What advice would you give to teen stars on Nickelodeon today
that you wish you would had when you were playing Clarissa?
Well, I think things have changed so dramatically that I don't
think I could give them any advice from what I learned. One of the
things that I do try to tell Nick, who plays Ryder, and Taylor-Taylor
is like the most grown-up girl I've ever met. She's really got her
head together and she's a great girl. And Nick is an amazing boy,
but he's kind of new to the business as well.
of things he and his family is struggling with, which I had a similar
situation is that he lives in a different part of the country as
well as his large family and he's working here and having to put
up with school and traveling and missing his family. So I had a
lot of that when I was doing Clarissa. I was down in Orlando. My
family was in New York and I had a big family and I was the oldest,
so it's the exactly same thing he's got going on.
One of the hardest things for him that I see happening that it's
really hard to deal with is school, trying to figure out-he has
his school and he has his friends up in Seattle, but then when he
comes here to work which is most of the year now and what does he
do? Where does he go? Is his school going to suffer? That's what-I
had a lot of trouble with that. I was a great student. I loved learning.
I was very involved with all of my studies and once I started doing
Clarissa that just went down the toilet. My GPA suffered, my SAT
scores were terrible, so that was difficult for me. I didn't like
that, but it was also too hard to memorize 50 pages a week plus
trying to do school as being tutored.
So I was trying to encourage him to enroll in school down here
in California just so he can at least have a school atmosphere,
have some peers his own age in this area, keep in with things like
art class, gym and music-all the things that you don't get when
you get tutored. All you get when you you're getting tutored is
the basics of Math, English, French-there's like five subjects and
that's it. So that's something I'm really trying to push for him
and his family is to figure out a way to spend good time together
but also for him to make sure he gets his education the way he needs
You were always a role model to young girls. Do you take that
into account when you take your roles?
Yes. Of course I do. I take it into account with every little thing
that I do, whether on a broad scale like picking a role, or a script,
or on a smaller scale like am I going to put a cigarette in my mouth
just for this movie, that kind of thing. I think it comes, mainly,
though from me being an older sibling, having seven younger siblings.
Growing up, I always felt very responsible for them and if they
see me doing something I wouldn't want them to see me doing in real
life then why would I do it on screen for other kids to see as well.
So I've always taken that pretty seriously.
But then again that being said, I also want to have a good long
career and be proud of it and feel fulfilled in it. So I also want
to choose roles and just produce things and whatnot that I feel
have some value whether the story needs to be told or it's just
an interesting way to tell the story or there's a certain goal I
have in mind for each different role. For example, this movie Nine
Dead is not exactly the kind of movie you would see on ABC Family.
I play a pretty dark role and in a pretty dark twisted movie. And
what was great for me was that at the time, I just had my second
son and I felt like I really wanted to show some emotion on camera.
Quite often I'm being silly and whatever, but I wanted to show a
little bit of my dramatic side, a little bit of my dark side and
I really got to do that with this Nine Dead movie.
It was also really interesting to shoot because my son was only
four months old. So it was very difficult. I was still breast-feeding,
so it was very difficult to go back to work at the time. But what
was great about the show was that the movie started with-we actually
shot it in sequence, which is just unheard of. We shot it from the
beginning to the end, pretty much. And it's one outfit-I wore one
outfit for pretty much the whole movie and we were all handcuffed,
nine people in the room handcuffed to a pole, so there was no ....
It was very simple when it came to rehearsing, so I could spend
a lot of time with my children on the side and spend time with my
son specially breast-feeding and stuff.
So was really interesting to do that, but that was a role that
I took to show my dramatic side and just also to have a little freedom.
But it's not exactly something that is-she was a terrible person,
so it's not exactly a role model type role.
I just wanted to know a little bit about what we can expect
from this season as far as the development of the relationship between
Melissa and Joey and the kids and you guys. Can you talk a little
bit about that?
Yes. I mean the thing with any show-if you watch Friends or Seinfeld,
Cheers-any of these shows, at the beginning, they take a little
while to get going. While the writers are figuring it out and the
actors are figuring it out and the whole show is getting the wheels
greased. Of course, by the end of the first season beginning of
the second season usually you have it down. If you're going to have
a hit usually that's when you start to see it.
I really think in the beginning-we had the first 12, we were very,
very lucky. I think with Joey and I having the experience that we
have, and also having done the movie, and having chemistry, and
just being able to click like we did. The crew and everything could
fall into place, the rest of the cast could kind of fall into place
around us. So we had it pretty smooth in the beginning, but now
the next 18 that are coming up are, of course, we really got the
ball rolling by then and we got into a great groove and we've got
some really excellent episodes out there that you'll see where the
characters are really coming into their own. You see more of the
kids and of their struggles and you'll learn more.
I think the more you learn-like one of the great things about
Friends, I'm such a big Friends fan. One of the great things is
in the beginning they have these stereotypes. Jennifer Aniston was
the rich bride, was going to be a bride, so her storyline always
centered around the fact that she was the spoiled brat that with
bride. Courtney Cox with the ex-used to be overweight that didn't
like Jennifer Aniston. So you see these things and the start off
as these little nuggets of characters, but then grow as you get
to know them and you get to know more of their background and you
get to love them. You see them really flower and that's what I hope
you'll see here is that these characters are really growing.
Joey and I-our storylines get interesting because we do sort of
a flirt but also avoid each other and have our bickering moments,
constantly. You'll see the relationship develop with our kids and
then with each other and them and their high school. The show really
comes into its own in the second half of the season.
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