This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Disney. I received an all-expense paid trip from Disney so that I could gather and share this information about Andi Mack on Disney Channel. However, the experiences and opinions are always 100% my own as this post is written by me in its entirety.
Andi Mack is the perfect for kids, tweens and families to watch together. Disney Channel has done it once again with a contemporary coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old girl named Andi Mack. Not only did I get a sneak peek at of the first two episodes of Andi Mack before they was released, I was also able to sit down for an interview with Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Lilan Bowden, Lauren Tom, Terri Minsky and Michelle Manning. Spoilers ahead – so be sure to watch the first two episodes of Andi Mack on Disney Channel before reading on.
Andi Mack On Disney Channel
Where did the concept of this series originate from?
Terri: This is weird to say to a large group of people, but I read a profile of Jack Nicholson. He was raised with his mother as his sister and I thought that’s an interesting idea for a show. Just keep it in your file of ideas and then when somebody says to you, do you have any ideas, you go, yeah, I have Jack Nicholson. So that’s really where it originated from. I wish it was as cool as I know somebody who went through this.
When each of you read the script, were you surprised by that reveal at the beginning? Was it meaty to jump into as an actress?
Peyton: Definitely. I think the first time I read it was before I even got the part, right? So you’re reading it and you’re like, this is so amazing. Already just going through the first episode and you think how she’s an amazing writer. But I hadn’t gotten the part yet, so you’re reading it and even the beginning, you’re already thinking it’s so amazing. The voice is so unique and different from everything that you usually see.
But then when you get to the end of the first episode, I was like wait, what? Cause you’re just like reading through the script, and… wait, what? And so I had to read the last scene like five times before it really sort of sank in, you know? And then it just made it that more meaningful to me.
Lilan: It was super surprising. So that reveal was in the sides that I auditioned with and they were the second pair of sides. And the first pair of sides is this super fun lighthearted scene that was closer to the beginning of the pilot. And I remember reading the sides and thinking, oh, my, gosh, this is so funny. This is really funny. This is great. Oh, this is great. You know, oh, this is a Disney show. This is great. And then that second scene when it takes that turn… that was the thing that cinched me, and I was like, I have to get this. It has to be me.
Lauren: For me, I really read it thinking this is something that’s got some meat on the bone for me. I have two kids that are 13 and 16 and so in order for me to pull myself away from wanting to be with them, cause that’s when they need you the most, in a way, I thought, I didn’t wanna be that mom, dinner’s ready, you know? I just thought that I would go a little brain-dead, but Terri’s writing is just so phenomenal that I was like, yeah, I think I need to attach myself to this for so many reasons, just how innovative it is and the diversity. Feeling like when I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of role models and I’m so old that I was watching Harriet or whatever that show was where I never felt like I could be those perfect white kids that I was looking at because they just didn’t have anything to do with my reality whatsoever. Whereas this show is so much more real and reflective of what’s going on in the world today. And then also just having so many people of color on it, it’s just great.
Obviously, the age of 12 and 13 is a tough time across the board. Is there a message that you’re trying to get across particular to that age group through this show?
Terri: Honestly, my message is watch TV with your parents. I have a daughter who’s 22 and a lot of our conversations were generated by shows that we saw on television. It was just like you watch a Lifetime movie about bullying and start a conversation like, does that ever happen to you? And I totally think that television is a great medium for parents and kids to start a conversation. That was my goal. It wasn’t so much of a message to the kids. It was more I hope this is good enough for children and parents, generations of family to watch together.
Seeing that you’re the same age as the character that you play, a lot of the problems that children face at those ages are more or less the same as they were for me when I was that age. But with technology and other things, things have changed dramatically. Are you getting to give some input to things that are in the script already to make some changes?
Peyton: Yeah, I definitely think when I read the script I close my eyes and I picture it when we get onto the set, what it’s gonna look like. And so when we get onto the set and we’re blocking it, a lot of the time I’ll be like, this doesn’t feel natural. Maybe if we did this or that line sounds kinda weird and especially when Terri’s on set, she’s so open to any changes. And so I can always go up to her and be like, this sounds weird. Could it be this? And, you know, all the time she’s really open to those opinions. And so that has been extremely helpful because a lot of the time you get a script and you’re like, wait, this doesn’t work for me, you know? It’s not true to what I would do, and she’ll adjust that. She’s so open to those opinions that makes the show so much more authentic and raw.
Terri: And I also try to take from the, the actors themselves. I mean pretty much everything that Cyrus does on set actually does. He actually couldn’t straighten out that motorcycle. He actually couldn’t get the helmet off. I mean he’s adorable and just uniquely uncoordinated. You know, I just try to do that with all of them. As soon as we cast Peyton, I was making a mental note of her verbal — how she talks and, and frankly, some of our best lines have been improvved by Lilan who’s from UCB so, you know, it’s like bonus.
Peyton: Lilan is so easy to work with because she’s always giving you something. All the time, every time you take a scene again she’s giving you something new. So every time it’s different. And so it makes it really easy because nothing’s built up. You’re not working with yourself, you’re working off the other person. And so Lilan’s definitely really easy to do that with.
Lilan: I’m not trying to just give it back because you said that but like Peyton is by the way, I mean people gotta know and they will. Like how uniquely special Peyton is as an actress. Like this gal is so advanced for her age. When I’m working with her, it’s not like working with a kid. It’s like working with a peer. When we talk about things, and we’re talking about scenes, her brain is working at such a mature level that like we’re not just teaching each other. We’re exploring something together and that’s what I feel made the show such a great experience to be a part of because it really felt like a collaborative process, not just with the writers, not just with the director but like with each other
Peyton: We built this world all together and so that’s what’s really exciting about it is we started from words on a page. But we definitely built up with it and we’re just working off of each other building to the top. And so I couldn’t have done it without any of you guys.
In the first couple of episodes Andi Mack experiences a lot of firsts. Will there be more of that as the season progresses?
Peyton: There definitely will be a lot of firsts. There will definitely be a lot of things that kids watching will hopefully be like, oh yeah, I felt like that before or I’m not the only person who’s felt like that. So —
Lilan: Or I can’t wait to feel like that or I hope never to feel like that.
Peyton: Exactly. It — they’re all — everything that happens in that show — I think kids around the world will be able to look at it and say, I’m not alone in this. And so I think that’s really important because a lot of the shows, you’re like, can I just be like that one day? I think this show it’s really relatable and I think everyone, young and old and anywhere in between can really look at it and see themselves in the characters.
Terri: Because teenage girls have essentially never changed. And I just think that’s true. I mean vocabulary or whatever, but I just think the whole experience of thinking, ‘this is the best day, this is the worst day.’ They’re like this volatile up and down, and everything is like, ‘you don’t understand… you’ve never had this…’ and you’re sitting there going, wow. Yeah just like me. I mean I can’t believe it’s so, it’s just whatever you were as a kid is what’s gonna show up one day in their bedroom yelling at you. I think that it’s really great to have Peyton and the other cast members keep me sort of current. So I don’t say things, I don’t even know, there are some words that everyone says — I don’t really know the hip language and the fact that I even use like this.
Oh and don’t ever call Celia “Grandma”… she’s not quite sure what she wants to be called yet, but definitely not Grandma…
In case you missed the Andi Mack digital debut last month – which aired exclusively on Disney Channel on-demand platforms, fret not! Tonight you can watch the entire one-hour TV premiere event right on the Disney Channel starting at 8:30pm EST!
About Andi Mack
The warm, relatable and funny stories of “Andi Mack,” geared towards kids, tweens and families, center on the most important things in any young person’s life – family, friends and the journey of self-discovery. Andi Mack is a contemporary, coming-of-age story about a relatable girl who’s trying to determine where she fits in and the many amazing ways she can live her life. On the eve of Andi’s 13th birthday her life goes from routine to roller coaster overnight when her free-spirited older sister Bex returns home with a revelation that changes everything, and sends Andi on an uncharted course of self-discovery. At least she’s in good company; her best friends, Cyrus and Buffy, are also figuring out their places in the world. Along the way, Andi learns that sometimes the unexpected is what makes life great.
The Andi Mack on Disney Channel series stars Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Andi Mack, Lilan Bowden as Rebecca “Bex” Mack, Lauren Tom as Celia Mack, Joshua Rush as Cyrus Goodman, Sofia Wylie as Buffy Driscoll, Asher Angel as Jonah Beck, Stoney Westmoreland as Henry “Ham” Mack, Emily Skinner as Amber, and Trent Garrett as Bowie. The executive producers are Terri Minsky (“Lizzie McGuire”) and Michelle Manning (“The Breakfast Club,” Disney Channel Original Movies “Adventures in Babysitting” and “Teen Beach 2”).
The cast of Andi Mack will be ready to answer questions tonight on Twitter during the live chat. Be sure to submit your questions using #AskAndiMack. During the show the cast will be answering questions using #AndiMack starting at 8:30pm EST.
With the cast and producers of Andi Mack on Disney Channel after our interview.
Tweet at me tonight while you’re watching Andi Mack on Disney Channel at 8:30pm EST to let me know your thoughts! Join the conversation online with #AndiMack
Photography by Disney