Break-out Nickelodeon star Alex Hook dishes about her new series I Am Frankie, and filming on hectic 12 hour days
Break-out 15 year old actress Alex Hook dishes about her starring role on Nickelodeon's new series I Am Frankie, and filming on hectic 12 hour days. Also Alex gives us advice for up-coming teen actors.
Congratulations on your new Nickelodeon series "I Am Frankie" that debuted this past September 11th which, is about a teenage android attempting to pass herself off as a normal school girl. Can you take us through your audition process for Frankie Gaines, and do you remember what you were doing when you got the role?
The audition process took about 3 months, end of August to beginning of November. I first auditioned with a self tape that contained two different versions of the script. This gave the casting directors an idea of multiple ways that Frankie can be portrayed. I then got a callback a few weeks later with a new set of lines to be read. Once these were sent in and watched, I was asked to fly down to Miami for what they call a producers session in early November. This was my final audition for the character so I knew I had to give it my all.
I remember leaving pretty confident as I was the last one called into the room, all that was left, was to wait. I got the call on a Friday at the end of school. I was in the hall with my best friend and while I was on the phone with a huge smile on my face, she knew what I was about to say. We both freaked out and I have to admit, we cried haha:) that has to be one of the best moments of my life!
I was quite interested to learn the series "I Am Frankie" is actually the first global series to be produced at the new Viacom International Studio in Miami, Florida. What does a typical day on-set look like, and can you describe the character of Frankie Gaines?
Yes it is very exciting for both the IAF cast and Viacom, we were stoked to be the first one! A typical day on set is pretty hectic haha. My day starts early, around 7am and finishes 12 hours later, 7pm. In those 12 hours, I film, eat and “go to school” (basically just a small room in the building with a desk and chairs). But our daily schedules were very organized, I knew where I had to be at exactly what time, of course with some help from my talent coordinators. They brought me to and from the set making stops at my dressing room, wardrobe and hair and makeup.
All in all, there’s no time for resting, I was always on the move. Frankie Gaines is a teen android who must keep her secret. Yet this whole “secret keeping” is new to someone who was just created recently by her mom. Frankie is very literal and takes all of the high school slang very seriously. It takes some time to learn, but that’s what she’s all about. Frankie learns something new everyday, wether it’s about her crush cole, or best friend Dayton. Frankie is definitely quite the character, yet slowly but surely she learns to be a typical teenager, just with a little secret.
I think our readers would be very interested to learn that you're actually Canadian having been born in Toronto and, first booking commercials with The Family Channel. How did you first get started acting, and were your parents very active in the early stages of your career?
I was born in Toronto in 2001 and lived 6 years of my life there. When I moved to Kingston, this made auditioning a little more difficult because of the distance from the big city, 2 and a half hours. Because of this long drive, my parents had to be very active in my career. I can’t thank them enough, especially my mom who was the designated “acting mom” haha. My mom was the one who introduced me to the industry when I first moved to Kingston. I signed up with a theatre group that did plays, but I soon realized that I wanted to pursue more of a film and television style.
My mom took me to and from each and every one of my auditions, yet some were self tape making things a little easier. But because of my whole family’s commitment and effort put into all that I do, getting the part is always a huge accomplishment for all of us. Even a small commercial is totally worth the long drives, and multiple rejections. To this day, my parents are still extremely supportive with what I do and love that I get to live my dream.
I'm interested to learn more about your co-stars Carson Rowland and, Kyson Facer who both play Frankie's love interests in "I Am Frankie." Can you tell us some more about their characters and, do you guys hang-out offset?
Kyson’s character Andrew is the bad boy of the show. He’s more rebellious and outgoing, yet he develops feelings for Frankie that create conflict between him and Cole. Cole Reyes on the other hand just wants to impress Frankie. He’s more of the good boy and fun loving. Frankie has a little bit of butterflies when it comes to Cole but Andrew also gives her this feeling of connection. Kyson and Carson play these boys very well and we’re just as close on set as we are off. The whole cast loved to hangout, wether it’s going downtown, out for dinner, or shopping, we’re always having a good time. Kyson, Carson and I always have a blast and still to this day keep in touch over social media. Even though we live in different countries, we always make sure to check up on each other and see how things are doing:)
You've been doing a lot of promotion for "I Am Frankie" since the series premiered on Nickelodeon. At just 15 years old how do balance school with your acting responsibilities?
While I was on set, school was made easy since we had tutors available and a classroom in the building. Although I still have to do some press and travel to advertise for the show, I would only ever miss a couple days at a time. This makes it easy to stay on top of my work as I will bring some homework with me. Whenever I am free, I can read my book, do some math, or whatever else is asked of me. As much as we all dread school, is has to be done, but Nickelodeon luckily makes it easy for me to stay on top of things.
What advice would you give teens looking to break into acting?
Acting is an industry that takes a lot of commitment, and anyone looking to pursue it has to be willing to put in the time and effort. Although it may be a lot of work, it is one of the most rewarding jobs you could probably have. The experience on set is incredible, along with the opportunity to meet wonderful people that could end up being some of your best friends. Yet all of this doesn’t happen overnight, it all takes time and of course an open mind.
You have to be willing to take some courses and get in some practice before auditioning for big roles. Of course, you will never get them all, but that’s not something that should be taken personally. An actor could be rejected simply because of their height or other uncontrollable factors. All you can do is keep your head up and get ready for the next one. I can assure you that with a little bit of effort, a positive attitude, and maybe some luck, you can accomplish pretty much anything.
I'm sure the filming schedule for "I Am Frankie", keeps you pretty busy so when your not on-set can you tell us what you like to do for fun?
Yes filming always kept me on my toes. But when I’m not on set I love to go out with friends or family, and either hangout downtown, or go to the movies, or get food etc. I’m also pretty athletic as I love to play sports like hockey, soccer and volleyball. Not only do I enjoy team sports, but whenever I go to my family cottage in the summer, I always have an amazing time. We go tubing, water skiing, swimming, knee boarding, wake boarding, hiking and much, much more.
Hanging out at the cottage with family is never a boring time that’s for sure. But sometimes, I just need to chill at home and relax. If I’ve been on my feet all day or have been busy with sports, i will never turn down a day designated to sitting on the couch and watching tv. Then again, who would ever turn that down haha.
Watch full episodes of I Am Frankie on Nickelodeon.com
Follow Alex Hook on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Actress extraordinaire Laura Vandervoort talks about auditioning for Smallville, and her first comic-con experience
Actress extraordinaire Laura Vandervoort talks about auditioning for cult sci-fi hit Smallville and, her first San Diego Comic-Con experience. Also, Laura discusses Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, giving her advice during acting classes.
You grew-up in Canada first getting your start in TV commercials, and before landing your first role in the 90's hit "Goosebumps", and later on the Nickelodeon series “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” Can you tell us how you got started acting, and at what point did you realize I want to make this a career?
I started acting at the age of 13. It At that point, it was merely out of curiosity. I was somewhat quiet growing up and perhaps it was a way for me to express my emotions. I began doing background work on Canadian TV series as a child and eventually started doing commercials. I took scene study classes and worked with coaches, but nothing could have prepared me more than just being on a set. You learn so much just by experiencing it- crew members' jobs, the pace of television vs. film, the hours. I wouldn’t say there was an exact moment when I decided on making it my career. I just enjoyed the work, challenging myself and learning as I went along.
At age 19 you attended "York University" studying Psychology and English, while taking acting classes to build-up about your craft, and keep auditioning for more roles. Do you have a favorite memory from taking acting classes, and did you have an acting coach, or mentor who gave you any career advice?
I attended York as a backup plan (laughs). Fortunately as acting continued, I realized how I could use what I was learning at York in my auditions and roles. Gordon Pinsent is a well known Canadian actor who also happened to be my grandmother's cousin. I reached out to him as a child when I first started acting. He and I wrote letters and he often gave me advice about this business and encouraged me. I remember on one of my first jobs (Goosebumps), he came to set. He’s always been like a mentor.
In the first weeks of your life you contracted meningitis, which, is a very serious condition that, affects both the brain and spinal cord. The doctors actually told your parents you wouldn't live I'm wondering how that experience effect your life, and what would you say to a family who, might be going threw the same life changing ordeal?
I was obviously rather young so I don’t remember the ordeal, but my parents tell me it was scary and overwhelming. There was a chance I would be deaf. I was paralyzed all down the left side of my body, but my mom says I had some serious fight in me and that’s how I overcame it.... along with some incredible doctors at North York General.
I suppose that fight still exists. I’m competitive and I don’t like letting people down. I try to accomplish as much as I can with my time here. Growing up, the meningitis affected how I perceived things. I had a learning disability and I was a visual learner. I had to memorize text books and rewrite them. I was a straight ‘A’ student however, I just got there in a different manner. So in a way, that has benefitted me with memorization techniques. I definitely felt a need to prove people wrong in school. That fight continued growing up and continues to this day.
You're most well known for playing Kara Kent on "Smallville" the Kryptonian cousin of Clark Kent who, was trapped on Krypton by Brainiac after traveling threw time. Also at the time you joined the cast of "Smallville" in season 7 the series was a huge hit on the WB network. Can you remember your audition for "Smallville", and how did you feel after you got the role of Kara?
I do. I did a self-tape for the show. It must have been over a month, and I had heard nothing. I finally got a phone call that they wanted me to fly to LA to do a screen test and I had never done one before. It all sounded so terrifying, not to mention they wanted me there tomorrow and I was up North in Canada at my cottage. We quickly packed up and drove home. I got on a plane the next morning and immediately went into the screen test upon landing. I recall three other girls in the waiting room. We signed the paperwork and one by one went in to audition for producers. I was nervous but excited. After it was all said and done they asked me to stay and a day later I had the job!
You were listed in Maxim Magazine's 100 Top hottest women two years in a row, and have hundred of thousands fans around the world. At Comic-Con conventions fans of "Smallville" have come-up to you crying just letting you know how much "Smallville" effected their life. When you're at conventions like San Dingo Comic-Con how dose it feel when the fans express their love to you? Do you have a favorite fan story?
It’s always so incredible and overwhelming. Sci-fi fans really are the best. I love hearing how the show(s) have impacted them. I remember my very first San Diego Comic Con experience as Supergirl. A gentleman came up to the table and had a tattoo of my face on his leg. I remember saying something like, “Wow! That’s my face permanently on your leg! Does your mom know?! Why would you do that!? But wow, thank you!”
Congratulations you have a new horror thriller coming-out on October 28th "Jigsaw" directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig where, you play the character of Anna. Can you tell us what kind of character you play, and how much of your own stunts did you do in "Jigsaw"?
I can’t say much. I was thrilled to be a part of the “Saw” franchise! You first meet Anna in the traps and she’s a character we hope the audience roots for. Anna seems to be in denial as to why she belongs there. It was a physically and emotionally draining movie but in the best possible way. Every scene was high stakes. We all did a fair number of stunts and the cast was fantastic.
Lastly you're very much involved in different charities including "PETA", "Humane Society International", and "Elton John AIDS Foundation". At We Blab Entertainment we're much in support of celebrities giving back to causes that effect our society. Can you tell us which cause your most passionate about, and what can someone do what wants to get more involved?
I’ve worked with World Vision Canada as an Ambassador for a while now. I’ve sponsored children through the organization for over ten years. Sponsoring a child through an organization such as World Vision is a start, along with encouraging others to do the same or just finding a local shelter or organization with which you can donate your time or items. I am working with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation now as well, and promoting awareness and hoping to raise funds in the month of October for breast cancer awareness month. I have set up a donation page at https://give.bcrf.org/fundraise?fcid=1145244. I just feel that love and compassion, especially in this day and age, are so important.
Watch Laura on classic episodes of Smallville now streaming on Hulu.
Don't miss Jigsaw in theaters October 27th.
Young superstar talent Aubrey Anderson-Emmons chats exclusively about life on set of Modern Family. Also Aubrey talks about working meeting Robin Williams at the type of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and playing the diverse role of Lilly Tucker-Pritchett.
At We Blab Entertainment Magazine our favorite show is "Modern Family" because, of the humor and wit between the different characters especially with Lily. Can you take us threw your audition process for landing the role of Lily Tucker-Pritchett , and how did you feel after you got the role?
Actually, I was only four years old when I auditioned for Modern Family, and I don't even remember it! I asked my mom and she said I was pretty excited. It took three auditions for me to get the part.
"Modern Family" has become a huge phenomenon since it first debuted back on September 23, 2009 having won 21 Emmy awards. What was your experience like attending the Emmys?
It's pretty cool but it's a really long day. We bring tons of snacks with us even though we're not supposed to eat in the theater! This year, I was eating a piece of candy and my tooth fell right before it started.
Currently you're working on a full time network show while keeping up your school work. How do you juggle school with your acting responsibilities?
There is a school teacher on the set so I do school there on days that I work. On days that I don't work, I go to a regular school. It's different, definitely, but I'm kind of used to it now.
On the show "Modern Family" the character of Lilly Tucker-Pritchett was adopted by two dads, Mitchell and Cameron. What dose a typical day on-set look like?
We get there early in the morning. I usually get dressed, get hair and make up done, then I usually go to school. When it's time to rehearse my scene, they call me on stage and we do the rehearsal. The sound department puts on my microphone and sometimes I go back to school or sometimes just wait and shoot the scene. There's always lots of food. Sometimes we are on location so every day is a little different.
You have increased cultural diversity awareness as an Asian American playing a trans-racial adoptee of gay parents. Did you full understand the importance of your role at such a young age, and did your parents talk with you about the subject lines?
I don't know if I knew back then, but I know now. A lot has changed on tv since then. We are friends with the kids from Fresh Off The Boat and Albert Tsai who was on Dr Ken. There is a lot more diversity on tv now but I think Modern Family was really important for helping that happen.
You're also very involved with multiple charities including St. Jude's Hospital, California Covenant House Youth Shelter, and Let Them Play Sports Organization. What can you tell us about some of the non-profit work you do?
I like being able to help people, especially when I can help other kids and animals. That is very special to me. We care about dog rescue so much that we have two rescue dogs!
Back in 2013 along with your cast members Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, and Rico Rodriguez you met Robin Williams back stage at "Jimmy Kimmel Live." What do you remember about your appearance, and meeting Robin at Jimmy Kimmel?
I didn't know who he was at first but, later I figured out some of the stuff he was in and my mom told me he was the voice of the Genie in Aladdin. I've seen lots of his movies now, but I was only six or seven then so I don't remember it very well.
Everyone has their favorite characters on "Modern Family" from Hayley, Alex, Luke, and Manny which, has brought so many quotable lines. Can you tell us what's it like working with Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, and Rico Rodriguez?
I actually don't work with them very often because the different families usually shoot at different times and I'm the only kid in my family. Also, the big kids are all like adults now and going to college. We have Jeremy on the show now, who plays Joe, and he is a lot of fun to hang out with. I love when we get to work together! He's really cute and funny.