Carly Schroeder talks about learning to play soccer for the first time, and emulating actress Elizabeth Shue on-screen

Gracie tells the story of a teenage girl who must fight for her right to play on the boys' high school soccer team. At the same time, she is dealing with the lose of her brother, a star soccer player in his own right and the only protector she has. Based on Andrew and Elizabeth Shue's own tragic lose of a sibling, the film is a fictional look at how Elizabeth Shue managed to work her way into the male dominated sport of soccer.

In Gracie, Carly Schroeder must overcome the odds and be recognized as a star player. She is playing a character factually based on Elizabeth Shue herself.

I recently sat down with Carly to discuss the making of the film. Here is what she had to say:

I think my first two major questions got answered in the round tables.

Carly Schroeder:If you want to put your feet up, please do. I have to conserve some energy. The premiere is tonight. I've been up since four-thirty this morning.

What are you looking forward to at the premier?

Carly Schroeder: I'm actually a bit nervous. My boyfriend's seeing it for the first time. I kiss boys in the film, and he's not okay with that. I'm very nervous to see how he reacts to that. And it's the first time my dad has ever seen it. And my brother is in the movie as well. I'm a little nervous about that, because he gets to do interviews as well. I'm a little weary about what he's got to say.

How was it working with your brother?

Carly Schroeder: I loved working with my brother, he's such a good kid. Everybody always asks, "Do you fight? Do you fight all the time?" Not really. We have a very mature relationship. We both support each other. We realize that it's the only way that we are going to get through this. We might as well enjoy it, and support each other, and hang out.

I asked Dermot earlier about Trevor Heins. When I brought up his name, you didn't seem to know who I was talking about.

Carly Schroeder: I'm sorry. I'm a little out of it. I couldn't believe I forgot about Trevor.

That's okay. I just wanted to get some of the cast's reaction to his television series Wonder Showzen. There's no mention of it in the press notes.

Carly Schroeder: What is the show about?

It's a spoof of a children's show made for adults, but starring actual children. It has some really edgy humor. Trevor dresses up as Hitler and goes downtown to ask people the most outrageous questions. Its on MTV2.

Carly Schroeder: I never watch MTV. I don't have time to watch tv. And when I do, I'm watching the Discovery Channel. Deadliest Catch: Crab Fishing in Alaska, that's my show. Me and my dad watch that. Or, my dad and I. Gosh, my mom is just going to come in here and beat me over the head with a ruler.

In the film, you nurse a bird back to health. Did you get to keep that bird?

Carly Schroeder: The hawk?

I didn't know that was a hawk.

Carly Schroeder: No, I didn't get to keep the bird. My mom is deathly afraid of birds. When she was little she got locked in a chicken coup, and they peaked her until she bled. Her older brother locked her in there.

Seriously? That's pretty scary.

Carly Schroeder: Yeah, she is very afraid of birds, so I would not do that to her. It wasn't even offered.

Do you have any other pets?

Carly Schroeder: I used to have a dog. And his name was Blaze. He was a Collie just like Lassie. And we rescued him. He had heartworms. He had lice. He had a broken vertebrae in his back. He was a completely broken poor pup, and I sunk in, because he was so malnutritioned. It was so very sad. We'd go down every morning and give him pulled chicken breast by hand. He got a lot healthier, and he was with us for about four years. Then he passed away.

That's kind of a sad story.

Carly Schroeder: Yeah. Now we have fifty-nine fish.

Are they exotic fish?

Carly Schroeder: They're African Cichlids. They are pretty crazy. Then we have one little suckerfish.

So, you didn't play soccer before making this movie, did you?

Carly Schroeder: No, but I trained for it.

How long did you have to train?

Carly Schroeder: I trained for three full months with the former coach of the Galaxy. I also trained with the division one soccer girls, and some amazing girls that weren't division one players. They were Crown City United. They were from Pasadena. They were an incredible group of girls. I did circuit training three times a week at a gym called Kats, and every single day was a minimum five hours of soccer. Tuesdays and Thursdays was six hours. We just played the game, and I really developed a love for the game. Every single time a game came on for the World Cup, I was glued to the TV. There was nothing you could do to get me away from it. I actually ended up seeing these guys in the park that were between the ages of twenty and forty. I was running my mile in the morning, and I said to myself, "I have to go ask them if I can play soccer. I have to." I didn't have cleats on, shin guards, nothing. I walked over and asked if they minded. They were like, "Sure, Blondie, come play with us." I was like, "Okay." Then they ended up speaking Spanish, so I had no clue what was going on for the rest of the game. I ended up scoring a goal in the first game I played in. So I was so stoked, it wasn't even funny. Then they started playing even harder, and kicking me in the s any time they could. And I think I went through a lot of the things that Gracie went through. It did help me with playing my character. It was a good experience for me. I would never change anything. I actually had to give up French Fries, which I probably would take back. That was a nightmare. Being a teenager and not getting to eat French Fries could have killed me.

How Was it working with Elizabeth Shue on the set when you were supposed to be portraying her at the same time?

Carly Schroeder: I think it was an amazing experience. It's probably a once in a lifetime experience. To be in a movie that is based on a true story, where I am playing this person, and she is on set. Not only is she on set, but she is playing my mother. But not only is she playing my mother, she's actually my boss.

Did she ever stop you between takes and tell you that's not how she would have acted?

Carly Schroeder: No, no, no, no. Everyone seems to think that she would do that, and she absolutely wouldn't. When we got to New Jersey, she informed me that she didn't want me playing her exactly. They did cast me because I had a lot of the same traits that she has. But she wanted me to play myself. Which made it a lot easier.

You were saying that you went and bought Adventures In Babysitting. I didn't know this until today, but they are doing a remake of that movie?

Carly Schroeder: Yeah, I know.

Have you already been asked this question? If you are going to tryout for the lead role in that?

Carly Schroeder: They've already cast Raven Symone. But, no, I would never try and do a remake off a movie. I think that's a whole different thing. I think everyone will always remember the first movie, and they will always compare it with the second one. You really can't do a remake. I mean, King Kong needed its turn to be remade. It needed an update. But the Bad News Bears, or The Shaggy D.A., those are classic movies. I think they did a good job of remaking them, but it's just not the same thing. Nobody can top Tatum O'Neal. It just isn't the same. And I think that Adventures In Babysitting is just an absolute classic. I couldn't believe that they were making a remake of it. You can't really say anything bad about it.

It says in the press notes that you scuba dive, and that you do karate.

Carly Schroeder: I also do wrestling, horseback riding, fencing, belly dancing, boxing, and surfing. Those are my new ones.

You got a new skill in playing soccer on this film. When you look for another role, are you going to pick something that may enhance a new skill that you don't have?

Carly Schroeder: I think that's a great opportunity, to pick a script where you can build up a good skill. I think the main thing I look for when I look at scripts is if it's inspirational. If it's something that teenagers can relate to. And is it something that the audience is going to get something out of. If not, then it's really not worth doing.

How do you plan on spending your summer?

Carly Schroeder: Well, I don't really get a summer. I'm going to be doing school. It was pushed back because of Gracie. So, I'm finishing up school now, I still have a year and a half left.

They didn't let you do school on the set?

Carly Schroeder: No, I could have done that. But...We wont go into that. There were just so many things, and I was working the maximum hours that I could do. Just all of the different things. And I really felt like I needed to give one hundred and fifty percent to this movie. If I had of been doing school, that would have taken up a huge chunk of time. I would have had to do it for three hours, and then there are the child labor laws. Blah-bah-blah-bah-blah. I can't wait until I'm eighteen. I think that it is very important to have a good education. So, I'm going to finish up my sophomore year of high school. And hopefully I'll do another movie. I have a bunch of scripts that I'm reading right now. One shoots in Hawai'i, one shoots in London, and one shoots in Martha's Vineyard.

Which one would you prefer the most?

Carly Schroeder: Well, I've never been to Martha's Vineyard. I've never been to Hawai'i. And I've never been to London. So, I think London has great shopping. Hawai'i has great surfing. And Martha's Vineyard is just gorgeous. I don't know. They are all very different scripts. One is more of a comedy. One is very dramatic. And the other is a lighthearted family movie. I'm waiting on a rewrite for one of them, to see if I want to do it. One, I'm waiting to see who the director is. And the other one we are waiting for financing. So, I'm just kind of sitting here waiting.

You just recently went to South Africa, right?

Carly Schroeder: I did that last year. No, it was the year before last year.

Was that the first time you were out of the country?

Carly Schroeder: No, I was in Canada for five months with the Firewall movie. I went to France to promote Mean Creek. And I've been to the Grand Bahamas.

How did you enjoy South Africa?

Carly Schroeder: It was a whole different world, and it was nothing like what you see on TV, or what the media tells you. When I got off the plane, I expected to see giraffes walking across the street, and poor children with ribs sticking out. I expected it to be so devastating. It was really just like America. People just weren't as stuck up or into themselves. Everyone was about family there. That's the main difference I saw. I think it was an incredible experience, especially at the age of fourteen. I was there for the film Eye of the Dolphin.

The subject of parents paying their children for every goal in soccer has come up quite often during these interviews. What is your opinion on that? Do you think that's a good idea?

Carly Schroeder: I think money, in our society, is becoming more and more of a problem. It causes divorces, and breaks up relationships. Everyone is so power hungry and money hungry. I think parents paying kids...All of my friend's parents are like, "If you get straight As, we'll give you a hundred dollars. If you get one C, we're not going to give you any allowance." I can see how that would motivate them to try and get good grades. I think they should either want to do it on their own, or not. I can understand parents trying to get their kids to do that, but maybe they should try more positive kinds of goals. Like, if you try to get good grades, we'll take you to get ice cream. Or, we'll go see the movie you want to see. Things that reinforce the family, not "I'll pay you off if you do the things I tell you to do." That's what it really seems like to me. And I think children are growing more and more distant from their parents. And becoming more about their friends. They make their friends their family, and their parents are always off working. Making more money. Our world is becoming obsessed with money. I'm not too fond of it. I actually had a little girl ask me when we were in Denver how much money I made on this. And I thought that was such a weird thing for a six-year-old to ask. I said, "Well, for starters, hon, I don't make a lot of money. It doesn't matter to me what money I get paid." Until I was twelve, I didn't even realize that I was getting paid to do acting. So, all the money I do make goes into my bank account so that when I turn eighteen, I can go to college, I can buy a nice car, I can buy a house, and I can live my life. But, everyone seems to think that as soon as you start acting, you automatically have a million dollars. I get so many emails from people asking me for money. Or if I can fly somewhere...

Who are these people that are asking for money? That's kind of weird.

Carly Schroeder: I know. These kids at school always come up to me. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, they would come up to me and say, "You have money. Can you give me some? I need lunch." I'm sorry you don't have money for lunch, but I can't give you money. The money I do have right now is what I baby-sit for.

Were there ever any bullies that tried to extort you for money?

Carly Schroeder: No. I've got friends that would take care of that at any time. I just don't understand what people's obsession with money is. When I was twelve, I was actually asked by a reporter, "What is the best thing you have ever bought with your money? Because you make a lot money." I'm looking at this person and thinking, "Are you crazy? Why would you even ask a twelve year old that?" I mean, I don't buy things with my money until I'm eighteen, cause it is all put into a savings account. What I do want to buy is a good education. And when I'm older, I will probably save up and get a house. I'm very practical. Its not like I'm out there blowing my money on new TVs or Lamborghinis, or blah-blah-blah. Like a lot of kids do. I'm not real fond of the whole setting up goals, and then paying your children off. You're not really there to support them, and you are not giving them encouragement. You are just putting a price on their education. You are putting a price on all these different things.

Okay, I have just one more question.

Carly Schroeder: I'm sorry, I guess I'm very opinionated, especially when it comes to that.

Well, the opposite of the money deal is that now, today, they give the losers the same trophy they give the winners. How do you feel about that?

Carly Schroeder: I'm not so fond of that, either. I think that everybody, every athlete should be respected. But I don't think that they should just make a bar, and everybody should be set to that standard. I think the breakout athletes should be rewarded. They've earned it. You should reward the people that aren't naturally athletic, but who are striving to be. Or the kid who isn't academically smart, but is working to better himself. The people who work for it are the real heroes. Often, they aren't the MVP, the class president, or the star player. But, they really are the people that are working the hardest. The people that aren't born with this raw talent. But I don't think the people at the bottom should be respected the same as the people on top. They should both be respected, but the people at the top should get the recognition. They are the best. Best the people at the bottom should never be put down. Never. They are trying their best.

Okay, well, thank you for talking with me today.

Carly Schroeder: No, thank you. I appreciate your questions. They are very refreshing.

Gracie opens June 1st, 2007.

B. Alan Orange