From the time he was a baby, Victor Gilbert has been immersed into a world of full of films, acting, and make believe. Given the fact that his mother is a cinematographer, Gilbert has played child roles in several of her films and he has had the unique opportunity to test his acting skills against a number of different storylines and plots. Like most children, Gilbert loves to play pretend and he finds himself energized by the ability to play pretend for more than just enjoyment, but as a career. Playing a wide range of emotions interests him, and he thrives on the chance to explore playing different versions of “happy,” “sad,” or “mad.” For Gilbert, acting is all he’s ever known. It is a part of his family. He has grown with it and he wishes to continue to let acting grow with him for the rest of his life.
As he has aged, Gilbert has slowly branched away from filming with his mother and has begun working with esteemed production companies, directors, actors, and more. At the mere age of 10, Gilbert is taking the entertainment industry by storm and having earned such great success so early on in his life, it is intriguing to wonder where his talents will carry him next. One of his most notable works was for Netflix’s Hell on Wheels, where Gilbert played the son of a railroad worker called Jeff Strobridge, played by Reg Rogers. In this role, Gilbert had the chance to act alongside Rogers, Anson Mount, the series’ lead actor, as well as several other experienced professionals. It was a great way to expose himself to various acting styles and techniques, and since he was a recurring character, he had the opportunity to develop his character throughout each episode he acted in. Gilbert thoroughly enjoyed learning from the individuals he acted with, and submerged himself into the film’s extravagant, western-themed set. To this day, he considers it one of the highlights of his career.
Another of Gilbert’s more enjoyable projects evolved over the summer of 2016 when he aced the audition for, and won the role of Peter in the influential film, The Kiss. The Kiss tells the emotional story of a young boy, played by Gilbert, kisses another young boy at school. It is set in the 1950’s and unpacks a controversial dilemma for a mother who tries to understand what her child is going through. With the tag line, “a kiss should just be a kiss,” the film explores deep themes of love and homosexuality, and is gaining a substantial amount of praise from film festivals around the world. Being only 8 years old at the time of filming, Gilbert was unfamiliar with the emotional nature of the plot line and didn’t realize the importance of the topic in today’s society. Upon learning of meaning behind the film’s premise, Gilbert was eager to play such an impactful role. In fact, Gilbert’s character was pivotal to the The Kiss’ storyline and he set the tone for the entire film.
Gilbert credits his role in The Kiss as being the toughest he had ever played. Having to travel back in time to the 1950’s through the film’s costumes and set design was unlike anything Gilbert had ever done before. When filming, he had to act out emotionally charged scenes involving kissing another boy, being scolded by his mother, and portray feelings of fear, sorrow, and intimidation. Fortunately, Gilbert excels in any environment where he has to sell different emotions for the better of his character’s storyline. He has a remarkable ability to play multi-dimensional emotions and despite his age, he never struggled to explore a new emotion when asked. David Emmanuel, who both produced and acted in The Kiss, has nothing but respect for Gilbert’s natural affinity to play his characters as realistically and organically as possible. He was astonished to see an actor as young as Gilbert displaying qualities that even some of the most established professionals have not yet mastered.
“Victor had a very, – I cannot stress it enough – very difficult scene to act at such a young age. He had to pretend to have kissed a boy in school, to dress up, to wear lipstick, and more. Still, he did an amazing job and was so right for the role. He was extremely patient and open-minded for this movie. Not to mention, he was very professional on set for such a young age. He listened to the director very well and was open to giving his input whenever he didn’t feel comfortable,” noted Emmanuel.
If you ask Gilbert, however, the film simply helped him tell an important story to the world and he was happy to have had the opportunity. Even he himself was moved by his character’s strength and determination. To play such an integral character at such a young age is a rare feat for any child actor and he hopes to be able to do so again in future.
“I think the story of this film is important because there are tons of people who are still too shy to love another person of the same gender. I think these kinds of films help these people come forward. It is so important to respect people for who they are. Films have a big impact on people and they can influence generations,” told Gilbert.
Upon wrapping The Kiss, it made its way to several prestigious film festivals in Orlando, Los Angeles, Brazil, Cannes, Germany, Sweden, and many more. Gilbert, along with everyone else involved in the film, are excited to see where else The Kiss will go and how many more lives they can touch with this incredible story.