Interview with David Lambert of "The Fosters" on ABC Family - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Krista

Interview with David Lambert of "The Fosters" on ABC Family 6/11/13

ABC Familyís Q&A with David Lambert
The Fosters

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 stuff.

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 this connection.

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 is interesting.Ē

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 moved.

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 more like.

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 a tradeoff.

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 to do.

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 future holds.

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 done?

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 career?

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 actor.

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 for me.

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 crazy.

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 nice.

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 him?Ē

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 the kids.

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 interesting thing.

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 ever played?

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 me.

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 family.

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 better.

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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