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People In Film | Tucker Albrizzi

Tucker Albrizzi: A Hero’s Best Friend

Every superhero needs a sidekick. And in PARANORMAN, the young hero Norman finds his friend in Neil, a chubby, bubbly boy who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to being buddies. The character is voiced by the young actor Tucker Albrizzi, who describes his avatar as “loyal to his friends, and upbeat with lots of energy. To play him, I had to be very energetic and try to make normal lines turn out really funny.” For the filmmakers, the first part of getting Albrizzi to be Neil was just casting him. According to director Sam Fell, “Tucker was a real discovery for us. When we heard his voice, we said, ‘That’s Neil.’ Recording together, he and Kodi shared a good dynamic because Tucker is younger.” But in the sessions, the filmmakers also kept things new with the young actor. Director Chris Butler explains, “We learned not to give Tucker Albrizzi too much to prepare with; instead, we would surprise him with the lines. This kept his readings and responses fresh.” For Albrizzi, the character Neil, and his relationship with Norman, had a very personal resonance. “I think I’m like Neil,” Albrizzi suggests, “because we’re both a little weird and have freckles and red hair – but mine isn’t curly. My brother is like Norman, because he’s shy and has the same hair.”

Tucker Albrizzi: A Brother’s Best Friend

Tucker Albrizzi was born and raised in Palm Harbor, Florida. At age seven, he appeared in his first commercial in Florida. According Abrizzi’s Teen Ink interview, breaking into acting was no big deal: “Well, first I was sitting at home, watching TV and it just occurred to me, like, I wonder what it would be to do what they do. So I told my mom I wanted to try that out. We submitted my head-shot everywhere. One agency took us and I think I got my first commercial on my first audition.” But moving from Florida to Hollywood had more to do with Albrizzi’s big heart than his budding acting ambition. When he was seven, his older brother Patrick developed leukemia. After having trouble finding a bone-marrow donor, Patrick and Tucker (along with the rest of their family) started Driving for Donors, a charity for which Albrizzi traveled around the country in an RV, sponsoring drives to sign up potential marrow donors for the Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program. Albrizzi recounted to Pixie Magazine, “We've saved 35 lives so far and a studio out here wanted to do a documentary on it, so my brother, my mom and I flew out. I had done commercials in Florida, so I started doing it out here.” Soon enough Albrizzi’s bright optimism and infectious humor won the day as he snagged the part of the young son on the ABC pilot Bless This Mess, a family sitcom about a church family. While the show didn't go on, Albrizzi did.

Tucker Albrizzi: A Best Friend on TV

It didn’t take long for casting agents and directors to recognize Tucker Albrizzi’s unique charm and start casting him as everyone’s best friend on TV shows. In 2009, he landed a recurring guest part on Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, a sitcom about four would-be music stars who move to California to hit it big.  A few months later he was cast in the Disney hit Good Luck Charlie, a family sitcom about the Duncans, a Denver clan with a new daughter named Charlie. Here Albrizzi is the best friend of Gabe Duncan (Bradley Steven Perry). For this part, Albrizzi was awarded a Young Artist Award in 2011. In addition, Albrizzi can be seen popping up on shows from Desperate Housewives to Brothers and Sisters, as well as in the movies Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked and Bridesmaids. He’s also done other voice work, giving a human voice to the dog Budderball in the Disney video Treasure Buddies. As well as being a budding actor, Albrizzi is also a full-time activist, working with groups like DoSomething.org. As he suggests in his DoSomething.Org interview, “Find something that you really care about and start small. It doesn't have to be a huge thing like saving the world; maybe start with picking up some trash first.” Although in PARANORMAN, he did help Norman save the world.

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