Media Q&A with Drew Seeley from the ABC Family Original Musical – “Lovestruck: The Musical” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
April 25, 2013 by Dennis Amith
Singer/songwriter and dancer Drew Seeley is a familiar name for Disney viewers.
Best known for being the singing voice of Troy in “High School Musical”, Drew Seeley’s talent had led him to working on Disney albums such as the “Disneymania” 5 & 6 albums, “Disney Channel Holiday” and “Radio Disney Jams, Vol. 9”.
But as Seeley is known for his music and dancing, he is also an actor who has starred in films such as “Fly Kidz”, the Disney Channel Original Movie “Jump In!” and “Another Cinderella Story”. And in 2012, Seeley appeared with “High School Musical” star Lucas Grabeel for teh vampire rock musical web series “I Kissed a Vampire”.
In April 2013, Drew had a starring role in “Lovestruck: The Musical”, which he appeared along with Chelsea Kane, Jane Seymour, Sara Paxton and Tom Wopat.
The musical revolves around a Broadway star turned choreographer named Harper (portrayed by Jane Seymour) and her daughter Mirabella (portrayed by Sara Paxton), the star of her next production decides to quite the show because she wants to marry a playboy named Marco (portrayed by Alexander DiPersia).
When Harper finds out that Mirabella’s priorities does not include the production, Harper wants to show her that love does not always trump a career. Determined to stop her daughter’s wedding in Italy, Harper unknowingly drinks a tonic which turns her 30-years younger. So, now a younger Harper (portrayed by Chelsea Kane) tries to infiltrate Mirabella’s wedding with a plan to kiss Marco and fool her daughter into stopping the wedding. But Mirabella’s father Ryan (portrayed by Tom Wopat) knows that the younger woman in his ex-wife Harper and she ends up gives him the tonic and making him revert to a younger version of himself (portrayed by Drew Seeley).
And now, both younger Harper and Ryan try to undo the damage Harper caused and save Mirabella and Marco’s wedding.
Recently, Drew took part in a media Q&A for the promotion of the ABC Family Original Musical – “Lovestruck: The Musical”.
Here is a transcript from the media Q&A:
Moderator: Could you talk about how you prepared for this role?
D. Seeley: It was a very physically demanding couple of days when Chelsea and I shot our duet. We shot the movie in Pittsburgh, so anytime that I had free time, I would obviously hit the gym, and I love to run so I would run and explore the city and kind of discover Pittsburgh on foot. I just tried to stay in shape and not eat too many of those Primanti Bros. sandwiches that are so awesome.
One thing I did have to do to prepare was spend a lot of time with Tom Wopat, who plays the older version of me, because Sanaa, the director of the movie, wanted me to have a lot of the same physical ticks and way of saying things and expressions, because we’re the same person. So that was kind of fun trying to emulate what he did, kind of copy him but make it 30 years younger.
Moderator: So you had to get his mannerisms down?
D. Seeley: Yes, that was tricky. That’s the first time I’ve ever had to do something like that. It was cool.
Moderator: What was it about this particular role that interested you to be a part of the film?
D. Seeley: The movie was produced by Debra Martin Chase, who really gave me my first break with “Dance with Me,” from Cheetah Girls 2. So I’ve known her for a long time and hadn’t seen her forever, so it was really nice to reunite with her on this movie.
Plus, I’m an actor, I just love to work. Some jobs are better than others, and this one was just a blessing in that I got to do everything that I love to do; sing, dance, and act, in one film. This is one of those ones that you hope comes around more often.
Moderator: Was there anything about the role that you added to it that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
D. Seeley: No. I just brought myself to the character, I think. I just kind of put my own spin on it. But as far as changing dialogue or anything, I didn’t really have that license. There’s a time crunch on these kinds of movies. I’m not the main character of the story, but my job is really to move the story along and support the story and what Chelsea is doing. So I didn’t really have to do anything other than what was on the page, and that’s always nice.
Moderator: What was it like being a part of and working with such a talented cast?
D. Seeley: It was great. You always want to make sure that you’re not the weak link. You’re surrounded by really talented, great actors and singers, so just staying on your game is the main thing. But everybody was so nice, from Jane Seymour to Chelsea. We all became friends very quickly and still talk and hang out. Chelsea is actually coming to my wedding next weekend, funnily enough, to give you an idea.
It was a great experience. Everyone was really cool. Who knows, they may want a sequel or something and I will be game.
Moderator: Is there anyone that you would love to work with someday?
D. Seeley: That’s a good question. Daniel Day Lewis. I just want to work with good actors and people that I can learn from, is my main goal in all of this. I think it’s always great to not be the smartest person in the room because I don’t want to ever feel like I can’t improve upon what I’m doing. I just want to surround myself with people that are better actors than me and better singers and dancers and see what happens.
Moderator: Based upon your background with Disney with other musicals and shows, what sort of creative input did ABC allow you to have with Lovestruck?
D. Seeley: I did get the chance to write a bonus track for the soundtrack, which is really nice. I wrote and sang a lot of the music from Cinderella Story and the High School Musical stuff, so they knew that that was something that I could add to the piece of the puzzle, too. There’s a song called “Here and Now” that’s on the soundtrack.
Also, when I was recording my duet with Chelsea, “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” they really listened to my input as far as what takes I liked and ad-libs, and making it sound like something that I could be proud of and release on my own and be proud of, as well. So musically, definitely had a lot of input.
Acting-wise, I just went in and did what I thought the character called for. I worked together with Sanaa to find the right levels and the right tone. But like I was saying in the last question, everything was right there on the page for me. It was an easy one, as far as some of these jobs go.
Moderator: How does your past experience compare to working on Lovestruck?
D. Seeley: I definitely called upon my dance background. I think this movie is similar to Cinderella Story, at least the character that I ….. Performing – I did a show on Broadway a couple of years ago, I got to play Prince Eric for a few months, and we did eight shows a week. It was a really grueling schedule; you had to have a lot of stamina. I think that training came into play when we ended up shooting these numbers because Sanaa, the director of the movie Lovestruck, she comes from a music video pedigree, so she expects full-out numbers all the way through, no stopping to change camera angles, you have to do it the entire 110% every time, all day. So I was sore for about a week, I think, after we shot our scenes, but I think it’s worth it; what came out on screen.
Moderator: How long did you and Chelsea take to learn your big dance routine?
D. Seeley: Two days. We had two, maybe three rehearsals. We shot upstairs, the beautiful, big theater that Jane Seymour has her “Just Dance” number in, we practiced upstairs in that same theater, Chelsea and I, to learn our song. We only had two or three days, maybe four hours each time.
They changed it a lot. We’d learn the entire dance and then send it into the network and then get notes, and then we’d go back and have to change half of what we had just learned to something else to switch up the styles and make sure that there’s a little bit of everything in the pot. So I think that was more of the challenge than anything. You learn the dance, you go home, you study it and you cram, and then the next day you’ve got to unlearn half of what you’ve just learned and learn something new. Then when we shot on that day, trying not to confuse the two.
So that was a challenge, but it was fun.
Moderator: I’m a big Hanson fan, so how did you end up in their latest video?
D. Seeley: It’s one of these serendipitous things. Amy, my fiancé, has been a Hanson fanatic since she was a kid. So, she has taken me to about four or five Hanson concerts over the last five years in L.A. At first she had to drag me because all I knew was “MMMBop.” Then by the third or fourth show, I kinda got it and I’m like wow, these guys are really good musicians and I can appreciate this.
So when I decided I was going to propose to Amy, I had a friend from high school named Livy McCall, who worked with Hanson management, and I just shot her an email out of the dark, kind of who knows, maybe this will work, can you get Hanson to make a super quick little Flip Cam video and say hi to Amy or something? They made a minute video for my proposal saying yes, we checked out Drew, we approve, we think you should say “yes,” and I played it when I proposed to her and she loved it.
I guess the guys saw that and then a year later, when they were going to film this music video for “Get the Girl Back,” their new single, they reached out to me. They were like hi, we’re in L.A. if you and Amy want to be in our video. So of course we said yes and they’re almost, I would say, they’re friends now, acquaintances. It’s crazy how that worked out.
But they are really, really awesome dudes. I’m such a fan. I hope their album kills.
Moderator: What is your most favorite moment from making the film?
D. Seeley: Besides hanging out at Craft Services and eating all of their glorious food – I would say the big “DJ Got Us Falling in Love” number. We drove about an hour outside of Pittsburgh to a big mansion in the country and set up there for the whole day. It was this beautiful, old mansion just in the middle of nowhere and we had the whole place to ourselves. We set up the ballroom, there were tons of background actors there, cheering us on and clapping and really getting us into it, because there’s a lot of energy with people in the room, and that helped our performances.
That was such a good memory. Then they had a really cool little restaurant and bar there afterwards, so we all went and had chicken wings when we were done.
Moderator: You’ve been able to combine music in acting rather nicely, but are you more passionate about one over the other one?
D. Seeley: I get asked that a lot. It’s hard to choose. I don’t know that I would want to give up acting just to go after music solely and being on the road 300 days a year touring. I really like having L.A. as my home base. I’m kind of a studio rat, I love recording, so a lot of these movies give me the chance to do both. I’ve sort of carved out a nice little niche doing that.
On the other side, I don’t see myself ever stopping making music. I’m consistently recording and releasing stuff online or YouTube videos or whatever it is. I just don’t know if it’s going to be a full on, I’m the next Rihanna, or whatever. I’m not going for it to that level. But I love making music and I don’t think I could stop if I wanted to.
Moderator: What other projects are you currently working on in either music or acting?
D. Seeley: I’ve got two movies that I’ve shot that haven’t come out yet. One is called Yellow Day and another is called Nonstop, which I’m actually filming right now. That’s fun – it’s a suspense movie on a plane, and I play a flight attendant. There’s no music at all in that, but we’re having a good time.
As far as other stuff – I’m starting to get into writing, as well. I wrote my first TV pilot about two months ago. I wrote a character for myself in a half hour comedy. I’m going to start taking meetings and pitching that around town and hoping for the best. See if anyone’s interested.
Moderator: What are the differences you would say there are between Broadway and film acting? Which one do you prefer?
D. Seeley: Broadway is eight shows a week and the feedback you get is immediate, which is always fun. Filming is long, tedious days, and then you wait and wait and wait some more for whatever it is to come out, and then people get to see and appreciate your work. Like, Lovestruck we shot a year and half ago, so it feels like forever ago. It feels like it should have been out a long time ago. It’s really nice that it’s coming out now; I don’t mind that it takes so long.
I would probably say theater. Just because you’re with the same people for a longer amount of time, so you have more time to develop longer friendships. The feedback is immediate. And New York is such an exciting city. I really love living in New York. That was the only chance I’ve ever had to do that, but I would go back in heartbeat.
Moderator: Do you feel that the press can have too much of a negative influence on an entertainer’s career?
D. Seeley: They can, but I really feel like everyone has personal choice. You can decide where you’re going to be and what you’re going to be doing. If you make silly decisions and then the press just happens to show up, it’s not entirely their fault for reporting on what you’re already doing. I just try to live my life in an open, honest, straightforward way, and then that way you’re immune to whatever it is the press is going to say.
Moderator: Where any funny mishaps while filming Lovestruck?
D. Seeley: They were trying to make Pittsburgh look like Italy, and I thought that was funny because the leaves were turning because we shot it in fall. They were freaking out because they were like we can’t shoot this angle because the leaves are orange and they would be green. That wasn’t anything that I had to worry about, but I remember that was something that they were freaking out about a little bit.
There weren’t really any mishaps. No broken bones, no twisted ankles. I got out of this one unscathed.
Moderator: You and Chelsea have this awesome love/hate chemistry going on. Did that come naturally or did you guys have to kind of work at it?
D. Seeley: It came naturally. She’s just a great actress to play off of. We just kind of looked at what Jane and Tom were doing as the older versions of us and the story, and we went with it from there. We were supposed to be exes, but I kind of thought of her as my sister, in a way, too, so that I could pick on her and make some of that believable.
Images courtesy of ABC Family
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