Benjamin Flores Jr., better known as Lil' P-Nut, has moved up the Hollywood ladder since his days of appearing as the cute kid sidekick to Memphis car dealer Mark Goodfellow in the It's All Good Auto Sales commercials.
These days, the 13-year-old native Memphian, who got his start as a rapper at age 4, is a budding star living with his parents in L.A. He's starring as a rapper's son on a new Nickelodeon show called Game Shakers that premieres on September 12th. The show is produced by fellow Memphian Dan Schneider. It's Lil' P-Nut's second series for the network. Since 2013, he's starred as a ghost on Haunted Hathaways.
Lil' P-Nut has also appeared in the film Ride Along with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, and he was the voice of Atticus in Happy Feet Two.
Flyer: So tell me about your new show, Game Shakers.
Lil' P-Nut: The show is about a group of kids who come together and start making [video] games. There are these two girls called Babe and Kenzie, and they make this game for a science project. They use this specific song in the game, and the song is from my dad [on the show] Double G, played by Kel Mitchell. He hears the song, and he flies to New York, and he tries to sue them. But I help everybody resolve the issue. I say, let's become a team, and let's make games together. So we travel all over the world making games. My character Triple G is a gamer. He's a rich kid, but he likes to be around people his own age.
Are you a gamer? Were you able to draw on your own experience?
I play Sky Whale a lot. It's the game we made on the show, and if you want to play it, you can go on the App Store and download it.
How did you get this role?
I auditioned for Haunted Hathaways. I got the role, and I did the show. And after that, Mr. Dan Schneider and his team called me and said they wanted me to do an audition for them [for Game Shakers]. They liked it, and they wanted me to be on the show.
The show's producer, Dan Schneider, is a Memphian, too. What's it like working with him?
Every time I get to talk to him, we always talk about how much we miss the barbecue and how much we want to come back.
Do you ever get to come home for visits?
I haven't been back yet, but I ask my parents all the time, "Can we please go back?" I miss Memphis a lot. I still have a lot of family there. I get homesick because I miss it so much.
What do you miss the most?
I miss smoked sausages, Jungle Juice. I miss riding my bike down the street. I miss the bus picking me up with the broken leather seat. I miss my teachers. I miss friends. I miss my grandma and her eggs. I miss everything out there. I miss Southland Mall. I just miss Memphis.
Are you still filming for the show?
We're still filming, and we have a long way to go. Acting is so fun for me. I don't see it as a job. I see it as something I like to do. When I get up in the morning and I have to go there, it's not like a job. I usually spend about nine hours [on set]. But they break it up into my schooling, too.
How do you balance school with acting?
You have to go to school on set. They have this classroom for you, and all the kids on the show go do their classwork. You just go to school for five hours. I'm pretty busy, but you got to keep the grades up.
Are you still rapping?
I'm so focused on acting right now. Maybe if I get the urge to rap again, I will. I still love rapping. That's what got me here. But I like acting, and that's where my main focus is right now. It's hard for a kid to do two things at one time.
Weren't you up for a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award earlier this year?
This was my second time being nominated. Hopefully, next time I'll win, though.
Do you want to add anything else?
Make sure you guys watch the show on September 12th. Make sure you download the Sky Whale game. I want to give a shout-out to Memphis. And I want to give a shout-out to my cast. Peace!