Young actor with Atlanta ties stars in summer film

Moises Arias, who spent part of his childhood in metro Atlanta, is known for his role on “Hannah Montana,” starring Miley Cyrus. With the new movie “The Kings of Summer,” coming out Friday, he is definitely graduating from lighthearted kids’ fare.

He plays quirky Biaggio, one of three teens who become fed up with their parents and so decide to run away. They don’t run far. The trio builds a fort in the forest with material the teens pilfer from nearby construction sites, and they “forage” for dinner by hitting the fast-food joint near their leafy hideout.

The runaways make the television news, but there’s never much tension surrounding their disappearance, and that’s not really the point. The story of three boys coming of age amid a backdrop of family tension, budding romance and conflict among one another and within themselves drives the narrative. It is a splendid film.

“We’ve been compared to ‘Stand by Me,’ which is the best coming-of-age movie of all time,” Arias said following a recent advance screening at the UA Tara Cinemas 4 on Cheshire Bridge Road, held to build further buzz for an indie flick being released into a crowded summer blockbuster season.

“If you liked it and you don’t want 10 more ‘Spider-Mans’ and 10 more ‘Transformers,’ tell your friends,” Arias instructed. “I was on ‘Hannah Montana’ from 10 to 16, so that was my life. This was a very interesting, very fun, very different character. We had a fantastic script. That’s what attached us to the movie. I read Biaggio and thought, ‘What is this movie?’”

The film, also starring Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Nick Offerman and Erin Moriarty, was a hit at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it debuted as “Toy’s House.”

“We’re under 21, so it was a lot of fun running around watching everyone else have fun,” quipped Arias, 19.

A New York native, he moved to Lawrenceville with his family as a toddler. He was very shy as a child, so his mother suggested acting lessons. They moved to Los Angeles when he was 10 to pursue his career, but he retains an affinity for his former home.

“Lawrenceville is awesome,” he said. “I have a lot of family here. I haven’t gotten a chance to shoot in Atlanta yet. It’d be really awesome to shoot something here.”