It’s turning out to be a memorable holiday season for 15-year-old Auldin Maxwell, whose world-record-breaking towers of Jenga blocks have inspired a new Hallmark Christmas movie.
A World Record Christmas, released on the W Network on Nov. 16, is inspired by Maxwell’s achievements.
The film tells the story of a family coming together to support their autistic child as he aims to break a Guinness World Record.
Maxwell, who is from Salmon Arm, B.C. — a city in B.C.’s Interior about 315 kilometres northeast of Vancouver — makes a cameo in the movie, where he speaks with the character he inspired, played by actor Aias Dalman.
“I was really nervous in the beginning but was relieved after the shot,” he told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.
Maxwell, who is on the autism spectrum, started stacking Jenga blocks when he was six.
“I have always liked balancing stuffs and, as a baby, I used stack anything like books, toys,” he said.
David Murray, Maxwell’s step-dad, says being on the spectrum has helped enhance Maxwell’s concentration when it comes to stacking.
“It has been kind of this superpower. The desire to really focus in and perform these heavy concentration stacking events has been helped by him being on the spectrum,” he said in the interview with CBC.
Maxwell’s talent first earned him a record title at age 12 for building a tower of 693 tiny bricks — equalling 13 Jenga sets of 54 bricks each — on top of a narrow piece of wood.
Today he has five Guinness World Records, with the most recent one for balancing 1,843 blocks on one vertical Jenga block, recorded on Jan. 23 this year.
On The Coast7:44Jenga world record holder
The secret to building such towers requires about three hours of undivided attention, he says.
“When I’m doing it, I don’t thinking about anything. I’m just in the zone.”
While he’s at it, the family tries their best not to distract the young record-holder, Murray said.
“We make it very quiet and let him concentrate. He listens to music and we have a couple of pets, so we have to make sure that they’re set aside,” he said.
Sometimes a cat or two do slip by, and the blocks come tumbling down.
“It has happened before, especially when I was attempting my first record and my cat came up … and just started sniffing it and brought it down,” Maxwell said.
Another record — and more acting
Now, Maxwell says he has his eyes set on breaking another record — although this time, it has nothing to do with Jenga.
“I want to solve the most Rubik’s Cubes while on a unicycle,” he said.
Currently, Jesse Bradford of Brooks, Alta., holds that record, with 300 rotating puzzle cubes solved on a unicycle.
Maxwell says he also looks forward to more acting.
“It was so cool to be on the set and in front of all the cameras and I want to do more acting,” he said.
“I have been in contact with some people and I am looking at playing some mini roles in the future.”