Last month I posted about my experience visiting the set of ABC Family’s new comedy MYSTERY GIRLS, as well as my breakfast interview with the cast of YOUNG & HUNGRY! They weren’t the only talent I had the privilege to sit down with though… At that same breakfast I had the chance to chat with not only the women who star in ABC Family’s CHASING LIFE, but also the creative minds behind the scenes!
The show is about a young twenty-something named April (Italia Ricci), who is an aspiring journalist. She is trying to work her way up the ladder at a Boston newspaper, while balancing her family life which includes her widowed mom Sara (Mary Page Keller) and rebellious little sister Brenna (Haley Ramm). Once life seems to be looking up (including her hot romance with co-worker Dominic), April gets the devastating news from an estranged uncle that she has cancer.
CHASING LIFE is a show with a lot of heart! It deal with a topic that some may thing create a depressing show, but it is really not like that at all. The main character April actually stays as positive and light-hearted as she can. The show has it sweet moments, but still story lines that are intriguing.
It was great interacting with the cast and learning about each individual, especially since I had just watched the show the night before and it was fresh in my mind. Like the YOUNG & HUNGRY interviews, these interviews too were on the informal and conversational side. Here are tidbits from each sit down.
Interviews with Chasing Life Cast
When chatting with Haley she made a mention that the subject matter of the show was something that absolutely attracted her to the role. The topic of cancer is quite relevant in today’s society. The show tells such a meaningful story! Haley feels that this could truly be a real story, and she really likes that the main characters is actually given still a positive outlook on life despite everything.
As for character Brenna, Haley noted how she starts in such a dark place. Her dad has died and then she receives the bombshell that her sister has cancer. However, as the episodes go on, you’ll start to see her gradually become happier and happier. Brenna starts to take a new look on life and is no longer the bratty teenager she was in the beginning.
When I asked Haley who she would love to work with in the future, she quickly noted Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence and Saoirse Ronan. She noted that with her previous acting roles, she’s had more experience in dramas, but would absolutely love to do more indie films.
When Haley showed up to the breakfast, she was wearing this super cute aqua colored sundress. Well of course we then had to chat fashion! Haley noted she loves anything vintage style! She really enjoys refurbishing and her style is reflected in that. She loves anything 50s and 650s inspired including one of her favorite movies, A PLACE IN THE SUN, starring Natalie Wood. She is also a big fan of GIDGET! Just putting it out there… but if there is a GIDGET remake, I say that Haley is cast!
When Mary Page first walked in I immediately recognized as a television veteran! When she sat down she was eager to learn where we are all from. Upon learning that a fellow blogger and I are both from Maryland, Mary Page noted that she too used to live in Maryland even attending the University of Maryland (Go Terps!), and did theater right here in Washington DC!
She praised CHASING LIFE for providing such a rich environment to work in. She told us that some of her favorite scenes to film are the emotional ones where she can just be in the moment, and let it all out. She noted that she can easily slip into the roles of headstrong doctors and lawyers, but since she is a mom herself (her sons are 17 and 20), that was an aspect that she really liked about Sara. Here is this mom dealing with the emotional distraught of her husband passing away and then her daughter being diagnosed with cancer.
When asked about one of her favorite roles in the past, it was hard for her to choose! However she noted that one of her more recent roles that she absolutely loved was in the movie BEGINNERS with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. She also noted how much fun she had in her role on MAD MEN! She told us how the wardrobe and costumes were amazing, and that was probably her “most fun” role in television.
How sweet is Italia!? While us bloggers were getting ready for the breakfast and excitedly tweeting away… Italia too the time to tweet back to us how excited she was to join us!
What really attracted Italia to CHASING LIFE was the amazing script and the fact that April is quite a multi-dimensional character as well. To research the role, Italia actually consulted with the mother of her good friend. Stephen Amell’s (who is the cousin of her boyfriend Rob Amell) mother is a breast cancer survivor who gave Italia much inspiration for her character. She noted that when April is diagnosed, she knows nothing about cancer. Italia wanted to keep that same mindset so she didn’t want to research TOO MUCH, so some parts of cancer still remained a mystery.
So where was Italia when she found out she scored the role of April? In McDonald’s. Oh yes, Italia admitted that Big Macs are her absolute favorite guilty pleasure!
We also chatted about who she would love to work with in the future. For directors she’d choose Woody Allen or Christopher Nolan. Actor she’d love to team up with? Jason Bateman! Even though CHASING LIFE is a drama, Italia would love to get into comedy. She just thinks she may serve better in a supporting role when it comes to the laughs.
Executive Producers: Sean Smith, Joni Lefkowitz and Susanna Fogel
Not only did we get to meet with the talent, but we also sat down with the executive producers. Joni and Susanna are actually head writers on the show too and they’ve been working together on projects for over 12 years! Together they wanted to aim to bring a depressing subject matter to light. Sean (the creative mind behind ABC Family’s GREEK) noted how he loved the idea of the challenge to create a show about cancer. He acknowledge this often could be a dark topic, but liked the idea of making the show with more heart, rather than depressing. He gave compliments to the cast for working together so well and conveying such great chemistry on screen.
So why is the show set in Boston? Joni and Susanna told us that they wanted to keep the show young, but felt it could provide a different vibe than what’s out there by using Boston as the background. Fun fact… the show is actually shot in California. However for each episode they do save at least one scene to shoot at an iconic spot in the city of Boston.
If you are looking for a drama that is still inspirational with a sweet message and tackles real life issues, then you definitely will want to check out CHASING LIFE!
Tune in at 9:00pm ET/PT on ABC Family for an all new episode!
While I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to the press events for Guardians of the Galaxy, 100 Foot Journey, and ABC Family, all opinions are 100% my own.