By Karan Dholakia
Earlier this evening I had the absolute pleasure of having a chat with Kaitlyn Dever, who is one of Hollywood's fastest rising young movie stars today.
Dever starred as Jayden, a troubled teenager alongside Brie Larson (United States of Tara, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and John Gallgher Jr. (The Newsroom) in Short Term 12 which is causing quite a buzz on the festival circuit. Currently, she plays Eve Baxter on ABC's Last Man Standing, starring opposite Tim Allen, who plays her father on the show, Mike.
Check out my interview with Kaitlyn below, and you can listen to it after the jump.
- You played Jayden in Short Term 12 alongside Brie Larson & John Gallagher Jr. What attracted you to the role? Was it the script? The cast?
I didn’t know who was in the cast other than Brie Larson, I was excited at first to be able to work with her and see her again because I worked with her on The Spectacular Now, but I feel like it was mainly the script that attracted me the first time.
- You mentioned The Spectacular Now, Shailene Woodley played a pretty big part, what was it like working with her?
She’s great, she’s awesome, she’s a very very sweet, down to earth girl, she’s just the coolest person to work with.
- What did you do to prepare for a role like Jayden’s?
Yeah, I mean it’s really just – I go over the script a lot, and sometimes when I read the script a lot I find new things about the character everytime I read it, and also I try to create something that’s not on the page, and that sort of makes the character more like a real person. That’s what I always try to do when I’m getting into character; trying to make it as real as possible, and knowing the character so well that it’s like, playing me.
- So right now you’re working on Last Man Standing, which is a different sort of thing altogether, you’re working in front of a live audience, how do you find working like that?
It keeps you on your toes, it’s a different sort of genre, it’s almost like theatre, and it’s theatre in front of the audience, you have high energy, you know, writers always coming up to me with line changes, and you have to be ready. It’s really helped me as an actor to be on a sitcom .
- If something goes wrong in front of the audience, how do you deal with it?
How- oh, when we like mess up a line, or something?
- (laughs) Yeah!
Well, we’re just used to it now, cause we do it all the time, we’re constantly laughing, yeah, we’re breaking character and the audience loves it. They love it when people start laughing. Like I watch SNL, and I love it when you watch it and they do the characters and it’s live, so yeah, we’re constantly messing up, so you know, the audience and the cast just having a good time.
- Has Tim Allen or anyone else on the cast given you a piece of advice that’s really resonated with you?
Hector [Elizondo] gave me great advice. He told me I have to be my own director, and protect myself. I didn’t really know what he meant when he said it, and after thinking about it afterwards I’m like, ‘wait a second he means not to be the director of the show, but to be your own director and to direct the way you want your character to be, and protect yourself meaning, create your own character.’ I thought that was a really cool piece of advice.
- Right, like what you alluded to earlier about your character for Short Term 12?
Yeah, I mean I think it’s awesome when there a collab between the director and the actor I think that’s really cool, it’s not just the Director saying ‘okay, you’re gonna say this line, and you’re gonna go here’ it’s sort of, like when I did Short Term 12, it was a collaboration between Destin [Daniel Cretton, Director of ST12] me, and all the actors. It was really cool- he let us get into our characters, do what we wanted with our characters freely.
- You’ve worked on a film, Laggies, comes out early next year where you star alongside Keira Knightly, Sam Rockwell and Chloe Moretz. You and Chloe are the same age, so was there any advice that either of you gave to each other? Has there been something one of you have experienced that the other hadn’t?
It was really cool getting to work with another girl my age on the set, it was really cool, I guess, we’re both just trying to be 16 year olds by not getting caught up in the work we’re doing. We just had a good time, because it was really fun having another 16 year old on set, and not working with a bunch of adults all the time. It was kinda nice (laughs)
- Do you find it gets too much sometimes? How do you manage to keep yourself below all of the excitement?
I don’t- I mean, I get excited all the time, because I love it so much and I love what I do, it’s hard not to get too excited about things, but, you know I stay close with my family, I always hang out with them, and always hang out with my friends.
- I’d imagine between Last Man Standing and other opportunities you’d be pretty busy, what would you do if you ever got any downtime?
I’ve been really lucky to have done four films these past two years on my hiatuses, which is really awesome, and I’m very thankful, but on hiatus week, like between while we’re shooting, I’ll do homework, and hang out with my friends, try to just chill out as much as possible.
- You've just shot Grass Stains with Tye Sheridan, that's something different, what's that like? Because that's something different between the characters you played in Short Term 12 and Last Man Standing, but in Grass Stains it's a lot more serious. Did you do anything different for this particular character?
Between Last Man and Grass Stains or Short Term 12 and Grass Stains?
- Short Term 12 and Grass Stains
They're both going through a struggle, in Grass Stains my character is trying to go through the struggle of trying to forget about her Brother's death and she's falling in love at the same time with The Sheridan's character. In both movies the characters are going through heavy internal stuff, and it was just a matter of realising who Grace [Dever's character in Grass Stains] was before her Brother's death and then adding on that struggle after the death.
- One last question, what's the biggest project you're working on right now?
Well I think I'm doing the show right now, I have some exciting things that i can't talk about yet, but there's definitely some really cool things coming up, so yeah. I can't say much.
- No that's cool, you've been awesome, I hope I've been a good interviewer (laughs)
Oh yeah, you were great, this was fun!
- Alright, well I'll let you get back to it, I've been Kazed, and thank you!
Oh, thank you so much!
Thanks again to Kaitlyn for being such a cool interviewee.