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Interview with Megan Park of "A Cinderella Story: Once Upon
A Song" on
ABC Family 1/18/12
ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Megan Park –
A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song
Moderator So the premise of Cinderella is you can't sing and you need to
be dubbed sort of like the movie Singing in the Rain. Do you sing in
Cinderella and what's happening with your band, Frank and Derol, and how
did you team with Codi Caraco and Brandi Cyrus?
M. Park Basically, to make a really, really long story short, Codi was a
good friend of mine who I met through my boyfriend, and she's a really
talented musician. She went to Berkeley School of Music, and we started
playing music together. I play the guitar and I sing. I've been doing
that since I was younger and it just sort of happened, I guess,
organically as a friendship, and we were like, maybe we should start a
band for fun, never thinking anybody would ever hear anything that we
did. And so we started Frank and Derol just the two of us and started
And then I was living with Brandi Cyrus at the time, and she's obviously
is a musician as well as so we were like, hey, come play with us,
come—you know she plays guitar so she started playing as well. And then
people started really liking what we were doing, which was cool, and we
put some stuff on MySpace and everything. And then it was kind of crazy
because people started expressing interest in signing the band and all
that sort of stuff. So then, once we got the opportunity to sign it sort
of became—for me, acting is my passion and my main sort of focus and
what I really love and music is more of a hobby. And for Brandi and Codi
it was sort of their passion and what they really wanted to pursue. So
we kind of sat down and had a conversation and I was like, well, why
don't you guys try to do the thing, sign and do the band full on, the
two of you and I'll still go hang out with you guys and write when I can
and play with you.
And it just kind of worked out that way for the best because to be
honest it wasn't something that I wanted to commit to fully, to take
away from my acting because it was just sort of a fun hobby. And for
them it was what they really wanted to do so I guess it was sort of fate
that I met Codi and then introduced them, and we all sort of got to do
that together. But it worked out for the best for everybody and they're
still my great friends. And it wasn't like one of us left the band and
it was all weird. It was just like, who wants to commit to the time of
this, and it's not that I didn't want to commit. It's just that I didn't
want to do something half-heartedly that I wasn't going to be able to
commit to 100% and my passion is in acting and I really wanted to pursue
that. So that's what happened, basically, with the band.
Moderator You’re no longer with the band or you're still doing things
with the band?
M. Park No, officially the band is Codi and Brandi and they're doing the
album. And I sort of play with them and write with them when I can, and
some of the songs that I was originally writing are on the album. But I
no longer am a part of the band.
Moderator About the premise of Cinderella that you can't sing, does that
mean that you don't get to sing in Cinderella?
M. Park I don't get to, which is such a bummer. I have to bad sing. I
have to fake sing, which is actually really hard to purposefully bad
sing off key. But, no, I don't get to sing in Cinderella Story. Maybe
I'll get to sing in something else.
Moderator Who did the band sign with?
M. Park They signed with Interscope.
Moderator We really love the character of Grace and we've actually seen
a lot of evolution with her character throughout the season so could you
talk about how you feel that Grace is going to evolve in the future?
M. Park Grace has kind of changed really drastically. And to be honest,
this season is probably one of the seasons where Grace changes the most
out of any year. There's a lot of like new relationships and some really
crazy self-awareness things that happen to her and some major lifestyle
changes so it's exciting. And I don't really know—what happens with our
characters and I never really know what to expect because I've been
surprised before. But from the looks of it Grace is kind of becoming
more independent and really, really going in a different direction than
I thought she would ever sort of end up. So my guess is probably as good
as yours. It's kind of a surprise to me as well.
Moderator What's the biggest character difference between your role in
this new film and your role as Grace?
M. Park Playing Beverley and playing Grace are literally complete
opposites. Grace is a very compassionate person and she really wants to
please everyone, and Bev is pretty selfish and just kind of wants to get
ahead. I mean they're both really good people at the heart of it but
Beverley is not necessarily the nice girl. So they're pretty polar
opposites, which was really fun to get to do something so different than
Grace. It was kind of fun.
Moderator You were doing the movie with Lucy Hale. What was the
experience like and are the two of you still in contact?
M. Park Yeah, actually I just talked to her yesterday, I think, or the
day before. She's great. We met years before—we actually met in the
audition room for Secret Life, which is so weird. And I guess you're
supposed to be competitive, the people I auditioned with, but we just
started chatting and became friends, and the she ended up doing Pretty
Little Liars and I did Secret Life so it's kind of cool. And she's just
really easy going and cool, and when I found out that she was doing the
movie that was one of the main reasons I wanted to be part of it, was to
get a chance to work with her.
And we bonded pretty much within the first ten minutes of the read
through the first day, and never left each other's side. Every day off
we would go shopping in Wilmington and hang out, and that's continued
since we've been back in L.A. She's just a really sweet girl and she's
very easy to get along with and we ended up having a lot in common. And
she's just really fun and dorky and goofy like I am and doesn't take
things too seriously so we got along really, really well. She's a cool
And we both have major online shopping problems and online shopped
together nonstop when we were filming so that was kind of the only bad
part, that we egged each other on with the online shopping.
Moderator For your character Grace, what can we expect in the new season
of Secret Life from your character?
M. Park Grace changes as a person the most this season than any other
season. She really starts questioning like a lot of major things in her
life and really wants to make some serious changes. And she gets
confused and she's not really sure where her life is headed. So it's
like a really big personal discovery for Grace and new relationships,
kind of shocking relationships. There's a lot of growth with Grace. She
really grows up this year.
Moderator What similarities and differences did you find between this
Cinderella and the original?
M. Park The original was more sticking with the traditional Cinderella-esque
fairytale, and this one was sort of like a modern day take on it, which
I thought was kind of unique and creative. Obviously there's only one
wicked stepsister and it wasn't keeping with the fairytale. It was sort
of a more relatable story to modern day teens today, which I thought was
really cool. And then, making it about the music, which is another cool
aspect, and the music is so great and it's so pop-y and refreshing. It
was just sort of a really refreshing take on the whole story.
Moderator Did you draw from the stepsisters in the movie or is there
another villain that you got inspiration from?
M. Park I talked to the director about whether I should draw upon the
original stepsister and how similar they wanted it to be to the
original, and he really wanted me to like just take a fresh take on it.
And I guess I could say that I probably drew on past people that I've
met, personal experiences with, people that in real life, because I
really wanted Bev to be as realistic as possible. And also in the
original the wicked stepsisters are just purely, purely wicked, and Bev
is not. She really does have a heart and she's insecure and she doesn't
have a great relationship with her mother and so many different things.
I wanted to add a lot of steps to her and make her not so completely one
note. She's not purely, purely evil so I wanted that to show.
Moderator There seems to be like an East Indian theme to it, in the home
and in the party and what have you. I wanted to know if there is
anything behind that. Was there a meaning to that, in doing that?
M. Park I don't exactly know because in the original script there wasn't
really any mention of that, but then the director said that they wanted
to do a fresh take on the dance in a way that Katie could have her face
covered that was kind of unique and fun and fresh. So they came up with
a Bollywood idea for the dance so she could obviously be wearing the
outfits with her face covered. And then, it ended up sort of like
infusing itself into other parts of the movie and with the character
Ravi and stuff like that. So it was really cool, and it just kind of
made for a little more excitement and a different take on the whole
theme of the movie, and it ended up being cool.
Moderator What made you decide to play this vast different role from
Grace on your other show?
M. Park I was in New Orleans filming this movie called So Undercover
with Miley Cyrus and it was a character that's really sweet and really
dumb and a different sort of take on a character more in the vein of
Grace. And that's a character that I tend to play a lot because I really
connect with those characters and I really like playing them. Bev is not
purely evil and it was sort of a different approach to the character.
I thought it would be really cool and fun, and I just like doing things
that I think are fun and exciting. And obviously, meeting Lucy and
getting to work with Missi Pyle was a major thing for me. I'm such a fan
and I love the comedy roles, and this movie is actually very funny.
There are a lot of funny moments, and there was a lot of opportunity for
me to do some sort of comedic work, and I learned a lot from working
with Missi Pyle and that was a major drawing point for me. It was just
really fun. It was an opportunity to do something new.
Moderator Did you guys have any jam sessions behind the scenes or
anything fun like that?
M. Park We totally did actually. It's so funny that you ask that because
Missi Pyle—most people don't know—is a great musician and has a band and
has toured, and she had a good friend sing with her named Jenna who is
also a musician, and it was amazing. And Lucy's boyfriend at the time
was a musician. My boyfriend's a musician. So it kind of turned into
like this crazy jam session a lot. And Freddie, of course, and Titus,
everyone it seemed like, was sort of musical in a sense so it was really
fun. Missi had this like great beach house and we were all staying down
there, and we would play guitar out on the balcony. It was really fun.
Everybody was like really into the whole music thing. It was great.
Everybody had their guitar there at some point.
Moderator You have a future film coming up too with Miley Cyrus, right?
M. Park I do, yes, called So Undercover.
Moderator What was it like working with that cast and doing that movie?
M. Park That was probably the most fun four months of my entire life. We
had too much fun. I look back I'm like, did we make a movie? Oh, yeah. I
forgot because we just had so much fun the whole time. It was great. We
were in such a magical city and to be there for that long and working
with Miley and Kelly Osborne and Eloise Mumford. It was basically just
all girls all the time. There was an actor Josh Bowman who is in it but
he only came at the end so basically it was just a bunch of girls by
ourselves the whole time. We all were staying together and we went to
sorority boot camp because we're in a sorority but the real sorority up
in Baton Rouge, and we had so much fun. It did not seem like work, and
by the time it was all over I couldn't believe that we made a movie
because we had so much fun. But we did so hopefully, people like the
Moderator What was it like growing up in Ontario and what route did you
take to become an actress, and also how did you get representation by
Paradigm, and how did you get this particular role?
M. Park Okay. Well, I did, I grew up in Canada. My whole family still
lives there, and I just started doing local theatre and it was something
that I really love. And my parents would not let me do anything
professionally. They were like, no; if you want to do it you can do it
when you're 18. So I snuck it in a few years earlier. I found my own
agent and they were like, well, if you find all the information yourself
you can do it. So I would take the train into Toronto and audition for
things, and I worked really hard and got an agent in Canada. And then,
sort of broke into the industry that way, doing Canadian movies,
Canadian TV shows, and just loved it.
And then I came down to L.A. four years ago, I guess, now, and I was
here for a week to take this acting class that I really wanted to take.
That I heard was amazing. And then, while I was down here, I got sent
the script for Secret Life and the audition, and I went in and I went
back every single day that week—and then by Friday I think I tested for
the part. I didn't even know what a test or a studio test and all this
stuff was and I think maybe it was a blessing I didn't know what I was
getting myself into because I wasn't nervous. I just sort of like walked
in and was like, uh, I guess I'll read for this, and then I ended up
getting the part.
So I went back to Canada. I got my stuff and moved back like a month
later and started filming and it's kind of been, obviously, keeping me
really busy ever since then. I always had hoped and planned to move down
here and do this but I didn't really know when and where it was going to
happen. And I guess the stars aligned and timing was really on my side,
and it just happened way faster than I thought it would, so I feel
really, really, really lucky.
Oh, and you also asked me about getting into Paradigm. It just sort of
fell into place as well. Once Secret Life started airing they reached
out to me and said they liked my performance in the show, and I signed
with them. It's been great.
Moderator About the Gloriana music video Kissed You Goodnight, what was
your experience like filming that?
M. Park It was so fun. We knew the band. My boyfriend knew them really
well because he's a musician, and they came to us and they said would
you guys want to do this music video for us? You basically have to just
fly to Nashville for a couple of days, hang out with us, and then you'd
have to kiss a lot on camera. I was like, wow, this sounds like pretty
much the easiest job of my entire life. I'm in.
So we thought it would be cool and we loved the song. They sang it to us
and obviously wanted to support and help our friend's band in any way we
could. They're great and we like their music. And literally we got to go
there and we filmed in this beautiful house in Nashville, a city that we
both love, and we got to be in this music video and kiss. Obviously,
he's my boyfriend in real life and so it wasn't awkward, and it was just
a really fun thing to do. We had a great time. It was really cool.
Moderator Any future plans or would you be open to more music videos?
M. Park I think I would probably love to be in my boyfriend's music
video, one of his at some point when his new record comes out. I think
that would be pretty cool, but other than that no plans so far. We'll
just have to see what happens I guess.
Moderator As an actress, singer, style star you're probably considered a
triple threat right now in Hollywood. Do you have aspirations to grow
the mini-mogul in the future?
M. Park I don't know. I guess I'm not versed enough in like the
mini-mogul world to know really like what's involved. And I honestly
really want to do projects that make me happy and hopefully make other
people happy. I'm becoming more and more confident and am falling more
and more in love with the whole world of comedy, and I think that's
something that I really want to explore a lot more. But right now, you
know, that whole thing isn't necessarily on my vision board of things
that I'm aiming towards, but obviously being successful and reaching out
to a lot of people is a goal. So if that means doing all those things
that would be great but right now I just really want to make cool art
that I like and work with people that inspire me, are kind of my main
goals right now.
Moderator Would you ever consider writing a comedy for yourself?
M. Park Actually I am writing a comedy with Missi Pyle. We came up with
the idea when we were working together on this movie, and she's
obviously an extremely experienced talented actress. And she kind of
approached me and she's like, I have this idea about this script. Would
you like to work on it with me? And I'd never really written. I'd
written in my free time but never professionally like we've been doing,
and so I was like, okay. I'll give it a shot. I don't really know what
But it's been the most amazing experience and so rewarding. And we
actually pretty much have written a script and it's going to be going
through rewrites and stuff like that. But I'm going to say that she's
the brains behind it and I just sort of helped out in any way I could
and sort of helped her voice the young character in this script. But
it's been amazing and it's obviously a comedy and it's something that we
hope will get made. It's been pretty rewarding and we're actually going
to be taking a writing workshop together, I hope, at some point this
year because for whatever reason our brains work really well together
with writing. And she's been teaching me a lot. So, yeah, it's
definitely something that I really want to explore more.
Moderator Is it easy to make the transition from actually being an adult
and then having to go and play a teenager in your various roles?
M. Park It hasn't been frustrating. It's actually felt really normal
because it's all I've ever known. I'm always really young for my age,
just in life in general, I guess. I graduated high school, and then I
just sort of moved on to the high school of Secret Life and I've been
doing that ever since I graduated high school, so it isn't something
that I'm frustrated with. I don't really get cast for roles older than
high school yet so I'm kind of totally fine riding this wave as long as
it lasts. But there definitely is something in me that's looking forward
to playing more mature roles and growing up a little bit, but I'm kind
of taking it in stride. As long as I'll play high school, I'll play high
school, and when the time is right and the roles start coming for me to
play older I'm totally going to be ready and excited to do that too.
Moderator The Secret Life has a pretty racy storyline. But how did that
work for you?
M. Park You know it's kind of interesting when you sign on to a show
because you're basically signing on to play a character because you only
really see the first episode of the show. And the pilot was just amazing
to me, and it was kind of like shocking, the whole idea of—obviously the
show is based on the secret sex life. I think that was the original
title, was like the Secret Sex Life of the American Teenager or
something like that. And it was sort of eye opening but I think that it
was done in a way that was really real, educational, and it wasn't
something that I was embarrassed by.
I mean I was really excited and proud to be a part of a show that was
sort of breaking down the barriers of that. So no I wasn't nervous about
it and I'm not nervous about it. I think that it's done in a really real
way and that's always been Brenda Hampton’s focus, not just to educate
and to show different choices that people make and how their lives sort
of turn out when they make those choices, the positives and the
negatives, which I really like. So no it hasn't made me nervous but it
definitely is a risk when you sign on to a show and you don't really
know what's going to happen, but I've just been really happy with
everything so far, the way it's turned out.
Moderator Have you gotten any flack at all, any from either back home or
just letters about this storyline?
M. Park No. You know what, I don't really read a lot of stuff because
it's kind of out of my control in a sense, what happens on the show. But
I put my trust in Brenda and ABC Family and they've totally made me feel
safe and protected. And I think the show is really great and I don't
think there's anything in it that's too controversial, and I do
genuinely feel like if there is ever a storyline that I didn't feel
comfortable doing then I would definitely have a voice and be able to
talk to Brenda. She's really respectful that way, and she's really
wonderful in wanting to make sure that everyone feels really
comfortable. And I think I can speak for the rest of the cast with that
Moderator Where was Cinderella shot and can you tell us something of
your experiences on the set with your cast, producers, and directors?
M. Park We shot the movie in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is a
beautiful little town, and we had a lot of fun there. It's a cute place.
There are lots of cute restaurants and we all were staying out by the
beach. It was just amazing. Every night we were sort of like going out
to dinner and hanging out with each other, and I really got to bond with
Lucy and Missi Pyle the most. And the three of us spent a lot of time
together, and they're both just really inspiring and unique in their own
I got to be goofy and silly with Lucy and just have fun and go out and
be crazy. Then, with Missi I got to ask her a lot of questions and pick
her brain and do lots of different things. It was really cool. We all
had a really good time. Again, it seemed like I wasn't really working,
which is the best feeling.
Moderator Could you talk about working on the set, the actual shooting?
M. Park It was great being on set. The director was really cool. We
spent a lot of time rehearsing everything ahead of time so when we
actually got to the set it felt like everybody knew what was happening
and what was going on. Honestly it was just a really simple great shoot.
It felt like a really creative set. A lot of times we'd film and then
the director would be like, hey, let's just improv this one. Especially
working with Missi Pyle, obviously she like to improv and it was hard to
keep a straight face 90% of the time when working with her.
But it was great. It was just a really simple set and it went really
smoothly and other than having to do a lot of dance rehearsal and Lucy,
I'm sure, having to do a lot of recordings ahead of time, that was the
only thing I was really nervous about, was doing the dancing because I
hadn't danced a lot before. But it went well. It was just really smooth
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