Teen sensation Grace Kaufman dishes about sitcom Man with a Plan and, not fangirling over Friends co-star Matt Leblanc
Teen sensation actress Grace Kaufman dishes about her hit sitcom "Man with a Plan" and, trying not to fangirl over her "Friends" co-star Matt Leblanc. Also, Grace talks about some of her funniest social media moments on Instagram.
Congratulations on season 2 of CBS's "Man with a Plan" starring Matt LeBlanc which, become the break-out sitcom of the 2016 fall schedule. For any our readers who haven't seen the show you play the oldest sibling Kate Burns. Can you describe your character to us, and how much can you relate to her?
Well, now Kate is 15 on the show, which I love because they've been keeping her age the same as mine. So I definitely relate to her. Kate has siblings on the show and is the oldest daughter in the family — like I am in mine. She's a natural-born leader and pretty out-going. She's not afraid to get into a little mischief also, like me. Hahaha. I like to be adventurous with my friends and go out and have fun. I like to play Kate that way as well.
CBS's "Man With A Plan" stars veteran comedy actor Matt LeBlanc from the biggest sitcom of the 90's "Friends" which, is one of our favorite shows. What's it like working with Matt LeBlanc on a professional level, and do you remember the first time watching "Friends" the sitcom?
It's great fun working with Matt! He has taught me so much about comedy. I look up to him so much, both as an actor and a mentor in the industry. He's given me a lot of advice which has helped me grow. We are always laughing, which I love. We make each other crack up all the time. I watched a lot of episodes of "Friends" before I worked on "Man With A Plan," so it made meeting Matt in real life a little crazy. I tried not to fangirl too much while I was reading with him during the audition! I love "Friends" so much like most people do. It's such an iconic series and every episode is so memorable.
The industry in Hollywood is very competitive, and going on auditions is something every working at actor knows very well. Can you break down your audition process for landing the role of Kate Burns on "Man With A Plan", and how did you feel when you got the part?
I had done an ABC pilot the year before, playing the granddaughter of Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo. I was bummed when it didn't get picked up as a series (it was really funny!), so it was back to pilot auditions the next year. There were a few pilots I was up for, including "Man With A Plan." I got a callback to go back in and read a couple scenes with Matt, so I did that and it was such a fun audition. We got along right away. I also knew that the director James Burrows was so famous for directing "Friends," "Will and Grace," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and so many other amazing series. I really wanted to work with him also. So when I got the call and they offered me the role, I was beyond thrilled. To be able to work with people who knew so much about comedy was a dream come true.
At the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, you had your huge breakout moment for the film "Sister," being described as a "little knockout that Dakota and Elle Fanning, Abigail Breslin, and Shirley Temple were in their day. Do you have any favorite memories filming "Sister", and attending the Tribeca Film Festival?
"Sister" was an amazing experience for me. It has such a special place in my heart because I got to work with such incredible actors and learned so much from them. Reid Scott, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Lee Garlington and so many others, plus our director David Lascher. All were wonderful to work with. There is a very intense scene in the movie, where my character Niki has a breakdown and falls apart in front of her older brother because of all the pressure she is going through. When it came time to film that scene, I was nervous about doing a good job, but I just looked at Reid and we trusted to be there for each other and the scene went so well. I was so excited that I got to go to the Tribeca Film Festival with the film. I love New York and it gave me the chance to see some Broadway shows that week!
You're very much involved in the cause of Autoimmune disease participate in the annual Autoimmune Walk yearly in November, raising money for the cause. Can you tell us why the Autoimmune disease is so close to your heart and, also about your work with Camp Ronald McDonald?
I like helping organizations that have a lot of meaning to the friends and family in my life. I have several family members and friends with autoimmune issues (most Americans do!), and I really want to help find a cure for these types of diseases. Camp Ronald McDonald helps the families of children with cancer by sending them to camp and Ronald McDonald House provides housing for families when they are visiting other cities for hospital care. It's an issue close to my heart because I have a friend who died from neuroblastoma cancer when we were in 4th grade, and I miss him still. Helping other kids with cancer and their families is a way to remember Gus.
What advice would you give teens looking to break into acting?
Do as much performing as you can. You learn a lot from rehearsing, practicing and performing in front of an audience. I still do as much theater as I am able to. Also, watch people and their behaviors. You can learn a lot about other people from just observing them and bringing those things to your work as an actor.
You're very active on social media, and I heard you had a funny embarrassing Instagram story involving your little brother Henry, and a bouncing ball? Can you tell us what happened?
Ha! Yes, I've had a lot of funny Instagram story posts. Most of them, like the bouncing ball story where I accidentally kicked a bouncing ball out from under my brother and he went flying, are just my brother or my friends falling or tripping or doing something crazy. Once I thought that I was sending a really horrible and funny photo of myself to a friend on Snapchat. Just waking up and looking like a mess. I accidentally posted it on my story and didn't realize it until 2 hours later when half the world had seen me looking like something the cat dragged in. I'm private when I want to be, but I also like to share funny stuff like that when I'm in the mood!