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The Baltimore Sun: Just for Kids: Yak's Corner

Morphing into a TV Star
- Janis Campbell

His name is Jake. Well, it's Jake on the new "Animorphs" TV show. His real name is Shawn Ashmore. He's 18 and lives in Canada. But soon lots of kids will know his name because he's about to morph into a star thanks to a part on Nickelodeon's hot new show on Friday nights. Shawn stars as the leader of a group of friends who have the power to morph, or change, into any animal they touch. This group works to save the world from the Yeerks - green, slug-like alien creatures.

"Animorphs," which is based on K.A. Applegate's book series, made its debut on Nick this fall. Shawn says he wasn't a fan of the books until he started reading them when he auditioned.

Shawn has been working in TV and community theater for about nine years, doing lots of projects. When he misses class, his twin brother, Aaron, also an actor, helps him catch up.

Besides acting, Shawn plays in a band with his brother and loves to play sports. Later this year Shawn is hitting the road with his brother and a couple of buddies. They plan to spend a couple of months traveling around Australia.

We asked Shawn to tell us the show's special-effect secrets. It's all computer-generated graphics, he says. When he's working on a morphing scene, they film the animal first and then tries to copy its movements so artists can meld the images together.

On the show, Shawn and his friends morph into animals such as cockroaches, butterflies and tigers. What animal would Shawn change into if he really could morph?

" ... A bird or something aquatic because it would be cool to fly or swim under water for hours - something really different from what we humans can do."

Hmmm. We wonder if Shawn will ever morph into a yak? We're pretty sure he's going to transform into a star.

The Baltimore Sun