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.