By Dina Ginzburg
You may know 17-year-old Laura Marano from the hit Disney show AUSTIN AND ALLY, but did you know that she’s been acting since the age of five? Along with TV shows and movies, Laura has lent her voice to the animated world by voicing characters in FINDING NEMO and ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN. We recently got the chance to chat with her about her career, on-set pranks, the future of AUSTIN AND ALLY and much, much more!
You started acting at a very young age. What first drew you to it?
It’s actually a pretty funny story! My mom owns a theatre and my sister and I kind of grew up in the theatre and we just fell in love with it. My sister asked my mom if we could be actresses to which my mom replied, “Absolutely not. No, that’s never going to happen, no, no, no!” But you have to understand, my sister is a very determined individual, so she begged my mother for two years every single day. So after two years, my mom gets guilted into finding us an agent. She does what every mother would do, which is look up agents that turn down kids 95 per cent of the time. My sister goes in and the agent asks to see my mom. I’m five – the most hyper, outgoing five year old you’ve ever met. “La la la, I’m going to follow my mom… ah shiny!” — like, ridiculous. The agent says that they want to take Vanessa, which is my sister. My mom was like “What?!” and I say, “Oh well, I don’t have an agent!” The agent’s like, “Oh honey, I’ll take you too!” and my mom’s like “Wait, WHAT?” and we’ve been with the same agent ever since!
As you mentioned, your older sister Vanessa is also an actress. Being so close to each other in age, have you guys ever been competitive with one another about your respective careers?
I feel so lucky to have someone so close to me who’s an actress because we go through the same things. It’s definitely a different experience than other childhood experiences. If we have a bad audition, we can talk about it with each other. If we have a bad day on set, we can talk about it with each other. It’s awesome — it’s really, really great! It actually brings us closer in a way.
You’ve also lent your voice to animated films. What do you enjoy about voice acting that you might not get from live action?
Oh my gosh, voice acting is amazing, are you kidding? You go in wearing your pajamas, you don’t have to worry about hair or makeup and it’s actually the quickest thing ever! Literally, you’re done fifteen minutes! You do live action acting and your day is like ten and a half hours! So it’s definitely shorter and really, really relaxed; it’s super cool!
Can you talk a bit about your experience at the Young Hollywood Awards? What sort of preparation goes into attending an event like that?
Oh my goodness, let’s see… We have hair and makeup… Luckily the hair and makeup ladies I work with are awesome, amazing and super fun, so while one lady is doing my nails, the other is doing my hair and doing my makeup. Then, of course, you put the outfit on… we picked the outfit the night before! So you got the outfit, the hair and makeup, drive there and then bam bam, you’re there: red carpet!
It’s actually really cool! I feel like sometimes, you almost forget that you have some people who watch the show and enjoy the show you’re on. When you go to these red carpet things, all of a sudden you’re forced to remember in a really cool way! Like at the Young Hollywood Awards, they had a bunch of fans in this bleacher area, so you do all the interviews, you take a picture and then, bam, here they are! They’re so sweet and they’re calling out your name. Just waving to them makes them really happy, which is crazy and awesome, so it’s really cool to see them!
Did you have a particular episode that you most enjoyed working on in this season of AUSTIN AND ALLY?
Oh my gosh, that is such a hard question because I swear, I really enjoy all the episodes that we do! But there were definitely a few that I think really stuck out. I got to write a song and have that song in an episode, which was super cool!
Then, the two last episodes of the second season are really, really good. Basically, we all had to do different movie genres and it was so much fun! We had a scene in an action movie genre, we had one in a musical genre, we had one in a pirate genre! The season finale is one of my favourites. It’s a completely different episode because there’s some drama in it! Nothing too dramatic, I mean c’mon, we’re still on a Disney sitcom here, but there’s some conflict because Ally gets an amazing career opportunity and Austin gets an amazing career opportunity, but they don’t match well together. It was a fun episode, but kind of a sad episode to shoot because it was the last one of the season. We were all sad to leave, but I think it’s a really good episode!
What was the funniest moment you’ve had on set so far?
We’ve had a few! Raini [Rodriguez] and I decided that we would scare Calum [Worthy], so we’re on set and we decide to go separate ways and scare him at the same time. We go and somehow jump out at the same time and we scare him and he screamed so loudly! A crew member comes out and says, “Oh, I heard someone just got scared! So Calum, which one of the girls did you scare?” We just died! It was honestly so hilarious! Poor Calum!
Do you have any similarities to your character on the show?
Oh my gosh, like a ridiculous amount! We both love music and love writing songs, that's number one. I remember reading a breakdown and seeing that and I was like, “Hello similar person to me!” We both love school, we’re both goody-two-shoes, we’re both extremely awkward people! The only difference is Ally has this horrific stage fright, but now that she’s over it, we’re pretty similar! I love playing a character that’s so quirky! Ally definitely is a little quirky… and by a little, I mean a lot quirky! It’s super fun to emphasize those quirks and bring my own quirks into the character. It’s really a blast!
What can we expect from season 3?
It’s so hard to answer that question without giving away what happened at the end of season two, but I can say, lots of good music, lots of awesome laughs and there might still be some romantic stuff happening… Just the same four crazy, quirky characters that you’ve known for two seasons!
Be sure to check out AUSTIN AND ALLY on Family Channel!
(Photo credit: Marc Cartwright)