. "We got the call that he had to part the day before, which is actually common." Gavin and his mom were on the set of First Man for two months.
Gavin alongside First Man co-stars Claire Foy and Lucy Stafford.
Photo courtesy of Niki Warren.
Filming can sometimes have its challenges, but the family does their best to make it work. "We're committed to helping him just as he is very committed to acting," said Niki. When she's away with Gavin, her husband Brett holds down their Katy home front with the help of her parents. Gavin and Niki were only able to visit Katy once during the filming First Man in Atlanta.
Gavin explained how film sets are often closed and cannot have his family visit set. "I like it when my family can come visit. When I was filming The Descendant they were allowed to come and it was fun," says, Gavin.
Working with Ryan Gosling
Gavin's first big Hollywood film experience was with First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong and the legendary Apollo 11 mission that made him the first man to step foot on the moon. Actor Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong and Gavin was picked to play his son, Rick. Gavin also got to work a lot with his "movie mom," Janet Armstrong who was played by Golden Globe Winning actress Claire Foy.
All rights reserved Universal Pictures
Footage provided by Mariam Way and Niki Warren
"Ryan Gosling was so nice, but serious when he was acting. Claire is so nice and funny," said Gavin. To help bring the Armstrong family life to the big screen they would sometimes spend most of a day just playing and acting like a family. Sometimes on breaks Ryan would take time to play baseball with Gavin and just relax a bit. "Everyone was always so nice and Claire was almost protective of Gavin. It was very sweet," says Niki.
Gavin with Ryan Gosling at the "First Man" premiere.
Photo courtesy of Niki Warren.
Behind Every Star is a Super Mom
Parenting a busy kid is a challenge to most parents and Niki finds herself juggling a busy actor while managing her Katy home, three sons and marriage.
"This is not easy," admits Niki. "As moms, we are all trying to just keep our head above water and do the best we can. Niki says she enlists the help of her parents and friends who can help with carpooling. "Nothing wrong with admitting you need help, having a martini and taking a deep breath for yourself."
"I always treat my kids as individuals and try to nurture their talents," she says. When Gavin's talent in acting proved successful, the Warrens' were determined to figure out a way to support him.
The Warrens' also make sure that Gavin continues to be a normal kid. He plays the piano and goes to a gymnastics class. "I love being active. I really loved it when U.S.A. Ninja Challenge opened up in Katy," says Gavin.
Gavin's next project still has a working title on The Descendant. "It's going to be very cool. I really learned a lot from the director and cast and it is the first film when I'm a lead," says Gavin.
"I always wanted people to look up on the big screen and say 'I know him!' because that makes me happy," says Gavin, who has long-term goals as an actor. "I love to watch comedy but as an actor, I've learned that I really like dramatic roles.
Gavin is actively auditioning and going to set when he lands a role. Niki and Gavin are headed back to L.A. soon for some exciting things coming up. "We'll continue to support him and we're proud of him," says Niki.
Do you know an amazing Katy Kid? Email us! Editor@KatyMagazine.com