Disney actress Kimberly J. Brown, dishes on working with Debbie Reynolds, and recasting of Halloweentown
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY LIz assitstant to Kimberly J. Brown
- Los Angeles, California
We Blab Entertainment Magazine, catches up with former teen actress Kimberly J. Brown about her memories working with the late legend Debbie Reynolds (Singing in the Rain), recasting of Marine Piper in Disney Channel's Halloweentown 4, and advice for breaking into Hollywood.
Most people remember Kimberly J. Brown, from the Disney Channel Halloweentown trilogy. Can you tell us how you got started in the business?
I started in NY w/commercials and print and eventually did my first of three Broadway shows at age 7. My parents had put me in a class in my MD hometown because I loved acting out pretend “plays” in my house, and I was one of the few students encouraged to try auditioning in New York. My parents always told me if I didn’t like it I could stop but I fell completely head-over-heels in love with it and here I am all these years later!
Halloweentown premiered in 1998 which, made you a household name with my generation. What was the audition process like for the role of Marine Piper?
I read a couple of times for the role. If I remember correctly, we did the scene in the beginning with Marnie arguing with Gwen about going trick-or-treating and the scene with Marnie telling Dylan about Halloweentown in her bedroom. I was so thrilled when I found out I booked it because I loved Marnie as a character and couldn’t wait to pretend to have magical powers :)
When filming begun on Halloweentown you were just 14 years old. How did your personal life change after the film became a hit on the Disney Channel?
It’s been amazing to watch the movies’ fanbase grow over the years. I’m so flattered by fans who still come up and quote the movie to me. It’s the greatest gift to have something you’ve acted in enjoyed by people, and have them tell you about it.
After two more successful sequels the Disney Channel chose to recast the role of Marnie. You originally voiced your disappointment; can you elaborate on the recasting for Return to Halloweentown?
Yes, I was disappointed for the fans but I’ve been doing this for over 25 years. My fellow actor friends and I have all had stuff happen through the course of doing this for a living that sometimes you just have to chalk up to being in a crazy industry.
The sudden death of Debbie Reynolds was a complete shock to the whole industry. Can you tell us what it was like working with the legendary Debbie Reynolds?
I can’t say enough about what an incredible human being she was. Getting to grow up with her and become her friend outside of the “Halloweentown” shoots was such a blessing to my life. She was the ultimate supportive, insightful, hilarious performer and friend and I will always miss her.
Also the death of Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in Star Wars was quite emotional. How did her untimely passing affect you?
It was quite shocking. She was such a strong, funny, bold woman. Her amazing talent and sense of humor will be missed.
We often speak to kids who want to enter the entertainment industry. What advice would you give someone if they wanted to pursue a career in acting?
People ask me that all the time and I always say to start with training, because it gives you a real idea of what it takes. Many people think that the industry looks fun because of what celebrity looks like on social media but it is work. Fun work, and work that I love and have loved since I was little. So I think taking classes first to see what kind of work it takes is a good start because that fundamental love of acting will drive you through all the ups and downs of the crazy business aspect of it.
Our readers are very interested in what you are currently up to professionally. Can you tell us about any future projects your working on?
I’m currently performing improv at UCB, and write & direct original skits and videos for my YouTube Channel. I also have a film called “The Wrong Side of 25” in post-production, with a couple other films in development. ;)
Kimberly will be appearing at the 2017 Cherry City Comic Con happening April 8th-9th in Salem, Oregon.
Follow Kimberly J. Brown on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Danielle L. Jackson
- Los Angeles, California
15 year old Atlanta native Myles Truitt talks about being cast in BET's The New Edition Story, bootcamp and, working with the real life Ronnie DeVoe.
Can you tell us how old you currently are, and what made you want to become an actor?
I am 15 years old. I wanted to always do something that was fun and different. I like making people laugh too.
The New Edition movie recounts the story of the popular 80’s R&B group from Boston. How did you end up auditioning for BET Casting?
I am a part of a theatre company called The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta. We had performed at the Trump Awards in Atlanta. The casting directors for the New Edition were there or heard about it (something like that). They asked about us and our director of the school asked us to audition. Then we had to go to a chemistry read…it’s to see who would do the best together. They would switch different ones of us up to see who worked better. We got a call that I was selected!
You played young Ronnie DeVoe in The New Edition Story. Did you sit down, and talk with the real Ronnie DeVoe before principle filming started?
Definitely. The real guys of New Edition were very involved. Ronnie talked to me about how he felt, how he lived and how it was being the last to join the group. He helped me make sure I was talking and walking like him too.
The choreography and, singing was spot-on from Luke James (Johnny Gill) to Algee Smith (Ralph Tresvant). Can you tell us about the New Edition boot camp?
Boot camp was rough at first. We worked really hard. We would be at the studio at 8 o’clock in the morning or earlier. We would dance and sing until like 1 o’clock. We got breaks and we still had to do school. But we finally got it and it wasn’t so hard. It was really a lot of fun. Leon (Leon Lee) was on us. He made sure we got it right. But we had a good time too. The last part of boot camp was cool because we went in the studio and worked with Babyface. It was amazing to hear your own voice on the song….
The New Edition Story premiered on the BET network to 29 million viewers, making it the most watched premiere since the 2012 season of the sitcom The Game. The three-part mini-series originally aired on January 24, 25, and 26, 2017.
What advice can you give to other kids who want to be actors?
You have to make sure you really want to do it. It is fun, but it is a lot of work. But if you want to do it, don’t give up. Ronnie could have been any other kid but I was blessed. You could be next.
The BET mini-series was the number one, trending topic on twitter during its premiere. How has your life changed after the huge success of The New Edition Story?
Well, my Instagram followers went way up (laughs) and sometimes people recognize me. I have had more auditions and more interviews. Other than that, nothing much.
What do you do for fun when you’re not acting?
I like to play basketball with my friends and my little brother. He’s only 6 but he is really good. I like to play on my PS4 too.
Can you tell us what’s next for Myles Truitt?
I have a movie coming out in Sept or October of this year. It’s a Sci-Fi really cool. Can’t tell you much quite yet. It’s going to be really good. I’m excited about it.
Lastly do you have a favorite New Edition song?
My favorite New Edition song is “Can You Stand the Rain”. I love that song. I love good singing. My mom sings, my grandfather sings so singing came a little natural (laughs). So I love to sing that song.
Follow Myles Truitt on Instagram: www.instagram.com/myles.truitt/