‘The Purge’ Interview: Max Burkholder’s Transition From TV To Box Office Thriller

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Playing Max Braverman on the critically acclaimed NBC series Parenthood, Max Burkholder’s performance as a teen going through Asberger’s has been nothing short of remarkable acting. But after taking up the role for the past four seasons, Burkholder decided to take on a new film project just before Season 5 heads into production. Starring alongside Ethan Hawke, the 15-year-old actor plays Charlie Sandin in the film, The Purge. We recently caught up with him to talk about his transition to the big screen, and what audiences can expect from the new thriller.

You’ve been so used to working on a television set. What was it like working on a film?
MAX BURKHOLDER:
It’s a lot different because you take a lot time to do the individual scene, which on television you have more of a schedule because you need to shoot it all in 8 days. But with a movie set, you get a lot more time to kind of work it all out—to work out all the kinks. Also, it was interesting to not play a character that was Max. I’ve been playing that part for so long, for quite a few years now. So that was refreshing.

What’s the film about?
The basic gist of it is that in America in figure 2022 there is one night a year where all crime and committing murder is legal. There’s a huge war and a bunch of political and economic problems so basically the government said that if people get out all their aggression then crime would go down.

Are you a fan of thrillers?
Yeah, I do like them. It’s right up my alley!

What was the audition process like?
It wasn’t any different from any other audition process. I got the script, I read it, and I went in there and I did it and then I guess they were impressed because they hired me!

How would you describe your character Charlie?
He’s sort of different from the rest of his family throughout the movie. He sees a stranger in his house and basically it comes down to making a decision to either have the stranger die or have himself die. My character Charlie is more of the moral compass. He doesn’t want to kill him because it’s so wrong, but while the rest of his family would want him killed.

Do you have a favorite scene from the project?
I think my favorite scene has got to be—even though it’s a thriller—is just with the family sitting around the table having a nice conversation. They show the family dynamic. I always love it because it’s before everything goes bad for this perfect family. You know, ‘Oh, something is going to happen. Something is going to happen!’ [Laughs]

Was filming this an easy transition from Parenthood?
I don’t think there would be many chances for me to do this. When I’m not on hiatus I don’t think that would be really easy. I do think that it turned out really well. I actually started shooting it the day after I finishedParenthood.

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