Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Switched at Birth Interview!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

It is no secret that ABCFamily's Switched at Birth was one of the best new series in 2011. I know I'm not alone when I say that I've been looking forward to tonight's return for months! The writing, the acting, the concept... it all makes for a fabulous show. And, while we've had interviews with Vanessa Marano and Constance Marie in the past, today we've got one that both Vanessa Marano AND Katie LeClerc participated in! And, I've got to say, it was probably the most fun I've ever had when conducting a Q&A. Those girls are so full of life, get along so well, and have such great chemistry, it's no wonder that their family drama is a hit television show! So, while you're waiting anxiously for the premiere of round two later tonight, here are some fun bits from the girls to tide you over.

First, if you've never seen the show before and are trying to figure out why you should give it a try, consider Vanessa's response to why she thinks so many different people seem to connect with the show: "I think that what really resonates with people is that there are so many storylines, and to top it off, you're learning about a culture and community that a lot of people weren't introduced to beforehand." And, to give you a bit more feel for the two characters, we found out what they each like most about who they portray... Vanessa likes that "people don't always love Bay," since she's difficult and almost a bit socially awkward. Katie likes that Daphne is "never a victim." The fact that Daphne is deaf is "almost secondary to the rest of her life." If it'll help you to go back and catch a bit of the earlier half of the season, the ladies shared their favorites with us. Vanessa likes #7, "The Stag Hunt," since she and Katie really got to work together, and had more than three scenes with one another. "It's always been one of our funnier episodes, too." Katie likes episode #4, "Dance Among Daggers," with the big fundraiser, since "everybody was on set all the time and we all kind of got to hang out together. Yes, I think that one has a special place in my heart. Plus, Emmett on the drums is just awesome."

What's coming up this season? Bay needs to decide whether or not to give up street art, since a specific situation "almost costs her something pretty major in her life" and causes her to think about the risks of illegal activity. And, Daphne will be playing more basketball in the second half of the first season. Neither girl spilled much about which character will win over Emmett, but it was interesting to learn that Vanessa wants Daphne to be with Emmett and Katie wants Bay to be with Emmett. 

What about specifically tonight? Vanessa bragged that Katie "has quite possibly one of the most beautiful, amazing, emotional scenes by this gorgeous lake... the entire crew was just in awe of her and she did an awesome job."

PHOTO BY: Getty Images/
Andrew H. Walker
Now, I don't know about all of you, but one of my favorite things about Switched at Birth is how difficult it is to predict what's going to happen next! And, it turns out, I'm not alone - they don't get much information before reading the scripts. Katie was rather lighthearted about it, "We don't get to read anything. It's tragic and fun, kind of, at the same time. But I just want to know - I just feel like I should know." Vanessa, on the other hand, is struggling a bit more with being in the dark about what's upcoming, "I have tried so hard... they will not tell us anything." Regardless of being unable to break the writers, they still have plenty of fun with the crew, though... In episode nine, there was a stunt double for Vanessa, so a wig was made to match her hair. Katie put it on and Vanessa put on a Carlton High uniform and wore mock hearing aids. They dressed like this to go to a table read and met David Paymer, one of the directors, who completely fell for it.

Another of my favorite things about the show? The constant process of learning to sign for many of the characters. I was interested to find out how Vanessa was doing with her new communication skills, and she was very open about how it's a work in progress. Vanessa shared that she is doing the most sign language in the upcoming bunch of episodes, and we will see her sign quite a bit with Daphne, Emmett, and Melody (Emmett's mom). Her real-life sign vocabulary, however, is "getting there. I hope to be as fluent as Bay in a little bit, but as of right now, Bay is way better at sign language than I am." She also joked that the "driving force" for her to really learn sign language isn't communication but "secret communication," so that she can have private conversations with people.

It might just be me, but I've really enjoyed the different fashions that we've seen on the show, so I was curious to find out whether the girls felt that their characters dressed anything like they do. Katie feels like she has "a very similar style sense to Daphne." She's "very much a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal," but Daphne wears a lot of cardigans, which Katie does not. Vanessa remarked that her style is "very similar to Bay, if it was multiplied by a thousand." They both like black, but Bay "gets crazy artistic with funky, kooky skirts and combat boots and everything." Vanessa "would never be brave enough to wear that in real life."

And now, on to some stuff more related to their personal lives than the show... When asked how the girls' lives have changed since the show became a hit, their responses were pretty different. For Vanessa, the biggest change is that she has a job, which she says "is awesome." For Katie, the shift has been a bit more drastic. She was a receptionist before, and has quit that job, "made incredible new friends," and "go places and experience things that she wouldn't have otherwise." Speaking of friends, Katie and Vanessa do spend time together off-set. Katie loves to cook in real life, just like Daphne. "Vanessa and I have this great thing where she'll come over to my apartment and I'll cook dinner and her and my boyfriend will watch awesome reality television together. We all get to hand out and spend time together and I get to cook and that's what I want to do so I'm perfectly happy with it."

Several members of the Switched at Birth cast have Twitter, and Katie (@katieleclerc) shared a reason that she loves the social medium: "It's just the immediate response that is so readily accessible." She also shared a few comments that she's gotten, regarding various people changing their lives because of Switched at Birth. She "thinks the response has just been overwhelmingly positive." She's really "proud to be a part of it and thankful to have been along for the ride."

Thanks again to Vanessa Marano and Katie LeClerc for taking the time, and New Media Strategies and ABCFamily for setting up this Q&A opportunity!

Remember to tune in Tuesdays at 8pm ET/PT on ABCFamily, starting tonight, for the latest Switched at Birth episodes!

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