Cloe and Jade make their Hollywood debut
This summer, producer Avi Arad and director Sean McNamara are fulfilling every young girl's dream by bringing Bratz: The Movie to the big screen. Based on the popular doll line, the film follows the adventures of four teenage girls who dirft apart in high school. Able to overcome the cliques they get locked into, the four girls reunite to form "The Bratz!"
New comers Skyler Shaye and Janel Parrish are bringing life to these tiny pieces of plastic, which have become a true phenomenon over the last few years. Shaye is playing Cloe, the ditzy Caucasian soccer player. And Parrish is playing the Asian science wiz. We recently met up with them to discuss the film. Here's what they had to say:
Cloe (Skyler Shaye) & Jade (Janel Parrish)
Was this the first big movie for both of you?
Skyler Shaye: Yes.
What was it like walking onto the set that first day? Were you terrified?
Skyler Shaye: No, I was excited.
Janel Parrish: It was unbelievable. The people in the movie were so great. We got along so well.
Skyler Shaye: We bonded instantly.
Janel Parrish: All four of us. We went out and got our nails done.
Skyler Shaye: We had BBQs, and everything. Sean is an amazing director and he is so much fun. Our producer, Avi, was great.
Did the director do anything to force you guys to bond together?
Janel Parrish: We hung out by ourselves, on our own.
Skyler Shaye: But Sean did try and get us together at the begin gin. We all sat in a room together. Sean, and us four. We all wrote things about each other.
Janel Parrish: He made us write a diary about our characters, and what we thought we wanted to bring to our characters. That helped a lot.
Skyler Shaye: We didn't just write about our own characters, but we also wrote about how we felt. Like, how do I feel about Jade. Who is Jade to me.
Did the clique aspect ring true to what you guys had to go through in high school?
Janel Parrish: Defiantly. In every high school, there is a clique. There is always a Meredith. There is always a mean girl. So it was very true, and very realistic.
Skyler Shaye: I was home schooled all throughout high school. So, I didn't get to experience high school, really. I felt like I went through high school while I was in Bratz: The Movie.
Did you find a lot of cliques happening on the set, maybe with the grips and the lighting people?
Skyler Shaye: It's so funny that you should say that. The cliques in the movie were the cliques on set.
Janel Parrish: I didn't notice that.
Skyler Shaye: On break, they were all hanging out. They would have lunch together.
Janel Parrish: That's true. But, no, it was a very close set. We all got along with everyone. Chelsea, who plays the mean girl in the movie? She is the nicest person ever. So we hung out with her, too. We had lunch together every single day.
What about the choreography, how was that for each of you?
Janel Parrish: That was grueling, but we got it down. We did, what? A couple of hours a day?
Skyler Shaye: We did eight hours one day. In the midst of filming, we shot fourteen hours. Then the next day, we went in and danced for 8 hours. And they shot that.
Janel Parrish: We enjoyed it. We got into some good shape from that. We were dancing every day.
Janel, you got a deal with Geffen out of this?
Janel Parrish: Yes, I am working with Geffen as well. My song is on the soundtrack. And my video plays during the credits at the end of the movie.
Skyler Shaye: It is so beautiful.
Janel Parrish: Thank you.
Have you studied piano since you were little?
Janel Parrish: Yes, I have been studying piano since I was six. Classical, jazz, compositional, Broadway, everything. I just love it all.
How many hours a day do you practice piano?
Janel Parrish: Oh, I am on that thing all the time. My parents get so annoyed. "Get off that piano!" They never have to tell me to practice the piano, because I am always on it.
Your costars were raving about the shopping experience. What did you thing about raiding Forever 21?
Skyler Shaye: I love fashion. That's right up my alley. We had such great fun.
Janel Parrish: We had great clothes.
Skyler Shaye: So many great accessories, and we got to combine everything. And mix and match, and layer.
Janel Parrish: We had such different styles in the movie, because our characters are so different. Our personalities are so different.
What kind of research did you do for this project?
Skyler Shaye: Well, we all went out and got our dolls. We met with the woman that created the dolls. She told us why she did it. She wanted to have a doll that each girl could relate to. And the dolls already had a personality.
Janel Parrish: The back of the doll tells you a little bit about each one of them.
Skyler Shaye: So, we did our research in that way, just to find out each doll's personality. But then we added our own elements to it as well.
What is your favorite accessory?
Skyler Shaye: I love everything. I love jewelry, I love shoes, I love jackets, I love jeans.
Janel Parrish: She does, she loves everything. I like jewelry. Big rings, big necklaces. Shoes, belts, luggage.
Do you know what your next project will be after Bratz: The Movie Part 2? Will you be disappointed that you don't get to get up and wear all kinds of different clothes?
Janel Parrish: Yeah, I think we got a little spoiled with this movie. We got to wear so many cool clothes.
Skyler Shaye: And we met all of these wonderful people.
So, you are starting the sequel in February?
Skyler Shaye: Yeah.
Are you guys going to go to college?
Skyler Shaye: Right now, I'm concentrating on my career. I know there are on-line courses I could do. I know there is always something I can figure out.
You could always buy your degree on-line.
Skyler Shaye: Yeah, right now, my concentration is on acting.
If you were going to college, what would you major in?
Skyler Shaye: I would probably study Shakespeare.
Janel Parrish: I would study musical theater. I have no doubt in my mind.
What sort of films would you like to be making after Bratz: The Movie?
Skyler Shaye: For myself, anything that is challenging. Anything that makes you stretch in your acting. I would love to do a great romantic comedy. I would love to do a great dramatic piece. Anything that touches me, and touches the audience.
While other teen stars are spiraling out of control, how are you guys going to avoid that?
Janel Parrish: We have a great support system. We just want to be ourselves. I am really looking forward to being a role model for girls. They need new role models in this day and age.
Who were your role models growing up?
Janel Parrish: For me, it is Catharine Zeta Jones. I want to go on the same career path as her. She was able to show everyone that she could sing and dance. I would love to do a musical next. That would be amazing.
Skyler Shaye: Meryl Streep, and my mother.
Any directors you want to work with?
Skyler Shaye: Robert Zemeckis.
Janel Parrish: I'm going to go for Steven Spielberg.
Maybe you can get him to do his first musical?
Janel Parrish: Hey, you never know.
Skyler Shaye: And Martin Scorsese.
Where you familiar with the phenomenon behind these dolls?
Skyler Shaye: I knew they were popular, but I had no idea how popular. Not until we went to Boston and we went to the YMCA. They were chanting, and they were crying. I was like, "Oh, my gosh!" I had no idea that Bratz were this big.
Janel Parrish: Then we went to the mall in Philadelphia. The expected maybe two to three hundred people. Seven hundred showed up. Screaming when we walked in. Sean, our director, was like, "Wow!"
Skyler Shaye: That was an amazing experience.
And the film hasn't even come out.
Janel Parrish: Yeah, it's amazing.
Bratz: The Movie opens August 3rd, 2007