- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LAPORTE, Ind. (AP) - A storm of attention is brewing, but two days before the release of director Darren Aronofsky’s biblical tale of Noah’s ark, one young cast member remains calm and unassuming.

The 13-year-old kid who is about to be introduced to the movie-going public as Noah’s son Japheth blends into the woodwork with every other eighth-grader at LaPorte’s Renaissance Academy.

Leo McHugh Carroll describes his typical school day - writing essays, learning Spanish and algebra. Then it’s off to shoot hoops with buddies, or play tennis, or work on his chess skills as a member of Renaissance Academy’s chess team.

But he missed the chess team’s state tournament to be on the red carpet for the “Noah” premiere last Friday in New York City.


“It’s not that difficult,” Leo says of juggling normal teen life with the tsunami of media attention surrounding the next big Hollywood epic.

“Of course, people are gonna ask ‘What’s that like?’” he tells the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/1g0FXpQ ). “But it’s never that difficult to juggle both.”

“To me, it’s important that they maintain their whole lives,” Leo’s mother, Vicki McHugh, says of both her 13-year-old fraternal twin sons, Leo and Lucas McHugh Carroll. Lucas also has a small part in “Noah.”

There were five kids born to Vicki McHugh and Pete Carroll in Chicago: Vincent, now 20, is recovering from a serious car crash. Xavier is 18. Tori, 16, also appears in a bit part in “Noah” as a young maiden walking in the woods. And there are the twins, Lucas and Leo.

Divorce left Vicki McHugh to raise her kids on her own in Grand Beach, a small town across the Michigan state line from Michigan City.

When she founded the Renaissance Academy in LaPorte with her sister Kieran McHugh, each of her kids had a school to attend instead of being home-schooled. And Vicki McHugh had the flexibility to take time off to drive her kids to an audition if needed.

By the time Leo and Lucas turned 6, their older brothers and sister were already bitten by the acting bug, performing in local theater productions and the local kids group, Yogakids.

It was Lucas who landed the family’s first onscreen acting gig playing the role of Matt Damon’s son in the 2009 thriller “The Informant.”

Two years earlier, Leo had a small part in the 2007 Vince Vaughn comedy “Fred Claus.” But all he wound up with was a paycheck.

“His part got cut from (‘Fred Claus’), but we didn’t know that until the movie came out,” Vicki McHugh says.

Both brothers got called to audition for “Noah” in the summer of 2012.

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