‘Second-Born Royals’: What Hugh Laurie Taught Skylar Astin About Being a Leader on Set

     September 25, 2020

After seeing Skylar Astin play a college student in Pitch Perfect and a young adult trying to climb the ladder at a tech company in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist – just to name a couple of standout titles on his resume – it was a bit of a surprise seeing him step in as the elder statesman in the Disney+ feature film, Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. In the movie Astin plays Professor James Morrow, the head a training program for teenage second-born royals who are trying to learn how to harness their unique superpower so that they can join the secret society and help protect the world.

With the movie arriving on Disney+ on September 25th, I got the chance to catch up with Astin and discuss what it was like being on set with a whole bunch of up-and-comers, many of whom were making their very first big feature. Here’s who Astin name-dropped when asked who set the best example for him when it came to being a leader on set: 


Image via FOX

“The first person that comes to my mind is Hugh Laurie. I did one of the later episodes of House and it’s just one of those moments where, I was playing a sick patient and you’d expect him to be just a little bit like, ‘Look, I’ve done this for 300 people,’ you know what I mean? It doesn’t mean as much to him as it did to me. But he went above and beyond to not only make me feel comfortable, but to give me everything he could, every ounce and fiber of his being when it was on my close-up, we had kind of a fight thing that we had. I remember going in the make-up and hair trailer with him. He was clipping his nails because he wanted to make sure he didn’t scratch me in any of the moments. Just like, one of those people that was very inspirational because when you are the number one person on a set, you do have the opportunity and ability to set the tone. And for that reason, I only did one episode, but I had nothing but great things to say. And you could see the reflection of the crew, and I really think that that was some really incredible leadership, and I try to just be an open vessel when I’m on set as well.”

As for Astin’s own experience being a leader on set, Second-Born Royals wound up reinforcing how much knowledge and knowhow he’s picked up over the years. Here’s how he put it:


Image via Disney Plus



“It was very interesting this time around being the old guy, the elder statesman. But it was actually interesting. Certain little technical things that I took for granted that some of the kids would ask me about and I couldn’t believe I had all this information. It kind of was a reflective moment for me to be like, ‘I guess I have been doing this for upwards of 15 years! That’s pretty wild!’”

If you’d like to hear more about Astin’s experience working on Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, check out our full chat at the top of this article!

Skylar Astin:

  • How Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist led to Astin’s involvement in Second-Born Royals.
  • How Hugh Laurie influenced Astin’s approach to working with newer actors.
  • Astin on his rendition of “Go The Distance;” does he really want to be in the live-action adaptation of Hercules?