Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Disney and the Disney Channel. I received an all-expense paid trip from Disney so that I could gather and share this information. However, all experiences and opinions are always 100% my own as this post is written by me in its entirety.
I’ve been invited to my fair share of movie screenings in the past. However, last weeks movie screening for Bad Hair Day starring Laura Marano (“Austin & Ally”) and Leigh-Allyn Baker really took the cake! Why am I awarding cake to this screening? Because: Leigh-Allyn Baker! Yes that Leigh-Allyn Baker, the one you’ve been watching play Amy Duncan on Good Luck Charlie, well, yeah, she was at the screening watching it with me!!! I wish I could say she was sitting right next to me, but alas only Andrew from Mommy’s Busy could be that lucky to sit next to Baker. But she was literally only two movie seats away from me. That counts right? I couldn’t have dreamed a better dream than to be able to enjoy a movie screening with one of the starring actors (by the way, she also was the executive-producer on this film) in the same theatre with me. What an amazing experience!
While the movie was truly entertaining, being able to speak to Baker in person was most definitely comedy hour at the improv. Baker gave us a warm welcome and thanked us for being there – “It was really fun for me to watch it with all of you because I’ve never seen it with an audience so it was, it was really refreshing for me.” When an actor can start an interview in essence by thanking us for our attendance, you become real comfortable with the instant reminder that they too are human like you. Naturally she enjoyed her own movie, but she’s seen it so many times she can’t tell if it’s good enough anymore, “…and then after you’ve seen it a hundred times you’re like eh, it’s okay. So you totally don’t know. You lose perspective. So it was such a fun ride to watch it with you guys and feel your energy and hear you kind of predict different things or get a kick out of things. It was really interesting.” is how Baker described that not so sure feeling.
We started off the interview by trying to get to know Baker a bit more and find out where her inspiration and vision for this movie came from. She explained that although the original script was different in that it cast a male lead, Disney decided to try something new and asked Baker to come on as the female lead, replacing the male – thereby allowing the movie to take on a totally different direction. With Baker’s thoughts – and she certainly asserted them as executive producer – “we wanted to first and foremost make people laugh, but really secondly it was really important to us to grab people’s heartstrings and give a really good, unique and empowering message. As you can see I feel like this film is, you know, is fraught with comedy and heart and great messages for girls. You know, she doesn’t end up with her prince charming. She chooses MIT. Heck yeah, she does, you know.” Girl power times infinity! What Baker envisioned was a movie that adults could watch with their children, something very new and different for the Disney Channel. And something I agree with and approve.
While some people might be intimated to cast their partnering role in the form a strong actor, Baker welcomed it with Marano. She was excited to work with a young actor that could handle her own and go “toe-to-toe” with her in comedy. Their on-set chemistry was perfect, in fact you could easily see why in various scenes many called the duo mother-daughter, they certainly squabbled like one. Enjoying a movie with two equally powerful female actors is inspiring to say the least. Especially when one can appreciate what it means to be a working mama.
Baker has this show biz thing to a T – she’s a comedian, an actor, a producer, and a FULL TIME MAMA. Being a working mama isn’t easy. Separating your work time from your home life can be a challenge. In the past when I would work on the blog you would find me seated at the dining room table while working from a laptop. Which I would be totally cool with if it wasn’t for being interrupted every two minutes – even though Papa was right there – by the kids, or I would simply lose focus because I wanted to assist with something. The end results would leave me staying up late to catch up on work while everyone slept, turning me into a Bad Hair Day zombie in the morning. So we wanted to know how a professional like Baker who has two young sons at home balances being a working mama. Baker explained that the main focus at work must be work, and the main focus at home, must be home, “simplicity rules.” Voila, she gets it! This was exactly the reason I recently asked Papa to help me convert a corner of J-bird’s unused bedroom – while he’s away at college – into a workspace for me.
If you can’t tell how down to earth Baker is by now, let me tell you about the personal moment I shared with her. Mid-interview Baker suddenly blurts out, “I’m blinded by the diamonds on your hand by the way” – thanks Papa bear -, to which I sincerely and embarrassingly apologized. Never mind that the rock on her hand is nothing to sneeze at compared to my tiny ring. Diamonds are after all a girls best friend, right? I was so embarrassed that I forgot to say thank you, so Leigh-Allyn, THANK YOU! Who doesn’t love shiny sparkly things, we know Baker does for sure…I don’t think I’ve heard so much laughter come out of a room full of women – and two guys – all being led by the interview of one petite humorous powerhouse. This gal is going places!
Mama always taught me to reach higher. Once a goal was completed, you needed to already have a plan of action for the next goal – “reach for the stars baby, and beyond”, Mama said. To wrap up the interview with Baker I had to know what was the next goal now that she has accomplished her goal of acting and producing, “… so now the next step for me is to I think to maybe step outside of children’s programming and do things. I still am interested in doing things for the whole family but maybe branching out to network television, you know, to see how I might do there.” “…I have learned that, you know, families, children, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents have a real appreciation and respect for what I do, but this industry does not always have that respect. I’m a mom on a kid’s network to them so that’s when you take the reins and develop your own show.” From dreams of being an actor to producing your own Disney Channel Original Movie, to the next big step of developing her own show, Baker is reaching beyond the stars – going out of her comfort zone – making things happen and keeping us laughing!
Baker joked about a conversation she had with her Mama, “It’s interesting. You know, my mom, when I first moved out here I had — I got a pilot right away after I got out of college and it was in competition against this little show called Friends, which my mother says to me Leigh, why didn’t you do Friends? Well, you know, they called me and asked and I was like I’m too busy. I don’t wanna be on your silly show. It doesn’t really work that way in this town, you know…” Yes, I do know. To succeed you have to work hard and just when you are ready to throw in the towel, you count your lucky stars that you have made it this far, and you keep going – because that’s what Mama says!
I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. Be sure sure to check out my film review. Let me know if you have any questions for Leigh-Allyn and I will try to get her to answer them!
Bad Hair Day premieres on Friday, February 13th at 8pm EST on Disney Channel, with WATCH Disney Channel simulcast. In case you miss it, Bad Hair Day will be available for purchase through Apple iTunes, Amazon Instant Video Store and Google Play on February 14th. Get social online with the official movie hashtag #BadHairDay to learn more and interact with other fans on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Chat live with the stars of Bad Hair Day during the premiere on Friday and be sure to submit questions you have for them using #BadHairDay on Twitter!