ELYRIA — When she first glimpsed her son onscreen during a recent Cleveland premiere for the teen comedy “Fun Size,” Lou Wilkerson was the appropriately proud mother.
Her son, Amiri, 13, had a small role in the film.
“Seeing him up there was surreal,” the Elyria woman said. “I knew it was him and yet it was hard to believe it was. It was a really proud moment. Amiri does an awesome job.”
Owner of the Me-to-You Children’s Resale Boutique, and a veteran of TV commercial and film work herself, Wilkerson judged the movie — which opens Friday in local theaters — “hilarious.”
Amiri smiled as he listened to his mom across a table in the family living room.
The teen plays one of three costumed ninjas in the Halloween-set movie in which a high school senior (Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice) preparing for college loses her younger brother while he’s out trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
“They were known as the ‘tweens,’ ” Wilkerson said. “They were mischievous. They did things like TP-ing a police car and egging a house. You don’t see them doing it, but you know it’s them.”
All of Amiri’s scenes were shot over a two-day period in the Cleveland Heights area during the summer of 2011.
“They brought Hollywood to Cleveland, that’s for sure,” Wilkerson said.
Scenes were set in a fast-food restaurant, as well as a convenience-style store. It was the restaurant, named Capt. Chicken in the film, which Amiri recalled with a smile.
“A lot of stuff was fake,” he said of the restaurant set, which was completely fabricated in a vacant lot.
“There were times when it was made to look dark outside (for nighttime scenes) but it was the middle of the day,” Amiri said.
And there was a lot of standing around and waiting to be called to the set for repeated shots of various scenes.
One souvenir of the experience is a framed color photo of Amiri with Justice.
“She was really nice,” he added.
While “Fun Size” is Amiri’s biggest credit to date, it is by no means his first time in front of the camera.
The 5-foot-1-inch, 100-pound teen has appeared over the years in print ads for Dick’s Sporting Goods, American Greetings and the Great Lakes Science Center, as well as TV spots for Sara Lee and the Ohio Lottery.
This past summer, Amiri had a small role in “Rise Above,” a short film about the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.
Wilkerson has a number of her own professional credits ranging from commercials for the Ohio Lottery and Famous Footwear, to working as a stand-in for star Joy Bryant in “Antwone Fisher,” much of which was shot in Cleveland.
Amiri plans to attend Lorain County Joint Vocational School next year to study culinary arts.
“He grew zucchinis in the garden and then made zucchini bread,” Wilkerson said. “It was delicious. He sells it around here. My son loves the kitchen.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.