Blog | interviews

  • Charlotte Arnold (aka Holly J) Interview!

    Posted on 11/17/2010 by Mary

    Charlotte Arnold of Degrassi 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.

  • Munro Chambers Interview!

    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...

    Munro Chambers from Degrassi 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.

    Seriously!!
    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.
    Exactly.

    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.

  • Aislinn Paul (Degrassi's Clare) Interview!

    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.

    Aislinn Paul from Degrassi 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.

  • Interview with Annie Clark (aka Degrassi's Fiona)

    Posted on 11/12/2010 by Mary

    Check out these clips of Annie "Fiona" Clark on the set of a Degrassi cast photo shoot... talking accessories, acting, and what it's like to feel all eyes on you while you're trying to pose:

  • Charlotte Arnold auditioned for Emma and Liberty!

    Posted on 07/18/2010 by Mary

    You guys... long story but basically we did this "Five" Questions with Charlotte back at the end of the last season but it came in too late to post, so I was holding it 'til now. But I was in too much of a rush at the time to write which usernames asked which questions, and now the thread is gone. So -- my sincerest apologies to the users who posted these questions and aren't getting credit! I suck! I'm sorry! I'll do better next time!

    As an apology, here is an awesome screenshot of Charlotte in the Degrassi movie that's airing TOMORROW NIGHT at 9p et! Sorry that it totally gives away the entire plot to the whole movie, I just couldn't resist.

    SPOILER ALERT! Holly J has an alien brain implanted in her head and must wear a protective helmet to keep from telepathically reversing the space-time continuum in the Degrassi NY movie.

    What was the first rock show/concert you ever went to, and what was the BEST rock show/concert you ever went to?
    The first ever concert I went to was the BACKSTREET BOYS (who Melinda just bought tickets to see, by the way.) The BEST concert I ever went to was a Leonard Cohen show, although I've had a wicked time seeing The Police, Bob Dylan, Down With Webster, Lady Gaga (soon to be thrice!) and of course, Drake.

    When you doodle, what do you draw?
    I've always loved designing clothes when I doodle...when I'm not so inspired, it's usually hearts, stars, lightning bolts, the usual.

    What is the latest movie you've seen? (And what did you think of it?)
    The last great movie I saw was called Class of 1984. Campy, punky Toronto-shot, teacher vs. hooligans, revenge story -- I loved it.

    What was the funniest thing you've witnessed on set?
    There's always a ton of laughter on the Degrassi set, but what springs to mind is the last day of shooting season nine when two unnamed but exceptionally rowdy cast members flipped the pool table. I walked in and saw them standing there sheepishly with their heads down and tails between their legs, debris everywhere. Unbelievable.

    Do you go to a real school? if so is it like Degrassi?
    I've gone to a real school my whole life! I know it may seem that Canadian schools must be incredibly dramatic but to be honest, my high school experience was pretty chill. There were those crazy moments for sure but unlike Degrassi they didn't all happen to the same ten people. Pickering High, Go Trojans.

    Who is your best friend on set?
    I love hanging out with Annie, Paula and Landon - the New York movie was a blast to shoot. And I know it sounds corny and unrealistic but we reeeeally lucked out in the cast department, so no matter who's on set, you're bound to have a good time. The fact that we get to take life-changing adventures together (Kenya, Ecuador, India this summer!) brings everyone even closer.

    Did you originally audition for the character that you play?
    I auditioned for Emma and Liberty before HJ. Interesting to imagine.

    What do you think of Landon Liborion? In person is he nice and sweet or more similar to his character on Degrassi?
    I'm not a fan. His quick wit, goofy up-for-anything attitude and piercing eyes make me want to throw up.

  • Degrassi's Ray and Charlotte answer more questions!

    Posted on 07/15/2010 by Mary

    Ray Ablack and Charlotte Arnold, Sav and Holly J on Degrassi, at the TeenNick offices, July 2010

    KDominion asks: "If you could play another character on Degrassi who would it be and why?"

    Ray: (thinks for a minute...) Declan Coyne. Maybe because I feel like I'll be Landon if I can be Declan. I want to be Landon, because I think that everything about him is...

    Charlotte: Cool?

    Ray:Cool.

    Charlotte:He's a cool guy.

    Ray: His whole everythingness is awesome and I want to be it.

    Charlotte: Bromance! I would be Mr. Simpson.

    Annnd scene.

  • Degrassi stars: The Boiling Point will be "cataclysmic."

    Posted on 07/09/2010 by Mary

    Hey all! So, good times with Ray and Charlotte (aka Sav and Holly J) in NY yesterday -- I still have a lot to transcribe and you'll see it all eventually but I wanted to drop two of their answers to your questions on them asap. 'Cause we're TEN DAYS from the Boiling Point y'all! That's like, an official countdown!

    Facultybob asks: "Can you give me some shocking hints about what happens in Season 10? Is someone going to die? I'm really excited and can't wait."

    Charlotte: Ok, what I'm most passionate about in all the story lines is sort of the gender identity situation which, we can't give too much away cause it's gonna unfold the way it will. But that topic I was really excited that they tackled.

    There's also some other completely... like, even the most recent scripts we read, some of the areas they go to with Eli's character? I had no idea what was going on with Eli's character when I read the script. I was like, "Oh my god, this is something they sooo haven't tackled before."

    And then just in general, everything has really been stepped up. Like right from the first episode -- Fiona's going through some really rough stuff. There's a lot of tension... I mean, that's why it's called the Boiling Point; there's tension building underneath the surface of every character. And it all comes to a head...

    Ray: Cataclysmic.

    Charlotte: Cataclysmic is right.

    Ray:: I like that word.

    Chao asks: "Should I get a Mohawk?"

    Charlotte (without hesitation): Yes.

    Ray: Get what this... what is this called?
    (Ray likes my haircut. We talked about it in Toronto. I have really asymmetrical hair, shaved and weird on one side and long on the other -- not totally unlike my avi hair -- which, Ray said earlier that as soon as they're done shooting this season he's going to do pretty much the same. - Mary)

    Ray: I like it. Get that. If anybody's getting anything, get that.

    Charlotte: Yeah, I like mohawks a lot. Is it a boy or a girl? Whether it's a boy or a girl, I think mohawks are really sexy so, go for it.

  • Girl Crush: Degrassi's Charlotte Arnold (Holly J)

    Posted on 05/20/2010 by Mary

    Soooo I met Charlotte Arnold recently, at a thing, which I can't tell you about, but did I mention that you really probably definitely want to watch the Degrassi season finale tomorrow night at 9 p.m. et? Anyway, from my time spent with her , I have compiled for you this list of...

    10 Interesting Charlotte Arnold Facts Many of Which Are Also Reasons I Now Have a Total Girl Crush On Her .

    Charlotte Arnold, Holly J from Degrassi 1) That's her natural hair color -- she has what they call "virgin hair", meaning it's never been processed.

    2) She loves Leonard Cohen and she went to see him twice on his last tour.

    3) She's a total journalist. Not just because she's studying journalism in college (perhaps with an eye toward broadcast, which I can see her completely owning at) but because it's just in her nature to always be asking people about themselves; their work, their lives, whatever. For instance at lunch, she started a round of "which Degrassi character do you most identify with" -- and not because she was like, waiting for her turn to talk, but because she seemed to genuinely want to know what everyone's character was. (PS: she said she has Manny's sense of humor, and Jane's Jane-ness, or at least she wants Jane's Jane-ness.)

    4 ) Which makes sense because she and Paula Brancati are good friends in real life.

    5) She says Sam Earle is 'the love of her life' -- which is Charlotte-speak for 'he's exceptionally cute and smart', not that she actually wants to break up with her boyfriend for him.

    6) And she's totally Team Clare, if you were wondering.

    7) She has Alexz Johnson's old dressing room at Epitome.

    8) She has tiny feet, like size 5, which I can tell you from experience makes it IMPOSSIBLE to find shoes. But she says she can swing a 6 if the shoes are important.

    9) She works hard for the money, honey. Out of all the cast members there that day, she had to stay the longest -- like 13, 14 hours? -- because her scenes were scheduled all over the day. And that whole time she was in costume and full makeup, which involved a jauntily-angled hairpiece so that she couldn't lie down and take a nap in-between. And even at the tail end of that long-ass day, she could still nail a smile that looked fresh as a daisy. Oh, and she didn't complain once. The entire day. Stephanie Cohen (an Epitome bigwig and long-time Degrassi cast den mother) told me that's completely standard for Charlotte -- always delivers, never complains.

    10) And one time she almost got eaten by a tiger, but I'll tell you about that another time.

  • Degrassi's Sam Earle might break K.C.'s nose.

    Posted on 05/13/2010 by Mary

    We asked Sam some of our questions, and some of your questions. As usual, he was very tight-lipped and monosyllabic.

    Sam Earle, K.C. from Degrassi When you doodle, what do you draw?
    Strictly hearts and rainbows.

    What do you think makes a good Degrassi episode?
    Dealing with relevant teen issues is a big staple of the show and the impact they can have on a lot of our audience is always remarkable and rewarding. But personally, if a story line is natural and understated, regardless of the subject matter, it will draw me in and have me involved in the worlds of the characters. Because the show revolves so much around relationships (whether they be romantic, friendly, or otherwise), the fate of an episode really entirely depends on how well these relationships are handled, by the writers as well as by the actors, who can truly make or break them. Like I said, when a relationship is well taken care of, only then can I really relate to the characters, which is not always easy being someone who is so tight with the actors who play them.

    When it comes to these ambitious and topical episodes, I prefer the magnetic over the charismatic, something that draws the viewer in on their own terms, provoking reactions and opinions, transforming them into an active and thoughtful member of the discussion that the episode begins.

    Halloween asks: "Do you go to a real school? If so is it like Degrassi?"
    Yes I do! Don't know why people assume I'm some kind of underage drifter - I get plenty of breaks from filming. As for my (public, normal(ish), not full of actors) school, there's a small student body, and we don't have a ravine for our dirty business, so it might be a bit tame in comparison.

    senmusic asks: " Who is your best friend on set?"
    Panther, the really fat cat. The cast is alright (so much love it hurts).

    Speaking of set cats, the other one, Noggin, is in the hospital. She's suffering from an identity crisis, too many name changes.

    Oh and I think there was something about "eruption of the anal gland", might be a contributing factor, I dunno. But wish him well everyone!

    And also from senmusic: "Did you originally audition for the character that you play?"
    Yup. Good old KC, smooth-talker with a nasty past. I even remember some of the scene (never actually included), to Clare, who at first is all "no kissing 'til college", but then looks like she "wants to stick her tongue down my throat" when we both go to pick up a dropped pencil and share a tense moment locking eyes. It was a fun scene, something a little sketchy about running it over and over with my Mom though...

    icegirl111 asks: "How do you feel about KC and Clare breaking up?"
    At the time I think I might've been too young and foolish to grasp the long term consequences of what was going down, the only thing running through my head was "Oh cool! A nice meaty Clare scene!" I remember reading it for the first time in a read through. I always get almost embarrassingly invested in the scripts while I read them, and so I glanced up at the end and I remember seeing Ace throw me this look that was all "Dayumm son!", and [me] kinda just smiling back blankly, shrugging it off a little, assuming that however things went, KC and Clare wouldn't just vanish from each other's lives so abruptly. The truth is, I came on to this show as a part of Clare's storyline, and as an actor, I assumed nothing beyond my role as a love interest of hers. So even as KC has gone off and done his own thing, and continues to do so, that element of attachment to Clare as a character has always stuck with me. KC can do whatever stupid crap he wants, but if he doesn't seriously acknowledge the debt he owes to Miss Edwards somewhere down the line, I'mma break his nose (never been punched in the face, never punched someone in the face, so two birds with one stone!).

  • K.C. and Declan - Are they Aislinn Paul (Clare)'s type, too?

    Posted on 05/06/2010 by Mary

    One time, I cornered Aislinn Paul (Clare from Degrassi) and made her talk about boys. She was very accommodating to my nosiness, because she is SUPER nice. And pretty much exactly as smart and realistic as you'd think she is.

    Aislinn Paul, Clare from Degrassi Do you have a type? I always get to the point where I think I know my type, but then I like someone completely different and I don't know why. I think they just have to be someone who's willing to have conversations about the world... and just, think about stuff, as opposed to being rash and acting before thinking.

    Have you ever had a crush on someone who had like, never cracked open a book? Yup! So, I think I know what my type is, but then I just trick myself and like someone completely different.

    Do you and your friends have any rules about whether you can date ex-boyfriends, current crushes, anything like that? Well, the problem at my school -- I go to an arts school. So there's about one boy for every... twenty girls? So we don't even really worry about it. We just say, "Everyone, go for whoever."

    How 'bout you guys... do you have a type?