July 31st, 2009
I recently got a chance to sit down with the four stars of Make It Or Break It, and chat about their characters, the drama and what we might see in the rest of the season. Here is part three in the series–my interview with Ayla Kell, who plays Payson Keeler.
I want to say, I really love the show.
So tell us a little about your character Payson. She’s sort of the perfect one.
Payson is very goal oriented and she’s never known anything other than gymnastics and that really mirrors my life with ballet for such a long time and it’s very easy to tap into that character because there’s so much of me in her.
How long have you done ballet?
Wow. Are you still doing ballet or is it more acting now?
I’m actually still doing it.
Did you talk to any gymnasts before you started filming the show?
I did. After quite a bit of Youtube research, I got to meet some of them and do some physical training with a few of them and their mannerisms are easy to pick up on and they’re all fantastic people.
And have you learned any gymnastics skills during the filming of the show?
I’ve learned how to kick up on bars and I have a few skills on beam.
Without giving away too much, do you think we are going to see Payson’s flaws at any point in this season? Do you think she has flaws?
I think people might see a little glance—a little crack in the façade.
A big theme this season is breaking the rules, which I think is pretty realistic. How do you keep your character true to life?
I’m only 18. I remember the breaking the rules, and I remember the wanting to not get in trouble and it’s one of those things where the people playing my parents are so much like my actual parents, it’s hardly acting. It’s really just being with them.
What has been your favorite part of filming the show?
My favorite part of filming the show is definitely the people I’m around. The whole cast, the crew, the writers…everybody is fantastic, and so supportive of us. And they’ve all really been there for us and that’s my favorite part.
A main storyline has been excluding Emily. How do you come to accept her?
For Payson, it’s always…it’s fair competition. It’s more of I understand that she’s the newcomer and maybe shouldn’t be a part of our group but it doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be able to compete. So, in that, we all start to know a little bit more about each other, and through that, kind of come together.
You girls have great chemistry. Are you all friends off set? Do you hang out when you aren’t on set?
We do. We actually just wrapped and we’re texting each other like crazy and you know, you get so used to being around those people. We sort of just lost our family. So we all hang out, we talk all the time, and I miss them already.
What story lines do you think we can expect to see in the 2nd season?
I’m trying so hard not to give stuff away. I think that you’re going to see…I know from me, you’re going to see Payson have to deal with real life. And things outside of her comfort zone and finding the world without just gymnastics, and finding herself which is such a hard thing to do at that age.
What are your favorite tv shows? Who are your acting influences?
My favorite TV shows is such a long list. I am a TV addict. I love everything from In Plain Sight to Fringe to Burn Notice to Brothers and Sisters. It’s such a long list but one of the people who definitely influences me is Sally Field from Brothers and Sisters. I recently got to meet her and I almost had a panic attack. So star struck.
Have you gotten to meet any other people through the show that you’ve been starstruck by?
Peri Gilpin who plays my mom, I was definitely star struck by. I couldn’t actually talk to her for two weeks.
What has it been like working with her and Candace Cameron Bure?
Well, Peri’s such a comedy icon. And working with her has been one of the best experiences ever. Especially because we got really close since she’s playing my mom. And she is so much like my mom, it’s hilarious. But also, with Candace….I grew up watching her. And then, she’s sitting next to me at lunch. It’s surreal.
How is Peri like your mom?
My mom has always been the calm waters that kind of, if I’m in trouble, she doesn’t have to yell at me, she just has to give me that look and I go “Oh man, okay I’m sorry.” And that’s the way it is on the show, where I know it’s very much where I know she’s doing it for my well-being but at the same time I want to do it my way. Even when you know you’re wrong, you still want to do it your way. So, it’s a lot of that between Peri and I, and Brett who plays my father (Brett Cohen). You know we were all out last night, and he’s like “that’s water right?” and I’m like “yes, it’s a bottle of water Dad. Okay Dad.”
One of the last episodes we saw, Peri Gilpin takes over managing the gym, what is that like when she takes over?
It’s a lot healthier environment in the gym. We all have crazy sports dads, and things get a lot better only to get worse.
Is there anything else you want viewers to know about the show?
I would like to say that I know gymnasts’ bodies are so specific. And it’s such a hard thing to mirror when you haven’t been doing it for your entire life but all of us work so hard to get that. Really we do. And we work out with the gymnasts all day at set and we try so hard. And we respect it so much. We wouldn’t be doing the show if we didn’t respect gymnastics.
And it comes through in the show. I used to be a gymnast, so that comes from a personal perspective as well.
Check back on Monday for the final installment–my interview with Josie Loren, who plays Kaylie Cruz.