Friday, August 27, 2010

Things I Learned from Melissa Joan Hart, Part I

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Similar to
when I had a Q&A with India Eisley from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, I was part of a teleconference last Monday morning with Melissa Joan Hart. I spent about an hour brainstorming about good things to ask, and ended up with four solid questions (since with India, my questions kept being taken by others, I wanted to be ready). One was taken fairly early, and another was lightly touched upon. So, when I got my turn, I had one good question and one follow-up for Melissa Joan Hart to expound upon. My other question was never addressed, but it was kinda my back-up question, LoL.

In case you haven't read my thoughts on the first few episodes (the pilot and the second ran together, then the third the following week), Melissa Joan Hart is in a new comedy on ABCFamily, opposite Joey Lawrence. It's called Melissa & Joey, although the characters' names on the show are Mel & Joe. Long story short, she's a local politician who has taken in her niece and nephew, and Joe is the live-in housekeeper/nanny. Now, on with things I learned! Speaking with her was so great, that I got a LOT out of the opportunity! Instead of one long post, I've decided to go with two shorter ones, so the first half (seen below) focuses more on her career prior to this show, and expect a second post tomorrow morning to look at more of the Melissa & Joey angle. :)

- Melissa made a great point that both she and Joey (Lawrence) have always wanted to work. Instead of the "I want to be rich and famous" mindset, for them it's more of a "I want longevity, I want to work" mindset.

- If, given the opportunity to do it over, Melissa wouldn't change a thing. Except, maybe, say no to things. She didn't want to do a horror film, so she didn't. But, it seemed that everyone else was doing that in the past ten years (and still is, really).

- In Clarissa Explains it All, she learned how to run a lighting board and how to operate a camera and how directing works. She also worked super-long days then, since she did school 4 days a week and taped the show 2 days a week, and all kinds of craziness. Plus, her family wasn't with her in Orlando most of the time. She also was around adults so much that being around peers her own age made her anxious to a certain extent.

- There was a fantastic crew camaraderie during Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. They'd eat pizza together, go bowling, shoot pool, carve pumpkins together, all kinds of stuff!

- In her early twenties, when doing the Sabrina show, the animated series (remember, she voiced Aunt Hilda), and filming Drive Me Crazy, she worked over 50 hours straight. She also worked over 50 days in a row without having a day off.

- She considers the Clarissa Explains it All wardrobe to be groovy, but sometimes she felt a little embarassed, while others she was comfortable in things like jeans and combat boots. With Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, the beginning was a bit bizarre, with the pantyhose and BeBe jackets and such, and the fun stuff happened whenever they had a costume built, like for the Alice in Wonderland episode. She does think Mel Burke's wardrobe is fun, since it's sassy and sexy and feminine, yet classy. The difficult part is walking in the high heels!

- Her current character is a local politician, but Melissa Joan Hart hasn't really gotten into local politics in Connecticut. Once she gets back and settled there again, she will hopefully have a chance. Currently, she just uses CNN in the car or on TV to catch up on national and international current events.

- She really enjoys the visual part of directing - like reading something in a book and making it come alive. She and Joey would both like to direct a bit if
Melissa & Joey gets a second season.

- She would like to have a voice role in an animated feature (she has voiced cartoons in the past, remember). But she mentioned a couple times that it would really be great to be able to have a say in some things she'd be considered for... like she would have loved having a role in
The Help or Dragon Tattoo, for instance.
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