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From second grade to the big screen
Bobby Batson, 7, is enjoying the life of an actor
USEMovieGuide awards was an incredible experience for young actor Bobby Batson
The Movie Guide Awards were an incredible experience for young actor Bobby Batson. - photo by Photo provided.

In 2013, Bobby Batson moved to Richmond Hill with his family from Arkansas.

At first glance, Bobby appears to be a typical second-grader. He loves sports, playing with his friends and has a slight obsession with an Aussie YouTube fisherman.

But when he isn’t in Richmond Hill playing the role of Rachel and John Batson’s son, he is jet-setting to Los Angeles or other film locations to work on his favorite thing to do — acting.

Maggie, Bobby’s older sister, has her own story. A young child entrepreneur, Maggie began a jewelry business at age 7. This business caught the attention of Nickelodeon.

From this came agents and, eventually, an acting career of her own. Maggie currently attends Richmond Hill Middle School and takes advantage of acting opportunities as they arise.

Maggie’s debut onto the scene paved the way for her younger brothers, John and Bobby. Her story was featured in Life on the Hill in August 2014.

It all started for Bobby when he landed a role at 5 years old in a nationally televised commercial. According to his mother, Bobby is a natural and knows how to turn it on for the camera. He loves memorizing lines and being on set.

“It was 11 o’clock and it was so cold; 6:30 p.m. at night was bedtime for a 5-year-old,” Rachel Batson said of her younger son. “He fell on the ground and cried. But they ended up loving him. It turned out awesome.”

The commercial led to other acting opportunities. After developing a relationship with their agent, the Batsons are frequently called on for age-appropriate roles.

The process begins with the call. From there, lines are memorized and an audition is set up. After auditions, they must wait until they receive word of call back or confirmation they got the role.

As these roles have come up and pulled the Batsons away from the Hill, keeping up with schoolwork has actually turned out to be smooth. It takes a team effort keep things going. Parents and teachers work together to make sure Bobby stays on track academically.

“There is a certified teacher on set. The teacher here will issue five weeks of work for this past film. He would meet with her every day and complete his school assignments. The schools here in Bryan County are wonderful for letting him do that while away. His classmates sent him letters that said they missed him,” Rachel Batson said.

Bobby prepares for his roles with the help of his acting coach. As an athlete prepares for the big game, Bobby taps into the expertise of William Mark McCullough, who has been featured in numerous films and TV shows. He landed a supporting role opposite Tom Cruise in the drug smuggling thriller, “Mena.” McCullough will be seen in the upcoming Matthew McConaughey Civil War epic, “Free State of Jones.” He appears in “Birth of a Nation,” which won the Sundance Film Festival’s top honor, U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, in January. McCullough stars opposite Michael Ironside in the horror film “Patient Seven” and has a recurring role in the new series “Underground” on WGN America.

Bobby is best known for his role as Joe Piper in the film “90 minutes in Heaven.” The film is based on a true story and New York Times best-seller. This role allowed him to work alongside actors Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth. Bobby also plays roles in “Birth of a Nation,” filmed in Richmond Hill, and “The 5th Wave.”

Bobby may be young, but he aspires to take acting all the way.

“I love meeting new people, memorizing lines, and the food is always good,” he said.

Bobby said he one day hopes to live in Hollywood — where all the famous actors live — but he added that Australia is a close runner-up.

Despite being just 7, Bobby realizes his budding acting career would not be possible without a lot of help.

“My family supports me. They cheer me on, they drive me to places, and they allow me to follow my dreams,” he said.

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