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Usually in movies you can threaten to endanger the lives of children or dogs, but never show either of them in anything close to resembling real peril. But White House Down, despite being a pretty lighthearted and massively entertaining action movie, really goes for it when it comes time for a little girl to stand up for herself-- and the life of the President-- to a terrorist who has a gun to her head.
And the actress who's up to that massive challenge is Joey King, a 13-year-old who has been absolutely everywhere lately. You might recognize her as Ramona from Ramona and Beezus, as Steve Carell and Julianne Moore's young daughter in Crazy Stupid Love, as "older prison child" (a.k.a. young Talia Al Ghul) in The Dark Knight Rises) or as the voice of the China Girl in this year's Oz The Great And Powerful. In White House Down she's back to playing a normal human, the tween daughter of Capitol policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) who's totally obsessed with politics and government, and is psyched beyond belief when her dad takes an interview with the Secret Service inside the actual White House. Of course, that happens to be the day that terrorists storm the White House and take her hostage, so King's Emily Cale is left along while her dad grabs the President (Jamie Foxx) and attempts to save both his daughter and the leader of the free world.
But Emily is no innocent victim bystander. One of the neater wrinkles about her character is that Emily is an avid blogger, and actually captures video of the terrorists, uploads it to YouTube, and helps lead to their downfall. That meant that, obviously, when it came time to sit down with King for our interview just a block away from the White House, I had to ask her about her expert 13-year-old knowledge about the Internet. Is it really true that nobody says blog anymore? It's way past time that I have a hip teenager in my life to tell me.
For much more on White House Down you can check out my interviews with King's co-stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, plus the film's director Roland Emmerich. You also really, really need to see this amazing video of the secret handshake that she describes in this video. Here, we'll make it easy and embed it for you below:
White House Down is in theaters now. We really think you should go see it.