Osment is a leading figure in the fight against cyberbullying
with her starring role in the ABC Family Original Movie Cyberbully,
premiering Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 8/7c.
It's an eye-opening and touching film with Emily starring
alongside Kelly Rowan and Kay Panabaker as Taylor Hillridge,
a 17-year-old girl who receives a new computer for her birthday
only for the internet to quickly turn against her. She finds
herself betrayed and bullied and unable to think of anything
but the damaging information falsely spread about her. As
a result, Taylor begins to withdraw from those closest to
her, leading her up to an absolutely harrowing breaking point.
It is only then that she is able to realize she needs help
and doesn't have to go through it alone.
It is a powerful movie that provides us all with the understanding
that we don't have to go it alone. But it is, also, a movie.
So when PCM's Allison had the opportunity to chat with Emily
about her involvement with the film, she asked her how it
was to balance such somber aspects of the storyline with the
family that had formed on set between the cast and crew.
Emily was happy to share the details of the set's atmosphere.
"We shot the movie in Montreal, Canada, which is beautiful
and I played a few shows when I was on tour in Canada last
year especially, Toronto. So, I'm quite familiar with Canada
and I love it very, very much. But, Montreal is beautiful
and I had some friends over for it, which was great and I
was able to fit in, and the community in Montreal was very
much like the community on set. It feels very small."
"The director-Charles Biname who is a fabulous director-and
his crew have worked together forever and they know each other
very well," Emily continued. " Nobody's loud and
I know-most people don't know, but when you're on a set, it's
very loud. It's like a cacophony of sounds, basically. There's
just so much going on. And this set was very quiet. It was
very calm and you were able to get into that state of mind,
and there was so much crying going on all of the time, and
so much depression and it was very melancholy most of the
time where I was. There was so much preparation I had to do
before I went into a scene that you need to be comfortable
with your crew. And I am now, I mean, it was a very young
crew on set. I really hope that I can have that experience
again because I was just blown away about how professional
Allison also asked her how she prepared herself for the emotion
involved in filming, for the crying on set every day. "I
knew it was going to be a challenge, but this was a very exciting
opportunity for me, because of just that. I mean, every day,
it was just mentally preparing yourself for this getting into
this next scene which required this type of set and this type
of set. Because there were different levels of what she was
experiencing," Emily began.
"Like, okay, where is she in this scene? Is she way
down in her hole, or is she kind of looking over the edge,
or is she jumping off the cliff? Is she in free fall yet?
Like, where is she in her little jump of sadness? You know,
at the flip of a coin, she cries, because she's so insecure
and anything that happens to her, you know, life is over,
which is very emotional. She's seventeen at the time, so obviously,
it's a very emotional time in any girl's life, so it was cool
to play that."
As for her warm-up, Emily said it was "hard to describe."
"I listen to music most of the time, and honestly, there's
a lot of times where it was very, very cool. I wish someone
had this on camera, but Charles would set up the scene, he
was lighted and then we would step into the room with half
the crew. Half the crew we put outside and half the crew would
be in the room. But, he would get me into that state and I
would be in the state of where I was emotionally and then,
we would just start the scene and sometimes we wouldn't follow
any of the lines. Sometimes, there would be no lines at all.
Sometimes some of the scenes with Kay, I don't even remember,
because we were so into it. You know, we'd come out of a scene
and the next day she's like, 'Do you remember me stepping
on your foot really hard during that scene?' I'm like, 'No,
honestly, I'm sorry I don't!'," Emily laughed.
"But, it's very cool and that's why I love my job so
much. Because, what I do is so creative and it takes me to
this other space of your mind that you didn't know you had
until you're there. And, to create a different character is
like I don't know, it's like having some sort of role you
had where you can only be one thing for however many minutes
the scene is and then you switch and you're something else.
But, it's very, very cool."
Emily couldn't say enough about how much she enjoyed working
on the film. She had plenty more to share about everything
from her own experience with bullies to how her role on this
compared to her beloved role on Hannah Montana. Make sure
to read below to find out everything she had to say!
Cyber bullying is such a huge topic these days. Did you
have to do any research to be in the role, and have you been
bullied? As a celebrity, I'm sure you've been raked through
the mud a little bit though.
That's a good question. This movie I knew was going to be
a journey in all sense of the word. I definitely spoke with
my mom before I began this project. She is an elementary school
teacher in sixth grade and as sad as it may seem elementary
school sometimes, that's where we get the bulk of the bullies,
especially before they turn into bigger bullies.
So, I spoke with her for a long time about what she sees
in her school and some of the cases that she's seen, and it's
frightening. It's very sad. And besides that, I spoke with
Joe Rice, who's our producer, I spoke with him for a very
long time when I read the script, and I loved it for many
reasons. One, was because I knew this was a character that
definitely, she has an arc. She starts at one place and she's,
as you said, actually, she drags through this mud a little
bit and then she comes out somewhere else. And to play a role
like that is an opportunity I haven't had before and I was
very happy with it and I was jumping at the opportunity.
And plus, this is a campaign that needs to have more publicity
surrounding it. I mean, cyber bullying is a topic that is
very hot right now. It's a very timely matter. I know that
Michelle Obama has a campaign that she is doing on it. Seventeen
magazine obviously is doing a huge campaign right now with
Delete Digital Drama. We have a rally next week on Thursday.
With this StompOutBullying.org that I'm an ambassador for,
I mean, there is just so much we're doing, and knowing that
going into this movie, knowing that it would be for a good
cause, and then also participating and playing a role that
I've never done before and in drama, which is a big step for
ABC Family, there was no reason for me not to do it.
What do you hope people take away from the film?
This is really a film for everyone. This is a film for parents
as well as for kids definitely, but I really encourage parents
to sit down and watch this with their kids because this is
a very impactful movie. If you're having trouble at home with
a kid who's being bullied and you don't know how to help them,
Kelly Rowan, who plays my mother in this, does an excellent
job of playing this mother who is caught between a divorce
and her job and two kids and she's so stressed-which a lot
of mothers in America sadly are, but, I mean, she does a great
job of showing how she doesn't really know how to help in
the beginning and then she becomes supermom. So, it truly
is a really good story and it's good for everyone.