In our Last Call Q&A series, we’ll get to the bottom of every little thing with some of our favorite stars – from their last star fascination to the last song they listened to. This week Jaylin Webb takes our call.
Jaylin Webb joined an all-star cast for this fall’s Armageddon Time. His co-stars in the ’80s drama include Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway, Succession’s Jeremy Strong and the legendary Anthony Hopkins. Hathaway, Webb tells POPSUGAR, was “extremely cute” and he loved watching Strong work together in their scene. “I saw that he was very focused and in his craft and that really motivated me to do the same,” says the 16-year-old. However, his first meeting with Hopkins was a different story.
“On the other hand, with Anthony, I was too scared to talk to him because I’ve been hearing a lot about him being in all these crazy movies where he eats people and it just blew me away,” Webb admits, referencing on Hopkins’ iconic turn as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs and its two sequels. “He was also right next to me and my mom really wanted me to tell him something, but I got so scared and just ran out of the theater where they were filming,” Webb admits with a laugh.
“Everything was so new to me. The subways, all the buildings, all the people – it was just incredible. And every time I wasn’t filming, I was just exploring New York with my family.”
Aside from his encounter with the famous cannibal, working on Armageddon Time was a dream come true for Webb – who plays Johnny, the best friend of the film’s lead, Paul (Banks Repeta). In the film, Paul struggles to make it through sixth grade and while he and Johnny bond, his parents, blinded by their own racism, try to keep the pair apart, putting Paul in a private school favored by the Trumps. The film is heavily based on writer-director James Gray’s actual youth and has sparked serious Oscar buzz for the cast, including Webb.
Webb first learned about the film after filming an arc to The Wonder Years. His mother told him about a new script, but at first he didn’t want to do it because he was “really exhausted.” However, Webb says he agreed to read it while his mother drove her home. “Something about the script really appealed to me and I wanted to do it,” he says.
Two weeks after his audition, Gray called him back for a directing session. Webb shuffled Uno cards like his character in the film, and Gray had him write the numbers from one through 100 on a piece of paper. “I thought [that] was really weird, but I think it all has a reason,” says Webb (Grey never told him why). When he came home from school the next day, Webb’s mother told him he got the part.
Before filming the film in New York, Webb had never been to the Big Apple. “Everything was so new to me. The subways, all the buildings, all the people – it was just amazing. And every time I wasn’t filming, I was just exploring New York with my family,” he says. During the first week of school, Webb, Repeta, their on-set teachers, and their parents all went to the top of the Empire State Building, which he admired greatly.
School started for the duo two weeks before filming, which allowed the young actors to get to know each other in a more casual setting. During breaks, they played table tennis in the playroom next to their classroom. Who is the better player? “I won’t lie; Banks kicked my butt off at first, but I got better as we kept going,” Webb reveals.
In the film, Johnny and Paul have many adventures together, including a day when they skip class and explore the city. Webb loved that the production designer set up an entire retro arcade where they could play vintage games. Meanwhile, his favorite day on set was when the friends decide to steal some computers from Paul’s school. “Just filming the scene was cool because we did some stunts where I had to lift Banks up and it was a lot of running and I felt so rebellious at that moment,” he says.
“A big dream project that I want to do is just to be in the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
“Armageddon Time” took Webb around the world. While working on press this fall, he made his first trip to Los Angeles and returned to New York in October to see the film at the New York Film Festival. But the real highlight was the trip to Cannes to debut the film during the festival in May – his first time in Europe.
“That was when we first walked the carpet, and that was my first ever red carpet. Just being there in that moment was just amazing,” says Webb. “We went to the beach every day because it was right across from the hotel. Me, Banks and James Gray’s kids, we all went to the beach and just hung out and talked to the French kids who lived there.”
Looking ahead, Webb would like to do more stunts and try his hand at being an action star. “A big dream project that I want to do is just to be in the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” he says. There is no character he has in mind; he is open to all of them. “I love action so much. Even if I just did an adventure or action movie, I’d really like to do it,” adds Webb.
Read on to see what Webb had to say about his final day on the set of Armageddon Time, the music he listened to, and more.
How was the last day of the Armageddon Time set?
I was really sad because we had been shooting for two months but at the same time I was really happy because I was so proud of all the work we did. There was a lot of hugging, crying, gifts given and accepted and also a lot of TikToks.
Who was the last Armageddon Time co-star you texted?
banks. I just texted him yesterday. I saw something funny he posted so I texted him about it.
When was the last time you were starry?
It had to be when I had the opportunity to speak to Idris Elba in Cannes.
What was the last song you heard?
“Swang” by Rae Sremmurd.
What was the last album you bought or streamed?
“My Dear Melancholy” by The Weeknd.
What’s the last photo in your camera roll?
A picture of me on stage at my film screening in my hometown where all my family and friends came.
What was the last show you binge watched?
What was the last movie you saw?
“The colour purple.”
What was the last thing you bought online?
It’s this dust cleaning gel I saw online and it’s this little ball of slime that’s supposed to clean your keyboard. But I was manipulated. It did not result in my keyboard being cleaned. In the end it was just slime.
What was the last thing you did for fun?
Play with my dog Simba.
What was the last thing you did for yourself?
Every morning and evening I usually wash my face and do my entire skin care routine.
What was the last book you read?
Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in English class.
What was the last gift you received?
What was the last trip you took?
New York for the New York Film Festival.
What was the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
Don’t let others define you.
Image Source: Courtesy of Jaylin Webb