Tommy Ragen makes his film debut in “Mighty Oak” as the character Oak Scoggins. This musical prodigy lights up the screen with his innocence and honesty. At 9 years old, Ragen was in the Broadway first national tour for School of Rock. Now, at just 11 years old, Tommy has released three studio albums and the soundtrack features many of Ragen’s original songs.
Take a closer look at the free-flowing interview about his experience with this film, and what we can anticipate next for Tommy.
What inspired the making of the film Mighty Oak?
I really liked the role, and I knew my music was going to be used, which was a big motivation because I would feel weird if another kid got that part—especially knowing that they’d be singing my music as their own.
How did you come up with the song Chasing?
I was sitting in my bedroom with my friend Caroline Corn. There was a really good vibe when we were writing. We were creating a story throughout the song, and I think the story is what made the song.
How old were you when you created the song and did you know at the time it was a hit?
I was 8 years old, and I was proud of it, but I had no idea that it was going to be in a Paramount Film.
What do you think viewers can take away from the movie Mighty Oak?
I think the viewers can take away that sometimes your family doesn’t have to be related to you.
How was the synergy of the cast?
It was incredible. I felt connected to everyone in the cast and crew.
What is your favorite part of the film?
My favorite part was behind the scenes with the cast and crew. They were all so nice and fun to be around. I couldn’t wait to go to set!
What part of the film hits close to home for each of you and why?
Probably the Lestats music scenes. I grew up playing open mics and shows at Lestats, so those scenes felt especially nostalgic.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Yes, I believe there is more then just the physical part of this world.
Did you have a scene in the movie that you were particularly proud of or that you particularly enjoyed?
The scene where I cried was a very vivid memory that will stick with me for a really long time. I am proud of that scene because it took me a long time to get in the mentality to cry before every take.
Is the character you play in the movie similar to you in any way?
Yes, especially because I wrote the music in the movie, so I feel like he is a version of me—but Oak has a bit of darkness in his life. I get sad and have emotions like Oak, but I have an amazing family and group of friends. Although, like Oak, most of my friends are older musicians.
How do you compare films to being live on Broadway and TV series?
I’d say the main thing is that making a movie is way shorter, so it brings this very intense feeling in a good way.
What other films on the market are comparable to Mighty Oak?
Any light-hearted family movie! Although I’ve seen a lot of people cry while watching Mighty Oak, so it’s a little more emotional than other family movies.
What was it like working with award-winning Director Sean McNamara?
He is a very nice man, and it’s crazy to see how he works. It was an honor to work with him!
Are there a few behind-the-scenes/ funny moments that you can share with the fans in the making of the movie?
One time, I got really scared when Janel and Carlos pranked me with a spider.
Where can your fans hear your music and keep connected?
You can find my music on all streaming platforms! You can also follow me on Instagram @tommyragen
Photo Credits : Tommy Ragen