How as it been transitioning from a comedic television series character to a serious movie role?
The transition for me has been rougher than I expected. I think it’s because I am transforming from being a child actor to a serious actress. But as far as transitioning to more serious, it wasn’t difficult at all. Yes, I was on a TV show that was known for comedy and guest appearances, but it was also drama.
Tell us about the process of getting the role of Gabby Douglas?
I actually found out about the audition on Twitter. The casting director tweeted about open castings in Atlanta and New York. So I called my manager and said’ What! There is an audition for this role? I’ve been waiting on this role all my life’. That something I know I can definitely play. Soon as the Olympics was over I was like, ‘ if they ever do a movie about Gabby Douglas, that would be my role’. So I called my manager and emailed my agency and made them get me an audition. They got me in, I got a called back, then next thing you know, I booked it.
How did you react to the good news?
I was screaming in my car. I was driving to acting class and my manger and agent called and tried to pull a prank as if I didn’t get the role. But it didn’t work. It was a really happy moment for me.
In portraying Gabby Douglas, did you have to go through gymnastic training?
I did some training with gymnastics. We did a week or two of training and then we went directly into shooting. While we were shooting , we still did a couple days of training here and there. We learned all the routines; the floor routine, the beam routine. It was very nerve racking being on that beam. The beam is very tiny. It was only 4 inches and doing turns and stuff on it was crazy.
Did Gabby ever step in to give you small pointers?
She wasn’t there for the training process. She came the last week of filming. We were filming a floor routine scene and she was on set that day, and she did give me some notes for that particular floor scene. I don’t remember exactly what she told me, but whatever it was, it made me much better.