So, I know you just saw that photo shoot interview last week, but as it happens, I caught up with Annie on her almost-last day on set for Season 10 and we got to have a nice leisurely chat:
So at the end of a season, does it feel sort of like summer vacation now?
Yeah! Despite the fact that it's freezing here. But yeah, it's definitely weird, everyone's saying bye. And it's like cleaning out our lockers -- we're getting our various things from wardrobe. And the things we've left in our dressing rooms this whole season, we finally have to take home -- I keep leaving this travel mug of tea here and not wanting to deal with it and now I finally have to bring it home. But we'll be back in a few months.
I read on the twitters that you just graduated high school! Congratulations!
Yes, I just went to my commencement ceremony; it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. And it was nice that Epitome gave me the whole day off, too, so I could go see my old high school friends and everything.
Why is your high school commencement in October?
The universities here do their commencements in the fall, so I think my school is just trying to be more collegiate? It's always been a tradition. Which is nice, because it's kind of like our five-month reunion -- we get to see what everyone's been up to since they went off to university.
So it was a normal graduation -- you got to wear a cap and gown and everything.
I did, and I threw it up in the air... it was such a classic, TV graduation.! And then I get to graduate on Degrassi too so I can have a real TV graduation!
Since Fiona has one of the best wardrobes on Degrassi, was moving over to the uniforms difficult for you?
You know what, it was, but Fiona jazzes up the uniforms. With headbands, and -- everyone always complains because Fiona's skirt is the only one that's soo much shorter than the other girls'. And she's bending the rules a bit -- everyone has these black flats and Fiona's have these little heels attached. She's trying to add her own flair to it. But for me as an actor, I actually love the uniforms because, as I'm sure people notice, Fiona has so many "things"! She has so many accessories; it gets exhausting to take on and off sometimes. So with the uniform I only have to change like, my pants or my skirt.
I also saw on the twitters that you actually sit down and watch Degrassi on Friday nights, right?
Yeah, out of the cast I'm the one who's the biggest Degrassi fan. I've seen every one multiple times, of all the seasons. I love to see how they turn out -- because we only read through them once in the readthroughs and I don't read them again after that. And even though it's hard watching myself, I love it.
Do you have certain people you want to watch with, or like rules about whether you can talk during the show?
I definitely don't want interruptions, and everyone has to sing along with the theme song with me. My parents are obsessed with it, too; they'll watch it even when I'm not there. Even if I'm not in the episode, they DVR it and watch it together. But as for who I watch with, I'm not picky, the more the merrier.
So, it's been so long since we talked, and so much has happened. I mean... going back to Fiona and Bobby... what was it like to film the violent scenes? Did you do any stunts?
We had a stunt double for the stairs scene, because I mean... pretty brutal. But I did have to get into the position she landed in, and then flip out of it, but also be crying like I had just been thrown down the stairs. Those episodes were actually my favorite to shoot; those four were the most amazing experience. And Ben Lewis, who played Bobby is the nicest guy I've ever met. I can't believe what a great actor he is because when I watch those episodes I'm like, "You're terrible!" Such a great guy. But I was excited about being in those episodes because, me being a Degrassi fan, it was great to get to tackle one of the main teen issues.
How do you feel about Finn's wardrobe?
That's one thing about Finn's character that I love, is that he's not shy about his clothes. His fashion sense is like -- he's all in his own world. Whatever he sees that catches his eye he'll go get it and wear it. And he can pull it off! I couldn't go out in half of the things he wears.
Could you pull off the red plaid windbreaker in real life?
Oh yeah, I could pull off the windbreaker! That's the one thing I had to make sure to take home, 'cause I really like that windbreaker. That's in my closet right now!
So, when Walt was at that party and was trying to neg on girls... please tell me that that doesn't actually happen as much as I worry that it happens.
(Laughs) No, that doesn't happen that much. That was such a fun thing to shoot, Tony and I were dying the whole time. 'Cause Finn was just crashing and burning talking to those girls.
I know there have got to be guys who take it seriously... do you have any guy friends who actually believe in it?
No, none of my friends believe that negging works. But when we were shooting it, the writer Marti Noxon gave me a negging book, and it's some funny stuff in there! People really take that stuff serious!
While Finn is not awesome at talking to girls yet... when you were his age, were you any good at it?
No, I was pretty much almost the same. Trying to figure out where to start the conversation or what to talk about. That awkward stage. I know all males, when they go back to like 16, 17 -- they're gonna remember that. They're gonna know how that feels. I remember that phase.
What's your dream role?
Hmm. I really want to do an action movie. That's been in the back of my head for a minute now.
Would you want to do your own stunts?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah ,I love doing my own stunts. 'Cause I might get to do something I would never be able to do again -- just to say that I'd done it! I wouldn't do the extreme things, I'd let the pros do what they're supposed to do. But I like it; one time when we were doing LOST I was supposed to be getting carried from one boat to another. And I was scared, 'cause we were way deep in the ocean, but it was fun.
So, when you were on LOST, did they send you to like, media training boot camp with cattle prods? Because it seems like every interview you did, people were trying to get you to tell secrets.
Almost every interview, I swear! But I held my ground. I didn't go through any boot camp or anything; I just kept it real under wraps.
OK, I hope you're not sick of talking about this, but there's so much online about how you had a growth spurt while you were on LOST. And like... as a teen guy, I'm sure you were psyched that you were growing, like "Yes, I'm getting taller!" But as an actor... was there any weird pressure or did you ever just feel bad that you were growing?
I mean, especially being young... I really didn't know what was going on. You know, my character's being kidnapped and I didn't really know the whole reason behind everything. And I was hearing different stuff, like it was my growth spurt, and my voice -- which I understand. But just at the time, it was like, "I hope I wasn't doing anything wrong." I definitely get it now, but at the time... no one ever wants to leave a show like that. I wasn't mad, but I was definitely kind of sad that I left. But hey, it also led me to Gigantic!
Behold! The first scene of the last episode this fall... and Jenna's pregnancy has given her magical powers of mind-reading! Orrr it's made her a little cray-cray.
Click here to watch! (Sorry, something went weird with the embedded player. I know clicking is a lot of work, but I believe in you!)
On top of playing Nicest Dude On Degrassi right now... maybe he deserves the Nicest Eyes title, too? Best Skinny Jeans Wearer? Here's yr pics, load up.
Has your experience been anything like Maggie's? Do you relate to her struggle to make it in Hollywood?
Definitely. I've been doing the acting thing since I was 10; I'm 19 now. It's definitely tough. And Maggie has this need to do it. Which made it easy to play her, because I have this love for the acting business and could never imagine myself doing anything else. And when you love something so much, it pulls you through. Even though it's hard sometimes because there's so much rejection that goes along with it. There's more rejection than success.
Yeah, and when you're at such a tender age and you're so sensitive -- did your parents try to protect you from the pain of that rejection and have to give you pep talks?
Yeah, there would be times when I would come home crying because a casting director was just flat out like, "I don't like you." And I'd let it get to me for a while. It's disheartening... there are the few that want to help and the few that just don't care and don't take into account what you're feeling. And we'd be driving home and my mom would say, "That's just some people. You can't let that determine how the rest of your acting career is going to go." My parents have definitely been those people who are constantly pepping me up. Same with my brother.
I read in your bio that your whole family moved out to LA with you so you could act.
Yes! I lived in Atlanta, GA -- well, a small town outside of it, no one ever knows what Cumming, GA is. And I made a deal with my family that said, if I book the lead in a movie by the time I'm 11, then we have to move out to California. It was a joke that I had with my parents, "I'm gonna book something before my birthday!" And I booked The Adventures of Ociee Nash two weeks after my birthday and I remember going, "Well, it still counts!"
It took us a little while, but it was my 13th birthday when we crossed the border into California. Me and my twin brother and my sister and my mom and dad. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies with our dog and our lizards and everything we owned in our van. It was an amazing spontaneous thing that my family did with me.
How did your brother and sister feel about this deal?
I mean, it was just a joke! And then when I did book something I was like, "Well, actually... this could work." My sister was all for it, my brother not so much at first. But now he's a surfer and a musician and he loves California.
So, do you think it would bother you if paparazzi showed up and accosted you somewhere or would you find it kind of exciting?
I think I would find it kind of exciting -- at first. I'm sure it gets old. But I think it would be interesting -- you never get lonely! You always have company, which would be nice if you ever need an extra quarter in the meter.
Yeah, "Does anyone have a band-aid?"
It's been a long time! Actually, that's a lie, I've probably talked to you and Ray more recently than anyone else...
It feels like forever though, it's been a long season.
So. What's your take on what happened between Holly J and Declan.
I thought it was a very interesting turn for their story to take. Him coming back I thought would either be really good or really bad... What I like about it is that both characters are sort of in the right and in the wrong. They're both making a mistake and they both have good intentions. So I thought it was really interesting. It wasn't black or white, it's very much a gray issue.
The scene where you're leaving the condo, and you've got that horrible tight smile on your face; it was heartbreaking. When you're doing a scene like that, is it about getting into the emotion of what's going on and then whatever happens on your face just happens, or do you decide how your face is going to look because that's how you're conveying it to the audience?
That's a really interesting question... you know, the actorly thing to say is that I was swept up in the moment and whatever happens happens. But sometimes it is conscious; you kind of decide the way you want it to look. And you know your face, so there could be an expression that you think would convey it the best.
That was really a tough scene, because I was getting notes to play it happy -- like she was going out of her way to make things seem normal. And then, we have TVs all around the production office so whatever we're shooting on set, the writers and producers see. And I think some feedback came back that I was maybe looking too convincing? So we made it more forced. It was a very nuanced sort of scene.
You went to high school with Munro right? Can you tell the world what he was like in high school?
Uh... (she's cracking up) ...short? That's what sticks out in my mind but he would hate me for saying that! Annie [Clark]'s laughing. He's a year younger than me so I was in grade 10 and he was in grade 9, and it was one of those things where people would always try and bring the two of us together. I'd get swept over into a corner and they'd be like, "You have to meet my friend!" And they'd bring over Munro and be like, "You guys are both on TV! Talk amongst yourselves!" And we'd be like, "Uhhh..."
But he's actually the nephew of one of my mom's best friends. So I've known about Munro and his twin Thomas for a long time. They were just these energetic and like I said, fairly short, crazy twins who were on TV. That's how I knew them. But I've definitely gotten closer to Munro since then. I phoned him up when I found out he was joining the show and was like "Welcome to Degrassi!"
Are you still in school?
I actually took the semester off, which is probably the smartest thing I've done in... Time. The other years I was doing both for the fall months. So this year I've just been focusing on work, at Degrassi, and I should be going back to school in January. I have a year left and change.
Actually, here's some news: Annie and I are going to visit Judi Jiao, who played Leia! She's at Harvard, so we're going to visit and I'm just gonna pretend to go there for a little while.
Oh my God, what are you gonna wear to Harvard!
Right? We keep buying tweed and scholastic looking clothes so we can look totally Bostony.
Hey, do you keep in touch with Paula Brancati? I've been curious about how she's doing.
Yeah, she's everywhere in Toronto, she's always doing plays, her theatre career is taking off since Degrassi and we keep in touch with her. She's so talented and awesome and kind and... she's perfect, pretty much.
Are you almost wrapped for the season?
We just wrapped our last scene, and Annie and I come back next week to do some cheerleading scenes for some minisodes. So we've got that, and then wrap party, and then a bunch of us are going to Cuba! Munro included! For fun -- this is the first non-school-building trip I've done in years. We're just relaxing on the beach this time.
- Posted on 11/16/2010 by Mary
So, in case it doesn't come through properly in the text, Munro has a total sense of humor and was joking (often self-deprecatingly) during much of this interview. Also, fyi, I'm not psychic -- we were talking via Skype, which is why I could tell what was in his bedroom. And without further ado...
So, the last time I saw you was in Toronto when you guys were shooting the carnival video, Boiling Point hadn't aired, no one in America really understood what was coming yet... has life become any different for you since becoming America's Sweetheart?
First of all, I am not America's Sweetheart! It's very sweet for people to say that. But it's just so much fun. Just for myself, as an actor, I feel like I've grown. Because for every job you take, you should grow; you should move forward as an actor. But for me personally, I still... I don't like, go to celeb parties and drink martinis, I don't know.
Do you wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say, "You know, I have 28,000 twitter followers."
You know I do sometimes? (laughs) No, it's nice; it's so humbling to have people support what you do so intensely. It was an achievement for the 28,000... it's 29 now, just, by the way, let's set the record straight. But trending was an amazing moment.
It was amazing, especially the day after the Emmys to be, like on the world scale -- not that I'm counting -- for the entire 8 hours Munro Chambers was 5th and The Emmys were 7th, so it was kind of surreal.
Oh... My God.
Yeah, it was kinda strange. It was one of those things where it's like, "OK, pat on the back, that's cool." But like anything else, it's really exciting and then the next day it's like "OK, back to work."
Yeah, back to 6am wake up calls.
So, have you been to the US since the Boiling Point aired?
No, I've been meaning to go to NY because my cousin goes to school there, but I haven't been able to get down. All I've heard from Charlotte and Aislinn and everyone is just that they maul you. Where, in Toronto, it's more like you get the off look... like they glance at you and kind of realize.
You have an identical twin brother right? Does he ever get any Eli stuff now in public?
Yeah, he gets it... We have this place in Toronto called Wonderland, it's like Six Flags, and he did the trampoline diving show there -- he's a nationally ranked trampolinist, 10th in the world, actually. He just came back from Japan. So we're really so proud of him. But anyway, he has a totally different look than I do, but he gets recognized. And he's very much not the, like "yay!" embrace it kind of deal. He's like "Yup, that's my brother."
So what's your favorite thing about playing Eli?
Definitely just how complex the character is. There are so many different layers to him. On one level he's very suave and intelligent, but he's also very dark and has lots of secrets... Very complex, very mysterious, and very different from any character I've ever played before.
What do and don't you have in common with him?
We're very different people in a lot of senses I think. But the one thing we have in common is our sense of protection for the people we love.
So how was it on set the day Aislinn got into her Bizarro-Clare wardrobe?
I was scared! I didn't know who it was! I was like, "That is NOT AISLINN!" It was an eerie time for all of us.
You have a lot of New York paraphernalia in your bedroom...
Yeah, I love New York. Part of me kind of loves it because of Oliver and Company. Love that movie. I gotta say it.
And New York is just like that in real life!
It got cats! Stealing sausages. I base my life around Disney movies. My two favorite movies of all time are Lion King -- 'cause you know, it's dope -- and Raging Bull. They're two different movies, but you can relate them. You know? Why not? The best of the best, I say.
- Posted on 11/16/2010 by Mary
Argy is our sunshine -- he is seriously the most positive, smiley guy on Earth. And also sometimes he is upside down, as you can see.
- Posted on 11/15/2010 by Mary
Our gift to you, because we care, and because the holidays are almost sort of close-ish if you squint: three giant photographs of the boy they call Sam, since picking only one was too hard.
- Posted on 11/15/2010 by Mary
This week, to celebrate the fall finales of Degrassi and Gigantic coming up on Friday, I think we should drop an avalanche of interviews and photos on you via this here blog. Are we in agreement? First up: the sweet, lovely, and always very patient with my technical difficulties Aislinn Paul.
So, it sounds on the Twitters like you've been really busy... are you in the middle of exams or anything?
No, it's just that... I'm away at Degrassi, and then I come back to school and I'm in my dance classes and I'm doing projects for classes and it's just been crazy!
Do you sleep OK? That would keep me up at night, having that much to do.
I actually don't sleep very well. (laughs) I get by on my coffee...
And on top of all of that, you respond to what appears to be every tweet that you get, but it can't possibly be, because how could you possibly find the time?
It's not even close to all of the ones I get. I try my best, and I like developing relationships with some people -- like there are some I'll always respond to because they're always saying stuff that's really awesome -- and I try to keep up with new people too... I wish I could respond to them all, I really do. I hope they know that I doread them all.
Which in itself is a feat... do you block out a time every night where you're like "I'm going to do this for half hour and then I CAN'T DO ANYMORE."
I do actually! Sometimes if I have something interesting to say -- I don't often have something interesting to say, my life isn't that interesting, but -- sometimes I'll block out half an hour and say, "I'll be on the computer until 11." Of course it always ends up being 11:30... but it works pretty well.
So let's talk about Clare's family upheaval; it's something so many people, a good chunk of the population can relate to. Do you have any friends who have gone through divorce?
Yeah. That's actually one of the reasons I'm so excited about doing this storyline; it's true, so many kids can relate to this. I had a bunch of friends growing up whose parents were getting divorced, and buying new houses so they had to move every weekend. I'm really fortunate that my parents haven't split up. But just from having been around it a lot... being a person going through that on TV was an honor, as an actor.
One thing I think people love about Clare is that she's super relatable -- people can feel like "that's me up on that screen" -- and she got to date two of the hottest guys on Degrassi. How do you feel about Munro's overnight heartthrob status?
We all knew. We all knew when he came on the show, because he looks the way he does, and he plays the mysterious character you want to cuddle and make feel better; the classic damaged boy that all the girls want to fix. And he's also an amazing actor, so that really helps. We've had so much fun working together.
Do you miss working with Sam Earle? You guys must not have any more scenes together!
That's actually something we've both been reminiscing about! We've been having little moments of nostalgia thinking back to Klare with a K. Funny enough, back when we were a couple on the show, we were just work friends. But the further apart our characters have gotten on the show, the better friends we've become in real life -- we actually live really close to each other in the city and we're hanging out all the time. And now that we're great friends, we never see each other at work!
So like when Clare and KC broke up... what are the emotions of an actor going through a character break up?
It's kind of scary! 'Cause you just sort of look over to this person and you say, "Well, bye! We won't be working together again I guess!" Because with friendships and stuff, like with Melinda and I, there are episodes where we don't have scenes together, but we know that's an always-existing relationship. We're best friends on the show and we know we'll always come back to each other unless we have a big fight. But with a breakup... in real life, it takes some healing time where you can't see that person. And if you're lucky, you can be friends with that person again, but sometimes you can't really be around them. So all of the sudden, someone you don't have a problem with in real life you have to have a problem with on TV. It's kind of a scary emotional thing! But like I said I think we're dealing well, we've stayed friends.