Name: Ty Simpkins
Notable Past Credits: “I’ve been acting since I was 3 weeks old. I started off with soap opera things — I was on a show called ‘Guiding Light’ for a while,” Simpkins says. His first movie was in the 2006 film “Little Children,” which starred Patrick Wilson — who would go on to be his costar and director in the “Insidious” movies.
Currently: In the fifth installment of the franchise, called “Insidious: The Red Door,” which is out Friday, Simpkins reprises his role as Dalton. The film also marks Wilson’s directorial debut.
“I’ve known Patrick since I was 3 years old,” Simpkins says. “It’s amazing when you’ve known someone for so long — I trust Patrick a lot. And so having that in a director I really feel brings out the best performance that it can because there’s a relationship there that allows you to communicate what you think about the character and what he expects from you and what he thinks about the character. And you can find this nice middle ground, which ultimately becomes who Dalton is.”
The new film sees Simpkins taking the leading role for the first time, an honor he says is perfectly bestowed upon the franchise.
“The first two movies were really something that I cherished in my childhood and they really defined my early childhood, what kicked off my early success when I was young,” he says. “And now having this kind of kick off my adult career as my first lead role, and having Patrick at the helm of this, it’s something that’s really special to me.”
Simpkins first learned of the movie when he was still in high school, and over the years has received numerous versions of the scripts before it finally shot last year.
“I’ve been acting my whole life and balancing school with it for a while, until about high school, I kind of slowed myself down,” he says. “I wanted to take time to find out who I was, play sports, and I would audition here and there.”
Big Break: In 2022 Simpkins was seen in “The Whale,” alongside Brendan Fraser. He played a young Christian missionary who would frequently visit Fraser’s character. The film was a stark contrast to other major action movies he’d been in, Simpkins says.
“I had done press when I was younger for things like ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Ironman’ and stuff like that. So I knew what to expect, but I had never been that proud of a project before,” he says.
He went from shooting “The Whale” right back to the “Insidious” world.
“‘The Whale’ was something that was very deep rooted in reality. It was very serious. And the set environment kind of reflected that. We were creating art. It was very intense. It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of hard work. And then with ‘[Insidious’], you’re creating scary moments. There’s less pressure there. You could play around with it a lot more.”
Dream Roles: “I’d love to do more action movies or more comedy movies. It’s a space that I’ve kind of been in before, but I haven’t really had room to thrive in or really fully explore, to the best of my abilities,” he says. “And I would really love to do something like that.”