Maia savours plum surf role

Not even star­ring in a Dis­ney tele­movie can faze North­ern Rivers teen Maia Mitchell, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

NORTH­ERN Rivers teen Maia Mitchell says land­ing a role in the new Dis­ney tele­movie Teen Beach Movie was a dream come true. Billed as the new High School Mu­si­cal, Teen Beach Movie fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of teen surfer McKen­zie Fox (Mitchell) and her mu­si­cal loving boyfriend Brady (played by Ross Lynch, an ac­tor and mu­si­cian from fam­ily band R5).

The pair catch a wave which mag­i­cally trans­ports them into a 1960s surf mu­si­cal where they do their best to blend in while they try to find a way home.

‘‘My favourite scene is when Ross and I – our char­ac­ters any­way – start to sing and just can’t stop. It’s very funny,’’ Mitchell laughs.

The Lis­more 19-year-old wears plenty of 1960s in­spired cos­tumes and McKen­zie and Brady meet surfers, rock­ers and dab­ble in a va­ri­ety of retro mu­si­cal styles. ‘‘I had so much fun dress­ing up,’’ says Mitchell. ‘‘I don’t know if I can pick my cos­tume. I had some leather pants I liked, retro shorts and a cou­ple of swim­suits – my favourite was this lit­tle or­ange swim­suit. It was two-piece and lots of fun.’’

Mitchell got her break as an 11-year-old with a re­cur­ring role in the Gold Coast filmed kids TV show Mor­ti­fied. She fol­lowed up with a role in the Bris­bane-filmed Doc­tor Who spinoff K9 and kids ad­ven­tures Trapped and Cast­away, both filmed in Broome, Western Aus­tralia.

She moved to Los An­ge­les to film Teen Beach Movie and now has a re­cur­ring role in the Jennifer Lopez-ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced fam­ily drama, The Fos­ters, which airs in Aus­tralia on pay TV’s Fox 8.

She plays Callie, one of a rain­bow fam­ily of foster kids reared by two Mums. The en­sem­ble cast in­cludes Jake T. Austin ( Wiz­ards of Waverly Place), Teri Polo ( The West Wing) and Sherri Saum ( Re­venge).

‘‘I read the script was quickly be­came ob­sessed with the story about the two mums who foster kids. There’s a bi­o­log­i­cal son too. It’s a meatier role than I’m used to but I’m up for the chal­lenge. I play Callie. She can be cal­lous – she’s hard­ened – and vul­ner­a­ble too. It makes for an in­ter­est­ing con­trast.’’

Teen Beach Movie de­buted in the US last month to an au­di­ence of 8 mil­lion-plus view­ers as the No. 3 Dis­ney movie of all time – High School Mu­si­cal 2 is No. 1. Set to de­but in Aus­tralia to­mor­row, there is al­ready talk of a se­quel.

‘‘I was just the right age for High School Mu­si­cal – about 12 years old when the first film came out.

‘‘I knew Dis­ney films, I just never ex­pected I might be in one.’’

Her re­cent Aus­tralian visit with co-star Lynch was a fleet­ing one, but she’ll be back for a real hol­i­day soon. ‘‘I’ll re­lax. Try to do as lit­tle as pos­si­ble. If I’m lucky, Mum will cook my favourite meals for me. She makes this amaz­ing mar­i­nated chicken and pome­gran­ate salad.

‘‘It’s been quite a year, mov­ing to a dif­fer­ent coun­try to take a dif­fer­ent job and work with new peo­ple. It’s been a big un­der­tak­ing, but noth­ing I was not pre­pared for.

‘‘I grew up in a small town, my fam­ily are still there and I can go back any time. ‘‘It’s solid, reg­u­lar sort of life. ‘‘I won’t lose my grip on re­al­ity and if I do, my par­ents will pro­vide the counter bal­ance.

en­core Au­gust 17.

Fri­day, 7pm, Dis­ney;

Mon­days, 7.30pm, Fox8.

Teen Beach Movie:

The Fos­ters: Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell

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