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ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Vanessa Marano of “Switched At Birth” (2014) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

June 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Vanessa Marano of “Switched At Birth” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

Vanessa Marano  (Bay) and Sean Berdy (Emmett) - "Switched at Birth".  Image courtesy of ABC FAMILY.

Vanessa Marano (Bay) and Sean Berdy (Emmett) – “Switched at Birth”. Image courtesy of ABC FAMILY.

With “Switched at Birth” to air its summer premiere on June 16th (the second half of season three), we revisit actress Vanessa Marano, one of the main lead characters of ABC Family’s hit drama series “Switched at Birth”.

Vanessa has starred in TV series such as “Scoundrels”, “The Young and the Restless”, “Dexter” and “Without a Trace”.

“Switched at Birth” is a one-hour scripted drama that tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital.

Vanessa Marano plays the character of Bay Kennish, a girl who grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother, while Daphne Vasquez (played by Katie Leclerc), who lost her hearing at an early age due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother in a working class neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.

The series also stars Lucas Grabeel (“High School Musical”) as Bay’s brother Toby, Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”, “Caroline in the City”) as her mother Kathryn and Constance Marie (“George Lopez”, “Selena”) as Daphne’s mother Regina.

An ABC Family Q&A session was recently held with Vanessa Marano to promote the second half of the latest season of “Switched at Birth” and also to discuss the renewal of a new season of the series plus more about her character, her relationships and more.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.

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Moderator    How excited were you when Switched at Birth was renewed for a new season?

Vanessa    You know, it’s so funny; I’ve been doing this for a very long time so I go into everything very cynically; like, “Alright, well, let’s see if we’re coming back.” We never know. But Switched at Birth is the first show I’ve ever been on that’s generated such a positive strong audience response. We’ve got incredible support from our viewers, specifically, the deaf community. There’s an amount of confidence there knowing that we have an audience rooting for us and wanting us to come back, so that was nice. What’s great about the way ABC Family works is that they split up your seasons seasonally, so to speak, so you have your winter season and your summer season. We have a hiatus, a break, for two months knowing that we were coming back airing in the summer, so that’s kind of nice to have a break and then also know that your job is coming back!

Moderator     Is there any one topic on the program that has had a very large impact on your personal life?

Vanessa      We deal with so many topics on our show. We’ve covered the deaf community. We’ve covered a lot of social and cultural differences. This last season, we introduced a character who was in a wheelchair, which actually was very close to my heart because I work with The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  And they’ve been working so hard to find a cure for paralysis. It was great Switched introduced the character who was paralyzed and was so hopeful to find a cure because that particular foundation is so close to finding a cure that it’s unbelievable. So that tugged at my heartstrings a little bit.

This coming season, it gets very emotional; and there’s a particular episode, in the middle of the season, that I found very relatable. I think everyone’s going to find relatable. I can’t give you too much information about that. All I can say is that it was a very emotional episode for everyone involved, and everyone’s experienced it.

Moderator    What is going to happen between Bay and Emmett this summer?

Vanessa   I think Bay and Emmett fans are going to be very happy this summer. But of course, it’s Bay and Emmett, so they’re not without their trials and tribulations. It’s a relationship that I think all the fans have been waiting to see, revisited and brought back to life. Now that they’re finally there, it’s not without its struggle. You can’t just get back into a relationship specifically the way they got back into the relationship. It left with Emmett cheating, and they got back together with her cheating on her current boyfriend. So there’s a little bit of a mess right now, but they’re together. They’re in the mess together.

Moderator   What’s going to be happening with Bay and Daphne’s relationship?

Vanessa    It’s a particularly difficult season for Daphne. She’s very nervous about her mother’s safety now that she’s involved in this East Riverside Project. In the premiere episode, Bay and Daphne team up to find the guy who threw the brick through the window in order to make peace with him so they know Regina is safe where she is. I don’t know if that’s going to go according to plan, but again, does it ever go according to plan?

Moderator     How does Bay address her new relationship with Emmitt to her current boyfriend Tank?

Vanessa   Bay has been cheated on. She’s experienced the heartache of it. She is very sensitive in that situation, and she immediately wants to tell him. She wants to break up with him. She wants to not hurt him. She doesn’t know what she wants to do, but she knows what the right thing to do is. So she’s being pulled into two different directions as far as her knowing she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she also knows that he needs to be aware of the situation. Bay is feeling so terrible about herself, and Emmett having no way to really comfort her. I think what hurts the most is in her situation with Emmett, it was someone who cheated on her who cared so much about her, and she cares about Tank, but not in the way that Emmett cares about her. I think that brings up a lot of scars for her as well. The premiere episode is a rough one for everyone involved in that triangle.

Moderator   How will things continue to escalate between Emmett and Matthew after the Mandy ordeal?

Vanessa   We find out a little bit more about Matthew and his reasoning. He is not exactly the most grounded, well-rounded human being in the sense that—that may be with a little bit of an overreaction, but, yes, we definitely find out more about him and his motives behind the whole ordeal this season.

Moderator   What’s it like working with Marlee Matlin?

Vanessa   So fabulous! She is the definition of a fantastic actress. She is so talented, but also so lovely to work with. She brings this humorous energy to a set that’s contagious, and she really is a joy to work with. The fact that we had her on our show, a show that is really the first show on television to feature a guest character so prominently, and then feature the deaf community so prominently, was such an honor that she agreed to be on. She’s part of the Switched at Birth family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, and we love every minute that she’s on set.

Moderator   What’s your favorite part about working on “Switched at Birth”?

Vanessa   I would say the people that I get to work with. I think part of the reason that the show has resonated with audiences is the energy that we all have with each other, and we really all got along from day one. It’s nice because I’ve worked on many television shows and what we have on Switched at Birth is actually something very special and very difficult to find. I can say I love going to work every day: 12 hours, 5 days a week, no sleep; I love going to work every day!

Moderator   What is it like working on the actual “Switched at Birth” set?

Vanessa    It’s great! It’s one of the best sets I’ve ever worked on. I really love everybody I work with!

Moderator   What was your favorite episode of this past season?

Vanessa   I would shockingly enough say the field hockey episode where I was in the goalie outfit because I love the woman who directed that episode. It was the first time that they’ve written into a script that Vanessa skills and Bay skills matched up with one another, which is that they had no skills — so that was very easy to play.

Moderator   What is your personal fashion style like and what influencers are involved with Bay’s style?

Vanessa   Our fabulous costume designer, Courtney Stern, is very collaborative, so she’s definitely open to suggestions and ideas. I would say what’s similar about me and Bay is definitely we both go dark, we like our dark colors, but that’s because Bay and I have the same coloring, obviously [laughs]. Bay is definitely more of a fashion risk-taker, which I think you see reflected because our costume designer is as well. Bay does more of the combat boot thing, the lacey thing. She dresses herself up in that artistic way, which is a little bit different than me, but always something that I’m working on, like, “Okay, how can I take that and put it into my wardrobe and mesh it together?”

Moderator     How does it feel to consistently be recognized and part of a program that has an outstanding achievement in television?

Vanessa   Awesome! It’s something that you don’t necessarily expect coming into a show about family and a show about teenage girls. It’s not a genre that actually gets recognized and honored in the way that Switched has been honored, so it’s such an amazing feeling. It’s so great because you feel like you’re doing something that people really enjoy, and it’s really resonating with people. That doesn’t come around very often, so we’re enjoying every minute of that.

Moderator Are there any special guest star in the upcoming season of Switched at Birth?

Vanessa   We will be seeing a lot of the guest stars from last season in this season of Switched at Birth, as well as some new people too. I’m not sure that I can reveal too much about who’s coming on, but we love our guest stars! We’re a big fan of guest stars on Switched at Birth.

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Moderator   Are you big a fan of the Disney brand?

Vanessa   I was just at Disneyland Resort on Memorial weekend with my little sister, funny enough, and she was just at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, so I’m going to go with a yes on that one [laughs].

Moderator   What is your favorite Disney theme park?

Vanessa   I’m going to go with Disneyland, the original in California, because I’m a California girl so all my childhood memories are there. You can’t beat the park that you were going to when you were two years old!

Moderator   What’s your favorite Disney ride or attraction in a Disney park?

Vanessa   I would say it’s a coin toss between Splash Mountain or Pirate of the Caribbean. I do enjoy water.

Moderator   What’s your favorite food or restaurant within a Disney park?

Vanessa   There’s something about a pretzel shaped like Mickey Mouse that fills my heart with glee. I love soft pretzels. That’s a big guilty pleasure of mine, it’s shaped like Mickey’s face and it makes me feel like I’m five years old again.

Moderator   What is your favorite Disney character?

Vanessa   My favorite Disney character of all time, that’s hard. I think it changes; my favorite princess growing up was Belle. I watched Pinocchio over and over again as a child because my dad’s from Italy and that was the movie that he was like, “Look, it looks like where I used to live!” Also, Peter Pan, I watched over and over again. I love Alice in Wonderland and then Lion King. It’s really hard to choose; there’s so many that I enjoy!
Moderator   What’s one piece of advice you would personally give to Bay?

Vanessa   Think things through! Girlfriend doesn’t think anything through [laughs], she says the first thing that comes to her head. She does not ever think of the negative repercussions of anything. It’s funny because I think that’s directly related to her two mothers. Regina is very independent and very much does what she wants no matter what anybody says. And Kathryn always looks on the positive side of things, always, everything’s going to turn out okay. Those two combinations create Bay, someone who does what she wants and never thinks anything negative is going to happen.

Moderator   What’s going to happen on the upcoming season with Bay and her art?

Vanessa   This is their last year of high school for the Switched at Birth gang, so I’m sure as all the teenagers who watch the show know that’s a very stressful time when you’re applying to colleges and your future is right there in front of you. Bay has always known what she wanted to do with her life, so she’s applying to art colleges and that’s where she’s at right now. It’s a very scary process because you just don’t know what’s going to end up happening.

Moderator   What’s going to happen with the families this season?

Vanessa   As always, they’re together and have each other’s back. That’s not without their conflicts because the Vasquez/Sorrento clan is very different than the Kennish clan. We’re reeling from Toby’s divorce, so everyone’s trying to get him back up on his feet; as well as Bay feeling whether or not it’s the right time to tell everyone that her and Emmett have rekindled an old flame. As always, there’s Regina’s safety at this point in time just because the project that she’s working on in East Riverside with her boss, Wes, is such a dangerous idea to the point where a brick gets thrown through your window. It’s a matter of taking care of her as well. No matter what’s going on in their lives, they always have each other’s back.

Moderator   What has been the most challenging storyline you’ve had to play as Bay?

Vanessa   Bay and Emmett have so many different aspects of their relationship that are so difficult. For the first portion of their time together, it was me having to learn sign language, which was very hard. For the second portion of their time together, it was him cheating on her and still playing that you’re in love with someone who’s cheated on you — because I have my own opinion about cheating, which is that you don’t go back to the person — but Bay obviously went back to him. So that’s a very challenging thing for me to portray. You throw in trying to sign all of that when you’re angry, when you’re sad, when you’re happy, and all the rants that she could be going on because she’s at so many different emotional levels of the whole thing, it gets very challenging. But at the same time, that’s some of my favorite stuff to do because I like being challenged when I’m performing.

Moderator    Could you talk about your work with Cruelty Free International?

Vanessa   I’m not a vegetarian or anything like that, but I can’t stand the idea of animals not being treated properly. There’s something so terrible about the fact that we take advantage of creatures who can’t speak for themselves, and they do so much for us from a place of happiness, from so many other aspects in this world, that I feel like it’s our human duty to make sure we treat them with care. Cruelty Free International really wants to promote that there are so many other ways to test cosmetics. For something as narcissistic as putting makeup on your face, you really should be going to the other options that don’t involve hurting an animal.

Moderator   What are some of your hobbies/talents outside of acting?

Vanessa   I’ve been asking for a very long time, so I’ve devoted a lot of time to that. I also draw a little bit. I’m not as talented as Bay whatsoever. Other than that, really if I have a massive amount of time off when I’m not working, I try to go to school. That’s the extent of the Vanessa Marano talent book — her ability to sit and take notes in a class and doodle on those notes [laughs].

Moderator    Who would you personally choose, Tank or Emmett?

Vanessa   I don’t like cheating, but Bay cheated on Tank, so there you go. It’s a really interesting situation that she’s in because I think she was with Tank because she felt so safe with him, and she hasn’t felt safe with Emmett for so long, so she wasn’t really with Tank for the right reasons. She wants to be with Emmett, but there’s a lack of trust there that’s going to be a hard relationship to be in as well.

Moderator   How do you get into character?

Vanessa   I don’t [laughs]. I’ve been acting for a very long time and I started in children’s theater and really you don’t have the time in theater to really get into character. It’s so quick. The philosophy that theater has is that you really get yourself into the headspace. You just kind of turn it on and off. For me, that’s how I do it just because I wouldn’t be able to be staying in the headspace of the character for so long. It wouldn’t feel real to me because I know in my gut that I am not that character. While imagining and performing it, and being able to slip in and out of it feels real to me because I know it’s not me and I’m creating something. I feel like it’s similar to creating a painting or creating words on a page. That’s the same thing that acting is to me.

Moderator   Do you have any fun summer plans during your next filming break?

Vanessa    Not at the moment, there’s a possibility that I might go to New York a little bit to visit family, but other than that, nothing planned out right now. It’s very hard to plan your life as an actor because you never know when you’re going to be working. I think that actually goes for anybody who’s in the entertainment industry because you never know when you’re going to be working!

 

For more information on “Switched at Birth”, please visit the official website here.

Media Q&A with Cassie Scerbo of ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy” (2014) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Cassandra (Cassie) Scerbo is a familiar face for ABC Family.

Her breakthrough role was in the TV series “Make It or Break It” as gymnast Lauren Tanner and appeared in movies such as “Teen Sporit”, “A Holiday Heist” and most recently in the cult film “Sharknado”.

Currently Cassie Scerbo is the voice of Heidi Weinerman in “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” and will now appear in the ABC Family comedy series “Baby Daddy”.

“Baby Daddy” stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Ben, a man who’s ex-girlfriend left a baby girl on his door step. Now Ben, the surprised and inexperienced new father, must raise the baby with the help of his mother Bonnie (as portrayed by Melissa Peterman), his brother Danny (as portrayed by Derek Theler), his best friend Tucker (as portrayed by Tahj Mowry) and his close female friend Riley (as portrayed by Chelsea Kane), who happens to have a secret crush on him.

Cassie Scerbo will play the role of Heather, a young woman who will cause trouble for Riley.

In promotion for her appearance on “Babby Daddy”, Cassie recently took part in a media Q&A.  Here is a transcript from the Q&A with Cassie Scerbo:

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Moderator    What attracted you to the role of the frenemy character you will be playing on Baby Daddy?

Cassie    I knew Chelsea before I even read the part of the show! I just love her, I think she’s great. I was really excited to work with her. My character basically comes in and stirs up a bunch of trouble for Chelsea’s character [Riley]. I tend to have a lot of fun with these characters and happen to be cast as this type of girl very often so it’s very fun for me — I guess I play it quite well! It was just fun to hop back on board and play another fun, catty character and stir up some trouble.

Moderator    Were you a fan of Baby Daddy before you got the role?

Cassie    Yes!  I was actually just laughing about this with somebody.  I was on ABC Family for a couple years on “Make It or Break It”, and I’m that person that is such a fan of their own network.  When I was on the show, I would watch so many shows on the network, Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars.  Now, I’m very into Twisted.  So, I was very aware of Baby Daddy and I was a fan.  I’m a fan of all the shows.  I think they’re great!

Moderator    How does your character on Baby Daddy compare to your character on Make It or Break It?

Cassie    We all know that my character on Make It or Break It [Lauren Tanner] was pretty snarky and catty.  She was kind of the “B-word” of the show [laughs].  Make It or Break It was a drama and Lauren Tanner had a lot of layers.  She had a very vulnerable side, and I think as the show progressed, people were able to understand why she was so promiscuous and always causing trouble. There were a lot of things in her life that had caused her to be that way.

With my character on Baby Daddy [Heather], it’s a comedy.  She just comes in right off the bat super snarky.  It’s just one of those girls you’re like “Ugh, I can’t stand you!” [laughs].

Heather is just better than Riley in everything by a little bit and it’s really funny.  There are just so many funny things that happen throughout the two episodes, but I would say they’re both very catty; yet, the difference is that on Make It or Break It, I was playing a much younger character.  In this show, I’m playing a young attorney, and it is a little bit of an age difference and whatnot. It’s a comedy opposed to a drama, but it’s just another one of those fun catty characters that you just can’t help but to hate.

Moderator    How was it working with the Baby Daddy cast?  

Cassie    I honestly had the best time!  They are such a down-to-earth cast.  They’re so much fun.  I still keep in touch with all of them, I think they’re amazing.  They’re like one big family.  Definitely one of the most amazing casts I’ve ever worked with by far.

Moderator    How did your guest appearance on Baby Daddy get started?  

Cassie    I actually had gone out for a bunch of auditions that week and they had all went really well, and I’d been waiting. I was waiting around like every actor does to hear feedback and to figure out if I booked one of these jobs. Then the phone rang and I was like “Oh, so which one was it, which one that I auditioned for” and they’re like “No, we actually have a different offer on the table,” and I think the fact that I’ve been a part of ABC Family for a couple years now, they just felt that I would fit this character really well and they had offered me the role. I didn’t actually audition for the role of Heather, but I was so excited when I got that phone call.  I was like “Look at that, I’m sitting here around my phone wondering what on earth it’s going to be and it’s the one I didn’t audition for,” but I was so excited and it was such a surprise. I said yes right away because I already knew Chelsea and I love her.  I think she’s an amazing girl.  I was so excited to work with her and I was happy to be back on ABC Family.

Moderator    Do you prefer working on TV or films, since you’re really well rounded in both areas?

Cassie    It honestly just depends on the script.  People sometimes ask would you rather pursue film in the future, is it going to be TV, and it’s honestly just whatever script comes along that intrigues me that I get to try something new and pursue a different character.

Moderator    How did the cast welcome you to the show?

Cassie    The first day on comedy you start off doing your table readout on Monday, and I had to come in so sick.  I had food poisoning the night before, of course [laughs].  I walked in and thought “Oh my God, this is so embarrassing! It’s my first day here, I’m clearly ill & pale just trying to battle this terrible sickness [laughs],” and everybody was so welcoming. They were all asking if I needed anything to help me out. It was so good to see Chelsea.  It was so fitting!

Because it’s ABC Family, there were a lot of the same people in the room.  I know some of the executive producers very well, and our dialogue coach, Eva Charney was there. Also, the costume designer is the same costume designer for Make It or Break It. It felt so familiar to me because I had known a lot of the faces in the room, and then on top of it, everyone was just so welcoming. Everybody was so kind, and they’re just so fun.  They’re just such a fun cast.

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Moderator    Who was the biggest jokester on set?

Cassie    I think everybody is so funny on that set!  Melissa Peterman, she’s so great with improv and she’s always throwing the most hilarious lines out there — especially during the live tapings.  It’s such a different adrenaline rush, so some of these fun & different things come out. It’s really exciting and it’s obviously different from Make It or Break It, which is a drama.  They’re both great, but it was just cool to try something different and to have this live audience. So many things are just so exciting, you have this adrenaline running.

I can’t think of specific moments, but we all had a great time.  We would laugh constantly and try different things while shooting. There’s this one scene in my second episode, “The Bet”, where Ben is in a hospital bed and there’s one line he says that I lost it every single time [laughs]. It was even on the gag reel at the wrap party a couple weeks back.  I could not keep it together.  It’s just the little things with comedy and with live audiences that give you this rush.

Moderator    Are there any other acting genres you are hoping to get into?

Cassie    Yes, every genre if I can!  I think that’s the best part about being an actor is that you get to step out of the box and try out all these different characters. You also learn so much about an array of people playing these different characters and researching how they would act in certain situations. I think that’s the beauty of acting.  I would love to take on many different types of characters and roles.

I want to play the furthest thing from who I am, that’s always the most fun. That’s why I took those science fiction roles because they were just so fun and they were just so different. I finally get to play a tomboy – and mess with guns and sharks and random sea vampires, and I mean that’s what I think it’s all about.  It’s just having fun, trying out different things.  I would like to dabble in many different genres.

Moderator    Who has influenced you the most in acting?

Cassie    There’s so many! First of all, I don’t know any young actress who wouldn’t say Meryl Streep.  She’s incredible.  I would do anything to work with her, just to be on set and learn from her.  I’m a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio from his roles in Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, Gilbert Grape, so definitely big fan of him.  I love Ashley Judd.

I love some of these younger actresses out there that are so incredible. Blake Lively, she has had a great career path.  I think it’s so cool the different things she’s done, going from Gossip Girl, which is a fun & younger audience with all of the clothes and teen drama — to Savages and The Town with the really gritty roles.  There are so many.

Moderator    What was it like filming in front of a live studio audience?

Cassie    It’s so fun!  My parents actually were in town visiting that weekend and they got to be there and watch right front and center.  Your nerves are in knots, but it’s so exciting.  It’s so different because you have a couple of takes, but just the fact that there are people watching you.  It’s just really exciting.

You have the director, the producer, everyone behind the scenes and they’ll give you different notes here and there and you try different things out and it’s really exciting to do that in front of an audience. It makes it so much more fun to act just knowing that you’re entertaining people. It raises the bar a little bit and makes you a bit nervous but excited.

Moderator    What are some of your talents outside of acting?

Cassie    Sometimes it surprises people because I come off as this blonde, bubbly girly-girl, but I’m actually really into boxing.  I’ve been boxing for seven years. That’s one of my favorite things to do, one of my favorite sports. Ever since I skydived two years ago for charity, I’ve been really into that.  I love skydiving now.  My mom hates the fact that I love it [laughs]. Oddly enough, my roommate is a professional skydiver, so I’m dabbling in that.  It’s crazy but it’s so much fun.  I did karate for a very long time.  I was a high Brown Belt in Taekwondo.

That sometimes surprises people, and another thing is I also played soccer for nine years.  So, I’m actually kind of a tomboy underneath the girly appearance and the high heels.

Moderator    Do you have any other upcoming projects?

Cassie    As of now, it’s just pilot season. I’m just auditioning.  There are a couple of great projects I’m crossing my fingers on that I’m really excited about. I’m on a cartoon on Disney Channel.  It’s a new cartoon.  It’s called Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja and it’s just so fun.  It’s just a different thing, and you can go in your pajamas and just have some of the different voices.  I play Heidi Weinerman.

I’m getting back into my music.  I finally released a very simple fun cover video because I told my fans when I reached 100,000 followers on Twitter that I would.  So, I released my first one and I look forward to continuously releasing some others.

Moderator    What are some of the hardest thing about adjusting from the east to west coasts?

Cassie    For me, it’s being away from my family.  I have a very big Italian family. It’s like the Scerbos’ Sunday dinners.  Every time my parents are in town, they cook a huge pot of sauce and a ton of meatballs and pasta and everyone’s like “Oh, can I come this Sunday, can I come!?”  So, it’s just being away from my family and we have a lot of traditions and we’re a very close family.  So, that’s hard for me.

It’s just a different pace too.  California is a lot more laid back whereas—even though it’s the entertainment industry and all, but the vibe is way more laid back. On the East Coast, especially in New York, which is where I was born and I grew up part of my life before we moved to Florida, like every other New Yorker, New York is so fast paced.  It’s just very different.  So, I would say that would be the main difference really.

Moderator    Do you ever get the chance to visit the Disney parks in Florida?

Cassie    Yes!  That was my favorite thing in the world was to go to Orlando and go to all the different parks and water parks.  ABC Family had hooked it up and I spent my 22nd birthday there!  I have loved Disney my whole life. So, I got my family and a couple friends out, and I just went there almost two years ago now for my 22nd birthday and had the best time. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been enjoying the parks.

Moderator    What’s your favorite Disney Park?

Cassie    I would say Magic Kingdom.

Moderator    What is your favorite Disney attraction or ride?

Cassie    I really love Space Mountain.  It’s just so cool.  It’s super dark with all the stars and I’m just really into all that.

Moderator    What is your favorite Disney character?

Cassie    If we’re going to do princesses, I’d have to say Belle.  When you’re a little girl, you want to look like the princess that looks like you and I was always like the blonde little girl that just wanted to be Belle.  I just wanted to be Belle.  So, she’s always been my favorite.
Baby Daddy is seen on Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC Family

Media Q&A with Nicole Gale Anderson of ABC Family’s “Ravenswood” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

February 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

NICOLE GALE ANDERSON

Actress Nicole Gale Anderson may be known for her supporting role on the Jonas Brothers series “Jonas” and others may be familiar with her from the series “Beauty and the Beast”, but now Nicole stars in the hit ABC family show “Ravenswood”.

A series that takes place in the fictional town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania, the series revolves around five strangers whose lives become intertwined by a deadly curse that has plagued Ravenswood for generations. And now all five work together to solve the mysterious curse.

Nicole Gale Anderson plays the role of Miranda Collins, a teenager who has lived as a foster child and takes off to Ravenswood to find her uncle, the person who raised her but put her in a foster home as a child.

Having died in the series and now as an immortal ghost, Miranda assists others to find out more about the mysteries in Ravenswood, Miranda uses her power to find victims of the curse that has affected people of Ravenswood.

To help promote ABC Family’s “Ravenswood”, Nicole Gale Anderson recently took part in a media Q&A.  Here is a transcript from the Q&A:

NICOLE GALE ANDERSON, ASHLEY BENSON, TYLER BLACKBURN

Moderator    How does Miranda handle Hanna showing up in Ravenswood?

Nicole    Well, see Hanna shows up by surprising everyone, so it definitely takes Caleb and Miranda off guard for sure.  But she’s very respectful of what they’ve shared together, and she really likes Hanna.  I mean Hanna was so helpful and supportive of her journey to Ravenswood and having Caleb stay out there with her. So she definitely allows for them to talk things through, but she’s definitely heartbroken for sure.

Moderator    What are your hopes for Miranda in the second season?

Nicole    I would like to see maybe more of her connecting with her uncle again, maybe he’ll be able to start seeing her.  And then maybe something like, I don’t know, a ghost companion.

Moderator    Did you know before you got the role of Miranda that you’d be playing a ghost character?

Nicole    I did.  Yes, I found out during the testing process.  So during the original audition I had no idea, during the callback I had no idea, and then when it came time for me to go to studio network and have my chemistry reads with Tyler. The new scene that they added to the audition process was the scene where Caleb sees Miranda for the first time as a ghost.  So I was going through it, preparing for the test, and I was just like, “Whoa, wait.  What?  She’s a ghost?”  And then my next thought was, “Oh, wait, so if I get this and then I die I have to make sure that I die in a really comfortable outfit.”

Moderator    Did you have to do any research about ghosts or the paranormal for your portrayal of Miranda?

Nicole    I did a little bit just for fun.  I watched a couple of movies, like Ghost with Patrick Swayze.  Yes.  But it’s an ABC Family ghost, and I think at the end of the day Miranda, even though she is a ghost, she still is Miranda and she still was the girl that she was before all of this.  She just has a lot of other problems in her life now.  But, yes, I have fun with it.

Moderator    Were you excited to learn that your character was killed in the first show, since it’s something you’ve never really done before?

Nicole    Yes, I think that with the ghost component of Miranda aside, Miranda as a character in itself is just different than anything I’ve played before.  I’ve played the hyperactive, bubbly Macy and I’ve played a lot of mean girls before, but never really played a bad ass, if you will.  And even though Miranda has a sweet side, she definitely is, I think, stronger and more outspoken than a lot of the other characters I’ve played.  So, yes, I think I’ve really just been enjoying playing that kind of role.

Moderator    How do you interact with other actors who aren’t able to see Miranda’s ghost?

Nicole    I think my biggest challenge playing a ghost has just been not being able to touch anything.  As an actor you want to fill the scene with movement — like if you’re walking through a kitchen you go into the cupboard and get a glass of water and you fill it up, and it keeps a realness to the scene and a realness to your character.  But as a ghost I can’t touch anything, I can’t play with anything, and if I sit down on a couch it can’t sink underneath me because ghosts can’t transfer energy in that way.  So I think that for me is it’s been a challenge for me being able to feel comfortable within a scene.

Then as far as all of the sneaking up on people, especially with Steven, who plays Uncle Collins, we’ve just had fun with it.  I’m just always like, “I’m just always snooping on you.”  So, yes, that part of it I think is fun.

I get to watch really cool scenes! There was one between Uncle Collins and Mrs. Matheson in the police station, I think it was in the last episode, and it was just a beautiful, well-played scene.  Being able to watch them as two actors connecting that way — I just had to stand there and watch them do their thing. So, yes, it’s fun!

Moderator    How did you handle of the spiders being on set for the most recent episode?

Nicole    It was really creepy!  I hate spiders, and I thought they were just going to tease you.  I went in and I had no idea that they were planning on having a huge tarantula on set.  But the wrangler was so awesome, and he was just taking them out and playing with them and scratching their heads. So that made me feel a lot better, and luckily I didn’t have to have it on me; it was all on Tyler.  So, yes, I think being able to have that on set made it easier for me to naturally react to it, because I hate spiders.  So reacting in that scene was just easier.

Moderator    What is it like working with Meg Foster?

Nicole    She’s brilliant, I love her! One of my favorite moments with her is when Miranda decides to haunt Mrs. Grunwald, and she gets up right by her ear and says, “I’m getting better at this,” and that whole moment playing that out with her.  She was just giving me tips on acting along the way and telling me certain things about inflections in your voice and little nuances that you could add in to just make it fuller.  Every time I work with her I learn something new.  She’s amazing.

Moderator        What do you find most rewarding about playing Miranda?

Nicole    Being able to go in and do what I love to do every day has been really awesome, and to be a part of this really successful team has been really exciting.

But my favorite part about playing Miranda specifically has just been the transition that’s she gone through, being so confident and just really tough and sure of herself to then lose everything, including her life, and then starting from square one.  She became vulnerable and scared and timid, and she really lost herself in the way.  So I think being able to progress throughout the season and help her get her fight and spunk back. Especially in episode 108 where she enters Remy’s dream and takes on Abaddon I think that was a really pivotal point for her in terms of becoming more of her own person again.

Moderator    What is it like working with Tyler Blackburn?

Nicole    Oh, it’s the best!  I honestly couldn’t ask for a better partner in all of this.  Ever since the Pretty Little Liars episode he’s been amazing.  He’s been a big support throughout this whole thing.  Any time we have questions or concerns or anything, we can call each other up and vent it out and just be there for each other throughout the whole process.  So, yes, he’s really collaborative and a huge professional and a really easy person to get along with.  I could just go on; he’s great.

Moderator    What is your favorite part about filming Ravenswood?

Nicole    Probably just working with the cast!  We have so much fun.  Brett is hilarious; anything that he just says, anything that comes out of his mouth I’m immediately laughing.  I had a lot of fun getting to know Merritt, and we hung out a lot off set and it was really nice to have a gal pal in New Orleans.  So, yes, I think getting to know the cast this first season has been a lot of fun.

Moderator    Do you ever get scared or experience anything supernatural like your characters?

Nicole    I don’t think anybody ever sees anything supernatural.  I think that the show has definitely made us paranoid, like if anything slightly odd happens we’re just immediately like, “Oh, my gosh, where’s the ghost?  What is happening?”  But nothing actually supernatural has happened, I don’t think, but it’s made for a lot of good on set pranks.  Steven totally got Tyler just by pranking him when we shooting in a haunted abandoned children’s hospital.  It’s made for good pranks, but I don’t think anything has really happened.

NICOLE GALE ANDERSON

 

Moderator    How does the costume designer approach the changing wardrobe of Miranda since she is a ghost?

Nicole    The opportunity that Miranda has to change from the green jacket to the purple sweater was in her dream state, where she was at her parents’ house and she had that closet and she was changing in and out of her pajamas and everything just felt real to her.  So she was able to change in that world. I was like, “Gosh when she was in Remy’s closet in her dream in episode 108 she should have stole a bunch of clothes, have like five different wardrobe changes.”  But she didn’t; they were too busy running away from Abaddon, so totally understandable.

As far as collaborating with the costume designer, there are a good three or four different versions of those outfits so I don’t have to keep wearing the same one over and over and over again.  I think when we chose the purple sweater, even though Miranda was more punk when we met her in the Pretty Little Liars episode; she had the garter belt with the big jacket, the big jean jacket and she just looked a bit more punk.  We figured with her being at her parents’ house and her being happier we wanted something softer, and then it just ended up playing for the rest of the season.

Moderator    Is there any hope for your ghost character to ever have a physical connection?

Nicole    I think that the huge cliffhanger at the season finale will definitely leave that window of opportunity open for Miranda. There’s definitely a huge cliffhanger at the end of the season; it’s literally the last scene of the episode where Miranda could have a ghost companion.  So you will see!

Moderator    What’s your most and least favorite thing about your character, Miranda?

Nicole    My favorite thing about her is that she’s so loyal.  She will bend over backwards for anyone that she cares about, and I think that’s a really nice quality to play in a character. The fact that I can really like Miranda and enjoy playing her in that sense has been a lot of fun.  My least favorite part about playing Miranda is not being able to change clothes!

Moderator    What’s your favorite episode that’s aired so far?

Nicole    My favorite episode was the winter return episode, it was episode 106 with all of the flashbacks.  I had so much fun being able to change in general, but also being able to dress up in all of the old Edwardian clothing.  It was a lot of fun for me!  I love historical fiction and Keira Knightley movies, so I was eating it up.

Moderator    Has anyone ever considered what could happen to Miranda if they do break the curse?

Nicole    Yes, definitely.  It’s all discussed during this huge showdown between the kids of the pack and Abaddon in the season finale.  There’s this huge battle between them, and there are a lot of questions that are answered as far as Miranda being able to come back to life or staying dead.  It’s all brought to the surface during this whole battle.

Moderator    Do you think the gang should be thinking about ways to bring Miranda back before they do anything drastic?

Nicole    I don’t think they’ve really thought of it as a possibility up until the showdown.  I think Miranda’s finally coming to terms with being a ghost and being content.  Well, not content, but just more accepting of her situation.  I don’t think they’ve really thought whether or not to be able to bring her back.

Moderator    Have you had a chance to go out and experience the haunted city of New Orleans?

Nicole    I visited New Orleans two times prior to shooting Ravenswood, so I had already gone on the haunted history tours and all of that stuff, because I love all of that!

I think while I was down there I was pretty busy shooting the show.  But I know that Brett had a lot of weird things happen to him in his apartment; he said that he felt a ghost in his bathroom.  So after that I was like, “Well I’m never hanging out in your apartment again.  I guess hangouts are now in my place. [laughs]” I think the city’s really, really cool in that way. You feel it in the energy and in the people.

Moderator    What do you think is going to happen with Mr. Collins’?

Nicole    I think Steven does such a great job at confusing people!  His true colors finally show in this upcoming episode and during the season finale, which I think will be very exciting for fans to see.

Moderator    If you could play any other character on Ravenswood, who would it be?

Nicole    I would probably want to be Remy.  I think she’s a really smart and quirky character. Her sleeping nightmares have been a really cool aspect to her storyline as well.

Moderator    How did you get your start in acting?

Nicole    I started acting when I was 13. It all began with this random pageant that I decided to sign up for, and one thing led to another and I finally come out to LA for one pilot season, and it ended up going well.  Ever since then I’ve been taking commercial gigs and print modeling. Then it led to a couple of pilots, and after that I booked JONAS when I was 18; that kind of started everything.

Moderator    Do you ever hang out with the Jonas brothers since the filming of Jonas?

Nicole    We hung out a couple of times since we’ve wrapped; it’s an annual reunion for the cast.  We’re all busy; Kevin’s all the way on the East Coast getting ready to be a dad!  But we definitely try to all get together when we can.

Moderator    What are your thoughts about Kevin and Danielle expecting their baby?

Nicole    I think it’s all so exciting!  When we were shooting JONAS they were still this long-distance couple, not even engaged or married yet. So to see them married and moving back to Jersey and having a kid is all really, really exciting.  I think Danielle is so sweet.  She’s going to be the best mom ever; she’s just so soft-spoken and nurturing.  I’m very excited for them!

Images are courtesy of © 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Media Q&A with Cierra Ramirez (2014) (of ABC Family’s “The Fosters”) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

January 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Cierra Ramirez has come a long way as an actress. From earlier roles on “CSI: Miami”, “Desperate Housewives”, Cierra would eventually appear in multiple episodes of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and on the final season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and her first feature film with Ava Mendes in the 2012 film “Girl in Progress”.

Cierra Ramirez is one of the stars of the ABC drama “The Fosters”, playing the character Mariana Foster.

The series revolves around a bi-racial lesbian couple Lena (portrayed by Sherri Saum) and Stef (portrayed by Teri Polo) who raise a biological son and several adoptive children. Lena, an altruistic school principal wants to save children and tries to introduce new children into the family, while Stef is a police officer who is not always aware that Lena has brought new additions to their growing family. Especially with the addition of Callie (portrayed by Maia Mitchell), a troubled teenager who is known to turn family’s lives upside down.

Previously in the series, the character of Mariana Foster is one of the adopted daughters who is the fraternal twin sister of Jesus. She is popular, smart and cares for her appearances a lot. But she has recently connected with her real mother who needs money and so Mariana resorts to drug trafficking. But when she gets in trouble, she puts the blame on the new adopted and troubled girl of the family, Callie.

With the second half of the season for  “The Fosters” airing on ABC Family, a media Q&A was recently held with Cierra Ramirez to promote the second half of the season.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A:

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Moderator    What do you think has made The Fosters such a quick fan favorite series?
        
Cierra    The fact that it deals with topics and issues that are so real and relevant right now in the world — but they aren’t often on television for the viewers to see.  I think it has done really well, being able to connect to the audiences. That’s the best part about the series — having people approach you saying that they really relate to a certain character or storyline.  That’s what the whole idea of the show is, it’s so universal.  I think that’s really awesome to see.

Moderator    Who are some of the great guest stars we’ll be seeing this season?

Cierra    Well, you did see Rosie O’Donnell, that’s going to be really awesome.  I’m really
excited for that.  I wasn’t really a part of that whole filming process, so I’m    excited for that as well.  Garrett Clayton will be guest starring as one of Mariana’s possible love interests, so that’s going to be interesting as well.

Moderator    Will this half of the season finally give Mariana the chance to be happy with her new possibly love interest?

Cierra    Well, you did see Mariana deal with some very dark issues on the first half of the season, so it has definitely lightened up.  But I wouldn’t say that it’s all just gone.  A lot of her stuff will come back to haunt her, so you can definitely look forward to some dark stuff coming up.

Moderator    Would you say Mariana is struggling without Lexi around?  

Cierra    It is a story that will continue, and you’ve kind of seen how the relationship and dynamic has changed with Lexi now dating her brother. You’re going to see how that kind of comes into play.  And with her leaving, yes, I definitely think that she will miss Lexi in her life.

Moderator    What has been Mariana’s most important & pivotal moment?

Cierra    I think it would have to be episode 9, where Stef is in the hospital. You see all of the issues that she’s dealt with bottle up and come out.  The reason her mother is in the hospital is because of her, so she’s left with this guilt.  She got shot because she was in contact with the biological mom and with that she wonders if Lena and Stef want to keep her or if they still love her.  I think that she really needed to hear from Lena and Stef that she really is part of this family. It was just something she dealt with, growing up and being curious it did get her into some trouble, and I think that at the end of the day she really needed to know that she was loved.  I think that’s one of my favorite moments.

That was my most favorite.  It was the toughest.  I’m a sucker for anything, you know, I’m very dramatic. I love crying, and I just think that episode was just so beautiful.

Moderator    Is there anything that you would like to have changed about the character in the past?

Cierra    Up until now, she’s no longer keeping in contact with her mother.  I think that was one thing I was a little iffy about, was how close she was getting with her mom, and you see the results of that.

Moderator    Is there anything special you’ve had to do in order to prepare yourself for the role of Mariana?

Cierra    I didn’t really know much about foster care, so my learning process was gradual with the pilot. The cast and crew also helped out. Luckily we’ve been able to meet with foster care companies, and we were able to meet a lot of kids who come from the foster care system. They’ve been able to give feedback, tell us how they relate to something, or if they don’t relate to something.  It’s been really great to see how they relate to The Fosters, and I think that has really helped me shape my character as well.

Moderator    How much of Cierra are you allowed to bring to Mariana?

Cierra    One thing I’m really big about is that I love nail polish!  I just love getting my nails done and I’m really into really funky colors and patterns. They’ve really helped me bring that into Mariana.  I think that’s helped shape her style – she’s very daring and colorful. I love being able to bring the Cierra nails into Mariana.

Moderator    How does Mariana feel about the near loss of a potential sister after Callie ran away?

Cierra    I think that’s really hard, especially coming from a fostering background.  Up until the Foster’s Mariana hasn’t really known a family, and up until Callie she was the only girl sibling in the household. At first she was a little territorial and she didn’t really take a liking to Callie.  But you’ve seen their relationship bond. They’ve gotten so close, and for her to leave like that was hard on the whole family, especially Brandon. I think it is really hard.  She’s never had a sisterly figure in her life, and for Callie to disappear like that was very hard.

Moderator    What do you think Mariana would be like as a girlfriend?

Cierra    She’s never had a boyfriend, so she’s going to have a little hit-or-miss. She’s not going to really know how to be a girlfriend, but I think at the end of the day she will be very romantic and thoughtful.  She’s very creative, so I think she would be very romantic.

Moderator    What is it like working with Garrett Clayton?

Cierra    It’s awesome!  Our friendship actually started from our mutual obsession with Kristen Wiig. We’re just constantly doing some of her impersonations and impressions. I love working with him.  He’s such a great actor and he brings so much to his character Chase. I’m really excited to see how it all turns out and have a blast with him on set.

Moderator    Can you give away any hints behind Mariana’s deep and dark secrets?

Cierra    She doesn’t really have as many this half of the season, but like I said, her mistakes will definitely come back to haunt her.

Moderator    Do you see Mariana as the nice girl she is portrayed to be, or something more?

Cierra    I see Mariana as a 15-year-old girl who is growing and with that she’s going to make a few mistakes here and there.  At the end of the day she loves her family and it means the world to her.  But she is growing and she comes from a different background. She’s very curious, but she’s sassy, she’s witty, she’s loving and caring at the same time. I love her.  I think she’s a great character and I love being able to portray her.

Moderator    How are these perceived expectations of teen normalcy (having a boyfriend) going to affect her actions this half of the season?

Cierra    It actually unravels in one of the upcoming episodes. There is a lot of pressure, and especially if there’s competition. I don’t want to say too much but there might be a little competition in the running towards a love interest.  But, yes, there will be pressure, and you’ll see that all unravel.

Moderator    What other actresses do you look up to?

Cierra    Angelina Jolie!  She is fabulous, on and off screen. I just think she’s an awesome person.  I love Kate del Castillo, I’ve got to represent for my Latinas.  Rachel McAdams is such a beautiful person.  They are all some of my biggest inspirations.

Moderator    What is it like working on The Foster’s set?

Cierra    Oh, it is amazing!  It’s constant laughter.  They really are a great reason to wake up early in the morning.  Whenever I’m rolling out of bed and my bed is just so comfy, I just look forward to seeing them.  They make the day go by so much faster.  It’s honestly not work.  It’s so much fun.  The relationships on and off screen are just so light, it’s just so full of love.  I love it.  It’s a dream.

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Moderator    What issues in the upcoming episodes would you like to see Mariana take on?  

Cierra    If I had to go back to the idea of pressures, pressuring in the teen dating life, I think maybe dealing with the idea of sex or virginity. They have touched it briefly on the show. But I think it’s different with a girl. I think Mariana would be interesting in that scenario. You might be able to see something like that on this upcoming season.  It will be interesting.

Moderator    Is there any type of social issue or a problem that you would not like to see Mariana take on?

Cierra    No, actually.  The one thing I really admire about the writers is that they can really touch base with a lot of different topics really fast, but it all blends so well and all of the storylines just match.  I love the idea of touching so many different universal topics that people can relate to.  I think that’s really awesome.  I don’t think I would be against anything.

Moderator    How is working on The Fosters similar or different than working on The Secret Life of the American Teenager?

Cierra    When I was on The Secret Life of the American Teenager I had signed on the last season of a total of five, so Iwas the new kid on the block.  That was different because on The Fosters we started as strangers on this pilot and took it on from there. It was kind of a whole different ballgame with The Secret Life, coming in as the new student.  Everyone on The Secret Life was so welcoming and so warm, it was a family already. It was so much fun acting on The Secret Life — the drama, I couldn’t get over it, it was awesome.  It was the same in the sense that on both sets the cast and crew were just such family, so that was really fun. It was such a huge blessing to hop on one awesome project to another. It’s been a great ride!

Moderator    Did you already know that you had this role before The Secret Life ended?

Cierra    No, actually.  My auditioning process was very different.  The creator of The Secret Life had called to tell me that The Secret Life was no longer being picked up for another season, so I got on the phone with my agent and I told him, “I’m out here.  I really want to get a new project,” and he told me about The Fosters, but they were already testing for the role of Mariana.  As a spur of the moment I wanted to put myself on tape. The day after we sent it in, I found out that I had booked the role, so it was a really different process. It was a huge blessing.  It was really unexpected.

Moderator    Is there a possibility of something happening between Mariana, Zac and Chase?

Cierra    Oh, I don’t want to give too much away, but maybe you’re on to something! You know she’s never had a boyfriend, so a lot of that topic will surface and there could possibly be a love triangle.

Moderator    What do you think about Jesus finding a new love outside of Lexi?

Cierra    I don’t think that Mariana’s going to be okay with that.  The idea of him dating Lexi — it took so long for her to be okay with. Now that she’s fine with it and she’s away, I don’t know how that’s all going to pan out for Jesus.

Moderator    What does Mariana feel about Brandon and Callie’s relationship?

Cierra    Her relationship with Callie has grown and progressed so much over the first half of the season into this sisterly relationship. She’s known Brandon for so much of her life, that’s her brother, and for them to be dating, I don’t think she approves.  Cierra is definitely Team Brallie, but Mariana’s definitely not.  I’ve got to say I love those moments.  Brandon’s truth comes to play — you’ll see how the whole Foster family really approves or disapproves of it.

Moderator    What is it like working with Hayden Byerly?

Cierra    Hayden is literally a 40-year-old man trapped in a 13-year-old body.  He is the most mature person, he’s probably the most mature out of everyone in the cast, I swear.  He’s so awesome, so giving, and I love being able to work with him.  I love those moments too, because I just love his character Jude. Being able to interact with him as Mariana is just so awesome.  I love it.  I think you’ll definitely see a lot more of them and their friendship in this season.

Moderator    What information or advice do you receive from your friends and family regarding the show and subject matters?

Cierra    My family is just so supportive of everything I’ve taken on, and they are the first people to tell me about the episode! They’re always watching it live and I love hearing their feedback. They love everything that The Fosters has talked about or dealt with, and the same for my friends.  It’s just been so amazing, the whole process and the whole ride of the show. It’s a huge blessing that people like it so much.  It’s really fun to hear that from my family and friends as well.

Moderator    If you could take on the role of any other character on The Fosters who would it be?

Cierra    Probably Jude, just because he has a special place in my heart – if I was a boy [laughs]! I think he has so much underneath that has come into play, and he’s such a strong character, he’s so brave. For a 13-year-old boy he’s just so brave with everything he’s had to deal with, it’s just so cool.  I definitely would want to be Jude.

Moderator    If you weren’t an actress what do you think you’d be doing?

Cierra    I would probably want to be an investigator.  It’s always just been a dream of mine.  I love mysteries and stuff like that!

Moderator    What are some of your other talents other than acting?

Cierra    I originally got into acting through singing.  I grew up in Texas, so I would do lots of local county fairs, so I grew up competing.  I did a competition here in L.A. and they had acting as another category, and since I was out here I thought I might as well just try it.  I didn’t know that I’d end up falling in love with it, I got my agent through that competition, and I’ve been with him ever since.  I love singing and I love acting!

Moderator    Have there been any noteworthy stories or great perceptions from fans that you’ve received?

Cierra    You know that’s one of the main things I love being able to experience — the fans coming up and saying that they relate to a certain subject.  I met a few lesbian couples raising families and blended families, and I’ve been able to speak with them about the show. They’re so excited about the fact that there’s something on the air that they can relate to.  I think that’s just so awesome that the show is honestly making history. It’s ground breaking and it’s real, and being able to speak with fans is just an awesome thing.

For more information on “The Fosters”, please visit the official website.

“The Fosters” airs on ABC Family on Monday nights, 9/8c

Media Q&A with Francia Raisa and Mike “The Miz” Mizanin for ABC Family’s “Christmas Bounty” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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It’s that time of the year for ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” and to kick things off is a new holiday film titled “Christmas Bounty” starring Francia Raisa (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) and WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.

“Christmas Bounty” will air on ABC Family on Nov. 26th at 7/6c.

“Christmas Bounty” is about former bounty hunter turned elementary school teacher Tory Bell (portrayed by Francia Raisa), who was ready for a new life when she left the family business behind and moved to Manhattan. But when an old enemy is released from jail and vows retribution on Tory and her loved ones, she returns to New Jersey to take care of him once and for all.

When Tory’s upper-class fiancé, James, follows her home for Christmas, she tries to keep her bounty hunting ways a secret, but the plan backfires when James unwittingly becomes involved in the Bells’ mission. Further complicating matters, Tory must work closely with her ex-boyfriend, Mike (portrayed by Mike “The Miz” Mizanin) to bring down their target and keep James out of certain danger.

But as Tory becomes further entrenched in her old life, she finds herself torn between whom she once was and her plans for the future. Will Tory choose her new life with James, or will the thrill of bounty hunting and unresolved feelings for Mike prove too powerful to ignore?

To help promote “Christmas Bounty”, Francia and “The Miz” took part in a media Q&A.  Here is a transcript from the Q&A:

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Moderator:    What was it that initially drew you to this role?

Mike “The Miz”:   With WWE it’s theater, it’s live, you’re in front of a live audience, you only get one take.  If you mess up the entire world is going to see it and are either going to boo you or cheer you at that moment.

However, acting in a movie — you don’t get that initial reaction and you don’t get that live audience feel. Doing a movie is a lot nicer on my body. I just got back from Europe for WWE — we did a European tour for 14 days of constant wrestling, so my body’s tired, my mind’s tired. When you’re shooting a movie it’s exhausting in a different way, where you’re mentally going at it and you don’t get that much sleep.  But I do enjoy movies.  I do enjoy WWE.  I enjoy them both the same.  They’re a lot different, and they’re also very similar.

I’m really excited about “Christmas Bounty” premiering on November 26, because the cast just got along so well.  It’s not every day that you get to enjoy such a close-knit cast.  Every time we were done with a shoot we would all go sit and just talk.  I think you’ll see that closeness and that bond that we all had and that love for each other in Christmas Bounty.  I think when a cast becomes close you can really see that they enjoy working with each other, and I think we all really had a pleasure working on “Christmas Bounty”.

Francia:    I agree!  Coming off of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” I am not used to doing any sort of action.  This was my first time doing action scenes on camera.  I did grow up doing martial arts.  So, I was intimated to work with Mike, because he is a wrestler and has done this for a long time. But he was really welcoming and really encouraging. In Secret Life it was very “go, go, go, go”, because TV tends to have more time. It was a lot of fun and we were able to pick it up really well.

Like Mike said, we all really enjoyed working with each other; we became a family, we definitely bonded.  We are genuine friends, so it’s definitely going to show on camera.  I’m just as excited, because we just watched the movie and you could just tell that there was so much chemistry between all of us!

It was definitely a transition, just because I hadn’t done film in a while, but I was really happy to know that this was the first project that I was going to do outside of Secret Life and TV.

Moderator:   Did either of you spend any time with bounty hunters to learn stunts for the role?

Mike “The Miz”:    I definitely watched Dog the Bounty Hunter leading up to doing this role, just checking out exactly what bounty hunters do.  So that was the extent of what we did.  The casting process was put together fairly quickly, so there wasn’t an excess of time where you could find a bounty hunter and talk to him.

Francia:    It happened so fast; I found out on a Sunday and I was a plane by Wednesday.  So my research was with the director and my cast. I did watch The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston!

Moderator:    What was your most memorable moment from filming?

Mike “The Miz”:    My most memorable moment is one having to do with Francia. I’m so glad I got to be with her in this movie because she taught me a lot on the acting realm and was a constant professional.  But there was one day where she was trying to do this savate kick for the movie.  And let me tell you something, I can’t even do a savate kick.  I’m the type of person that likes to give people a hard time, and I enjoy doing little pranks, if you will. If I see someone getting a little aroused I have to keep pushing that button. So I kept pushing it and at one point she was like, “You have to give me a moment!”

So I gave her a moment, and she did the savate kick and it was literally the most perfect kick. I think I’m going to take credit for her savate kick, because of the energy that I gave her during that moment.

Francia:    That made me so mad, haha! That was a pretty memorable moment for me.

Mike “The Miz”:    Another memorable moment for me was that I had my first on-screen kiss.

Francia:    Oh yes!  I was really excited about that!

Mike “The Miz”:    I’ve been on TV for a while and I never had a movie or TV series where I’ve had a kiss with another actress, so this was my first time.  I guess you could say I was pretty nervous about it, because I didn’t know what the rules were.  I just went for it, and I think it was Francia’s best kiss she’s ever had on screen, to be completely honest with you.  I mean I’m a really good kisser.  You can ask my fiancé!

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Moderator:    What traditions or rituals do you have for the holidays?

Francia:    I like to cook a lot, so I’m really excited to cook next week for Thanksgiving.  I’m the only one doing it, so I will be up bright and early.  Other than that, I like to sleep and watch Christmas movies. This year I will have my entire family watch “Christmas Bounty” over and over again!

Mike “The Miz”:    I don’t know how to cook.  If you asked me to cook you macaroni and cheese I could get you that, maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so you definitely don’t want me cooking.

Normally WWE has Survivor series on pay-per-view right around Thanksgiving, which is happening this Sunday. Then I fly to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, which is my hometown.  I celebrate a day that I call “Miz Fest”, which is every Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I rent a school bus and I bring about 60 of my high school friends– yes I said high school — I basically bring them all on the school bus and we just have a blast through the entire city of Cleveland.

The next day my family goes over to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving.  We eat my aunt’s dry turkey and her other food that she usually cooks.  I’ve never seen someone try so hard to cook great food and still cannot do it well.  So my Aunt Lynn isn’t the best cook, but you have to give her an A for effort.

During Christmas, I always love the Christmas movies.  I love Christmas Vacation, I love Elf, and now I’m going to be watching “Christmas Bounty”.  I’m actually having a little viewing party on Tuesday over at my friend’s house in Cleveland, and I think everyone’s going to really enjoy “Christmas Bounty”, because there’s something for everyone.  It’s not just for girls, it’s not just for guys, it’s not old people, young people, it’s everybody; there is something for everyone.  If you like comedy, if you like drama, if you like romance, if you like a little action, guess what, you’re going to get it all in “Christmas Bounty”, and it’s going to show that true holiday spirit.

Moderator:    What should fans expect while tuning in to “Christmas Bounty”?

Mike “The Miz”:    It’s one of those feel good movies!  I think everyone watches their special Christmastime movies. This is a movie that’s going to be right up there with all the other ones.  I think people are going to really watch, and when they’re done watching this movie they’re going to come away with a smile on their face, they’re going to cuddle with their loved ones a little closer.  I think it’s just one of those movies that will stand the test of time, and I think people will be shocked to see how great it truly is.

Francia:    I agree! It’s just one of those feel good movies that you enjoy watching, and you take yourself away from reality a bit and you tap into someone else’s happiness, and you’re around your loved ones and you’re cozied up in your house. It’s one of those movies that’s a perfect ending to your night.

Mike “The Miz”:   Here’s what I want everyone to do on Tuesday night.  I want you to get some popcorn, I want you to get your most comfy clothes on, I want you to snuggle with one another, and I guarantee you by the end of that movie you guys are going to look in each other’s eyes and say, “I love you.”

Moderator:    Can you give a brief synopsis of your characters and “Christmas Bounty”?

Mike “The Miz”:    “Christmas Bounty” is a movie about Tory Bell, played by the lovely, gorgeous Francia, who does an amazing job.  Tory Bell is from New Jersey, she has a New Jersey family, she’s raised there, and her family is all bounty hunters.  Francia’s character wants to get out of that life.  She moves to New York City, becomes a school teacher, is living the average, ordinary, everyday life like everybody else. She meets a new guy, who’s played by Will Greenberg.  She has this new life.

Tory has to come back to New Jersey with her bounty hunters to protect her family, and her new fiancé tags along to meet the family. The family is very eccentric; it’s very loud, it’s very New Jersey.  My character is the ex-boyfriend who is a bounty hunter with her, and we basically have to find the bad guy before he finds us.

There could be a love triangle. You’re going to have to tune in at 7:00/6:00 Central this Tuesday, November 26th to check it out.

Moderator:    What preparations did you have to take to make it work between the two of your characters?

Francia:    We met on set!  I was working as an actress on “Secret Life”.  I’ve been training my entire life for something like this.  As I mentioned earlier, I did martial arts for ten years.

I think we both just came in with an open mind.  We both just wanted to just make a great project, we both were really passionate about the script, we both loved the script, and there was no reason to not get along.  Mike’s a great guy and he has a great outlook on work, his work ethic is incredible, and he was really trying to make this character great. He was really into learning how to get in deeper with the character and not just have very surface choices.  I really wanted to make it look great when it came to fighting, so we worked together to make sure that happened.

I can see us being friends for a lifetime, but we’ve only known each other a few months! I’m really grateful that he’s in my life, even though he gives me a hard time sometimes, but he’s like a big brother to me.

Mike “The Miz”:    Aw, me too!  It was an instant connection between the entire cast; we all just clicked, and it’s not every day you get that, to be completely honest with you.  I’ve been on TV shows where people don’t like each other, but they have to work with one another.  This couldn’t be more opposite; everyone was truly likeable, everyone liked each other and wanted to be around each other. Some people would come to set during their off days just to hang out with one another because we were such a close-knit group.

To prepare for this movie I think “The Real World” got me comfortable in front of cameras, and then the WWE got me comfortable in front of a live audience and theater.  I’ve also done acting coaches, I’ve done Improv Olympics, so to prepare for this movie I got involved with my acting coach and then just listened.

Whenever I do a movie I always like to base my character off of a couple different characters. When I was in Marine 3:  Homefront I went with the Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis type of theme.  With this one, since Gil did “10 Things I Hate About You”, I watched some of his movies and his work.  Heath Ledger was in “10 Things I Hate About You” and really connected with me with this kind of character. I took that realm and brought it to “Christmas Bounty”.

Gil is a tremendous director, and did a great job with the entire cast. He made everyone look great and be at their best, and created such an ease on set that you can feel.

Francia:    I think we all had the same goal coming into this project, and I think it really shows on camera and it really created a bond between all of us.  That’s what’s important with every cast — having the same goal to get to the end result. No one was trying to be the star, no one was trying to stand out more.  We all really just wanted to work together.

Moderator:    Could you talk about where “Christmas Bounty” was filmed?

Francia:    We were on location in Vancouver at a house.  I loved it out there — We had so much fun!  We were at a mall at one point; that was fun.  We both live in LA right now, so we had to leave our home.

It was raining a lot, but the weather did not disagree with us at all times.  There was a day where we needed to shoot outside and we could not afford to have rain, and it did not start raining until we stopped shooting and we were done for the day. It’s a great city.  I loved it out there.

Mike “The Miz”:    This is a very fast paced movie and anything weather wise could have really affected the movie, but luckily we got very lucky with a lot of the locations.  Vancouver is gorgeous, it’s beautiful, it’s very green.  I like the rain, because I live in Los Angeles now, and it’s never raining.  I never get to see rain anymore.  I’m from Cleveland.  I like thunderstorms; I like a little rain in my life.  So going up to Vancouver, seeing that rain, seeing the greenery.  The people are just absolutely wonderful and so nice.

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Moderator:    Did have an action background (martial arts and WWE) help for the action sequences in “Christmas Bounty”?

Mike “The Miz”:    Along with WWE, acting in :The Marine 3:  Homefront: really got me prepared for all the action scenes for “Christmas Bounty”.  I think WWE is as action packed as they come; it’s non-stop.  It’s what we do, learning the performances, adding little things here and there to make sure that the scene flows right and it’s perfect.

Francia:    I think Mike had a bigger advantage than me, because he does it all the time.  First, I’m not use to action sequences. Second, when I grew up doing martial arts I actually hit people, so it was really hard for me not to actually hit some of the stunt guys or the actors. I was at an advantage, because it helped me with the choreography. It helped me really show that I make it look real. But I was at a disadvantage, too, because I did bruise some people up sometimes.

Mike “The Miz”:    You did a very good job, Francia!  I think people are going to debate whether or not she showed me up on these action scenes or not, because she has some really cool acrobatic scenes in there.  There’s a scene where she’s on a guy’s shoulders.  It’s pretty incredible some of the maneuvers that she pulled off.

Francia:    You’re so sweet.  Thank you.  I did do all my own stunts!  I was fighting to do my own stunts.  The only stunt I didn’t do myself was jumping off the building in the beginning of the movie.  But other than that, I’m on the car, rolling off the car, all of that was me.

Moderator:    If you could describe your “Christmas Bounty” character’s [Tory and Mike] in one word what would it be?

Mike “The Miz”:    I would say “strong”.  That’s not just muscle wise, but strong mentally.

Francia:    My nickname on the movie is Tornado, it’s Tory “Tornado” Bell, so I’m just going to say tornado.

Moderator:    What was your favorite scene in the whole movie?

Francia:    The fight scenes, the action scenes for sure. Seeing the chaos and having to fight all these guys and really having my dream come true to do action was amazing.

Mike “The Miz”:    We did a lot of fun stuff in the bar scene! I’ve shot guns, I’ve done fight scenes, I do it all the time, so I like more of the drama stuff where you could really dive into the drama. There’s a lot of love, there’s a lot of romance, there’s a lot of people torn in different directions. I really enjoyed the emotional roller coaster that my character had to go through.

You will see in the credits, we do this little dance number and it was just so much fun.  We spent the whole day doing this wonderful scene, and then at the end they were like, “Just go dance up there and see what happens,” and we all just had a blast and it was great.

Francia’s a professional dancer.  Will [Greenburg] and I are not professional dancers.  We know what we get from “The Grind” on MTV.  Francia gets her moves from professionals.  She’s hanging out with Selena Gomez and dancing around with her.  I’m a little outside; I’m really good at doing the Harlem Shake.

Moderator:    What’s your number one gift on your Christmas list this year?

Francia:    The success of “Christmas Bounty”.  That’s what I want – for everyone to enjoy it!

Mike “The Miz”:    I don’t like giving or receiving gifts because I don’t like that initial reaction. Although I do enjoy the love and the family aspect of Christmas, and I love eating with my family and friends and reconnecting with them.  I think we all can sit down and watch “Christmas Bounty” together and really enjoy that.  So that’s what I enjoy about Christmas and the holiday time.

Moderator:    How did you [Mike] manage to take the MTV brand that you created into your dream career?

Mike “The Miz”:    I still look at my life to this day and I’m in awe of it and I don’t know how I did it or why it happened.  I would say it’s all a little bit of everything; it’s preparation, it’s hard work, it’s determination, but also there’s a little luck involved.  It’s not willing to settle for anything less than success.  People always told me that I couldn’t do something.  When I tried out for The Real World people were like, “What’s going to stand you out from 40,000 people?”  And I would tell them, “I don’t know, but I’m still going to try out.”  I try out and I make it.

Then once I wanted to be a WWE superstar people were telling me that, “You’re not 6’ 7”, you’re not 300 pounds, you’re not full of muscles, you’re not athletic enough,” and I just wanted to prove them all wrong.  So I think it’s my motivation and my dedication to prove everyone wrong whenever they tell me I can’t do something.  So I think it’s a little bit of everything, but I think it was just my mentality that I wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Moderator:    How much of The Miz did you bring into your [Mike] character in the movie?

Mike “The Miz”:    None. Whenever I come to these movies, with “The Marine 3:  Homefront” and “Christmas Bounty”, I don’t want people to look and go, “Oh that’s The Miz.”  I want them to go, “Oh that’s Jake Carter.  That’s a new character; that’s something I haven’t seen from The Miz before.”  And in “Christmas Bount”y I want them to say, “Oh Mikey Muscle is a completely different character.”  I want them all to have their separate entities.  But whenever I’m around backstage you definitely get to see The Miz and witness The Miz, because it’s more fun that way.

Francia:    I am going to interrupt! When I met Mike he was so welcoming.  He had his dog with him, and I’m a dog person.  He treats her like his own daughter.  So it was nice seeing the soft side to him.

Mike “The Miz”:    I get it all the time, by the way, that “I love Mike but I hate The Miz.”  I get that at least once a day, so it’s nice. It’s definitely one of those things I know when to turn it on, I know when to turn it off.

Moderator    What’s your favorite thing about each of your characters?

Mike “The Miz”:    My favorite part was just how different he is compared to me.  I’m not really a Jersey type guy; I don’t really wear leather jackets.  He was just fun to play, because he’s very sweet, and granted I’m a sweet person, but I think Mikey Muscles is a little bit more Jersey than I am.  So it’s nice to play someone different from where you’re originally from.  I definitely turned on a lot of Jersey music stations.  I watched The Real Housewives of New Jersey just to see how these women really talk, and it was a lot of fun putting on a little bit of an accent.  So it’s cool.

Francia:    I love the heart that Tory has.  The minute she felt her family in danger she ran back and wanted to make sure they were okay.  She has a big heart for her family, for her fiancé, and even for Mikey Muscles, her ex-boyfriend.  The movie is all around love, and you definitely see Tory’s heart grow and show throughout the movie.

Moderator:    What projects are you [Francia] currently working on?

Francia:    I actually just got back from Atlanta yesterday, and I ran into Mike at the airport.  I shot a pilot for Lifetime called “Unreal”.  It goes behind the scenes of reality TV.  This one in particular is a popular reality contest similar to “The Bachelor”, and I play a field producer.  I’m working along Shiri Applebee and Megyn Price and a wonderful cast. Marty Noxon is one of the show creators, along with Sarah Shapiro.  I’m excited to get that project going next year once Lifetime picks it up.

I also recorded a Christmas song, so I’m dropping that right before Christmas.  It’s called “Wish List” so it’s going to be my first single coming out.

Moderator:    Do you think you [Mike] might want to make more of an acting career?

Mike “The Miz”:    With WWE I think there’s a tremendous amount of acting that we put across.  The Miz is arrogant, egotistical, cocky, believes everything he is, and more, so with WWE you’re doing a lot of that kind of stuff anyways.  WWE Studios has been doing a great job of dishing out some really good movies as of late, I mean “Marine 3” being one of them, but also “The Call”.  We have “Scooby Doo” coming out in March, so I’m really excited about that because I got to be a voice in “Scooby Doo”.  Anytime you get to play a voice in “Scooby Doo” you have to be pretty ecstatic, and I was.  So that’s always fun as well.

I’m also dipping into I have my own radio show on SirusXM 87, “Sirius Fantasy Footbal”l.  It’s the fantasy football show, but it also has a little bit more than just fantasy football; it has a little bit of wrestling, a little bit of pop culture, so I have fun with that as well. As far as acting goes, I love it.  I do have the acting bug, and WWE satisfies that bug for now.  Hopefully I can get more movies with WWE Studios and keep the whole trend going.

Moderator:    What’s your favorite Disney theme park?

Francia:    I love going to Toon Town in Disneyland.  I’m so mad that it closes so early, because by the time I get to go it’s already closed!

Mike “The Miz”:    Disneyland.

Moderator:    What is your favorite Disney ride or attraction?

Francia:    Space Mountain! Hands down is the best ride ever. But also Roger Rabbit.  I don’t know why I have such a love for that little ride.

Mike “The Miz”:    It’s a Small World after all.  I like that one.

Moderator:    What is your favorite food or restaurant within a Disney park?

Mike “The Miz”:    Funnel cakes.

Francia:    I love the chimichangas they sell at California Adventure, they’re really good. The corn dogs at the entrance at Disneyland are really good, and the churros are really good.  I eat a lot.  Oh, the turkey legs, you have to try the turkey legs.

Mike “The Miz”:    Oh, man, turkey legs definitely.  I couldn’t have said it better.  Turkey leg is good.

Moderator    Who is your favorite Disney character?

Francia:    I’m going to say Jasmine, because I want to play her if they ever do a movie.

Mike “The Miz”:    I say Mickey Mouse, but I also like Roger Rabbit and Jessica Rabbit.

Be sure to tune-in to ABC Family this Tuesday, November 26 at 7/6c for the premiere of “Christmas Bounty” during the Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas!

Images are courtesy of Image courtesy of © 2013 WWE, Inc. All rights reserved.

Media Q&A with Britne Oldford of “Ravenswood” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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In our second Q&A feature for “Ravenswood”, this week we feature actress Britne Oldford.

The Canadian/American actress who was trained in music, dance and theatre, Britne made her television debut back in 2008 for the TV series, “The Latest Buzz” and would later be cast for the TV series “Skins” and “American Horror Story”.

And eventually landing the role of Remy Beaumont in ABC Family’s “Ravenswood”, a spinoff of the popular hit drama series “Pretty Little Liars”.

A series that takes place in the fictional town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania, the series revolves around five strangers whose lives become intertwined by a deadly curse that has plagued Ravenswood for generations. And now all five work together to solve the mysterious curse.

The series connection to “Pretty Little Liars” is through the character Caleb Rivers (portrayed by Tyler Blackburn), who goes to Ravenswood to help his girlfriend Hanna Marin (portrayed by Ashley Benson). While en route to Ravenswood, he meets Miranda Collins (portrayed by Nicole Gale Anderson), who is going to Ravenswood to find her last remaining relative. And while she visits her uncle’s home, something freakish happens and she ends up rescuing Hanna.

Hanna asks Caleb to stay in Ravenswood to help Miranda and for some unknown reason, he finds a tombstone with his name and picture in the town cemetery, and it’s enough for him to stay in Ravenswood a little longer.

In the series, Britne Oldford’s character Remy is an employee at the Ravenswood newspaper, “Ravenswood Gazette”.  Her father is the editor-in-chief and she helps Caleb find the death record of his lookalike.  She is also the girlfriend of Luke Matheson (portrayed by Brett Dier) and is the first person to discover the theory of the Ravenswood curse.

To help promote “Ravenswood”, Britne Oldford recently took part in an ABC Media Q&A.  Here is a transcript of the media Q&A:

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Moderator    Will the relationship between Remy and Luke continue to evolve or will Remy focus more on the curse?

Britne    I think that the curse is all consuming at the moment, and will continue to be.  But the relationships with everyone do evolve and do grow, so I think that that’s definitely something that we’ll see in later episodes.

Moderator    Will viewers continue to learn about the curse in the winter finale, and what the pact actually is?

Britne    We find out a lot more information about the pact and, perhaps, potential people who are involved in the mid-season or the winter finale.

Moderator    Could you describe your character for those who may not be watching?

Britne    Remy Beaumont is a very bright, determined, I think fairly stubborn at times, young woman who’s always seeking justice and wants to find out the truth behind everything that’s going on in her town.

Moderator    What would you say drew you to this role?

Britne    What drew me to the role of Remy, and the show in general, is that I do love supernatural things and shows – especially growing up. She was a strong female, and I think that there needs to be more strong female roles out there, especially for everyone, for every age group, but young women, and I thought that she could possibly be a role model and that’s why I was drawn to her.

Moderator    Will we also see any more development with Remy’s relationship with her family?

Britne    Yes!  All of the characters family relationships develop gradually throughout the season. There isn’t too much that happens in the fifth episode with regards to that, but you’ll definitely see more.

Moderator    Is there anything that you’ve brought to the role that may not necessarily have been in the script?

Britne    I think that what I’ve brought to the role would be just a level of composure that wasn’t necessarily specified with the character of Remy.  But otherwise, she’s been pretty straightforward.

Moderator    What is it like working so closely with Brett Dier?

Britne    Working with Brett is always so lovely.  He’s an absolute riot on set, and we’re really good friends so it’s always a good time.

Moderator    What’s the best encounter you’ve had with fans in New Orleans?

Britne    We go to the movies a lot, and the people who work there have seen us go very often – so they recognize us, and have kind of taken a liking to us.  So it’s just great being able to talk with them, have some R&R and talk about just anything in a very casual setting.

Moderator    What is your favorite part of watching the show as a fan?

Britne    I get so engulfed in it even though I read all of the scripts, and I’m there filming it. I love watching all of the spooks. Also, knowing that the fans are watching and that they’re having an even more intense experience than I am.

Moderator    If you could compare Ravenswood to any other supernatural show, what would it be?

Britne    I have to compare it to Scooby Doo, but just because there’s a younger group of people with these mysteries and what have you.  I think that it’s very different because there is a group of young teenagers in a town having their relationships grow, and seeing the characters evolve as people as well as trying to figure out what’s going on with this curse, and how it’s affecting them.  There are a lot of ensemble teen TV shows out there that do not have supernatural aspects to it, or undertones, so I think that’s how it’s different.

Moderator    Has Remy always been a sleepwalker, or is this something that has started because of the curse?

Britne    Ah ha!  You will definitely be finding that out very soon.

Moderator    How did you get your start in acting?

Britne    I got started in acting professionally only when I was about 17.  I was born and raised in Toronto, and I went to an art school there called Earl Haig Secondary School, which I loved, and I was a drama major so I was studying theatre very heavily. I thought I would be doing theatre for pretty much the rest of my life, being happy doing it back home, but I went to an open call for Skins, which was the first big show that I was on, or big project in general, and from then on I’ve been doing this whole thing.

Moderator    How did you feel when you found out that you got the role?

Britne    Oh, I was thrilled!  I was so happy when I found out that I got the role of Remy, because I was originally going out for Miranda, and it got down to Nicole and I, and I knew she was going to get it.  She had the look, she had it — I just knew.  And I was going along for the ride, and just having a great time that day, and then the following day I was at the airport and got a call from my management and my agent and they were like, “There’s good news and bad news.” and I was like, “Oh.  Well, of course the bad news is that I didn’t get it.” And they were like, “Good news.  They’re offering you a different role.”  So I was thrilled that I got a job, first off, and then when they told me about Remy, I was so pleased.  I was so pleased.”

Moderator    What is your dynamic like on set with Tyler, Nicole, Merritt and Brett?

Britne    We’re all pretty funny, and crazy loud people.  So when we’re all on set together it’s a total riot!  Fortunately, we get things done, but the dynamic between everyone is very different, but we all care about each other very much.

Moderator    How do you feel about the interactive social media of the series and live tweeting the episodes?

Britne    I think that it’s awesome to be a part of this whole family and to really be able to connect with the fans because they are a huge reason why we’re on the air. They’re really the backbone of bringing the show to life and keeping it going, as well as our careers as artists outside of the show.  So it’s a huge deal, and I’m so grateful to have them and to be able to share with them.

Moderator    Is there anything that you can hint or tease about the mystery happening between Collins and Mrs. Grunwald?

Britne    There is a lot of mystery on them.  Honestly, I have no idea.  I know that they have a definite connection, and they are working together, but in regards to what they are working towards?  I don’t know!

Moderator    Is Remy’s personal style and fashion similar to your personal style or is a bit different?

Britne    My personal style is definitely way different than Remy’s; way, way, way different.  I wear too much black, I always have ever since I was a kid.  But it’s funny, though, because I have noticed that some of her style has been creeping into mine, especially color-wise. I’m realizing that I can mix and match really crazy things and it look interesting, if not good.  So yes, our styles are definitely different —she’s quite preppy and kind of quirky, and I’m kind of more quirky and dark.

Images are courtesy of © 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Media Q&A with Merritt Patterson of “Ravenswood” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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With the popularity of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars”, it was a matter of time before a spin-off series would be created.  And sure enough, I. Marlene King, Oliver Goldstick and Joseph Doughtery would eventually create a teen drama mystery-thriller known as “Ravenswood”.

A series that takes place in the fictional town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania, the series revolves around five strangers whose lives become intertwined by a deadly curse that has plagued Ravenswood for generations.  And now all five work together to solve the mysterious curse.

The series connection to “Pretty Little Liars” is through the character Caleb Rivers (portrayed by Tyler Blackburn), who goes to Ravenswood to help his girlfriend Hanna Marin (portrayed by Ashley Benson).  While en route to Ravenswood, he meets Miranda Collins (portrayed by Nicole Gale Anderson), who is going to Ravenswood to find her last remaining relative.  And while she visits her uncle’s home, something freakish happens and she ends up rescuing Hanna.

Hanna asks Caleb to stay in Ravenswood to help Miranda and for some unknown reason, he finds a tombstone with his name and picture in the town cemetery, and it’s enough for him to stay in Ravenswood a little longer.

In the series, among the five teens are twins Luke (portrayed by Brett Dier) and Olivia Matheson (portrayed by Merritt Patterson).  A young woman who wants to live her life and is often concerned of what people say about her mother.

Both characters were recently introduced in the “Pretty Little  Liars” 2013 Halloween special.

To help promote “Ravenswood” and the Halloween special, Merritt Patterson recently took part in an ABC Media Q&A.

Patterson made her acting debut on the ABC Family show “Kyle XY” and was cast in the film “Percy Jackson: The Lighting Thief” and also has starred in “Supernatural and the Disney feature “Radio Rebel”.

Recently, Patterson co-starred alongside Kim Coates (“Sons of Anarchy”) in the feature film “Rufus” and will also appear in the upcoming films “Primary”, “Kid Cannabis” and “Wolves”.

Here is a transcript of the media Q&A with Merritt Patterson:

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Moderator: How do you feel about Olivia becoming a fan favorite?

Merritt: It’s really exciting. This is all new to me, so I’m very excited and I’m glad people responded well to Olivia.

Moderator: What did you bring to the role that may not necessarily have been in the script?

Merritt: Olivia and I are really similar, which was great as far as our tendencies and how we deal with things. I think I brought more of a subtle characteristic to her because she is prom queen. And I think when you think of prom queen, you think of over-the-top. It’s in my nature to be a little bit more subtle, so I think I added that to her character.

Moderator:  What can we expect from your character in the first few episodes?

Merritt: Olivia’s kind of in a different social bracket at the beginning of the show, which is why I think she’s a little bit more separate; but obviously, as the curse continues and they continue to find out more, she’s brought together with the other four. She continues to do research on her father’s murder, and she also has a supernatural experience for herself coming up, which is pretty exciting; so I’m looking forward to both those events.

Moderator: Can fans expect the same twists and turns that Pretty Little Liars is famous for? Do you personally enjoy those elements?

Merritt: Definitely, yes! I think that’s what’s really great about our show and what’s similar to Pretty Little Liars — are the cliffhangers, twists and turns. So you can definitely expect lots of those; and I love that. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and it keeps it interesting. I’m excited, and I think people will respond well to that.

Moderator: Do you think the subtle sparks between Miranda and Caleb will put a strain on Hanna and Caleb’s relationship?

Merritt: Yes, I think it will. I think the fact that he is in a different town, that would put a strain on any relationship. Miranda and Caleb are very similar. Their characters are very similar, so they get along really well right off the bat, which could be taken wrong from someone else, especially in a different town.

Moderator: Will Hanna be visiting Ravenswood often?

Merritt: She doesn’t during the beginning. They definitely do keep in contact, it’s mainly over phone conversations, so she is in some of our episodes, but not in person; not yet.

Moderator: Is there any one particular media – between big screen movies and TV production – that you prefer?

Merritt: No, not really. I’ve always been drawn to film just because that’s what I love. As far as being on the sets and working with people — I love being on a set and being a character and doing a story. Each one is so great because you’re learning about a different character, so you get to learn different aspects that you might not have otherwise known. I’m open to everything.

Moderator: Do you find it hard to break out of film mode? How do you lighten things up from all of the drama on Ravenswood?

Merritt: Yes, this is new to me—the drama—and the first few episodes were very dramatic. We’re introducing the storylines and the characters, which makes it action packed. That was a bit crazy, but now things have started to get into a different pace. All of the cast gets along really well. So as soon as they’re saying cut, we’re laughing and making jokes which keeps things really light; so it’s really great.

Moderator: What is Olivia’s relationship like with her brother?

Merritt: I think their relationship right now is strained. I think the whole family is strained. They’re going through a lot with the murder of their father, and her mom has been hiding out. She’s obviously struggling, and I think Luke deals with it by being very angry. I don’t think he knows how to deal with it; neither does Olivia, but she’s trying to pretend like everything’s okay. I don’t know if it has fully hit her yet, but I think their relationship is very strained because of that. She doesn’t understand Luke’s process and how he’s dealing with the events. There’s some miscommunication there, but ultimately they’re twins. They’re family and they love each other and they’ll always have each other’s back. I think it’s like any relationship with siblings. I think it’s very up and down.

Moderator: How did you feel when you learned that you had gotten the role?

Merritt: Oh my gosh, I was so excited. It was crazy. When I auditioned for it, I put it on tape in Canada because I’m based in Vancouver, B.C. At the time, I didn’t really think I had a chance, because it was an American television show. Usually it’s a lot harder for Canadians to get on American shows unless they’re filming in Canada; then we kind of have a leg-up, so I was shocked and ecstatic.

Moderator: Can you tease a bit about the dynamic of the character relationships with one another?

Merritt: We all have stronger connections with different people. Olivia and her brother have a strong connection; and then Luke has a strong connection with Remy, because they’re dating. It’s a bit rough right now with their parents, but they have that. Remy and Caleb kind of bond, you see in the first episode that they’re immediately drawn together because they both want to find out more information on this curse. Then, obviously Caleb and Miranda have a connection, and they’re friends right off the bat. It’s like we each have a stronger connection with someone else in it. In the third episode, I build a stronger bond with Miranda, which was really exciting; I was happy for that. There’s a bit of a riff between Caleb and Luke, because Luke is very protective over myself and Remy. I don’t think he knows Caleb yet, so he doesn’t really know what to think of him. For the most part, we all get along, which is good, because we’re all going through this together.

Moderator: How much are these new events going to alienate Olivia from her friends and her social standing as the homecoming queen?

Merritt: I think she feels ostracized. She is realizing that the things she thought were important before are no longer important to her. That kind of separates her from her friends and it strains the relationships.

Moderator: What was it like to film Olivia’s “turning point” when she realized everything is changing?

Merritt: In episode two you see more of the strain on her relationship with her friends and her boyfriend. You see a lot of strain in episode two that she’s growing further and further apart from them because she’s so distracted by everything that’s going on.

Moderator: Why do you think the town of Ravenswood is treating Olivia so bad after her father’s murder?

Merritt: The town of Ravenswood thinks that our mother killed our father, so the whole family is being ignored and hated. They think that our mom murdered our father and therefore we’re all connected to this murder. I think they’re just putting us out there on our own. Nobody really trusts or respects our mom, and therefore the kids are being painted that way as well.

Moderator: What do you think it would take to get out from under the bad treatment from the town?

Merritt: I think Luke and Olivia are trying to figure out who murdered their father, because it doesn’t seem like the cops or anyone in the town is. They’re really pushing to find out who did it, so they start to take things into their own hands and they find clues along the way. Once the murderer is revealed, that will obviously help and make people realize.

Moderator: What’s your favorite aspect of Olivia?

Merritt: I like that she’s a very caring person; she cares a lot about all the people around her, and she’s very protective of them all, and I enjoy that about her. She’s not this crazy popular girl who lives in her own world. Yet she’s still homecoming queen.

Moderator: How does being ostracized affect her as a person?

Merritt: She’s really floating right now. She’s unsure, grasping for anything at this point because it’s all new. She’s constantly making new revelations, like “Oh, that’s what I used to love – it doesn’t mean so much to me now,” and “Oh, this person that I had so much in common with now feels so different”. So she’s constantly dealing with that. The curse isn’t a good thing, but at least she has something with those five people that she can connect to.

Moderator: How do you feel about the transition between Vancouver and Los Angeles?

Merritt: I actually have remained based in Vancouver. I have been to L.A. for testing; I did live there for about a month last year during pilot season, but I haven’t done the big transition yet. I was waiting for the right moment. I would love to be down there, but it just hasn’t presented itself yet. I do love L.A., and it’s definitely a different vibe because the entire city is involved in the industry. Whereas, Vancouver, it’s a very small group of people in the industry, so it’s definitely a huge change. I enjoyed it while I was down there, and I would like to be down there again soon.

Moderator Is there another female actress you feel could portray Olivia?

Merritt: I don’t know off the top of my head. I immediately think of Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley. They’re the right age bracket and they’re amazing; so either of them could play it really well I think.

Moderator Have there been times when you were actually scared or creeped out on set?

Merritt: Oh, for sure! The great thing about New Orleans is that it’s on location, and the locations here are amazing. There’s so much charm and history to this city. We’ve filmed a lot in a graveyard, which surprisingly isn’t that creepy, they’re really beautiful. We have filmed in an abandoned hospital and we heard stories that part of it was haunted. There was water dripping from the ceiling and people have heard footsteps. So there had definitely been a few times we were like, “Oh, did you hear that?” I’m sure we’re getting ourselves worked up, but it’s for sure on our minds.

Moderator How hard is it for you as an actress to convey the creepy feeling of the show to the audience?

Merritt: The locations are huge, and they play a huge part because it’s so much easier to get into that headspace and that energy when you’re surrounded by an actual location that adds itself to the scene. That’s helpful, and the writing is wonderful too, so it’s pretty easy, and once we all get into the scene and we start going, we build off of each other and that helps as well.

Moderator: Is there anyone on the set of Ravenswood that you look up to as a mentor, or get along with really well?

Merritt: We all get along really well, and I think we’re really lucky to have the cast that we have, especially the core five. Everyone’s done a lot and they’re well rounded in all different aspects of television and film. Tyler obviously has been through this already with ABC Family and Pretty Little Liars, so he understands how the whole process works. That’s all new to me, so it’s good to have him and watch how he deals with it. Then, obviously Meg, who plays Mrs. Grunwald, has been in the industry for a while, and she’s really talented. Having her around is really great, and hearing her stories and having her opinions. She’s a really great person to have if you have any questions or if you’re concerned about something, talking to her is really great. She’s wonderful. I actually have a scene with her that we just filmed and it is my first one-on-one scene with her. She’s so intense that she would throw me and I would lose my lines because she was just in my face. It was crazy and wonderful, she’s brilliant.

Moderator What is your favorite Disney Park?

Merritt: I’ve only ever been to Disneyland, which I loved. I loved California Adventure. Tower of Terror is by far my favorite. I would like to go to Disney World! I actually had this little girl on our set, Isabelle, who plays Max — She is from Florida and was telling me all about Disney World the other day. There’s a ton of different rides. I love amusement parks.

Moderator: What’s your favorite Disney ride?

Merritt: Probably Space Mountain. I love that one.

Moderator: What’s your favorite food or restaurant in the parks?

Merritt: Last time I was there I had pineapple soft-serve and it was amazing. I’ve never had it before and I think I ate two or three; they’re so good!

Moderator: What’s your favorite Disney character?

Merritt: It’s probably one of the Disney princesses. I grew up watching those movies as a kid, and I loved them. I love Belle; she’s one of my favorites, and Ariel, those are probably my top two.

Moderator: Is fashion something important to your character and the show in general?

Merritt: Definitely! I think it helps define a character. We’re lucky Blair [head of Ravenswood wardrobe] is so wonderful! I think what Olivia is wearing is helping her and helping me get into her character. I think that goes for all of us. I love Miranda’s outfits, too. I would personally dress more like Miranda, but I have fun with Olivia’s wardrobe.

Moderator: What’s your relationship to the ABC Family social media now that you’re on the show?

Merritt: I’ve always had a Facebook, and I did get Twitter about a year ago. It wasn’t until the last few months that everything has really started to blow up. During the premiere last week, my Twitter was crazy! It’s kind of overwhelming. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s fun, and I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. I did get an Instagram account because of the show. I thought that would be good. I like Instagram because it’s like a little photo diary. I’m getting the hang of it.

Moderator: What is your Twitter account for everyone to follow?

Merritt: It’s @MerrittPattrsn. Thanks for asking!

Images are courtesy of © 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Media Q&A with Kylie Bunbury of ABC Family’s “Twisted” (2013) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

August 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Since her television debut in 2010 on “Days of Our Lives”, we have seen a promising career for actress Kylie Bunburry.

From starring in the film “Prom” and “Sitter”, Kylie now stars in the hit ABC family drama series “Twisted”.  A dark drama series about a 16-year-old named Danny Desai (portrayed by Avan Jogia) who killed his aunt when he was eleven years old.  Having spent five years in juvenile detention, he returns back to his hometown of Green Grove, New York.

But quickly Danny learns that life in Green Grove has changed as people look at him differently.  And to make things worse, when a classmate is murdered, the town thinks he is the person who committed the crime.

Now Danny works to clear his name but most importantly, to keep the secret of why he killed his aunt.

Kylie plays the character of Lacey Porter, once the best friend of Danny and now one of the most popular girls in school.

With the first half of season one coming to a close (and will return back in January 2014), actress Kylie Bunburry recently took part in a press Q&A.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A with Kylie Bunburry:

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Moderator    What was it about this character that really drew you to want to play her? 

K. Bunbury    I think what drew me to this character the most was her realistic reaction to Danny coming back and also the amount of layers that she has.  She wasn’t immediately open, which I thought gave me a great platform to take my time and develop her.  Obviously when you first meet her, she’s very cold and apprehensive to letting Danny back into her life and it takes her time. She acted the most realistic between her and Jo.

Moderator    Was there anything about her that wasn’t scripted that you added to her?

K. Bunbury    I think I added everything to her, really.  When it comes to characters it’s really about putting yourself into these imaginary circumstances, so a lot of it is me.

Moderator    Did you celebrate winning at The Teen Choice Awards?

K. Bunbury    We didn’t do a lot of celebrating, no, but there was a lot of congratulatory text messages and phone calls, yes.

Moderator    How does it feel to be part of a show that’s doing so well and such a hit with the fans?

K. Bunbury    It’s absolutely wonderful.  We all feel extraordinarily blessed to be a part of something that’s really cool and unique. Also, it’s one of those shows that has everything you want for the demographic. It has that whole murder mystery aspect and it has the focus on all these relationships. It’s truly great.  I’m just very happy to be a part of it.

Moderator    Is there anything that you’re hoping for your character in the new season?

K. Bunbury    I’m hoping she warms up a bit because it’s hard to play this cold character the entire time.  Yes, I really hope that she warms up a bit and that you get to see her goofy and silly side.  I guess that’s just me saying I want people to see my goofy and silly side.  I also hope that her and Jo’s relationship starts taking off and goes in a more positive direction.

Moderator     Do you honestly think Danny will give up on his feelings for Lacey so easily in order to save his friendship with Jo?

K. Bunbury    I don’t think he has given up on his feelings for Lacey.  I think that he just knows what he needs to do at this time to salvage his relationship with Jo and also with Lacey, because Lacey sort of made the decision to no longer be with him.  I think that their feelings for each other are very real and they’re there and you can’t just dismiss those just because of the circumstance.

Moderator    How do you think the show will explore the storyline of the recent revelation that Lacey’s father is gay?  

K. Bunbury    I’m actually very excited to see more of Lacey’s home life.  I don’t know what direction they’re planning on going, but I hope that they do explore it because it’s not something that you see very frequently.  I’m actually very curious because I think that Lacey and her father can now have a relationship or the relationship that they never really had. I’m excited to see where they take that.

Moderator    Do you think Lacey and Danny will patch things up?

K. Bunbury    I’m not sure if they will, but what I do know is that the only reason that they’re not together is because of Danny’s lies.  It’s not because they’ve lost interest in each other or lost feelings for each other.

Moderator    Where do you see their relationship heading for the future? 

K. Bunbury    Their relationship is a little stifled right now. I think that until Danny comes out with all of the truth, that Lacey’s not going to put up with anything. That’s just me.  I know if a guy continued to lie to me, it would take a lot for me to let him back in my life.

Moderator    Is it possible that a romance between Lacey and Archie will kick off again? 

K. Bunbury    Anything is possible! I don’t think, for myself personally, that Lacey has those feelings for Archie anymore.  I think that she respects him and she realizes that she definitely betrayed his trust. She hurt him as a friend and as someone that she cares about.  I don’t think that she has romantic feelings for him any longer.  I guess anything could happen and there are only so many guys on the show, so they could recycle the relationship.

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Moderator    What has been your favorite aspect of the Regina investigation and what do you think will stun viewers in the finale?

K. Bunbury    The last minute of the show tomorrow night is the most shocking!  When I read the script at the table read, we were all shocked. So that’s very exciting!  You discover something bad about a character that you would never expect.  You would never expect it from this person.  It is someone that we know and love.

I’m curious about what is going on with necklace.  What’s going on with that necklace?  What does it mean?  What does it all mean?

Moderator    What has been your favorite episode so far that we’ve seen?

K. Bunbury    I think my favorite episode would be episode ten, the one where Rico and Lacey become comrades of sorts.

Moderator    What would be the biggest difference and similarity between yourself and Lacey?

K. Bunbury    The biggest difference is that she is very controlled and not as welcoming or open to people when they first meet her — and that’s not how I am at all.  The biggest similarity is probably that I relate to her a lot.  Playing off that everything is okay is definitely something that I can relate to. Also her confidence with who she is!

Moderator    What have been your fondest memories from Season 1? 

K. Bunbury    One of my fondest memories is just really developing this character and putting all myself into it. Also, becoming a family with the cast and crew and meeting the people that I’ve met.  In terms of episodes all of them have been special to me!

Moderator    Does the cast ever hang out together off camera?

K. Bunbury    Yes! We all get along very well, so that’s great.

Moderator    Did the cast do anything special on the last day of filming for the season? 

K. Bunbury    I had to leave the day after we wrapped so I wasn’t there for any specific celebrating!

Moderator    Is it possible that the person in the Danny mask is someone completely off our radar, or will viewers feel it is blatantly obvious once their faces are revealed? 

K. Bunbury    I don’t even necessarily think that they’re going to reveal the faces under the masks.  I think we pretty much know that Tyler was behind all of the pranks, so I don’t know if they’re going to be exploring that as much. “The nerd pet” just picked up a mask and put it on and recorded Danny and Lacey.  Then we kind of know that Tyler was behind it all, but maybe there’ll be more to it!  There’s so many other things in the finale that they’re leaving open ended.

Moderator    Would you go for ‘bad boy’ Danny, ‘hot jock’ Archie, or someone else entirely if you were in Lacey’s position? 

K. Bunbury    I would go for Rico.

Moderator    With Danny expelled, do you think Jo could forgive Lacey and become friends with her again?

K. Bunbury    I’m sure she feels extremely betrayed by Danny because he kept that secret from her.  I don’t think Danny being expelled will bring Lacey and Jo together right away.  I think that it’s going to take some time, as it should, because that’s going to be hard for Jo, because she’s in love with Danny.

“Twisted” airs on ABC Family, Tuesdays 9/8c

Media Q&A with Jean-Luc Bilodeau of ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy” (2013) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

August 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

We have seen actor Jean-Luc Bilodeau grow up on ABC Family. From “Kyle XY” to starring in the telefilm “16 Wishes” followed by the TV series “No Ordinary Family”. But this time, Bilodeau is the main actor in the new ABC family comedy series “Baby Daddy”.

The half-hour comedy series made its debut in June 2012 and was created by Dan Berendsen, known for his work on the TV series “The Nine Lives of Chloe King”, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Hannah Montana: The Movie”.

“Baby Daddy” stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Ben, a man who’s ex-girlfriend left a baby girl on his door step. Now Ben, the surprised and inexperienced new father, must raise the baby with the help of his mother Bonnie (as portrayed by Melissa Peterman), his brother Danny (as portrayed by Derek Theler), his best friend Tucker (as portrayed by Tahj Mowry) and his close female friend Riley (as portrayed by Chelsea Kane), who happens to have a secret crush on him.

Actor Jean-Luc Bilodeau recently took part in a media Q&A to promote the third season of “Baby Daddy”.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A with Jean-Luc Bilodeau:

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Moderator    What are your hopes for Ben in Season 3?  

J. Bilodeau      My hopes for Ben were definitely to find a girl, find a more motherly figure for Emma.  Having someone around for Emma is always important.  I hope that he keeps his job.  I hope that he doesn’t make any career moves.  I feel that Ben being a bartender for the show keeps him young and funny.  I don’t really look like a bartender, so I think it’s really kind of cool that I get to play one and I’ve never had a job like that before. So yes, keep the job, get a girl, and then just let the hilarity ensue.  Let the writers just take control of each episode and make every episode a funny one.

Moderator    What could you tease about Ben’s relationship with Riley?  

J. Bilodeau    Season 3 picked up where we left off in Season 2.  We’re building the love triangle and turning it on fire a little bit.  We give some closure to that love triangle at the end of Season 2 and it starts with Ben trying to make the move now. He’s realizing that she’s been into him for so long and it’s time for him to take advantage of it.  He realizes that she’s probably the best example for Emma and he’s definitely working toward it. But I don’t want to tease too much.  You got to watch the show!

Moderator    How did you came to be on the show?  

J. Bilodeau    I just auditioned like every other normal actor out here.  I got the first audition, went in for Alyson Silverberg – our casting director – and did a good job with her and then just moved up the line; worked with producers, director, and then went to the network and just climbed the ladder.  I loved the script from the very beginning.  I didn’t need to take much convincing to really work at it and to get on it, so my team and I really, really worked hard on it.
My relationship with ABC Family was great.  I had already worked with them on a show for three and a half years, so it was time for me to be back on the network.  It was painless, it really was.  I had a really great time during that period finding Ben and working with Michael Lembeck – our director – he really helped me ground Ben and really find who his character was inside me.  It was just a regular audition process and it only took about a week and a half from the first audition to getting the role. It was pretty painless.

Moderator    Did you have to show how you could handle a baby in your auditions?

J. Bilodeau      Yes, actually in the audition they had this weird toy.  It almost looked like a dog toy, this little fluffy thing and that’s what we had to carry as a baby.  Instead of using that, I brought in a hoodie and rolled it up and pretended that was the baby because I just couldn’t take myself seriously holding this big fluffy dog toy.  It changed a lot, obviously. On day one we got the real baby.  It was my first time ever handling a baby, so it was fun.

Moderator    What do you find most rewarding about acting?

J. Bilodeau      I’d say working with the people and the locations.  I love film sets.  I love the food.  I love the people, the personalities; I guess just going to work every day is the best part.  It’s a great setting. I don’t think I could ever have a desk job, so I get to be mobile.  I’m on set.  I get to walk around kind of doing my own thing, being independent — it’s just a really good vibe.  Everyone on a film set is very happy and they all love their jobs, so it’s a cool environment to be a part of.  Seeing whatever you’re working on, the show or the movie, seeing it progress from day one to the last day and seeing all the pieces put together, it takes a village, but it’s fun.  If everyone works well and everyone is cohesive, it’s a really, really, really rewarding experience.

Moderator    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do while you were there?  

J. Bilodeau      I’ve always really, really wanted to go to Egypt and go inside some pyramids and just hang out there.  I don’t know why.  I don’t like hot weather and I don’t like the desert, but something about the pyramid and the mummies and all their history there, I’d love to go check it out.  I want to sky dive in every cool country I go to, so I’ll probably sky dive. I want to travel through some pyramids and stuff. Maybe wake up a mummy.

Moderator    Have you ever been able to use your dancing talents on Baby Daddy?

J. Bilodeau      Yes, we did a dance episode in Season 1.  I believe it was Season 1, Episode 7.  We had another dance episode, and when I say dance episode, I mean we’re not all dancing the whole episode.  It’s not a musical.  We just have a moment in the script that I break out in some dance moves. But yes, I danced for quite a while and the producers know that.  It’s been such a long time since I’ve taken a class, so it’s always very nerve wracking for me and I’m my hardest critic.  I would dance for ten years and the producers and writers like writing that in, so I’ve had to use it a couple of times.

Moderator    Are there any chances of us seeing you on Dancing with the Stars any time soon?   

J. Bilodeau      I’ve thought about it.  I think I’d do pretty well, just because of my dance background.  I don’t know if it’s the right time for me to go on that show, but Chelsea did it and I work with her and she loved the experience. It’s something to think about in the future definitely.

Moderator    Could you talk a little bit about what it’s like working with your cast?

J. Bilodeau      It’s so great.  I’ve been blessed with an amazing cast to work with.  Ever since the beginning, I’ve worked with the people on Kyle XY and they were amazing.  I never thought I’d be able to equalize to that.  I never thought I’d be able to work with such an amazing group of people again and I did.

Now I’m working on Baby Daddy and these people are just as great as the people on Kyle XY.  It’s a really great group.  We’re all so different from each other, which makes it so funny and unique. We’re just such a weird looking group of people together you know.  We just like to have fun and we like to just make each other laugh and there’s no ego.  There’s no tough personalities; we’re all very easy going.

We just want to get our work done and have some fun and make a good TV show.  We’re all friends hanging out with the cast on weekends and after work during the week is a regular thing, so we all love each other very much.  It’s a great, great, great chemistry we have.

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Moderator    With summer coming to an end, what are you looking forward to in the fall?  Are you a hockey fan?  

J. Bilodeau      Definitely, that’s number one! Hockey is coming up pretty soon.  I think I have about a month left until the first preseason game starts.  Fall is my favorite my time of the year.  I love it.  I’ll try and make it back to Vancouver a bunch.  I love going back home for that.  Everything turns orange.  You start to get out of summer, start making your way into the winter, everyone is wearing jackets.  Vancouver lights up in the fall, so I definitely go back there for a bit. I just want to spend some time with my family.  I love that season, and then winter and start snowboarding!

Moderator    What guest stars might be coming up on Baby Daddy?  

J. Bilodeau      We have a bunch!  We had Matt Dallas recently.  We also have Greg Grunberg coming back as my dad.  Wayne Brady was on earlier this season.
Lacey Chabert comes on and plays about six episodes and she’s absolutely incredible.  We have Caroline Rhea play Riley’s mom.  We have a ton of really great people to work with. We had a really great line-up of people to work with this season, especially Lacey Chabert.  She’s the nicest human being on the planet.  We love her.  We wish she could just come back on the show and be a series regular, she’s so funny.

Moderator    What celebrity guest star would you like to have appear on the show?

J. Bilodeau      I love That 70’s Show and I would love to have Topher Grace somehow come on the show as a guest star.  I know he doesn’t really do guest stars at all, but he’s super funny.  I’d love to rehash his character from That 70’s Show into our show somehow.  I think it’d be really funny.  He’s an extraordinary actor, a great comedic actor and he’s cool.

Moderator    Do you tune in to watch any other ABC Family shows besides Baby Daddy?

J. Bilodeau      A little bit.  I don’t want TV that often. I’ll watch Melissa & Joey sometimes before Baby Daddy. I’m friends with Lucy Hale, so I’ve Pretty Little Liars a couple times.  I have watched Twisted, my buddy Avan Jogia is on that show.  I don’t watch that much TV, I think I should probably watch a little bit more, but I love the ABC Family shows.

Moderator    Do you have any other projects that you’re working on besides Baby Daddy?  

J. Bilodeau      Nothing right now, I’m just working on Baby Daddy.  We’re halfway through Season 3 right now and we’ve got 15 more episodes to shoot, so I’m working all the way till January.  Hopefully I can line something up afterwards, but I’m just working on my show and focusing on Ben and his baby.
Baby Daddy is seen on Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC Family

Media Q&A with Katie Leclerc of ABC Family’s “Switched At Birth” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles) (2013)

August 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Actress Katie Leclerc has come a long way since her debut on “Veronica Mars” back in 2005.

Having appeared on shows such as “Fashion House”, “The Riches” and “The Big Bang Theory”, Katie now has one of the lead roles in ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth”.

“Switched at Birth” is a series that focuses on Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano), a girl who grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother, while Daphne Vasquez (played by Katie Leclerc), who lost her hearing at an early age due to a case of bacterial meningitis, grew up with a single mother, Regina (played by Constance Marie) in a working class neighborhood.

Both have wondered why they don’t look like their normal parents and Bay wanted to get a blood test to find out if she is their daughter.

The hospital then finds out that there was mistake when the babies were born and were switched at birth.  Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.

In real life, Katie Leclerc started learning American Sign Language at the age of 17 when she started to have hearing loss.  At the age of 20, Katie learned that she had Meniere’s disease which led to degenerative inner ear disorder with symptoms which include fluctuating hearing loss and vertigo.

While in real life, she is able to use speech like a hearing person, on the show, Daphne uses an accent to emphasize her character’s hearing loss.

Currently in the series, Daphne and Travis, a deaf student and good friend, are wanting to start a food truck business.  Meanwhile, she has gotten close to her real parents, the Kennish family, while her mother Regina is attending AA.

With the second half of season two airing on ABC Family, Katie Leclerc talked about the upcoming season with media during a Q&A.

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Moderator:    How does it feel to be a part of a show that’s doing so well and is such a hit with the fans?

Katie    It’s amazing.  It’s crazy, because I had been an actor for about ten years before I got Switched at Birth.  You know, you grow up, and you’re in seventh grade – and after my seventh grade production of Annie I told my mom I wanted to be a star.  And she looks at me with these hopeful, doubtful eyes and says anything you want can come true.

The moment that it does come true is the moment that you realize you have the power to make it happen.  I first had to believe in myself before Switched at Birth could happen.  ABC Family had to believe in Switched at Birth before it could happen.  It’s really just a combination of a lot of good people making a lot of good choices.  I’m really happy to be a part of it.

Moderator:    Can viewers expect some sort of retaliation or consequences for the girls in the season finale?

Katie    Oh my gosh.  You know, the thing about Chip Coto is that he is scary.  I think he’s not afraid to retaliate.  He definitely is aware that Daphne’s a minor, and I think that complicates things a little bit for him, potentially.  But really it’s Coto against Kennish, and now that there’s two Kennishes, I think Coto’s barriers have gone up even more than they were before.

Moderator:    What is it like for the cast to film a season finale episode?

Katie   It’s sort of bittersweet.  We get along so, so incredibly well.  Also, by the end of the season, we’re all a little bit fried and a little bit ready for some hiatus and family time.  Just to get a little bit of a break.  But it’s weird, because they’re our family, too.

I think going into it, everybody’s very excited.  The first day of the last episode, everybody’s like, yes, it’s the last episode, finally.  Then when it’s finally the last day of the last episode, it’s sad.  It’s really sad.

Usually, whoever’s in the first scenes of the day always stays until the very end of the day.  This time Vanessa and I had the second scene of the day and we ended up staying until 10 p.m. that day.  We just goof around and we laugh at each other’s scenes.  It’s sort of like the last day of school.  We’re all cracking each other up and trying to make each other laugh during their close-ups.

Of course, everyone’s so professional.  I tried to get D.W. to laugh so hard on the last day and I could not get it.  It was the saddest day of my life.  Now my goal for next season is to make D.W. crack on a close-up.

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Moderator:    Did the cast and crew do anything special commemorating the final episode of the season?

Katie    Yes, actually.  The Kennish kitchen set, everybody kind of hangs out after they call “cut” the last time.  There was some champagne that got popped and we sort of just all hung out for hours and chatted with each other.  It was just very mellow, very low key.  Nobody’s going to break the set decorations.

It was just very sweet to say “Okay, this is it for a little while and we’ll see you in a few months.”  At that time, we didn’t know that we had Season 3, so it was a little bit like “Okay, will we see each other?” And we’re all good, but it’s bittersweet.  We really, really love each other.

Moderator:    What was it like for you to film the “What If” episode and do a completely different take on Daphne?

Katie    It was amazing.  I feel like it started with the fact that we had David Paymer as our director for that episode.  He’s such a special director.  He’s directed us about four or five times now.

Being that he’s an actor, I think that he had a definite perspective on where this is going.  We trust him.  It was great to have such a 180º on a character that I’ve been playing for almost 3 years now, and to sort of reimagine her and put her in totally different shoes, some Louis Vuitton shoes.

It was really fun; it was really amazing.  Also, the fact that the fans got to hear my real speaking voice, I think, was incredibly valuable for me as an actor.  And to see some of the fan feedback was just overwhelming.

I’m so grateful for our fans.  I think we have really loyal people watching our show and I think it makes the cast members aware of that – it kind of makes us work harder.  We don’t want to let anybody down, and I think our writers definitely spearhead that for us.

We all work very hard.  The “What If” episode was my favorite episode of this season, so thank you.

Moderator:    Do you like doing comedy?

Katie    I love comedy, yes, absolutely.  I was on an episode of The Big Bang Theory as Raj’s love interest, and it turned out that my character was this big gold digger.  That was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever done.  I would love to do more sitcom, more comedy.

We always try to find the comedy with Switched at Birth.  Maybe ABC Family, maybe the directors and producers just want it to be a little bit more serious in tone.  But especially when Lea Thompson was directing, she loves the comedy and she looks for the comedy and she asks us to do even more comedy.

Yes, I think that we have a really humorous cast.  So I love it when we get to play.

Moderator:    How has your relationship between Daphne and Bay evolved from previous seasons?

Katie    Well, they’re definitely sisters.  I know with my sister there are moments where you love each other; there are moments where you just want to punch each other.  That sibling rivalry thing, I think it just runs deep.

I think when they started off—Bay was a little bit hesitant, like “Who is this girl?”  She never really felt like she belonged in the Kennish family, so now there’s this other person who really does.  I think she was totally thrown off of her balance and didn’t really know where she fit in.

So they were sort of at odds with each other.  As we’ve evolved, we’ve gotten to know each other as a family unit and sort of started to figure that out – especially with Bay spending more time with the Sorrento family.  I think she sort of found her footing.

I think Daphne might have taken a step back after Regina left.  I think that Regina was very, very, very involved in Daphne’s life.  Honestly, I think that if Regina hadn’t moved in with Angelo, I’m not sure that all of the Chip Coto business would have happened.  I think that Regina just had a stronger hold on Daphne, and now that she’s getting to do that with Bay I think that it’s wonderful for Bay.

But Daphne and Bay sort of love each other and hate each other.  I think right now they love each other.  I’m much happier when we love each other because I, personally, love Vanessa Marano and I love when we get to smile at each other in scenes.

Moderator:    Why do you think that this show is such a big hit with fans?

Katie    I think that the interesting thing is the deaf hook.  It’s a window into a world that many people have been curious about.  It’s fascinating because ASL is the third most common language in the United States, but if you don’t know a deaf person, you may never have been exposed to that world.

It’s something that is very curious and very accessible, but it’s a little bit frightening if you’re not comfortable with it to begin with.  This show gives people the opportunity to really jump in with both feet.

For example, we did a silent episode last season, in Season Two.  I think that that made huge strides for the deaf community, and for the hearing community.  Even my mom, who said the moment where the Switched at Birth titles did their normal thing and they flipped – the Switched and the Birth flip top and bottom – she said that was the moment where she went “Oh, I get it.”  So she’d been watching 40 episodes and really didn’t get it until that moment where it was the silent episode and she got to put herself in that world.

I think that’s why people are really interested.  I think that we also take risks; for example, the deaf episode and also the “What If” episode, which I keep calling our Fringe episode, because I’m also a science fiction nerd.  We kind of get to explore and we get to take these challenges and take risks.  I think that as long as you’re pushing yourself, your audience is going to follow.  So far we’ve been very successful with that.

Moderator:    What do you think has been the biggest change for Daphne?

Katie    In the silent episode, and leading up to the silent episode, Daphne was a girl.  She was a teenager; she had regular problems just like every teenager.  In the silent episode where she felt injustice and accompanied with that felt in herself the ability to make a change and make a difference, she really took it upon herself to say “Look, I feel like this is unfair and I feel like I can change it” and she went after it.

She achieved that goal.  She made Carlton the school that she wanted it to be.  It was kind of bittersweet.  It wasn’t exactly what she was looking for.  But I think those moments, for her, gave her power and told her that you don’t have to stand by and just take what people give you.  You can make things happen for yourself.

So I think that she’s sort of become a woman.  She’s learned that she has a very strong voice and that she can be very loud with that.  I really think that’s a wonderful message to send to every teenager – boy, girl, deaf, hearing, doesn’t matter.  It’s all about empowerment.  The youth have such a strong voice that they can really utilize and, I think, sometimes don’t get that opportunity.  So they have to take charge of that opportunity.

Moderator:    If you could see Daphne five years into the future, what do you think she’d be doing?

Katie    Daphne has a lot of talent.  She has a lot of skills and she has a lot of drive.  I think she’d like to be, maybe, in a restaurant. But maybe the chef situation kind of ruined that, I’m not sure.  She loves her family, so I would say in five years she’s probably going to be graduating school and making a family of her own.

Moderator:    How hard is it for you to imitate someone hard of hearing?

Katie    I have to say, when I first started it was the scariest thing that I had ever done in my whole life.  I went in for the first audition with just my regular speaking voice and using American Sign Language.  I just wanted the producers to say “Okay, this girl has chops beyond putting on the gimmick”.  I didn’t want it to seem like a gimmick.

They asked me if I could try on the deaf accent.  I sat down with my sister, who’s an ASL teacher, we mapped out Daphne’s specific hearing loss with her specific audiogram and then, based on that, figured out what sounds she could say and what sounds she couldn’t say.

So it’s a very unique accent to Daphne.  I worked tirelessly; I made my family absolutely crazy for months on end.  When we started filming and the pilot was picked up and the momentum started going, it sort of became second nature.

Now I can say, with confidence, almost three years later, it’s a switch.  I flip it on, I flip it off.  It’s sort of the back of my brain.  And I’m really proud of that.  Thinking that it took me so long to get there and it was a lot of work to get there.  I am really proud of the work that I get to do on Switched at Birth, and the accent is part of that.

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Moderator    Do you find that the fans are shocked when they actually hear you speaking in your normal voice?

Katie    Absolutely.  When I find fans on the streets, the first thing they go is “Huh?  You’re not – wait – that’s not your voice?”  It’s such a gratifying experience.  I think that means that I’m doing my job incredibly well.

I look forward to opportunities where I get to use my normal speaking voice in more film and television.  It’s really funny; it seems like the projects that I’ve booked are always like I had a German accent or I had some sort of different speaking situation.

The “What If” episode was really an exciting moment for me where I got to say “Hi guys, check this out.  It’s the show that you’re already watching but look.  Look what I’ve been doing for two and a half years.”

Moderator:    If there was anyone you could work with, who would it be?

Katie    I really think that it would be amazingly fantastic to have Kristin Chenoweth on our show.  I’ve been pitching from the very, very, very, very, very beginning that we need to have a musical episode being that Constance Marie was originally a break dancer; Lea Thompson was originally a ballet dancer; Lucas Grabeel, obviously, High School Musical.  I think that Kristin Chenoweth would be an amazing addition to, perhaps, a musical episode.

Also the fact that Kristin Chenoweth has Ménière’s Disease, I think we’d get along great.  And I think we have a lot in common.  We could talk about vertigo from the very beginning.  I think that she’s incredibly talented and beautiful and I would love to work with her.

Moderator:    Do you see Bay and Ty’s relationship and Nikki and Toby’s relationship working out?

Katie    Yes, I figure as long as the two people who are in the relationship really care about that relationship and they really are focused on it and want it to happen, there’s no reason it couldn’t.

Yes, Toby and Nikki are very young to be getting married, absolutely.  But that doesn’t mean that it won’t work.  The families are very strongly opposed to it and Daphne’s sort of not.  Daphne says look, they love each other.  Leave them alone.  It’s not about anything other than the two of them.

Speaking with Bay and Ty, I think that it’s a little bit more complex.  He’s going overseas to Afghanistan.  They’ve been through this once before.  But being that they’ve been through it once before, maybe they’ve learned something in that experience that they can apply to now.

Long distance relationships take work, they’re very difficult, but I think that they could figure out a way to make it happen.  And if they don’t, then maybe they can do what they did before, put it on hold and then revisit it when he comes back after Afghanistan.  I believe that if two people are committed to each other, there’s no reason it couldn’t happen.

Moderator:    Do you see anything bad happening for the wedding?

Katie    I don’t think that the wedding is going to play out the way that the parents think the wedding’s going to play out.  Or even, beyond that, necessarily the way that Nikki and Toby think it’s going to work.  They have heavy choices to make and, faced with so much opposition up to this point, they need to make the choice for them.

The parents have given their two cents, their five cents, their quarter.  Get over it.  It’s really about the kids.  I don’t think it’s going to happen the way that they think it will, but again, there’s no reason it couldn’t.

 

For more information on “Switched at Birth”, please visit the official website here.

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