Blog | interviews

  • 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:

  • Gigantic's Ryan Rottman (aka Joey)

    Posted on 11/04/2010 by Mary

    I chatted with Ryan Rottman -- Joey on Gigantic -- recently, and picked his brain about his real-life paparazzi type experiences. For the record: he's super nice, talks really fast but low-key at the same time, and was hanging out in Atlantic City when we spoke.

    Ryan Rottman on TeenNick's Gigantic So are there really people like Vanessa who call the paparazzi and tell them to be places?
    Oh, 100%. That definitely happens. Whether it's people's publicists that are just trying to get their face out there or just, Hollywood is full of people that just want to be famous. They want to see their face on a magazine or on TMZ.

    Do they ever really call the paparazzi and then when the photographers show up, pretend to be annoyed?
    Oh for sure. They'll call them and completely act annoyed, and, "Oh I can't believe they're here," and be rude to the paparazzi, because they don't want anyone to know that they [called them]. They'll totally play aloof. It happens probably more often than you think it does.

    But there are also people who just genuinely get attacked by the paparazzi, right?
    Yeah. If you're a huge star, they all follow you. And if you're going somewhere, they'll show up, and then if someone else shows up and the paparazzi are already there, they'll get their picture, too. But if it's not a massive star, the paparazzi are probably not just following them. They probably called.

    So, among the Gigantic cast you're the one who, if I search on your name, these alleged details about your private life show up...
    All over.

    What does that feel like? Is it ever flattering to think that people care about your personal life, or is it stressful, do you ignore it... how do you deal?
    I kinda do my best not to pay any attention to it and not to follow that whole thing. But of course, you see it certain places or you hear about it so, you want to know what people are saying about you. You do have to pay attention to it.

    But it's just weird. It's weird that people care enough to take pictures or write about you, or just care what you're doing, or whether you're in a relationship. And seeing a picture of yourself walking out of some place like a Ralph's grocery store -- it's really strange.

    Have you ever seen pictures of yourself that you didn't know were being taken?
    Oh yeah. 100%. They hide everywhere, and they're across the street -- you never see them. And then two days later, you see it online. It's awkward. You kinda feel like you're being stalked.

    Yeah! I would feel so violated! And it's just that you don't have the same right to privacy that everyone else has because... you're an actor?
    Yeah. And most of the time it's not me, it's the company I keep. When I hang out with friends who are very successful actors and stuff like that, it's very uncomfortable because [the photographers] are in your face and they're behind your car. And you just feel violated. It's like someone breaking into your car or your house, that feeling you get afterwards when you know someone's been in there. Just a very uncomfortable feeling.

    I can imagine also that if you're known as a couple and then go through a breakup -- if people are talking about it in gossip columns, that's gonna make it feel even worse right?
    Oh for sure. Whether you're with someone or you're not with someone, the last thing you want is to read or see someone talking about your relationship. It's none of their business whatsoever.

    Right. It's sort of one of Gigantic's themes, how Hollywood is basically high school amplified -- so people can imagine that in high school you don't want people talking on Facebook about your relationship. It hurts no matter what.
    Exactly, it would be like a blog in high school talking about everyone in the school.

    Do you feel like the public has any responsibility to not read that stuff because it is damaging to real human beings? Can anything be done?
    At this point, in our technological era, I don't think anything can be done. People are gonna read it; everyone wants to be outside of their own life.

    So, you have a production company, right?
    Yeah, we actually just finalized our next project which is James Franco's next film. It's called The Broken Tower; it's about a gay professor at Yale, one of the first to come out. Actually I have a small part in it as well, and James is directing it and starring in it. With our company, we set out to make movies that have substance... There are these amazing scripts in town that aren't getting made, so we wanted to make it our goal to find these scripts, these projects that are inspiring and that have meaning to them and get those made.

    Plus it must be an actor's dream to be able to produce films you would actually want to be in.
    Yeah, and we know James well and that's why we teamed up with him, because that's exactly how it is. He wants to make projects that have some meaning behind them; he's about the art and telling the story, and that's what I kind of idolize and strive for.

  • Let's Talk to Tony Oller (Walt from Gigantic)!

    Posted on 10/28/2010 by Mary

    Tony Oller from TeenNick's Gigantic So I see on the twitters that you and Malcolm seem pretty tight in real life. You guys make music together?
    Oh yeah, I think that's how we really formed a friendship. We both knew each other from other projects and knew who each other were. It was more or less like, "Hey, you did that one project?" "Yeah! You did that one project?" "Yeah! OK, good, we're friends."

    But when we cracked out the Mac and started using Garage Band we bonded like no other. We have so much music we've been making lately we want to make a mixtape and just throw it out there, have fun with it.

    What are you planning for Halloween this year?
    I was actually in the costume shop the other day, and I feel like the prices of costumes are going up so drastically, it makes me just want to throw on a hood and be Justin Bieber. It's just the simplest way to go about it... last year I was Justin Bieber. I said "Baby baby baby," and that was my whole entire costume.

    OK, so, with Snoop Dogg on this week's episode... I was kind of digging through your IMDB profile, and there's something about you auditioning for Soul Plane?
    Oh God! Wow, these are gonna come up. Yeah, when I lived in Texas, in order to get out there on camera, I was a nine year old who decided to dress up like a thug and audition for Soul Plane. I think my audition tape consisted of me lip synching Eminem's "Lose Yourself"... I didn't get it, but I ended up becoming good friends with the kid who did get it.

    Sweet! So, we talked on the site about Maggie; about how when Walt first introduces himself to her as "Tom," and she knows who he is but she doesn't say anything. Do you think that's shady behavior on her part, or did she not have a choice?
    I think... I can kind of understand where he's coming from, but also where she's coming from. I honestly believe, putting myself in that position, that if she would've said she knew who Walt was, he would have just brushed it off and been like, "OK, it's another girl that knows who I am" and moved on. I think it kind of gave him the time to put down his wall. And when he did, he realized that she's actually a good girl who isn't out to get him. I think it was a smart choice on her part. It's a cute little story they have.

    Yeah! I love the scene when she tells him she's studying to be an actress and he just kind of lets go of her hand...
    Every single time my friends call me they quote me on that line, "I don't date actresses."

    So are you glad you don't have celebrity parents, or do you kind of wish you did?
    Um, personally, I'm not into the LA stuff when it comes to liking that. I see acting as a career and it's something that I love to do, and I love to work. But I don't know, I find it so hard to balance stuff already, that having parents who were celebrities... I love my parents to death and I'd still love them if they were famous, but I'm glad I grew up with a normal life. Unlike Walt.

  • Grace Gummer and Gia Mantegna from Gigantic

    Posted on 10/21/2010 by Mary

    I caught up with Grace Gummer and Gia Mantegna (aka Anna and Vanessa from Gigantic) in New York recently to talk about the show, and their lives, and stuff and junk.

    Did you guys spend much time in New York growing up?

    Grace: I grew up in Connecticut in a small town and then I moved to NY in high school. Right around Sept 11. Yeah. I lived in LA when I was really little and I went to preschool there. So I was really mad at my parents when we left because it's like the perfect place for a kid. You know, you like rollerblade on Venice Beach and you're outside all the time. But yeah, I grew up on the east coast.
    Gia: I was born out here and lived out here but I was so little I barely remember it. And we kind of went all over the place, NY, Chicago, LA... so I consider myself an LA girl cause I sound like I'm from LA.
    Grace: I do too, weirdly.
    Gia: But I went to high school for a solid four years in LA.

    Having famous parents like the characters on Gigantic, did you have any experiences trying to guard your privacy as children or teenagers?

    Grace: No. I mean in some instances I would question who were my real friends. But I think that's what every teenager goes through in a way. Same kind of thing if you had blue hair. And you're like does that person like me because I have blue hair? But I like my blue hair. You know what I mean?
    Gia: Yeah -- I've never questioned whether somebody was friends with me because first of all, nobody my age would even care about who my dad is.
    Grace: But also, for me it wasn't part of my life so I never thought about it.
    Gia: It wasn't something that was hanging over my head ever... it was just being a teenager.

    What elements of the characters and stories do you feel are true to life for the children of celebrities? And what do you feel are not quite as accurate?

    Gia: My character Vanessa on the show never went to school, she was always homeschooled, she was emancipated when she was like 14 or 15. So she never really knew how to communicate with people her own age. So that's what makes her kind of twisted, and that's kind of where her issues are at, that's what makes it so difficult to relate to the other kids on the show. I feel like that's maybe true for some child actors today. But what's true in the bigger aspect of things is the drama that they deal with, relationships and sexuality and...
    Grace: ...friendships and drama ...
    Gia: That is all completely real. Everybody's had a first love. Everybody knows what it's like to have a break-up.
    Grace: Or obsess...
    Gia: Everybody knows what it's like to be bullied online.
    Grace: Or dream about your perfect date.
    Gia: So all of that is true to real life. With a little paparazzi thrown in there.
    Grace: And glam, and red carpets.

    Which is kind of the point of the show, right? No matter what, adolescence is...

    Grace: Really hard!

    If you had a friend who was going through what Anna's going through with Joey being sort of inscrutable, what advice would you give to her?

    Grace: I think something that I wish I would have known at that age is that you have so much of your life ahead of you and there are SO many other boys. And as long as you stay true to who you are and pick someone who makes you feel good about yourself, I think that's really important.
    Gia: Yeah, make yourself feel happy.
    Grace: And make sure you have your own accomplishments and goals and you're independent of each other. I think that's something really important that I didn't realize. I used to think that that one guy was the biggest deal and it would never happen. You know?

  • 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!).