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She makes sure that Billy knows he is the first person to ever do anything in the face of the bully Joe’s cruelty. “Erika is pretty important. She tells my character Billy to not run away and says the line ‘Win it true,’” explains Luke Benward. “She encourages him to not try to get out of it, but to just go and win the bet, do the deal, be true to yourself. She helps my character realize that I made the bet, I shouldn't have been bragging, so I have got to go through with it. If I lose, I lose.”

A veteran actress at age 13, Eisenberg was excited to learn a new skill for the role. “My character is into archery and it's something that I never would have wanted to learn on my own. Now that I have, I really would like to do more with it. I went to a couple of lessons and it was really hard at first, because you have to be strong. Then I got the hang of it, I got a few bull's eyes and it's fun.”

Filmmakers cast a freckle-faced redhead named Adam Hicks to play Joe Guire, the school bully whose confident demeanor and mean spirit intimidates his entire circle of friends and enemies.

“It starts out where I have all of the power. People listen to me. And I like it. At first, I try to overpower Billy, but he makes the bet and stands up to me…it's the first time that’s happened,” comments Hicks. “It scares me a little, but I can’t mess up my rep and let the others see that. I think everyone has had that time in their life where their friends were all around them and they don’t want to lose face. Everyone has a little bit of Joe in them.”

“I do think there are times in our lives when most of us have, out of insecurity, bullied somebody,” agrees producer Mark Johnson. “But with the wisdom of adulthood, we look back on it and understand why we did it at the time. Adam does a great job, because he’s not a bully at all in real life.”

“When I tried out for the part, my friends and family said, ‘You can’t play Joe. You're not a bully.’ I said, ‘It's acting!’ I’ve been determined to prove them wrong,” laughs Hicks. “Being an actor, I watch other people. The bullies in my school, I don't like them, but I still watch them. They sort of clench their fists, they look at you sideways or if they walk up to you, they don't back down. They keep staring at you non-stop.”


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