Wednesday, June 29, 2011

15 Fun Facts from Melissa Joan Hart

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

If you have been reading for around a year (or more!), you may remember that I was pretty excited to see the start of Melissa & Joey on ABCFamily. I had the opportunity to talk with both Melissa Joan Hart (here and here) and Joey Lawrence (here and here) just a few weeks after the show premiered. This really got me psyched about the show, and as I kept reviewing the episodes, I began to fear that it might not be renewed. I really hoped that it would, and the ratings seemed like they'd make it, but I was still a little concerned, since I have a tendency to fall for shows that end up getting canceled (for instance, I was crushed by Better With You's cancellation this year and Miami Medical's cancellation last year). but, Melissa & Joey is still doing great and will be back in action starting tonight!

Last week I had the opportunity to have another Q&A session with Melissa Joan Hart (special thanks to ABCFamily and New Media Strategies), and on Sunday I wrote about the process of filming an episode of Melissa & Joey. Today, I'd like to share some of the fascinating things I learned about her and the show. First, some personal information and what else she's up to, then some tidbits directly about the show!

- Right now, Melissa Joan Hart is pitching a network show, a cable show, and an internet show (which will be like a talk show with her siblings).

- She was boy-crazy before she got married. She likes to go all out on things, like having her face painted and getting pom-poms to go to a football game. She’s a big planner. She’s a big Friends fan.

- Because Melissa Joan Hart really grew up on-set, there are a bunch of things that she never really learned for herself, like how to dress, how to do her own hair and makeup, and how to cook.

- She has been working with Kellogg’s Share Your Breakfast program. One in four children in the US wakes up hungry.

- Her favorite rides at Walt Disney World/Disneyland are Space Mountain and Toy Story, though she’s anxious for the Cars ride to open at Disneyland as well.

- You may already know that Melissa Joan Hart owns SweetHarts, a sweets shop. Her favorite menu item is red velvet cookies. Depending on her mood, she also likes the lemon drip gelato.

- Her company, Hartbreak Films, did an independent film last year called Nine Dead, where you can really see her in a psychological thriller-type of role. When filming Nine Dead, she’s in one outfit most of the time and the actors are handcuffed to a pole, so it was simple to rehearse. This allowed her to have her children around, especially as she was breastfeeding her second son at the time.

- She takes her position as a role model into account when she makes decisions. If it’s not something she’d do in real life (like smoke a cigarette), then why should she do it on-screen? At the same time, she wants a good long career, so she does more dramatic, twisted things sometimes.

- One of my questions for Melissa Joan Hart (which came from a suggestion on our facebook page) regarded what advice she’d give teen stars on Nickelodeon today that she wished that she had when she played Clarissa. She feels that things have changed so dramatically that she couldn’t give any advice from what she learned. But, some advice that she’s giving to Nick, who plays Ryder on Melissa & Joey, is that he needs to take control of his education and figure out a good way to spend time with his family when he gets a chance. (Melissa Joan Hart filmed Clarissa Explains it All in Orlando while her family lived in NY. Similarly, Nick's family is in Seattle while he's in LA.) She’s encouraged Nick to enroll in school in California particularly so he can keep up with things like art, music, and gym, which are subjects you don’t get when you’re being tutored instead.

- As much as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch was to be a family show, Melissa & Joey is more for folks in their 30s and high school/college-age kids. They don’t have the largest teen fan base at the moment, but she believes there could be one.

- There will be an upcoming reference to Joey’s Blossom role. Melissa Joan Hart said “one word out of Joey’s mouth” will remind everyone of Blossom, so I’m willing to bet it’s “whoa!”

- Melissa Joan Hart wanted the character of Mel to be “something fun and cool” and prove that she didn’t have to be the straight man in order to be the lead of a show. The character is to be silly and wacky, a bit like Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character on The New Adventures of Old Christine.

- When Joe’s character is cooking on the show, Joey Lawrence works out full meals. He spends a lot of time with the prop people on the food.

- To play a guardian with no parental background, Melissa Joan Hart often take everything they know as parents and just sort of do the opposite. Similarly, they change things with the writers when things sound too parental.

- She’d love to have Danny DeVito, Michael Strahan, Kellie Martin, Soleil Moon Frye, and Bill Murray guest star. She’s promised a role to Curtis Granderson (a Yankee) already. Leslie Grossman is already set to be in an upcoming episode. Joey’s brothers are going to be on the show soon. One will play Joe’s brother, and the other will play one of Ryder’s teachers.

I think it all sounds great, and I've already added Nine Dead to my Netflix queue. And, as someone who had red velvet cake at her wedding, I've also put "visit SweetHarts" near the top of my list for things to do when I'm in LA! (the store is in Sherman Oaks if you're nearby!)

Tune in to Melissa & Joey at 8pm Eastern / 7pm Central as it kicks off the ABCFamily New Comedy Wednesday!
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Anonymous said...

Very good to hear she's a FRIENDS fan :o) I'm very excited to see the Lawrence Brothers on episodes in the future :o)

Anonymous said...

She's an awesome actress. Check out this interview with her and Joey Lawrence at Young Hollywood.