TI Exclusive: ‘Baby Daddy’s’ Tahj Mowry on Christmas Special & More!

ABC Family’s hit comedy “Baby Daddy” has a Christmas Special airing next Wednesday, December 10!  Tahj Mowry, the charismatic Tucker Dobbs on the show, was able to spend some time talking about the special and his role on the hilarious cast of “Baby Daddy.”

Moderator: What can you tell us about Tucker’s role in the Baby Daddy Christmas Special?

Tahj: Tucker has a really cool role in the Christmas special, actually! First of all, it’s like an It’s a Wonderful Life theme, and Ben is over Christmas –Danny and Tucker are responsible for getting the tree. Tucker has a very hilarious scene getting the tree that will probably be the next gif online. It’s very funny, and we also get to hear Tucker sing, because there’s sort of a Wheeler family band scene in this episode. It’s just a great episode altogether. I think people will love it!

 

Moderator: How hard is it to keep a straight face while filming?

 

Tahj: It’s really hard, especially for Jean-Luc [Bilodeau] and I; it’s just really hard for us to not laugh when we’re in a scene together. It doesn’t matter what we’re filming — especially if it’s a scene where we have to be serious, because it’s just so difficult for some reason. We have a lot of trouble and obviously any scene is up for grabs — anybody can bust out laughing at any moment because you never know what’s going to happen.

 

Moderator: Do you have any family traditions for the holiday season?

 

Tahj: Oh, yes! We watch Christmas movies like nobody’s business all throughout December. The closer we get to Christmas we all go to our mom’s house, and we’re just sitting in front of the television, and our favorites are Home Alone 1&2, and The Santa Clause, we know all the lines by heart. We’re not even really watching it; we’re basically performing it in the living room [laughs]. It’s just a great family time for us. We love Christmas.

 

Moderator: What do you love most about your character Tucker?

 

Tahj: He’s the sweetest guy at heart. We get to know his family as the show goes on and why he is the way he is — why he can be so uptight and the things he says. I love playing him because I never know what’s going to happen with him until I read the script, and I’m like, “Oh, what do I get to do this week?”

There’s never a dull moment in his life. He has a cool job. He’s a really fun guy to play, and it’s also cool to be the funny guy — but then he’s sort of the one that keeps everybody together. Riley comes to him about her issues even though he doesn’t want to hear it, but he will still give his two cents and help. He does care. It’s fun because I get to say the most ridiculous things on camera – it’s always fun!

 

Moderator: Do you consider the cast like a second family?

 

Tahj: Oh yes! I see them more than my real family [laughs]. For example, Melissa [Peterman] and I saw each other recently for almost two weeks straight. We were laughing about it because no matter how much time we spend together, I can’t get enough of her. It’s great!

We all hang out on and off the set. We love going to the movies. Jean-Luc and I are like brothers – he’s like my little brother. And Chelsea [Kane] is like the younger sister I never had. We’re all family.

 

Moderator: Do you and Chelsea ever bond over your Disney Channel background?

 

Tahj: Yes! We have really funny conversations about Disney Channel all the time. Just because we both can relate — I think that’s why we became so close right off the bat. She’s a doll, I love her. We reminisce all the time. It’s funny because we weren’t on Disney at the same time, but it’s still funny because most of our stories still match up. It was such a fun time and we laugh about it all the time.

 

Moderator: What was it like filming the Christmas episode in the summer?

 

Tahj: That was actually really interesting because there’s a really funny scene with me getting the Christmas tree. We filmed that scene outside and I’m bundled up in gloves, a scarf and one of those fluffy hats but it was just so hot outside!

I mean we have it easy [laughs]. We work on a sound stage so you know I can’t complain too much.

 

Moderator: Are you on team Danny or team Ben when it comes to Riley?

 

Tahj: I don’t even know anymore! I honestly feel like there’s parts of them both that she’s in love with, and at some point she’s just going to have to compromise. One of them has one thing and then the other one doesn’t, and vice versa. I’m team both. I just want Riley happy!

 

Moderator: What’s your favorite gift that you’ve ever received and given?

 

Tahj: Honestly, I love every gift I give my family and my friends! I love Christmas shopping for people I love. I love watching people open any gift that I give them — there’s something satisfying about it!

When I was younger there was this robot toy called the My Pal 2 that I was really stoked about. My dad got it before Christmas and we had this whole plan to act like I hadn’t seen it before. So when I opened it, I was like, “Oh my gosh!” [laughs]. That was probably my favorite toy that I received.

 

Moderator: What is your favorite Christmas carol?

 

Tahj: I love, “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful,” which is the song I sing on Baby Daddy for the Christmas episode. That’s a beautiful song. And the Wheeler family band, we sort of remix it out and make it our spin. It’s really cool!

 

Moderator: Who would you say is most excited cast member for the upcoming holiday?

 

Tahj: I’m going to have to go with me. The guys are coming tomorrow to start working on the lights for the house and I’m so stoked!

 

Moderator: What’s it like filming in front of a live studio audience?

 

Tahj: It’s fun! It’s something I’ve been doing for a really long time and still love. My next project might not be a sitcom, but I’ll always do sitcom just because it’s so fun and it’s instant satisfaction and gratification. When you say a joke and the audience responds right away. It’s just like, “Oh, wow, this is awesome!” They’re into it. They’re feeding off of us – it’s kind of like a play. The entire cast and I, we’ve been doing it for a while now, this is our fourth season, and it’s like clockwork now. We feed off of each other, we can say things that may not be written and still keep going with it. It’s never ending. It’s always fun.

 

Moderator: Do you have any New Year’s plans or goals for 2015?

 

Tahj: I’m about to come out with my music in 2015, so that’s probably my biggest excitement. Also, Baby Daddy’s Season 4 premieres on January 14 — so it’s going to be a really fun year for me! I’m looking forward to a positive and fruitful year.

 

 

Miguel Pinzon Dishes On ABC Family’s Mystery Girls And More – Check Out The Q&A!

TORI SPELLING, MIGUEL PINZON, JENNIE GARTH

ABC Family’s Q&A with Miguel Pinzon

Mystery Girls

 

 Moderator                           Who would you say is the funniest out of the whole cast?

 

Miguel                                   It’s an equal tossup between both Jennie [Garth] and Tori [Spelling] because their comedy styles are so different.  Tori has this really fantastic, bubbly, bright quality and Jennie’s is sardonic and dry.  I think you can’t have comedy without those two sides.  I think it’s an equal tie between both of the girls.

 

Moderator                           How would you describe your comedy?

 

Miguel                                   My comedy is absurd [laughs]! My character, Nick, is new to Los Angeles and he’s just so bright and so determined, he will do anything.  I those qualities put him in some pretty crazy circumstances.  There’s physical comedy in there, we’re going undercover in a lot of episodes. There’s actually gags where it’s costume related.  Out of all the characters, Nick has a little bit more room to play within that absurd world of physical comedy and craziness.

 

Moderator                           How would you are alike with your character?

 

Miguel                                   We’re both new to Los Angeles and we’re both sort of outsiders in this world, in the sense that he plays a super fan to the two girls and cannot believe that his life is what it is. He’s working alongside his idols. And like myself, I cannot believe I have a job, that I’m serious actor. It’s mind blowing to me, it’s my first rodeo and I’m over the moon.  I think were both on that same emotional journey, like “Oh my gosh, I cannot believe my dreams are coming true!”  Those moments when you’re geeking out just seeing it all happen, and then there’s moments when you’re there and you’re in it and it’s fantastic.

 

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

 

Miguel                                   Oh, it’s heaven!  We could not do the show without the live studio audience.  We rehearse Monday through Friday. There’s always what we as the cast think is funny, but then when the audience gets there, the energy is so important. It’s so fantastic to see what they dictate, because they totally dictate what we’ll spend time on and what we won’t spend time on. For example, if a joke that we thought was funny the whole week doesn’t really fly in front of the audience, we’re like “forget it lets try something new.” They’re so vital to have that mirror as to what they like in the show and their energy drives us so much.  The amount of energy that you feel from the audience is amazing.  It’s fantastic performing it in front of a live audience.

 

Moderator                           What attracted you to portray your character?

 

Miguel                                   Nick was originally written with the last name Doyle, so I like to give props to the writers for honoring my Latino blood memory and changing his last name to Diaz.  I’d say he’s around him around 21.  He just moved to L.A. from Ohio, so he’s like a kid with that gleam in his eye to get to Los Angeles and be amongst all the action.  He is by far, the number one Mystery Girls fan.

 

As you know, within the show, the girls play former 90s television stars who had a show in the 90s called Mystery Girls and he discovered the show in his youth.  It’s one of those life-changing shows for him.  He’s obsessed, he knows every single episode.  He feels like he’s lived it through with them.  So once he moves to L.A. through absurd circumstances, his crosses paths with theirs, and he becomes their assistant in the office.  That is the moment where his dreams come true.

 

He’s an Aries.  He’s determined, he’s not really afraid to say what is exactly on his mind.  He’s not the world’s best assistant, but he knows when he has to work and when he doesn’t have to work.  He’s just obsessed with being next to these two girls every day and he always wants to get in the middle of the action because they’re always solving these crimes, but his job is to stay behind in the office.  Nick always finds a way to leave the office and join in on the action. He’s total fun.  He’s also slightly crazy [laughs]. The things he does blow my mind.

 

Moderator                           How has the fan support online helped you? Do you like to interact with them?

 

Miguel                                   Absolutely!  First of all, I am so thankful to everyone at ABC Family who explained what Twitter was to me, because it was so confusing at first.  They gave me a book, pretty much like Twitter for Dummies [laughs].  I’ve become super obsessed.  Anytime I have a slight amusing idea, I’m like, “I’ve got to put it on Twitter.”  Everyone who has been tweeting at me about the show, people who have come up for the live taping and afterwards and have had really positive things to say, have been such a treat.  I totally look forward to premiere night, I’m going to be live tweeting during the East Coast premiere.  I think it’ll be really fun to actually have that direct line of communication with people watching the show and get to share the little things that you can’t tell when you’re watching the show.

 

Moderator                           What’s it like to work with Tori [Spelling] and Jennie [Garth]?

 

Miguel                                   It’s like a dream come true!  First of all, I watched 90210.  Donna Martin and Kelly Taylor are very specific people to me.  Donna Martin at prom, the stalkers they had, all those things, I went through the emotional toll with them [laughs].  So to actually have these two actresses, who have such iconic characters and then to meet them in a very real way and to see beyond those characters, has been an absolute delight.

 

As you know, both the girls are Executive Producers on the show and they are doing crazy double duty.  I can barely remember my lines and there they are remembering their lines and overseeing the entire show.  It’s insane!  It’s been a great learning lesson and a boot camp in how to make a three camera half hour comedy work.  The girls have been super—I mean they’re mothers and they have that in them and they have totally extended that energy to me and have taken care of me in the sense of like, “oh, Miguel, you’re probably going to get a laugh here, so you should learn how to pause so they can do that in post.”  Or, “you’re standing in someone’s shadow, just move over slightly left.”  They have totally been looking out for me and it’s just a dream to see two people who know what they’re doing firsthand make it work.  I’m just taking notes!

 

Moderator                           Were you nervous to meet them?

 

Miguel                                   Totally!  When I had my first audition with the producers, one of which was Tori, she was in the room and I was preparing myself; “Alright, Tori’s probably going to be in the room, you know you’d better be ready to see her.”  Then when I went in to the room I was startled. I started to do my audition and it’s an audition no-no to do your scene to anyone besides the reader in the room.  I totally blacked out and played it with Tori, which the audition scene was supposed to be, but she was just there to watch, not at all to act alongside with me.  She was absolutely gracious and was like, “hey, you should probably read it with the reader.”  I was like, “oh my gosh, you’re totally right!”  She allowed the space to laugh and allowed me to laugh about it and for me to do it again, so I definitely had nerves in that room when I first met her.

 

They’re both so approachable and easy and silly. In these sorts of situations when someone just takes the time to crack a joke or make light of things, it definitely makes it easier to work. But we’re definitely here to have fun as well.

 

Moderator                           How do you get into character?

 

Miguel                                   One of our directors, Michael Lembeck, was so gracious to point out to me that Nick is living his dream.  He’s absolutely feeling all these emotions.  It’s always in his body.  That’s one thing that I always like to remember, so any time we’re reading a script and whatever scenario that it is, I try to remember that this is a dream come true for this kid because he just moved and he’s working alongside his idols.

 

I always try to remember that bright-eyed, enthusiastic spirit that he has, and the complete joy to be able to be living his dream, day in and day out and not allow him to become jaded in any way.  He’s in disbelief that it’s all happening, so that totally helps with this character, in the sense that he cannot sit still and the cameraman who told me, “wow, you move around a lot.”  That has been the most helpful and consistent item with portraying Nick, to keep that joy and energy alive in everything that he does.

 

Moderator                           Which Mystery Girl character would you say you relate to the most to, Charlie [Jennie Garth] or Holly [Tori Spelling]?

 

Miguel                                   I would have to say Holly, and purely in the sense that she’s very trusting and believes people at their word and that’s very much me.  If you tell me something that seems absurd, I will believe you. I definitely have that component of Holly, where there’s a slight innocence, you take everyone at their word, and you would totally invite them into your house.  That’s totally an invitation to anyone who wants to come over for dinner.  I will absolutely open the door to you [laughs].

 

But then Holly loves to have a really good time and sometimes does not care about the consequences.  Sometimes when I want to make something fun happen, I don’t really worry about what will happen afterwards and just make it happen! I think I’m like Holly in those two traits.

 

Moderator                           What’s it like to be part of the ABC Family family?

 

Miguel                                   It’s been awesome!  The network has been so amazing from the get go and it’s so nice to be able to join their original programming, at least within half hour comedy because they have Baby Daddy and have Melissa and Joey. To be amongst this relatively new direction that they have for half-hour comedy is so fun and they’re so encouraging with everything that we do.

 

It’s insane to see the amount of fans that Pretty Little Liars has, that all these other ABC Family shows have.  It’s not bad company to be around [laughs]!

 

Moderator                           What are some of your talents outside of acting?

 

Miguel                                   I do a really good Louis Armstrong impression, which no one ever really has the need for, but I think it’s a total strength of mine [laughs].  I still ride horses sometimes, which is something I used to do as a kid. I’m a good cook; I’m a really good cook.  It’s something my mom and I would do all the time, so it’s something I love to do.

 

Moderator                           Are you excited to watch your comedy hour partner, Young and Hungry,since you’re a cook?

 

Miguel                                   I am! I want to actually see them describe some of the food they’re making, it all sounds delicious.  When there’s food on any set, people usually don’t tend to eat it, I’m all about eating it.  I feel like the prop food on Young and Hungry must be top-notch!

 

Moderator                           What is your favorite part about filming Mystery Girls?

 

Miguel                                   It’s a wild level of campiness almost! The allowance that we have for physical comedy, to be in disguises.  That allows us so much to do, and so much to play.  I’ve never seen a female duo detective comedy.  You had Cagney and Lacey, but that wasn’t really a comedy.  You have female duos in other scenarios, but to have them in this sort of mystery world, it’s so fun with these endlessly changing circumstances.  We’ve got to solve this crime, but the crimes we solve are just so silly and absurd, but we play it for the truth of it and that’s one of my favorite parts; the allowance to just go in all these fun, delicious, crazy directions.

 

Don’t forget to tune-in to ABC Family for the series premiere of Mystery Girls next Wednesday, June 25 at 8:30/7:30c!

 

Vanessa Marano Discusses ABC Family’s Switched At Birth And More – Check Out The Q&A!

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ABC Family’s Q&A with Vanessa Marano
Switched at Birth

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.

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!

Don’t forget to tune-in to the summer premiere of ABC Family’s hit drama Switched at Birth on Monday, June 16 at 8/7c!

TRANSCRIPT: Hayden Byerly – The Fosters (ABC FAMILY)

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ABC Family’s Q&A with Hayden Byerly

The Fosters

Moderator:  What’s it like working on set of The Fosters?

Hayden:  The Fosters’ set is probably one of my favorite sets I’ve been on.  I’ve worked on just a few, but it’s by far my favorite.  The people that we work with are fantastic.  All the actors and actresses are very professional and they’re very experienced and very fun to work with.  The crew, they work very hard and they’re great at what they do.  It’s a great crew.  It’s a great experience.  It’s a wonderful set.

Moderator :  What’s the craziest thing that has happened on set?

Hayden :  It’s actually, believe it or not, pretty calm.

Moderator :  How do you get into character?

Hayden:  Jude is a separate person.  Jude is me but I’m Jude, but I’m not Jude if that makes sense. Getting into character for Jude is basically creating another person, thinking about every little detail.  Who they are, why they do what they do, why their hair is brown, all of that.  You think about your character and who he is. It’s an interesting process but I guess everyone has a different way of getting into character.

Moderator :  How does it feel to be an inspiration for so many young viewers that are watching the series and connecting with Jude?

Hayden: It feels super special, especially as a kid my age, at 13 years old for people to say that they really connect with me, and really understand my role.  It’s super cool.  It means a lot.  It’s very special and important to me.  I think it’s a very big thing to be able to play something on T.V., but have it be so real that it connects with so many different people on such a personal level.

Moderator: How has the fan support been since joining the show?  Are you enjoying connecting with your fans?

Hayden : Yes, I am.  I definitely love meeting different people who watch the show and getting to talk with them and hear what they think about the show and what they like.  It’s been super fun, I like it a lot.

Moderator :  What are you most passionate about outside of acting?

Hayden:  I’m very passionate about school.  I love school.  I love learning, but I love learning in school which sounds like a typical thing, “Oh I love school,” but I really do.  I love learning and I love math and science and reading and writing.  I love all sorts of that type of stuff.  But other kid activities that I do is try to get out and play sports.  Sometimes I’ll play basketball or ride my bike.  I’ll do a lot of that stuff as well.

Moderator:  What can you tell new viewers about Jude?

Hayden : Jude is a very quiet—well, when we first watch The Fosters we see that Jude is a very quiet, sensitive-type of shy kid who comes from a very rough past who has been in several different foster homes and has gone to several different schools in over just a couple years.  He goes through these foster homes with his older sister Callie and they have a very rough time and haven’t really been in a good home.  He just wants to keep the peace and stay happy.  He just wants to find a good home.  He wants to be able to have a family, he wants to have a mom and a dad, or in this case, a mom and a mom.  He wants brothers and sisters.  He loves all of that.

Moderator:  What quality of Jude’s relates most to you in real life?

Hayden :  I definitely think that he’s very sensitive.  I feel like I am kind of sensitive in a way.  I feel like a sensitive quality is good to have and I feel like I am very sensitive as well as Jude.  Jude is also very aware of his surroundings and I feel like I try to make sure that I’m aware of my surroundings and know what’s happening around me.

Moderator:  Do you think Jude finally feels like he’s a part of the family now that the adoption has gone through?

Hayden: Jude definitely feels like he’s permanently there, like he’s going to stay there forever now that the adoption is finalized.  Before, he was having some issues with if they were going to keep him or not and he really wanted to stay there, but now that the adoption is finalized Jude is very comfortable.  He feels safe.

Moderator: How did you get started in acting?

Hayden: I got started through a showcase, which is kind of an interesting story because I never went to that showcase for acting, I wanted to do it just to try to gain some confidence or maybe make some friends along the way and I had a very fun time.  I won first place in my age group and I had a bunch of different agents and managers in Los Angeles who wanted me to come out and just try some acting for a little bit.

So I came out and I signed with my commercial agent that I still have and while I was there they have a theatrical department that asked me to go on an audition.  I never had any experience, I didn’t really know what to do or what I was expecting and so I went there and I booked it as a guest star on a Disney show.  And it started from there.  I kept coming out time after time every time I had a spring break and every time I would come out I would book something before I would leave. So it’s just become a thing where my mom, brother and I now have an apartment out here and we stay out here and I act.

Moderator:  What was it like auditioning for The Fosters?

Hayden: It was very official but it was very quick, it was very fast.  It was in and out, but it was definitely, probably one of the most nerve-racking auditions I’ve ever been to because it’s in this very nice building and you go up the elevator and there’s this wide space and not many people; especially when you go in for the testing when there’s 11 people standing on one side of the table and you’re on the other.  It was very exciting.  I definitely was super excited to hear that I had booked the job.

Moderator: How will Jude’s adoption affect his relationship with Callie this season, and if the family dynamic will change at all?

Hayden: That’s definitely an issue that Jude faces. He feels as though, you know, especially finding out that they don’t have the same dad that it gets a little weird for Jude and it gets hard for him to kind of handle.  We definitely see that in the Season 2; we watch as he struggles to take that in.  But he still feels very close to his sister, but you’ll have to watch.  You’ll have to see to find out!

Moderator: Can you tease anything about the upcoming season?

Hayden: Brandon wants to do a risky hand surgery.  Mariana is struggling with her heartbreak with Zac.  Jude goes through struggles with Callie about her real dad.

Moderator : What do you think is most different about your character Jude and you as a person?

Hayden : Jude and I both have a good home.  We both have a great mom who loves us and Jude [now] has great moms who love him.  Jude has brothers and sisters, I have a brother.  Jude has some struggles with school, as we’ve seen, I don’t struggle with school too much.  I find it pretty simple.  I feel like I’m pretty good at it.  That’s just some of them.  Definitely a lot of similarities, though.

Moderator: If you could play any other character on the show who would you want to play?

Hayden : I would want to take a crack at Brandon’s character. I love the role that David plays.  I love the scenes that he does and I love the way he acts.  David is such a great actor, he’s a very smart actor and I love working with him and I love working with everybody.  Everybody’s great.  But I just feel like I love his role very much just because he plays this kid who’s very confused about if he loves this girl who turns out that she’s going to be his sister.  He goes through a lot of different struggles that aren’t just romance, that aren’t just about teens loving each other.  He goes through a lot of stuff playing piano and having to focus on school and we have some gossip about Mike’s girlfriend and him.  David goes through a lot with his character and he’s extremely talented.

Moderator: What’s your favorite story line so far?

Hayden: My favorite story line, especially for Jude is the Blue for Jude story line. That has to be my favorite one; I definitely think that’s an important episode.

Moderator : What’s it like working with Maia Mitchell, Jake T. Austin and David Lambert?

Hayden: Oh, it’s great. They’re amazing.  They’re really great actors and actresses.  Everyone is super professional on the show.  We definitely like to have fun.  We’re definitely a very fun cast.  Maia’s great to work with and she has a brother so that’s kind of a good reference for her when she goes through those issues with Jude because she can use that.

Jake is a very cool, nice dude who definitely loves playing the role of Jesus.  David is a very, very smart, very cool guy who plays Brandon very well and I think he’s a very talented actor.

Moderator : Are there any developments in your character with his father that we should look forward to?

Hayden: Not too much.  There are some things that happen with Callie’s new father, but not Jude’s father.  We don’t see much of him.  We don’t see much happening with his real father.

Moderator: Did you watch any of Jake T. Austin’s shows or movies before you acted on The Fosters with him?

Hayden: Not too much. I don’t watch a lot of TV and if I did I would watch the History Channel.  I was always big into learning about history, but I definitely knew that he was on Wizards of Waverly Place.  I’ve seen some of the movies that he has acted in, but I never really watched him as kid. I definitely love his acting now.  He’s a very cool, kind guy.

Moderator: Who are some actors/actresses you look up to?

Hayden: One of my favorite actors is Leonardo DiCaprio.  I love his work and I love a lot of the movies that he’s in.  He’s actually in my favorite movie, Catch Me If You Can.  I like Tom Hanks, which is another great actor that I definitely look up to.

Moderator:  Where would you like to take your career as you get older?

Hayden: I really would just love to continue acting on all levels.  I’d love to keep doing commercials and I definitely want to do a big movie.  I think that would be very fun to do.  I loved doing motion capture, I did motion capture for a video game and that was super cool, it was super fun.  So I definitely want to continue to do everything I can.

Don’t forget to tune-in to the summer premiere of ABC Family’s hit drama The Fosters on Monday, June 16 at 8/7c!

For more on Hayden and the rest of the cast of ABC Family’s The Fosters, please check out the website: http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/the-fosters

And to find out more about Hayden’s character Jude, click here: http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/the-fosters/cast/jude

 

ABC Family: Elisa Donovan & David Lascher – Melissa & Joey

JOEY LAWRENCE, ELISA DONOVAN, MELISSA JOAN HART, DAVID LASCHER

ABC Family’s Q&A with Elisa Donovan & David Lascher – Melissa and Joey

Moderator                           How did you feel when you were approached about being a part of the show, and coming back to work with Melissa Joan Hart?

Elisa                                       I was just thrilled at the whole plan.  At first I didn’t know that David was going to be on the show, and then when I got the script, I just thought, this is just fantastic.  Because there’s obviously such a history between all of us, and to come back and all work together as adults was just fantastic.

We used to talk about very different things, and now we talk about our kids and what schools they’re going to go to. It’s just been a whole different experience, and it was wonderful.  David and I have worked together a ton.  The first show I ever did, the first sitcom I ever did was Blossom, and I don’t think we crossed paths on that, but David was clearly on it.  He was on it for far longer than I was.  But, we have a lot of crossover, David and I.

David                                     And then Clueless we did together. Melissa and I have kept in touch and our families are close, and Elisa and I always keep in touch through text.  When I got called to do the show, I was thrilled to be working with Melissa again, like old friends coming together.  And then I saw that the role was to play Joey’s bitter divorced friend, who has nothing nice to say about married life, and how great his single life is again, and he wants to go out partying and looking for girls.

When Elisa showed up it was just a great reunion.  It was so nice to work together again as grown-ups with a different perspective.

Moderator                           Have you ever been approached to work on any other projects in the past together, as well?

Elisa                                       We haven’t, have we?  I don’t think so.

David                                     No, not since Sabrina, no.

Elisa                                       Right—I get everything sort of crossed in my mind, because I forget thatSabrina and Clueless were—I sort of forget which one came first.  I think Sabrina was the last time.

David                                     Yes.  They were both at Paramount, too, which makes it confusing.

Elisa                                       Right, exactly.  The stages were almost opposite each other, so it all does kind of mesh together.

David                                     It was one long decade.

Moderator                           What are some of your fond memories of working with Melissa on Melissa and Joey and Sabrina?

Elisa                                       Melissa is just a very rare breed of person that has been in the business since she was so young, and yet she’s been able to maintain such a sense of normality and kindness and genuineness about her, and a great spirit.  But yet she’s a total pro.

I just enjoy working with her, and when we did Sabrina I felt more like her big sister, in a sense.  I kind of felt like I was looking out for her—I mean, which is absurd, because I’m not that much older than her.  But I felt sort of maternal towards her, and now we’re far more equals in terms of our families, and it just has been a really nice experience all around.

I’m not sure specifically what I would say, but that’s my general experience.  So, it’s always fun, and she really is—she’s funny and easy and a pro, you really can’t ask for much more than that.

David                                     I remember when we were on Sabrina, it was like a big family.  Melissa’s mom Paula was like—because my family’s back East—was like a mother to us.  And literally, her front door to her house was always open to me and my whole group of friends. I had friends that would go over there for game night when I wasn’t even there.

Everyone would just be coming and going, and Melissa was always having people over, and so were me and my wife, and it was like a big family.

Elisa                                       Yes, they always had Christmas parties.  It was very much like a big family, that’s really true.  Very inclusive, and Melissa always had these Christmas parties for the girls which, sadly, David was not invited to. The manicures and the massages and the music and wine.  It was just super fun, and you showed up in your pajamas.  It was really fun.

David                                     And now we go to CPK with the kids.

Moderator                           What do you both miss most about being on the show Sabrina?

Elisa                                       It’s funny as I look at it now, as I’m older.  I think there was such a magical—obviously, no pun intended—magical quality to this show that is really rare. I’ve had people that have grown up now and tell me how much it meant to them, because it was so extraordinary in that way, and it gave them a sense of creativity and magic, really.  And that part of it now, as a parent, I feel like, “Oh, I would love to be a part of that sort of a show again” where you’re contributing to young kids’ interest and excitement about television and creativity and storytelling.

It’s really fun to work with friends.  When you work on a series like that for a while, you really do, as David said, become a family.  And I miss that part of it, the everyday, being together and laughing, and we have gag reels from that show that are pretty hilarious, that I feel like should be one day aired somewhere.  So, I think those are the things I miss.

David                                     Yes, I also really enjoyed being on a show that played to the younger teenage audience, because really they just enjoy it.  They’re not cynical or jaded about it, the audience just loved the show, and I really loved watching the relationship between my character, Josh, and Sabrina develop from this friendship. I was her boss for my first season, and then watched it develop kind of naturally into a romance over two or three seasons.

It’s really a treat to do that kind of series work where it really spreads out over a number of years, and happens almost in real time.  And also working with such close friends, it was just such a special thing.

Moderator                           If you could guest star on any current show other than Melissa and Joey, what would be your pick?

Elisa                                       Oh, I would say Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Mindy Project.

David                                     Well, I know it’s not on the air anymore, but I just finished watchingBreaking Bad, and I would love to do something on that dark, twisted type of show.  And comedy-wise I would love to do Modern Family.  I think that show’s hilarious and really pushes the envelope.

Elisa                                       Oh, yes.  Modern Family too, I agree. Oh, or also Nashville.  I love Nashville.  I can’t sing, but I can really pretend to sing.  I can lip-sync super, super well.

Moderator                           Who has been your favorite character to play?

Elisa                                       Oh, goodness.  I would say this character Gail Evans.  I did a web series for NBC called In Gail We Trust, and she was a Midwestern insurance agent who basically was a therapist to all of these wacky people in this small town.  I mean, she wasn’t really a therapist, she was an insurance agent, but in selling the insurance she was kind of helping people guide their lives. I loved this character because I just based it on my mom.

So, all of my instincts—and my mom is not from the Midwest, but she has this same very sunny, always positive, a little bit wacky, but very, very positive vibe—you know, would go to any lengths to see the sunny side of things.  So, it was not only really easy for me to play, it was very fun because I just thought of her.

David                                     I’ll say, too, one that’s very dramatic but was very meaningful to me was a movie I did for Starz and Encore called A Call to Remember, with Joe Montegna and Blythe Danner playing my parents who were holocaust survivors.  It takes place in the ‘60s, and it was a true story, and I played the writer of the screenplay, and it was really about the pressure that’s put on second-generation kids of survivors, and how much pressure their parents put on them to make their lives meaningful.  Just working with Joe Montegna and Blythe in such a serious subject matter was one of my highlights.

And then on a more mainstream note, being on Blossom, I got to play over a few years this really tough guy, this Italian guy named Vinny who only Blossom saw a softer side in him.  So, I loved playing a tough guy who had a real soft spot for his girl.

Moderator                           Can you give a brief description of your upcoming roles on Melissa and Joey?

Elisa                                       I play a woman who David’s character and Joey meet in a bar. Joey is being the wing man for David’s character. Then I wind up being the museum curator at an event that Melissa has to attend and speak to me at, and she discovers that the two of us have been in contact, and then you’ll see what happens after that.

David                                     I play Charlie, who is Joey’s recently divorced friend, happily divorced friend, which was so much fun to play, because Joey’s in a committed relationship, and I am constantly talking about how great it is to be single again and find other women attractive again.

Moderator                           What does it mean to you to continue to have such an impact on your fans throughout the years?

Elisa                                       I feel incredibly grateful and humbled by the whole thing, truly, because life moves on and we do all sorts of things. Your life gets bigger, and there are children and family and all of these things involved. I’m constantly amazed at the impact that the work that I’ve done has had on people.  Because I don’t walk around thinking “I’m so-and-so from such-and-such of a project,” I walk around thinking I’m myself, and then I’m approached daily—I mean, this just happened yesterday, I was in the drug store with my daughter.  And of course it usually happens when I have sweatpants on and my hair is up and I’ve got zit cream on my face or something.

But it happens all the time, and I think, wow, it’s a really special thing that we’ve been a part of things that have really shaped people’s—I don’t know about shaped their lives, but just kind of shaped part of their socialization and growing up—I feel it’s really special. I feel like there’s an interesting responsibility to that, and it’s really meaningful, and I love it.  I always love when people come up and say hi, and I never feel bothered by that.  So, it’s special, I think.

David                                     Yes, I agree.  It is a special thing to have been part of somebody’s childhood, and what’s really cool for me is that those audiences from the ‘90s are growing up as we are.  So, more specifically, I have a film that I’ve written and directed that in April is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, which is a whole new endeavor for me, and then in June the Austin Television Festival is having a Hey Dude reunion, which is the first series I ever did on Nickelodeon, and the whole cast is coming back, and all the writers. I’ll be able to go to Austin and promote and tell all these fans of the show who are now in their 20s to look out for this more serious piece of work that I’ve done. It’s great to have those fans that you had when they were younger; they sort of grow up with you and your work.  It’s not like they just go away. It’s a special thing to grow up with your fans that you had when you were younger.  I really appreciate how awesome that is.

Moderator                           Would you guys ever consider doing a formal reunion?

Elisa                                       Oh, sure.  I would love to.

David                                     Yes.

Elisa                                       It’s always fun, and you grow up with your fans, then you all come across each other as adults and then you can find yourselves in similar situations.  It’s just a really nice way for people also to see that actors are normal people too.  That we have lives and we have challenges and we have successes and we have families and we have friends—you know, I just feel like that aspect of it is important, too.

Moderator                           Were there any funny behind-the-scenes moments while filming this episode of Melissa and Joey?

David                                     I had my 11-year-old daughter there who was running around backstage, eating the craft service and hanging out. That was kind of special for me.  And then just being with Joey and Melissa—you know, Joey and I did Blossom for so long, and Melissa from Sabrina, it was almost like having two friends from two different parts of your life in one situation.  It was just surreal, but really in a great way.

Elisa                                       Also, especially having Melissa directing, there was such a shorthand between us because we’ve worked together for so long that it just makes it extra fun, and extra special.

And a funny thing, I think, between the two of them—the two of them as people, Melissa and Joey, have both been in the business for so long, and it’s almost like they have this brother-sister kind of relationship in real life.  It’s sort of funny, because they’re both such professionals and have been doing this for so long, and it’s just fun to work with the two of them together.

Moderator                           If you could pick anyone past or present to work with, who would it be and why?

Elisa                                       I always say Susan Sarandon.  I’m just such a tremendous fan of hers.  I just think she is so talented and so unusual, and has such depth and heart and humor, and I would love to play her daughter.  I would love to play anything opposite her.  And Gary Oldman. That seems so random, but I’ve always loved him, and I think he’s super talented. Matt Damon, I’d love to work with Matt Damon.

David                                     You know what, I’ve been really loving Alexander Payne’s movies, you know SidewaysThe Descendants and Nebraska, and just been thinking a lot about his work lately.  I’d love, as an actor, to work with him.  He’s got such a great voice as a storyteller and a director.  And for an actor, I’d love to work with George Clooney.  He makes it look so easy.

Moderator                           Elisa, how was it being more rivalries with Melissa, instead of her good friend, like on Sabrina?

Elisa                                       Well, it was a change.  Like I said, first of all, just to be playing adults was really nice.  And on Sabrina we were friends, but Morgan was a bit over the top. I would say she was a challenging person to be friends with.

So, in this case it was fun, because as you’ll see in the episode, when we do cross paths in this way, we have an understanding with each other.  It’s more that Joey’s the one that has to answer to the issues at hand.  So that was fun, to not have to be catty about it, but actually to turn it on him, because he’s the one who makes the mistake, really.

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

Elisa                                       Oh, it’s so much fun!  I adore it, I love it, because there is just an unmistakable energy that is in the room from the second that you walk on to set, and it just imbues you with so much energy.  I love it.  It’s like doing theater.

David                                     Yes, it’s really exciting.  The energy—it’s a little nerve-racking.  It’s a nervous energy, but it definitely keeps you awake and makes you bring your best A-game, and when you get a laugh from a live audience, there’s nothing like it.  It brings it to another level.  It’s exciting!

Moderator                           How did your guest appearances on Melissa and Joey kind of get started?

Elisa                                       In my case, they called and asked if I was available to come and do an episode.  I live out of town, so when I work I go down to LA, [it’s usually] for periods of time.  But at that particular moment I was at home in San Francisco.

So, they called and asked if I was available and interested, and I said, of course, and that was that.  And then Melissa e-mailed me and I e-mailed her back, and we were like, “Yay, I’ll see you Wednesday!”

David                                     Yes, me too.  I just got a call saying, “Are you available to do the show?”  And they sent over a script, and my first feeling was like, “Oh, ABC Family, this will be a great kid’s show, my kids will love it.”  And then I read the script and I was like, “Wow, this is edgy!” There’s some edgy subject matters, and it was just really funny.

The scripts are so well written, and I was just thrilled to do it. Then I went back and did a couple more, and it’s just been fun.

Moderator                           Do you have any other projects coming up?

Elisa                                       I am doing a couple of web series at the moment. I’ve done the voice for Cheryl Sandburg’s best-selling book, Lean In.  It came out last year, and they are releasing another book April 8, that is specifically geared toward graduates, Lean In for Graduates.  So, that is available then.

David                                     I’m just finishing my first film that I wrote and directed, called Sister, that’s premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, with Barbara Hershey and Reid Scott and John Heard.  So, I’m really excited about that!

Moderator                           How did the Hey Dude reunion come about?

David                                     This girl Caitlin from Austin Television Festival called me and said that Graham Yost, who was our head writer, was helping her put together a Hey Dude reunion.  I guess they do a reunion every year of an older show, and she said that everyone in the cast is coming back, and it’s going to be on June 5 at the Austin Television Festival.  So I’m excited!

Moderator                           [Elisa] How does it make you feel to know that you are such a role model to young ladies?

Elisa                                       Oh, thank you so much!  I really feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but it’s really my pleasure to share my experience with girls, because I feel incredibly lucky that I have overcome the challenges that I have in my life, and I feel like it’s just vital for young girls to understand that their individuality and their brain and their spirit and their goals and their vision and their creativity are the things that matter, and their exteriors are secondary.

We live in a society where that is just very, very difficult to remember.  So, I just really like to remind them, as often as possible.  My advice would be to continue to cultivate your spirit and your mind and your intelligence and your expression, and to go forward with strength, and that is what will make you most beautiful.

Moderator                           Are you fans of the Disney Theme Parks?

David                                     Oh yes, my kids love it!

Elisa                                       I haven’t brought Scarlet yet, because she’s not quite two, but I have been told by all of my friends that Disney Parks are going to become my good friend.

David                                     Oh, yes.  There’s no way around it.

Moderator                           What’s your favorite Disney Park around the world?

Elisa                                       Disneyland.

David                                     Disneyland.

Moderator                           What’s your favorite Disney ride or attraction?

Elisa                                       Pirates of the Caribbean.

David                                     Small World.

Moderator                           What is your favorite food or restaurant, within a Disney Park?

David                                     I think we ate at Downtown Disney last time.

Elisa                                       I loved the Mickey Mouse shaped popsicles!

Moderator                           What is your favorite Disney character?

David                                     I would say Ariel. I have two daughters, so I know every song in her repertoire.

Elisa                                       I would say Ariel also.

Moderator                           How did the cast welcome you all to the show?

Elisa                                       Oh, with huge open arms!  I was so excited, I felt like I’ve never had such a warm welcome from every direction, because not only did I know Melissa, Joey and David beforehand, and Paula (Melissa’s mom), obviously, there also were other crew members that had worked on Sabrina. David Kendall, who created the show, worked on Clueless, the series.  So he and I had known one another for years, and it was just like this continual, happy, hugging, laughing, wonderful environment.

It was a complete joy to me.  I mean, I’ve never had that experience before where everywhere I turned was like, “Hey, how are you?”  And then on the stage across the way, Donald Faison was shooting his show, and I just thought, this is just madness, this is just so much fun, everywhere I look.

David                                     Yes, there was a lot of hugs and a lot of laughs.

Moderator                           Who would you guys say was the biggest jokester on set?

David                                     Myself, Elisa, Joey and Melissa were just cracking each other up the whole time, just bringing up old stories.

Elisa                                       We were just laughing the whole time.

Don’t forget to tune-in to ABC Family’s comedy Wednesday’s at 8/7c for all-new episodes of Melissa & Joey! And for more information about the cast and upcoming episodes, click here.

 

ABC Family: Elisa Donovan & David Lascher – Melissa & Joey

Key Art

ABC Family’s Q&A with

Elisa Donovan & David Lascher 

Melissa and Joey

 

Moderator                           How did you feel when you were approached about being a part of the show, and coming back to work with Melissa Joan Hart?

Elisa                                       I was just thrilled at the whole plan.  At first I didn’t know that David was going to be on the show, and then when I got the script, I just thought, this is just fantastic.  Because there’s obviously such a history between all of us, and to come back and all work together as adults was just fantastic.

We used to talk about very different things, and now we talk about our kids and what schools they’re going to go to. It’s just been a whole different experience, and it was wonderful.  David and I have worked together a ton.  The first show I ever did, the first sitcom I ever did was Blossom, and I don’t think we crossed paths on that, but David was clearly on it.  He was on it for far longer than I was.  But, we have a lot of crossover, David and I.

David                                     And then Clueless we did together. Melissa and I have kept in touch and our families are close, and Elisa and I always keep in touch through text.  When I got called to do the show, I was thrilled to be working with Melissa again, like old friends coming together.  And then I saw that the role was to play Joey’s bitter divorced friend, who has nothing nice to say about married life, and how great his single life is again, and he wants to go out partying and looking for girls.

When Elisa showed up it was just a great reunion.  It was so nice to work together again as grown-ups with a different perspective.

Moderator                           Have you ever been approached to work on any other projects in the past together, as well?

Elisa                                       We haven’t, have we?  I don’t think so.

David                                     No, not since Sabrina, no.

Elisa                                       Right—I get everything sort of crossed in my mind, because I forget that Sabrina and Clueless were—I sort of forget which one came first.  I think Sabrina was the last time.

David                                     Yes.  They were both at Paramount, too, which makes it confusing.

Elisa                                       Right, exactly.  The stages were almost opposite each other, so it all does kind of mesh together.

David                                     It was one long decade.

Moderator                           What are some of your fond memories of working with Melissa on Melissa and Joey and Sabrina?

Elisa                                       Melissa is just a very rare breed of person that has been in the business since she was so young, and yet she’s been able to maintain such a sense of normality and kindness and genuineness about her, and a great spirit.  But yet she’s a total pro.

I just enjoy working with her, and when we did Sabrina I felt more like her big sister, in a sense.  I kind of felt like I was looking out for her—I mean, which is absurd, because I’m not that much older than her.  But I felt sort of maternal towards her, and now we’re far more equals in terms of our families, and it just has been a really nice experience all around.

I’m not sure specifically what I would say, but that’s my general experience.  So, it’s always fun, and she really is—she’s funny and easy and a pro, you really can’t ask for much more than that.

David                                     I remember when we were on Sabrina, it was like a big family.  Melissa’s mom Paula was like—because my family’s back East—was like a mother to us.  And literally, her front door to her house was always open to me and my whole group of friends. I had friends that would go over there for game night when I wasn’t even there.

Everyone would just be coming and going, and Melissa was always having people over, and so were me and my wife, and it was like a big family.

Elisa                                       Yes, they always had Christmas parties.  It was very much like a big family, that’s really true.  Very inclusive, and Melissa always had these Christmas parties for the girls which, sadly, David was not invited to. The manicures and the massages and the music and wine.  It was just super fun, and you showed up in your pajamas.  It was really fun.

David                                     And now we go to CPK with the kids.

Moderator                           What do you both miss most about being on the show Sabrina?

Elisa                                       It’s funny as I look at it now, as I’m older.  I think there was such a magical—obviously, no pun intended—magical quality to this show that is really rare. I’ve had people that have grown up now and tell me how much it meant to them, because it was so extraordinary in that way, and it gave them a sense of creativity and magic, really.  And that part of it now, as a parent, I feel like, “Oh, I would love to be a part of that sort of a show again” where you’re contributing to young kids’ interest and excitement about television and creativity and storytelling.

It’s really fun to work with friends.  When you work on a series like that for a while, you really do, as David said, become a family.  And I miss that part of it, the everyday, being together and laughing, and we have gag reels from that show that are pretty hilarious, that I feel like should be one day aired somewhere.  So, I think those are the things I miss.

David                                     Yes, I also really enjoyed being on a show that played to the younger teenage audience, because really they just enjoy it.  They’re not cynical or jaded about it, the audience just loved the show, and I really loved watching the relationship between my character, Josh, and Sabrina develop from this friendship. I was her boss for my first season, and then watched it develop kind of naturally into a romance over two or three seasons.

It’s really a treat to do that kind of series work where it really spreads out over a number of years, and happens almost in real time.  And also working with such close friends, it was just such a special thing.

Moderator                           If you could guest star on any current show other than Melissa and Joey, what would be your pick?

Elisa                                       Oh, I would say Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Mindy Project.

David                                     Well, I know it’s not on the air anymore, but I just finished watching Breaking Bad, and I would love to do something on that dark, twisted type of show.  And comedy-wise I would love to do Modern Family.  I think that show’s hilarious and really pushes the envelope.

Elisa                                       Oh, yes.  Modern Family too, I agree. Oh, or also Nashville.  I love Nashville.  I can’t sing, but I can really pretend to sing.  I can lip-sync super, super well.

Moderator                           Who has been your favorite character to play?

Elisa                                       Oh, goodness.  I would say this character Gail Evans.  I did a web series for NBC called In Gail We Trust, and she was a Midwestern insurance agent who basically was a therapist to all of these wacky people in this small town.  I mean, she wasn’t really a therapist, she was an insurance agent, but in selling the insurance she was kind of helping people guide their lives. I loved this character because I just based it on my mom.

So, all of my instincts—and my mom is not from the Midwest, but she has this same very sunny, always positive, a little bit wacky, but very, very positive vibe—you know, would go to any lengths to see the sunny side of things.  So, it was not only really easy for me to play, it was very fun because I just thought of her.

David                                     I’ll say, too, one that’s very dramatic but was very meaningful to me was a movie I did for Starz and Encore called A Call to Remember, with Joe Montegna and Blythe Danner playing my parents who were holocaust survivors.  It takes place in the ‘60s, and it was a true story, and I played the writer of the screenplay, and it was really about the pressure that’s put on second-generation kids of survivors, and how much pressure their parents put on them to make their lives meaningful.  Just working with Joe Montegna and Blythe in such a serious subject matter was one of my highlights.

And then on a more mainstream note, being on Blossom, I got to play over a few years this really tough guy, this Italian guy named Vinny who only Blossom saw a softer side in him.  So, I loved playing a tough guy who had a real soft spot for his girl.

Moderator                           Can you give a brief description of your upcoming roles on Melissa and Joey?

Elisa                                       I play a woman who David’s character and Joey meet in a bar. Joey is being the wing man for David’s character. Then I wind up being the museum curator at an event that Melissa has to attend and speak to me at, and she discovers that the two of us have been in contact, and then you’ll see what happens after that.

David                                     I play Charlie, who is Joey’s recently divorced friend, happily divorced friend, which was so much fun to play, because Joey’s in a committed relationship, and I am constantly talking about how great it is to be single again and find other women attractive again.

Moderator                           What does it mean to you to continue to have such an impact on your fans throughout the years?

Elisa                                       I feel incredibly grateful and humbled by the whole thing, truly, because life moves on and we do all sorts of things. Your life gets bigger, and there are children and family and all of these things involved. I’m constantly amazed at the impact that the work that I’ve done has had on people.  Because I don’t walk around thinking “I’m so-and-so from such-and-such of a project,” I walk around thinking I’m myself, and then I’m approached daily—I mean, this just happened yesterday, I was in the drug store with my daughter.  And of course it usually happens when I have sweatpants on and my hair is up and I’ve got zit cream on my face or something.

But it happens all the time, and I think, wow, it’s a really special thing that we’ve been a part of things that have really shaped people’s—I don’t know about shaped their lives, but just kind of shaped part of their socialization and growing up—I feel it’s really special. I feel like there’s an interesting responsibility to that, and it’s really meaningful, and I love it.  I always love when people come up and say hi, and I never feel bothered by that.  So, it’s special, I think.

David                                     Yes, I agree.  It is a special thing to have been part of somebody’s childhood, and what’s really cool for me is that those audiences from the ‘90s are growing up as we are.  So, more specifically, I have a film that I’ve written and directed that in April is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, which is a whole new endeavor for me, and then in June the Austin Television Festival is having a Hey Dude reunion, which is the first series I ever did on Nickelodeon, and the whole cast is coming back, and all the writers. I’ll be able to go to Austin and promote and tell all these fans of the show who are now in their 20s to look out for this more serious piece of work that I’ve done. It’s great to have those fans that you had when they were younger; they sort of grow up with you and your work.  It’s not like they just go away. It’s a special thing to grow up with your fans that you had when you were younger.  I really appreciate how awesome that is.

Moderator                           Would you guys ever consider doing a formal reunion?

Elisa                                       Oh, sure.  I would love to.

David                                     Yes.

Elisa                                       It’s always fun, and you grow up with your fans, then you all come across each other as adults and then you can find yourselves in similar situations.  It’s just a really nice way for people also to see that actors are normal people too.  That we have lives and we have challenges and we have successes and we have families and we have friends—you know, I just feel like that aspect of it is important, too.

Moderator                           Were there any funny behind-the-scenes moments while filming this episode of Melissa and Joey?

David                                     I had my 11-year-old daughter there who was running around backstage, eating the craft service and hanging out. That was kind of special for me.  And then just being with Joey and Melissa—you know, Joey and I did Blossom for so long, and Melissa from Sabrina, it was almost like having two friends from two different parts of your life in one situation.  It was just surreal, but really in a great way.

Elisa                                       Also, especially having Melissa directing, there was such a shorthand between us because we’ve worked together for so long that it just makes it extra fun, and extra special.

And a funny thing, I think, between the two of them—the two of them as people, Melissa and Joey, have both been in the business for so long, and it’s almost like they have this brother-sister kind of relationship in real life.  It’s sort of funny, because they’re both such professionals and have been doing this for so long, and it’s just fun to work with the two of them together.

Moderator                           If you could pick anyone past or present to work with, who would it be and why?

Elisa                                       I always say Susan Sarandon.  I’m just such a tremendous fan of hers.  I just think she is so talented and so unusual, and has such depth and heart and humor, and I would love to play her daughter.  I would love to play anything opposite her.  And Gary Oldman. That seems so random, but I’ve always loved him, and I think he’s super talented. Matt Damon, I’d love to work with Matt Damon.

David                                     You know what, I’ve been really loving Alexander Payne’s movies, you know Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska, and just been thinking a lot about his work lately.  I’d love, as an actor, to work with him.  He’s got such a great voice as a storyteller and a director.  And for an actor, I’d love to work with George Clooney.  He makes it look so easy.

Moderator                           Elisa, how was it being more rivalries with Melissa, instead of her good friend, like on Sabrina?

Elisa                                       Well, it was a change.  Like I said, first of all, just to be playing adults was really nice.  And on Sabrina we were friends, but Morgan was a bit over the top. I would say she was a challenging person to be friends with.

So, in this case it was fun, because as you’ll see in the episode, when we do cross paths in this way, we have an understanding with each other.  It’s more that Joey’s the one that has to answer to the issues at hand.  So that was fun, to not have to be catty about it, but actually to turn it on him, because he’s the one who makes the mistake, really.

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

Elisa                                       Oh, it’s so much fun!  I adore it, I love it, because there is just an unmistakable energy that is in the room from the second that you walk on to set, and it just imbues you with so much energy.  I love it.  It’s like doing theater.

David                                     Yes, it’s really exciting.  The energy—it’s a little nerve-racking.  It’s a nervous energy, but it definitely keeps you awake and makes you bring your best A-game, and when you get a laugh from a live audience, there’s nothing like it.  It brings it to another level.  It’s exciting!

Moderator                           How did your guest appearances on Melissa and Joey kind of get started?

Elisa                                       In my case, they called and asked if I was available to come and do an episode.  I live out of town, so when I work I go down to LA, [it’s usually] for periods of time.  But at that particular moment I was at home in San Francisco.

So, they called and asked if I was available and interested, and I said, of course, and that was that.  And then Melissa e-mailed me and I e-mailed her back, and we were like, “Yay, I’ll see you Wednesday!”

David                                     Yes, me too.  I just got a call saying, “Are you available to do the show?”  And they sent over a script, and my first feeling was like, “Oh, ABC Family, this will be a great kid’s show, my kids will love it.”  And then I read the script and I was like, “Wow, this is edgy!” There’s some edgy subject matters, and it was just really funny.

The scripts are so well written, and I was just thrilled to do it. Then I went back and did a couple more, and it’s just been fun.

Moderator                           Do you have any other projects coming up?

Elisa                                       I am doing a couple of web series at the moment. I’ve done the voice for Cheryl Sandburg’s best-selling book, Lean In.  It came out last year, and they are releasing another book April 8, that is specifically geared toward graduates, Lean In for Graduates.  So, that is available then.

David                                     I’m just finishing my first film that I wrote and directed, called Sister, that’s premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, with Barbara Hershey and Reid Scott and John Heard.  So, I’m really excited about that!

Moderator                           How did the Hey Dude reunion come about?

David                                     This girl Caitlin from Austin Television Festival called me and said that Graham Yost, who was our head writer, was helping her put together a Hey Dude reunion.  I guess they do a reunion every year of an older show, and she said that everyone in the cast is coming back, and it’s going to be on June 5 at the Austin Television Festival.  So I’m excited!

Moderator                           [Elisa] How does it make you feel to know that you are such a role model to young ladies?

Elisa                                       Oh, thank you so much!  I really feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but it’s really my pleasure to share my experience with girls, because I feel incredibly lucky that I have overcome the challenges that I have in my life, and I feel like it’s just vital for young girls to understand that their individuality and their brain and their spirit and their goals and their vision and their creativity are the things that matter, and their exteriors are secondary.

We live in a society where that is just very, very difficult to remember.  So, I just really like to remind them, as often as possible.  My advice would be to continue to cultivate your spirit and your mind and your intelligence and your expression, and to go forward with strength, and that is what will make you most beautiful.

Moderator                           Are you fans of the Disney Theme Parks?

David                                     Oh yes, my kids love it!

Elisa                                       I haven’t brought Scarlet yet, because she’s not quite two, but I have been told by all of my friends that Disney Parks are going to become my good friend.

David                                     Oh, yes.  There’s no way around it.

Moderator                           What’s your favorite Disney Park around the world?

Elisa                                       Disneyland.

David                                     Disneyland.

Moderator                           What’s your favorite Disney ride or attraction?

Elisa                                       Pirates of the Caribbean.

David                                     Small World.

Moderator                           What is your favorite food or restaurant, within a Disney Park?

David                                     I think we ate at Downtown Disney last time.

Elisa                                       I loved the Mickey Mouse shaped popsicles!

Moderator                           What is your favorite Disney character?

David                                     I would say Ariel. I have two daughters, so I know every song in her repertoire.

Elisa                                       I would say Ariel also.

Moderator                           How did the cast welcome you all to the show?

Elisa                                       Oh, with huge open arms!  I was so excited, I felt like I’ve never had such a warm welcome from every direction, because not only did I know Melissa, Joey and David beforehand, and Paula (Melissa’s mom), obviously, there also were other crew members that had worked on Sabrina. David Kendall, who created the show, worked on Clueless, the series.  So he and I had known one another for years, and it was just like this continual, happy, hugging, laughing, wonderful environment.

It was a complete joy to me.  I mean, I’ve never had that experience before where everywhere I turned was like, “Hey, how are you?”  And then on the stage across the way, Donald Faison was shooting his show, and I just thought, this is just madness, this is just so much fun, everywhere I look.

David                                     Yes, there was a lot of hugs and a lot of laughs.

Moderator                           Who would you guys say was the biggest jokester on set?

David                                     Myself, Elisa, Joey and Melissa were just cracking each other up the whole time, just bringing up old stories.

Elisa                                       We were just laughing the whole time.

Don’t forget to tune-in to ABC Family’s comedy Wednesday’s at 8/7c for all-new episodes of Melissa & Joey!

 

 

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