A Chat with Tyrel Williams

The Lab Rats star talks about creating a video game based on his Disney XD show

Feb 25, 2013 | By Kelli Plasket
BOB D'AMICO—DISNEY XD

Tyrel Jackson Williams, 15, stars as Leo on Disney XD’s Lab Rats, which airs on Monday nights on Disney XD.

Have you ever had a great idea that you presented to someone who could help you make it happen? In the entertainment business, that’s called a “pitch.” When actor Tyrel Jackson Williams, who plays Leo on Disney XD’s Lab Rats, had an idea for an online video game based on his show, Tyrel decided to pitch his idea to the game developers at Disney Interactive. They liked his idea and worked with Tyrel to create the game, Leo’s Stealth Ops, for disneyxd.com.

On Lab Rats, Tyrel’s character Leo is a regular teen. He gains three super-human siblings—Adam, Bree and Chase—with bionic powers when his mom marries a billionaire inventor. The second season of the show premieres February 25 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Disney XD.  Recently, TFK caught up with the 15-year-old actor to talk about his video game idea and what’s coming up on the show.

A scene from the premiere of the second season of Lab Rats, which will air on February 25.
BRUCE BIRMELIN—DISNEY XD
A scene from the premiere of the second season of Lab Rats, which will air on February 25.

TFK:

What was your idea for an online game based on Lab Rats, and how did you come up with it?

TYREL:

The game is based on Adam, Bree and Chase’s bionic ability. The player is able to swap between them. So the way I came up with the idea is I thought of everything that made Adam, Bree and Chase’s bionics really cool, and I wanted to find a way to put them into the game believably. The way we accomplished that is, in Leo’s Stealth Ops, you play as Leo in a “stealth” version of the Exo-Skeleton [suit]. If you are near Adam, Bree or Chase, you are able to inherit their powers.

TFK:

Were you nervous to bring your idea to Disney Interactive?

TYREL:

I was really nervous to pitch it to Disney Interactive because I had never pitched a video game before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do. But I kind of took it in stride, faced my fears and went ahead and did it, and I’m so happy I did.

TFK:

Through the process of working with Disney Interactive, what were you surprised to learn about how video games are made?

TYREL:

One major thing that surprised me about the process is how little time the guys at Disney Interactive have to make the game, and what their limitations were. I learnedthat before I pitched the idea, so I had to take into account [when pitching my idea] that there weren’t unlimited resources.

TFK:

What did you think of the final game, compared to how you envisioned it?

TYREL:

I love it. It was amazing to see an idea that I had put up on a computer screen, and it’s a real, playable game that people are going to be able to [go] to disneyxd.com to enjoy. I was really happy to see that my idea had come to fruition.

TFK:

What are some of your other favorite video games to play?

TYREL:

I love playing any type of game that I can get my hands on, pretty much. On my phone, I have kind of gotten addicted to Cut the Rope. I didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was, and now I can't stop playing it. I like games like that. And I'm also a big fan of the Ratchet & Clank series [for PlayStation]. That was one of the first games I started playing with my friends, and I loved it.

TFK:

Do you have any advice for kids who have an idea for a video game?

TYREL:

My advice to any kids who want to start becoming game developers is to do research. That's something I've had to learn recently. Find out what you want to do, first and foremost, and then go online and look up the easiest way to get you there. If you want to make a 2-D game, look up how to make a 2-D game on Google. And don't give up because game development is a lot about patience.

TFK:

The game is launching on disneyxd.com the same day the second season of Lab Rats premieres. What's coming up on the show this season, especially for your character Leo?

TYREL:

I'm so excited for Season 2 because it takes everything that was great about Season 1 and builds on it. There is a lot of action and there are many fight sequences, and there's some more drama this season. I can’t really say what episodes they are and what happens, but there is a lot more drama this season, so I want fans to look out for that. And Leo gets more responsibility in the second season, which is a really big thing for Leo, and it's a big thing for me because I love acting as Leo.

TFK:

Do you have a favorite scene or episode you've shot so far for Season 2?

TYREL:

Yes! Saying which episode or what’s in it would be a complete spoiler, so I’m not going to, but it’s an episode in the middle of the season. When it comes up, I’m sure many readers will know what episode it is—it’s epic.

TFK:

Whether or not they watched Season 1, why should kids tune in to Season 2?

TYREL:

It picks right up where Season 1 left off, and it starts off with a bang [that] gives Season 2 a nice driving force. I could tell by reading the first episode when they gave me the script that Season 2 was going to be so much better than Season 1, and we’ve been working really hard to make sure it is.