Julian Lerner Likens Meeting Yes Day Costar Jennifer Garner to 'Being Given the Biggest, Best Hug'
The 13-year-old plays Garner's son in the new Netflix family comedy
Yes Day star Julian Lerner knows what his ideal Yes Day would entail.
"I definitely want to order ramen from my favorite ramen restaurant for dinner. Definitely watch all the MCU Marvel movies in order from start to finish," the 13-year-old tells PEOPLE. "If it wasn't COVID, I would go to Legoland because I love Legos. And Green Day is my favorite band, so I'd go to one of their concerts. And spend quality time with my family."
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As an only child, Lerner appreciated having siblings — sisters played by Jenna Ortega and Everly Carganilla — in the Netflix family film.
"I wanted a younger brother," he says. "I would ask my mom. I was like, 'Can I have a younger brother?" And she'd always say, 'I don't know. We'll see.' But it was great to have that experience with Everly and Jen on set. We created a whole family for six months. It was so much fun."
The New York City native, who will appear in ABC's Wonder Years reboot, already considered himself a fan of his movie mom Jennifer Garner even before landing the role. "I have a Funko Pop figure of her from Alias," Lerner admits.
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After getting to know the Golden Globe winner, 48, Lerner calls her "the most kind, loving person." "She brings all those qualities into every situation and it really sets the tone for the whole set," he adds. "Meeting Jen was like being given the biggest, best hug ever."
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He knew they'd work as an on-screen family from the audition when Lerner bonded with an important member of Garner's own family, her dog Birdie.
"I walk in the door and the first thing I see is this huge, fluffy golden retriever lying down on her back ready for belly rubs," he recalls. "Obviously, I go down and I pet the dog. I didn't know it was Jen's dog, so Jen walks out and I'm like, 'Whoa. Okay. Try and be a professional.' It [the audition] goes great and right after that, I booked the role."
When it came to living out the Torres family's Yes Day — a 24-hour period in which parents have to agree to their kids' requests, no matter how wild — Lerner got soaked in the car wash, battled it out in a water balloon fight and experienced an adrenaline high at an amusement park.
"My favorite part was definitely the roller coaster scene because I love going upside down on roller coasters," he says. "They strapped the camera to the front of the roller coaster. We rode it six times in a row."
Lerner loves the lesson the movie teaches. "It's important for kids and teens to not only learn that they can make good choices, but they can also screw up sometimes and it'll be okay," the teen says. "I love that the Torres family gives that space for this to happen, and that ultimately brings the family closer together. It doesn't matter what you do, it matters who you do it with."
Yes Day is out on Netflix now.
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