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Interview with David Lambert of "The Fosters" on ABC Family
ABC Familyís Q&A with David Lambert
Moderator: Congratulations on The Fosters. How did you get
started in acting?
D. Lambert: Acting goes back a little ways for me. I supposed
I started with theater growing up. It was mainly a social
outlet and it was just kind of something I did for fun. I
met a lot of good friends through it so it really kept me
involved. Then as I got older, Iíd say probably when I got
to like seventh or eighth grade, I was living in Atlanta,
Georgia at the time and I went for an open call for an
agent, a local agent out there, a woman named Joy Purvis and
she ended up picking me up.
I sort of was just going with it. I wasnít really taking it
seriously at this point. I just wanted to see what would
happen. I guess one thing led to the next and I ended up
going out to L.A. with my mom and seeing what would happen.
I was fortunate enough to see good things happen to me, I
ended up working and things just grew from there.
Moderator: What celebrities, past or present, do you look up
to or may inspire you in your career?
D. Lambert: Iíd say from the present Leonardo DiCaprio was
always one that I really respected and looked up to. His
work is amazing. I really like the roles he picks. Heís got
some of my dream roles. If I could pick any role to play
heís got a few. So he would probably be on the top.
I actually really like Christopher Walken. I find him a
really interesting actor. Heís such a character that I love
everything heís in. And you know, I love some of the greats
as well, like De Niro and going back to like Marlon Brando
and James Dean as well. Iím kind of a sucker for classic
movies and kind of the old-timey feel. I watch a lot of that
Moderator: Iím wondering if you can tell us a little bit
about Brandon and Callieís relationship?
D. Lambert: They have a really interesting sort of connection
right of the bat. In the pilot heís really drawn to her and
feels the need to help her. It is sort of reciprocated by
her, but itís one of those things where neither really knows
whatís happening there. They just understand that thereís
Whether itíll grow or not itís kind of up in the air at this
point, but they do understand thereís this mutual feeling
between the two of them and itís definitely a special
connection. So yes, I guess itís just one of those things
that has to develop over time, but itís not necessarily set
in stone that they are in love or whatever. Itís just one of
those odd connections, I would say.
Moderator: What is it like working with Maia Mitchell and the
rest of the cast?
D. Lambert: Theyíre great. This cast is honestly one of the
best casts Iíve ever worked with. Itís one of those things
where I go to set and I think thatís the biggest thing that
Iím looking forward to is getting to work with these people
because everyoneówith me, I have such a different connection
with all of them and neither is better than the next but
itís such a unique connection with every single person. So
every scene is very fun. Itís a really fun experience to
work with everyone.
Maiaís great. Maiaís really, really awesome. She gives it
her all just like everyone else does really. Everyone goes
above and beyond to make this show as real as possible. Itís
a respect thing. I admire my cast. I really respect them and
I think everyoneís super talented.
Moderator: Iím curious; what was the audition process like
for The Fosters?
D. Lambert: The audition process wasóhonestly, it started
like any other audition for me in L.A. I just went to the
first meeting and it was just for casting. From there I got
a callback and that was a pretty regular feeling. I just
kept coming back and then it was after the third meeting
that I was really like, ďOkay, this could go somewhere. This
But it felt normal and then it kind of just came out of
nowhere for me and then before I knew it I was testing. I
feel like that tends to happen. Whenever you book a job you
donít even realize how close youíre getting until you almost
have it pretty much. So it was definitely one of those
things for me. It almost blindsided me how fast everything
Moderator: How would you describe the character of Brandon if
you had to tell somebody who maybe hasnít watched the show
yet? How would you describe him?
D. Lambert: Heís the oldest in his family and heís the
biological son of one of the mothers, Stef, whoís played by
Teri Polo. Heís a gifted musician overall, but his
instrument of choice is piano. Heís classically trained in
piano. Heís always playing really beautiful pieces from
Rachmaninoff and all of those guys.
Heís brilliant and heís a very smart kid and a little mature
for his age just due to this unique setup that he has with
his mothers and with his dad. Heís essentially raised by
three parents so it makes for very interesting situations
that he just has to deal with very normally because thatís
just how it is for him. It kind of gives him an edge over
other kids who donít necessarily have to deal with that.
Heís a very fun character for me to play. Heís a really good
kid though. He means well and he has a really big heart.
Family is everything for him. He loves his family and he
would do anything for any of them. So itís a very special
character to be playing.
Moderator: I was wondering if you, in your words, could
explain why you think people should tune into this show? Why
itís different from other family dramas?
D. Lambert: In this day and age weíre kind of lacking in
family dramas overall. I feel like we could use more and
sort of step away a little bit from the big explosions and
all of this visual eye candy that seems to be in everything
these days. This show really sort of slows down and focuses
on just the characters really.
Besides just the fact that thereís a same sex couple and we
do have all of these relevant and current topics, the show
really is a classic show. It has very classic vibes to it,
in terms of a family drama, and we hope itís very relatable.
The show has a way of just introducing these topics and
these issues and being very blunt about it, which I sort of
love. We donít beat around the bush. We just say it how it
is and we expect audiences to just be able to handle it and
see how these characters deal with it, which I think makes
for really good TV.
I think itís a really great show to be a part of. Itís
something that excites me whenever I read the new scripts. I
think that people will be surprised at just how interesting
these people are. And theyíre not necessarily doing anything
out of the ordinary. The kids go to school and they just
deal with whatever it is thatís happening that day.
But it just makes for really interesting stuff because they
donít always do the right thing. They sometimes make
mistakes just like kids do in high school but they learn
they lesson as well. They always redeem themselves. Itís a
very relatable thing to watch, as a person. So for me, I
love that about the show. I love that everyone gets his or
her chance to make a mistake but then learn from it.
Moderator: Do you have any good stories from set so far,
since there are so many of you especially in the house, in
the Foster house and everything?
D. Lambert: Itís really funny. We honestly have a really good
time on set. Everyone does. From the adults to the kids,
everyone is on the same page and we all have the same amount
of fun. Thereís no real line drawn in the sand or anything
like that, which is great because sometimes you run into
that on sets, which is really unfortunate. But on this set
everyone is very tight knit, very close. I could go up to
any of the cast members and have a full-on conversation with
them and itís very comfortable for me.
Iím trying to think of good stories in particular. I know
Cierra Ramirez and Jake T. Austin, who play Jesus and
Mariana Foster, the twins, had to dress up at one point to
take these Halloween pictures, these sort of family
Halloween pictures. So Jake had to dress up in this really
great jester costume and I actually ended up getting a
picture of it just as he was standing right in front of me.
I donít know, that stuck with me so much because it was so
hilarious to watch him walk around in this jester costume
for the hour or however long he had to wear it for.
But besides that, really, weíre always fooling around. There
are so many jokes made. We try to keep it light because
there are a lot of dramatic scenes that weíre filming and we
think itís important to not drive ourselves insane. So we
try to lighten up the mood whenever possible.
Moderator: What attracted you to the role of Brandon Foster?
D. Lambert: I think heís definitely the most similar to me
from any character Iíve played. I think thatís really
interesting for me. I havenít really experienced that much
with a character. So for me to be able to relate with him
the way I can and sort of very easily imagine how he must
feel in a lot of these situations. Itís very interesting for
me. Itís not a stretch.
Itís one of those things where I donít have to, in my
preparation, work so hard to make it relatable in some way
for me because Iím already mentally there. So itís a cool
role for me in my life because I get to play Brandon but
also incorporate a lot of David into Brandon. That makes for
really an interesting experience for me I guess.
I play piano in my life. I wouldnít say Iím anywhere as good
as Brandon is, but Iíve been playing for almost seven years
now. Iím self-taught so Iím kind of on the other side of the
spectrum from Brandon. Heís very precise and classically
trained and whatnot, but we do share a love for music.
Thatís something thatís really cool to sort of portray on
camera in the way that I get to with Brandon.
I donít know; heís a really interesting guy. I love that I
get to have him and get to play him because heís definitely
a really close one to me.
Moderator: How is filming The Fosters different from filming
Aaron Stone and other shows youíve done in the past?
D. Lambert: Well itís my first hour drama, in terms of TV.
Thatís interesting just in terms of pacing and the hours
weíre working and how we do it. So that was a first for me.
Aaron Stone was a half hour so we were getting two episodes
done in like eight or nine days, whereas with this weíre
getting one episode done in the same time. Itís interesting.
Weíre filming like little movies almost is what it feels
Itís awesome though. Itís a really good, demanding,
challenging experience and as an actor you can ask for
nothing more. You want the challenge. You want to be kept on
your toes. This is definitely doing that for me and Iím
learning so much. I know even after this first season Iíll
walk away feeling twice as much of an actor as I did walking
in. Iíll just be that much better and thatís really great to
know that this job is doing that for me.
Moderator: You talked some about the similarities between you
and Brandon. Can you tell us some about the differences
between you and your character?
D. Lambert: Yes. We definitely have differences as well.
Brandon is very headstrong and a little impulsive when it
comes to his emotions. He doesnít necessarily always think
things through and I feel like Iím a very analytical person.
Iím a little in my head. Thatís just kind of how I work. Iím
very internal and I think a lot. I play things out in my
head, whereas Brandon I would say is more external with
dealing with things.
Thatís an interesting change for me. Having to vocalize and
externalize what I might be feeling inside. Thatís something
that Brandon would do. Thatís a cool difference. As an
actor, you obviously want differences. Its just Brandon is
such a blend for me with similarities and differences.
I guess just his situation is obviously different from mine.
The things that he has to deal with Iíve never had to deal
with but I definitely had my share ofójust like anyone
elseótroubles in my family. Things Iíve had to go through
with my family. So I can relate with him still even though
itís not the exact situation. I can still relate to how it
must feel as an older brother and son. So yes, I guess itís
Moderator: Do you have any other future plans other than The
Fosters in the works?
D. Lambert: No, not entirely. Thereís a smaller little indie
movie called The Lifeguard that went to Sundance earlier
this year. I think itíll be coming out this summer. I wish I
had exact dates, but I heard June.
Iím really proud of that project. It stars Kristen Bell and
Martin Starr and Mamie Gummer. That was just a nice little
project that I got to work on and I learned so much from
that. It was a more mature role for me. So yes, as an actor
Iím always so excited about those things that I get to
stretch my legs and really get to do something thatís hard
But besides that, no, Iím looking forward to taking a little
bit of a break after filming and then Iíll be crossing my
fingers and hoping for more of The Fosters. I would love to
get to play Brandon some more and get to see where this
family goes. So I guess weíll just have to see what the
Moderator: So Talya and Brandonís relationship, how does that
change now that Callieís in the picture?
D. Lambert: I think itís one of those things for Brandon, at
least, that he doesnít even realize. Heís only now just
beginning to realize what it means to have Callie around.
Thatís an interesting thing for him. I think Talya was much
more quick to notice what this may do and to notice that
Brandon may be interested or at least care for Callie, which
is enough for Talya to lose her mind. It is only going to
make for more interesting situations down the road,
especially between the girls.
I think Brandonís a little slower, in terms of picking up on
things that are right under the surface. So for him heís
almost innocent in the way that he wants to make sure
Callieís good in this new environment, in this new world
that sheís kind of been thrust into, but at the same time he
does have a girlfriend. Heís not linking the two yet,
whereas maybe Talya is seeing [it] a little differently.
So itís a fun thing that he has to sort of slowly realize.
Like, ďOh, oh, I see that this might look this way and I
guess now itís sort of a little triangle here.Ē Thatís just
a fun little situation, one of the many that he is faced
with, and Iím looking forward to seeing how that develops.
Moderator: What episode are you guys filming now or are you
D. Lambert: We are actually almost done. We are on episode
eight now, finishing up episode eight and then moving to
nine. We will be done soon I believe. Iím sort of getting
information on and off. I kind of just show up to set and
work and they will tell me what I need to know.
Moderator: You mentioned earlier about playing music,
especially piano. Do you see maybe pursuing music in your
D. Lambert: Thatís an interesting question because I sort of
go back and forth. I love music so much. Itís really
something that I hold dear, but I think as of right now I
would much rather be an actor who just happens to play music
than someone whoís trying to do both. I know acting has been
just my number one passion. I donít want to steal focus and
put it other places. Iíd rather commit 100% to one area and
sort of develop that part in my career.
As of right now, just as a young person and where Iím at in
my career, I think itíd be much smarter to try my hand at
many, many different types of projects with acting and be
all over the place with acting. Music will always be there.
I own a piano. I have it in my apartment. I play it every
day and I have a lot of musician friends who I play with.
Itíll always be there so I can always change my mind down
the road, but I think it would be smarter for me to focus on
acting. Acting truly is a love of mine. So yes, I think
music will always be there but Iím definitely more of an
Moderator: How much of the actual playing of the piano and
stuff do you actually do on the show?
D. Lambert: I actually am pretty adamant about meeting with
the composer on off days and rehearsing pieces that are
coming up and from there weíll discuss what I feel like I
can handle and what I canít. Usually what itís worked out to
so far is with more of the classical pieces, that is stuff
that we use more playback on and whatnot, the more
intricate, elaborate pieces.
But any original compositions that Brandon is playing or
coming up with is me. So yes, usually the original stuff
that Brandon is writing and all that stuff is usually me
playing it live on the day and then the more classical
pieces are things that I kind of need help with, just due to
the difficulty of the piece.
Moderator: You mentioned earlier that youíre self-taught in
piano. So I was wondering if you could talk a little bit
more about what inspired you to start playing?
D. Lambert: Honestly, it started one New Year now almost
seven years ago. It was my resolution to learn an
instrument. It was my New Yearís resolution. So I went into
the attic of my house and we happened to have this really
old, beat up keyboard. It was about like half a piano. It
wasnít even a full size and I ended up just plugging that
thing in and playing that for the next year.
The way I started was I took some lessons in the beginning
but I ended up not having the patience for it, to be honest.
So what I ended up doing was just listening to the music
that I wanted to mimic and try my best to sound like it and
figure it out on the keys. So now, flashing forward seven
years later, thatís still essentially what I do. Itís worked
It was definitely a lot of work at the beginning. It was a
very clunky experience, but now itís really cool because Iím
getting to a point now where I can really explore with
styles and different types of music and all that stuff. The
pianoís a great instrument. Itís a really cool place to
start musically because from here I could learn another
instrument and still have an idea for just the general
theory of music and the basis.
So yes, it was just one of those things that I loved. Iíve
always loved music and now I just love it more now that I
can sort of give more to it by playing an instrument.
Moderator: How is your role as Brandon affected your outlook
on foster families?
D. Lambert: Itís an interesting thing because the show is all
about how do you define family. Thatís something that we say
a lot with the show. What they mean by that, I think, is
that itís a same sex couple; it is adopted kids; there are
foster kids, but it doesnít really change the fact that
weíre still a family.
It doesnít matter if you have two moms or two dads or
whatever, adopted siblings, foster siblings, at the end of
the day youíre still going to go through the same problems
that any ordinary or more generally accepted family would go
through, and thatís the thing when you watch the show. You
donít feel like youíre watching this gay couple. You donít
think that when you watch it. You just see these two women
raising these kids and they just happen to be together.
Thatís the beauty of the whole thing. Weíre not preaching
it. Weíre not trying to jam it down your throat, this image
of these two women. Weíre just saying that they can still be
a family. Thereís no difference, and it makes for really
interesting situations, I supposed.
I learned a lot by playing Brandon. I learned a lot just
more along those lines, just realizing in myself. I was
like, ďWow, these two women can do this. Thereís really no
difference.Ē I watched the show and you donít even think
that itís weird. It feels right. It looks right and theyíre
a family. That was something I realized only after filming
it and watching it was how subtle it is. Itís a great thing.
Itís really, really cool.
Moderator: Are you looking forward to the instant feedback
that youíve been getting from fans about The Fosters?
D. Lambert: I am. Itís really amazing. Thatís like another
kind of first for me. Having something like Twitter so
integrated with the show is a really cool thing. I think
itís one of the beautiful things about living in 2013, that
we have these means of connecting all around the world. Itís
But all the feedback has been amazing. Itís really, really
cool to be able toóthe episode has aired and now you can go
on Twitter and see how people are responding because they
really do, they add up. There are hundreds, thousands of
people just talking about it and itís really great to see
people just enjoying it.
Weíre only two episodes in and people are already saying
things like itís their favorite show and the characters are
their favorites. Itís good to hear because we put a lot of
work into the show. Itís a little bit of payoff, which is
Moderator: Was there anything about Brandon that wasnít
originally scripted for you that you added to the character?
D. Lambert: I think like with most shows after a couple
episodes the writers tend to cater to the actors and they
start pulling little bits and pieces and mixing them.
Brandon has definitely become more like me over time and
Iíve probably become a little like Brandon, but thatís one
of the beautiful things with acting.
You sort ofóitís a give and take scenario with any character
you play. You do give a little bit of yourself but you also
end up walking away with a little bit of that character,
which is always a really cool thing for me. So yes, Iíd say
all the kids in the show really evolve. They do a lot of
growth because they have so many things that they end up
dealing with just overall.
So I would sayóI know just for me, as an actor, every new
episode itís almost like I have to relearn my character
because I have to take into consideration, ďWhat have you
learned in the past episode? What does that do to him in
this next episode? And then what mistakes or lessons does he
learn in this upcoming episode and what will that then do to
So itís a constant arc and itís a constant stepping up with
these characters, which is really fun for me and itís yet
another challenge that I get to constantly face. So yes,
itís a really cool thing. I think Brandonís an ever-changing
character. Theyíre all ever-changing characters, especially
Moderator: Weíve seen Brandon kind of lashing out at his dad
right now and I wondered if you could describe how Brandon
feels about his dad?
D. Lambert: Thatís one of the most interesting relationships
that Brandon has, I feel, is with his dad. Youíve got Mike,
played by Danny Nucci, whoís a brilliant actor, awesome guy,
who he hasnít really been around. Like Brandon said, he
calls every couple days, five-minute phone calls and that
sort of gives you an idea of the relationship that theyíve
had for some time probably.
Mikeís at a point now where heís realizing Brandonís only
getting older and he has to make some moves now or itís
never going to happen for them. So Mike now is in the
process of trying to make his way more and more back into
the picture, which only poses more problems for Brandon
because now heís faced with, ďWhat do I do? My dadís coming
back in. I have my moms. Who do I take orders from? Who are
my parents? Do I have three parents? Do I ignore my dad? Do
I ignore Lena? Whom am I supposed to be listening to?Ē
I think with his dad in particular, they are close and they
do connect in a lot of ways, but thereís also a sense of
frustration, especially on Brandonís side that maybe his dad
didnít make these moves soon enough. ďWhy is he doing it all
of the sudden? Why does he care so much all of the sudden?Ē
It only happens more and more and there are more troubles
that Mike deals with that in turn makes Brandon have to deal
with them. So itís a very interesting thing. Itís a very
I had my own problems with my dad growing up so that was yet
another really, really personal issue that I actually ended
up connecting with Brandon a lot on and I could really
understand that whole relationship and how that must be for
him. So itís a very cool thing to have to play.
Moderator: Is there any chance youíd be interested in doing
musical theater here at some point?
D. Lambert: Yes, you know, musical theater was where I
started. It was actually one of those things where I felt
like if I found a play that I really, really enjoyed enough
I always said that Iíd have no problems going back on stage
because I feel like thatís where I started. So I kind of owe
it that much, you know?
I love theater. I really do. I still respect it a lot and I
think it takes a lot of work and dedication. I have a lot of
friends still who are very into theater and are in New York
and going to conservatories for acting and whatnot. Yes,
itís a very cool thing.
Moderator: Do you have a favorite theater role that youíve
D. Lambert: All my memories are of all the community theater
and little black box theaters that I did growing up. I did
Oliver. I did Oliver Twist once and I got to play Fagin.
That was a lot of fun. It was the musical and I loved the
play. We did that over a summer. Yes, I still remember that
entire experience. So yes, Oliver was a really great one for
Moderator: There was a line in last nightís episode that kind
of struck me that Jesus said to Brandon when he said, ďWell
youíre not giving up anything.Ē What is Brandonís
relationship exactly with the twins like?
D. Lambert: I think itís an interesting thing because Brandon
is such a focused kid and he really does have goals and
aspirations and places he wants to go with music. It might
lead to him composing one day. Who knows where Brandon wants
to go with his piano. He does want to go places. Heís in
school for now but itís just because he has to be.
I feel like Brandon has a lot of things he wants to do in
his life and heís very focused on doing them. So there are a
lot of scenes with the twins where itís not necessarily that
heís favored itís just that the moms recognize that this kid
will probably go places in his life and they just want him
to have the best chance at doing that.
Itís sort of mistaken for favoritism or whatever, but itís
just one of the many situations in the house that they have
to deal with day in and day out. Maybe thatís a situation
that maybe a lot of families donít have to deal with. But
then there probably are a lot of families that do have to
deal with that. Itís a very unique situation of The Fosters.
At the end of the day Brandon does not look at Mariana and
Jesus as adopted. They grew upóthey brought the twins home
when they were babies and Brandonís only about a year older
than them. So itís one of those things where they all grew
up together. They all look at each other as blood even if
they arenít actually blood. So I think at the end of the day
its just words that are said but they all really do love
each other and they really do look at each other as a
Moderator: If you could look into the future, where would you
see Brandon with his career with his piano?
D. Lambert: I donít know. Like I said, I think he could go so
many places with it. He could become a composer or just a
musician in general. But I really do think heís one of those
kids whoís just so gifted it would be a shame if he did
nothing with his music. I think he will. He will just get
older and probably go to school for it. Go to college
studying music and I think itíll only go up, up, up for him.
Heíll just keep working his way up and getting better and
Moderator: What advice would you give to your fans if they
wish to become actors or actresses?
D. Lambert: Iíd say itís the craziest profession that you
could possibly do so you better really love it. Thatíd be
the first way to start it off, but I donít know. For me, it
started out as something that I just did for fun with
friends. I really didnít have any dreams of becoming famous
and being an actor with lots of money and lots of cars and
things. That was never something that I saw myself doing.
Acting developed and as I got older I realized I really did
enjoy telling stories and touching people and doing things
that not many people get to experience in their lives, going
places that not many people get to see. Getting to be
different people for me is very, very exciting and sort of I
look at it as the greatest game of pretend ever made.
Everyoneís in on it and itís just great. You get to play all
day, and it is also your work, and you can study it. Thereís
never an end game. You can always get better. Thereís never
an end game with acting.
So for me, I think it was all those things put together, but
it definitely didnít happen overnight. That was something
that evolved and I had to realize that, as I got older. So
for fans, I think everyoneís going to have a different
journey, but if you find something that you love that much
that you can pick at it and talk about it all day then itís
probably for you and you should definitely go after it. I
would say the sooner the better.
Itís just one of those things where itís very hard to tell
anyone whatís right and whatís wrong. Itís more of a feeling
that they just have toóif they really do feel the need they
should go do it because it will work out. Things have a way
of working out for people who give it their all and are in
it for the right reasons. I truly believe that.
So for me, itís just a matter of staying on the right course
and doing the things that I want to do at the end of the
day. So if people can make those decisions and be smart
about where they want to go in life, I think thereís no
limit to where you can end up.
Moderator: Are there any personal messages from you to your
fans that youíd like to pass on?
D. Lambert: I canít really think of anything profound or
anything but Iíd probably rely on what I just said. I think
watch The Fosters I guess and then check it out and I guess
thatíd be it.
Moderator: Like you, Maia Mitchell is also very into music.
Do you think that weíll ever see a Brandon and Callie
collaboration on the show?
D. Lambert: Yes, itís definitely likely. I feel like Callie
is sort of into the guitar and she seems to have been in
episode two that aired last night and it seems like sheís
kind picking it up. So thereís definitely a likely
possibility that they will end up jamming at some point. Who
knows? Brandonís definitely always playing music in the
house so I would definitely say thatís okay to say that they
would end up playing more music together for sure.
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