Laura Marano – A Sort of Homecoming
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What made you want to be a part of the film A Sort of Homecoming?
A) First of all, I did high school speech and debate when I was a Freshman in high school. It was hard to do other school clubs when I got “Austin & Ally.” But when I found out this movie was about the high school debate world, right away I was interested because I love that world. I was totally bragging to my high school debate teacher, “I might do a film about high school debate!” What I loved about Amy is that I don’t know why, but the recent years I’ve gravitated towards roles with a similar character arc of “starting off insecure and aren’t sure of themselves, but find their confidence along the way.” That was for sure true with Ally Dawson and I think that is equally true about Amy. She was pretty insecure and has a deeper storyline of finding a place within her family because there is a whole adoption situation going on. She turns to high school debate to gain some confidence and figure out things about her that are her strong points. That was really awesome to me about Amy and that she found herself in this truly intellectual hobby. Debate isn’t something that you just pick up and kind of do. You have to really work at it. You have to research and practice. She did it and she really loved it.
Q) What did you find challenging about your role?
A) There are always challenges, no matter how perfectly you fit with the role. I definitely think there are differences between Amy and I. I think it’s funny because one of the biggest challenges actually was that it was freezing in Louisiana while we were shooting, but in the movie it was supposed to be summer. So, to look like I wasn’t freezing when I was outside wearing shorts was very, very challenging. Also, kind of on a deeper level, Amy had way more of a head trip going on because she didn’t really feel like she belonged in her family. There is some deep stuff going on there and from someone like me this isn’t something I was used to and haven’t faced. There were people behind the creative side of the movie, the writer Lynn Reed, had that same struggle and it was actually great talking to her about figuring all that stuff out.
Q) What advice did director Maria Burton give you that you took to heart while filming?
A) I loved our director! She was all about keeping it really, really natural, which is always a goal when you are acting. But she really wanted it to be coming from a bit of a sad place. She kind of wanted Amy to start off a little sad and then grow into herself. So, it was kind of cool playing that aspect of it.
Q) What was it like working with your costar Kat McNamara?
A) I love Kat so much! My love for Kat is insane! She is amazing and I’m literally obsessed with her. She’s so sweet and so talented. It was awesome getting to collaborate with her. I definitely think with the whole cast between her, Parker [Mack] and Shayne [Topp] that we really bonded and would go over lines the night before the scenes. It was a really great experience with the cast.
Q) What do you hope viewers take away from watching the movie?
A) I hope people take away, obviously, the fun aspects and cool aspects of debate because I think it is so cool! I love debate! But I also think really, to its core, A Sort of Homecoming is about finding yourself and finding what your “purpose” is in your life. And there is definitely a really sweet complicated love story in there, too. So, I think it is a really cool, cool movie.