Vanessa Marano, Teen Choice Award Nominee and star of Switched at Birth gives us a look into the life of Bay Kennish, her relationship with her sisters, both on and off the screen, and what’s next for this talented actress.
Can you give us a little insight into Bay Kennish? Do you relate to Bay in any way?
Bay is an artist and extremely vulnerable. She's honest about her feelings. What you see is what you get with Bay. My favorite thing about her is that she's constantly growing as a person. I think we can all relate to not being perfect. I personally relate the most to her humor. As negative as things can get, her energy is humorous in the face of it all.
You have been nominated a few times for your portrayal of Bay. How does it feel to know you are a part of such a meaningful show?
It's fantastic! I love what I do and the people I work with. It's always nice to be a part of something that people enjoy, but it has been an incredible experience to also be a part of something that has meant so much to a community. The deaf community has embraced us so graciously, and we feel just as thankful to have them supporting us.
Do you and your ‘sister’ Katie Leclerc have a fun time filming together? Can you give us any funny/quirky stories of being on set together?
I love that girl so much. We just giggle constantly. We did one episode where there was a dream sequence of me being Daphne and Katie being Bay. We wore the outfits to the table read for the next episode, and the poor director was so confused.
How did you get involved with Christopher Reeve Foundation and Global Green? Why do these charities speak to you?
I worked with Christopher Reeve when I was eleven years old on a film titled "The Brooke Ellison." I had always been a supporter of the foundation, but I really started getting involved a few years back. We're so close to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries and who knows how many doors that cure could open for people suffering from other life altering alignments. There's an episode of Switched at Birth this season featuring a paralyzed character. I'm very proud that the show is taking steps to spread awareness. As far as Global Green goes, we only have one planet, and we need to treat it right.
Your sister Laura Marano is the lead on ‘Austin & Ally.’ Do the two of you help each other run lines during your off time? Is there a healthy competition between you two?
Well, my mom's an acting coach so Laura and I grew up running lines. It's great having a sister in the business, I think it made us made our relationship very strong. She's my best friend.
What can you tell us about your upcoming film, ‘Senior Project?’
Senior Project is about a group of very different teenagers who are forced to work together on the final project of the year. Anybody who has gone through those incredibly stressful last few months of high school will relate to this film.
Fun Facts- What languages are you fluent in?
Well, thanks to Switched at Birth, I'm now pretty proficient in American Sign Language. I speak Italian as well, but I'm a bit out of practice with that one.
Any special plans for the holidays?
Lots of sleep, lots of food, and lots of family. Maybe some tv thrown in there too.
Disney has done it again! The multi-talented Laura Marano opens up about her role as Ally Dawson on Austin & Ally, her love of the stage, and her plans for the future. The songbird actress is one to watch!
Which do you prefer, being on stage or the camera? Can you tell us why?
Oh, that's hard because I honestly love both! If I had to pick, I guess I would probably say being on stage. When you are performing in theater, you feel so connected to your audience. It's exhilarating!
What is your favorite instrument to play, which, if any, do you feel you have mastered?
Well, the only instrument I know how to really play, and the instrument that I absolutely love, is the piano. I have been playing piano ever since I have been 9.
How is it working on the series Austin & Ally? Any fun stories you can share with us?
Working on Austin and Ally has been an absolute dream! We literally have fun every single day! Whether it's scaring each other, or singing together or just hanging out in each other's dressing rooms, the cast and I are super close! I feel really lucky to be with everyone on our set!
Both yourself and your character Ally are singers and songwriters. Do you feel a personal connection with her?
Oh my goodness, I feel so close to Ally! Seriously, I feel like we are the same person. Not only do we both love music, but we also both love school, both are absolute romantics, and both are pretty quirky.
Can we expect to see you in anything else this year?
I am actually going to be guest starring on another Disney show called Liv and Maddie. That was ridiculously fun! Also, I am going to be working with the Humane Society, which I am really excited about!
We’ve seen your video, ‘This is who I am.’ Your dad looks like a great cook! What is your favorite dish of his?
He is such a good cook! Seriously, I am obsessed with all my dad's dishes! My favorites have to be his pizza and his pasta -literally, his food is amazing!
What are your plans for the holiday season this year?
This holiday season, I am relaxing. Which I am super excited about!
Hilary Duff is About to Get Played: And by Ashton Kutcher, no less! Duff will head to Two and a Half Men for the show's tenth season finale, where she'll play Stacey — a hottie who is dating Kutcher's character, Walden. Taxi‘s Marilu Henner will also guest as her grandmother, and if you've studied Walden's romantic history (or Kutcher's real life romantic history) it may not surprise you that Walden's eyes will start to wander... [TVLine]
Lorne Michaels Keeps it in the SNL Family: Current Saturday Night Live funnylady Nasim Pedrad is set to star alongside writer/creator John Mulaney in the SNL writer's upcoming NBC comedy pilot. Based loosely upon his own life, the pilot has cast Pedrad as Jane, a sweet but lazy grade school teacher looking to make changes in her life. The multi-camera comedy has also tapped (you guessed it!) yet another SNL alum, Martin Short, to star as well. Lorne Michaels, you really do run the funny business, don't you? [Hollywood Reporter]
Fringe Favorite Moves On: Lance Reddick, who played the beloved Broyles on Fringe and Cedric Daniels on The Wire, will try his luck in comedy with a guest stint on FX's quirky hit Wilfred. Reddick will guest star as Dr. Blum, Elijah Wood's character's "calm, no-nonsense therapist." The episode is slated to appear during the latter half of the show's third season. [Hollywood Reporter]
FX is Taking Over the World: FX already has a gaggle of critically acclaimed hits on its roster (Justified, American Horror Story, The Americans, and Sons of Anarchy, to name a few...), and now it's taking a journey to the distant past with Conquistadors, an event series based on Kim MacQuarrie's book Last Days of the Incas. The series will focus on both the Spanish Conquistadors who conquered the 10-million-strong Incan Empire, and rebellious Incan rebels who tried their best to save their people. [Hollywood Reporter]
The Walking Dead is Team Stark: No, unfortunately they don't get to watch Game of Thrones in the depressing post-apocalpytic wasteland on TWD. But it was confirmed that, for Season 4, the show has put out a casting call for a character named Roy Stark, "a former army medic who is deeply haunted by his past." Stark is going to be in his early 30s to mid 40s, leading many to speculate that he'll be the show's version of Abraham — who, in the comics, was an army sergeant of a similar age. [TVLine]
Twisted Role for Gilmore Girl: ABC Family's newest mystery series Twisted has just added Gilmore Girl's Keiko Agena as a guest star. Twisted centers on a charismatic 16-year-old (Avan Jogia) with a troubled past who spends five years in juvenile detention and then reconnects with his two female best friends from childhood (Maddie Hasson and Kylie Bunbury). Agena will play April Tanaka, a bohemian grief specialist who heads up a counseling session for the students at Green Grove High. Brittany Curran also joined the cast as Phoebe, an overly dramatic classmate who enjoys the limelight and tries to bond with Bunbury’s Lacey. Both characters will make their debut in Episode 2. [TVLine]
Degrassi to Lose a Student: Alex Steele will not be returning to TeenNick's drama Degrassi for the show's 13th season. "I'm very proud of my time on Degrassi and feel very lucky to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew," Steele - who plays fan-favorite Tori - said in a statement. "I've decided to take on a new focus pursuing film. I have a few opportunities already in the works and am excited to get started!" No word yet on how her character's exit will play out. [E!]
Austin and Ally Will Keep Singing: Disney Channel has renewed the musical show Austin and Ally for a third season. The upcoming slate of episodes “promises excitement for ‘Auslly’ fans as Austin’s music career kicks into full gear and Ally’s begins to take flight,” Adam Bonnett, senior vice president, original programming, Disney Channels Worldwide said in a statement. "This ensemble cast — Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy — has incredible comedic chemistry and charm that continues to win audiences over." [TVLine]
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Picking up pretty much where we left off Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano) Diego the Saber Tooth Tiger (Denis Leary) and Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) are still palling around together. Goofy Sid feels a little under appreciated sardonic Diego is deathly afraid of water and sad-eyed Manny is still kinda lonely. In fact Manny thinks he may be the last of his species until he meets Ellie (Queen Latifah) a Mammoth who thinks she’s a possum. Don’t ask. Oh there’s also Ellie’s possum buddies Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) two scrappy fellows up to no good. The more pressing issue however is the fact the polar ice caps are melting and they’ve got to get to high ground before they become fish food (and they are some nasty prehistoric fish too). Thank god for Scrat (Chris Wedge). He’s still chasing the elusive nut--and actually ends up saving the day in more ways than one. How does one become a woolly Mammoth a cockeyed Sloth or a sleek Saber-tooth Tiger? What’s the motivation? For Romano Leguizamo and Leary it’s easy. They just tap into their own inner prehistoric animal because you know we all have one. Actually it amazes me how any chemistry can be developed between the actors voicing animated characters since they don’t record at the same time. Toy Story’s Tom Hanks and Tim Allen ranks as one of the best but these three definitely have it as well; maybe they should think about making a live-action movie together. Queen Latifah also holds her own with the boys while Scott and Peck come off just a wee bit annoying as the mischievous possums. But it’s Chris Wedge’s squeaks grunts and sighs as our favorite antediluvian squirrel Scrat that makes the film--and the desperate little fellow happily gets more air play this time around. Ice Age: The Meltdown suffers from animated sequel-itis--a condition in which a film can’t live up to the certain heartwarming charm the original provided. As funny and delightful as they can be the characters just aren’t fresh and new. A remedy would be to have a better story than the original i.e. Toy Story 2 (still one of the best sequels ever) but Meltdown takes a step backwards relying more on the familiarity of the characters than a cohesive plot. There are definitely highlights: the visuals are crisp and clean and there are few entertaining musical numbers thrown in for our enjoyment including one in which Sid is being idolized by a tribe of miniature sloths and another in which a flock of vultures sing the Oliver! tune “Food glorious food!” while waiting for the movable feast to perish. But overall even though the kids will certainly get a kick out of Meltdown--especially Scrat’s nutty antics--the sequel isn’t quite up to snuff.