Throughout my career I have interviewed celebrities directly, interviewed them in the third person, and interviewed them through their publicist. I have even had to pivot and interviewed someone else on set altogether when they decide their co-star would be a much better fit for me. As I pulled out my voice recorded that is fashionably accessorized with baby seal charms to interview the young and talented Mckenna Grace, I witnessed this now 13 year old suddenly illuminate with excitement and giggles then pull her own ocean buddy out of her bag and was introduced to Mckenna’s infamous stuffed seal named Darrell Duane.
Of course at this point I realize Mr. Duane also known by fans as “DD”, could take over this interview and shift the entire focus to him at any moment, but decide to roll with it because, hey… who doesn’t love a baby seal? And it’s Mckenna Grace; this is her troop and her world. It should also be noted that Darrell Duane has co-starred with Mckenna in numerous movies including but not limited to: Gifted, The Bad Seed, The Haunting of Hill House, Amityville: The Awakening, Itonya, and Designated Survivor. Guess this explains why Grace’s fans started a Change.org petition last year for DD to get his own IMDB page.
Q: When I was growing up, I was into fashion, makeup, and popular singers. What are you into?
[laughs and pointed to the seal stuffed animal]. I like stuffed animals. I don’t do social media that much. I have an Instagram page, but I personally want to keep it on my mom’s phone. I like having it on my mom’s phone so I don’t have to deal with it all the time. So what we do is, we’ll do it together. Like I’ll have a lot of control over it, but she’ll help me because Instagram is scary. I don’t have TikTok, I want it though [laughs]. I’m not really up with the trends and the dances that people are doing and stuff. Once I know the cool stuff, it’s like, “That was cool seven months ago, Mckenna. What are you doing? You’re embarrassing yourself.” [laughs]. But I mean I like my stuffed animals, I like drawing, reading, and playing my ukulele.
Q: When I was your age I actually made a stuffed animal because I loved sewing. Do you sew?
I love sewing. Yes, I love sewing stuffed animals. I sewed one for my best friend.
Q: What’s the name of your friend, and what type of animal?
So my best friend, his name is August. And I sewed him a little unicorn because we went to a concert together and I wanted to give him something. So I gave him my stuffed animal unicorn. I sewed him [laughs]. We named it Cotton Candy Randy. It was great.
Q: This movie is very interesting because it’s an underdog story. Since you are more of a star personality, how did fit into this weird character?
I am this weird personality [laughs]. I am very odd myself, so I loved getting to just be myself for two months. I got to just completely be myself, and not worry about being judging me or anything. I just got to be myself in two months around people who are also being completely their odd, weird selves. And it was a really great experience, I am glad that I got to shoot this film. Because all of us kids, we are really weird. And we all just completely got to embrace it and embrace our weirdness, and completely be ourselves. Not worrying about if other people will judge us because we all love each other, and we’re like “We won’t judge each other because we too are odd ourselves.” We really were a troop, but it was really great.
Q: Since you are home schooled, it must be hard to make friends. But in this film, you are working with actors of the same age. This must be a good opportunity, as you get the feeling of being in a regular school.
MG: I mostly work with adults and they’re my friends. I make friends with the adult actors I am with, but they have a difficult work schedule, and if I try to text them or call them they won’t pick up all the time. Or if I text them, they’ll answer me like a week from then at 3 AM. It’s different. And it’s nice to have kid friends my age so that we can FaceTime, play stuffed animals, play robots, all sorts of stuff like that.
Q: What did you learn from Viola Davis and Alison Janney?
They are just insanely talented. I loved getting to work with them because they are just amazing. I really enjoyed getting to watch them work and getting just to see the way that they carry themselves and hold themselves, and act on set. And the way that they prepare for scenes. I don’t even need them to tell me advice. I just love watching them. Because whenever you get to experience something like that, you’re like, “I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to spend my moments. I want to learn what they are doing, or how they prepare, and stuff like that.”
Q: How did you enjoy working on Fuller House? What do you remember about working on the set?
The summer before Fuller House came out I binge watched Full House. That was before it was announced that Fuller House was coming out. And when they did, I was so excited. I remember my mom and I, we sat in bed and we waited because it had like a countdown. And we sat there for 30 minutes, and we got popcorn and water and stuff. And we watched the heck out of it. We loved it. It was so exciting. And then when I got the role, we were just like wigging out. We were so excited. We were like, “I can’t wait. We’re going to meet D. J. (D. J. Tanner-Fuller, played by Candace Cameron Bure), and everyone.” [with exciting hand movement] It was so cool because every time that I got to work on that set, I was still like, “Oh my god, I cannot believe that they’re saying hi to me.” It was so awesome. I loved it and I love it. I miss working on Fuller House. It was so much fun.
Q: You love animals, and are involved in charity organizations. Could you tell me about that?
I really love animals and I am a vegetarian. I try to do what I can, but there’s not much I can do except speak out about it. Because I believe in animal rights, and it’s not fair to the animals what’s happening to them a lot.
Q: Do you have any upcoming dream projects?
I’d love to do a musical. I really want to do something with music where I can sing or dance or something. Not like I can. I’m acting like I can dance. I can’t. I’d love to do something where I can sing or play music or learn how to dance. I think that’d be very fun.
Q: I know you play ukulele. Do you actually make music?
I do. I write music. I have my music writing notebook right in here. I brought my ukulele. I love making music.
Q: How do you feel about being a vegetarian, as there are limited amount of food options available?
Yeah, I got potatoes and a croissant over there. Some fruit. I’m a vegetarian, I’m pescatarian. I eat fish because my dad, he’s a doctor and he’s from Arkansas. And he’s all dramatic, he’s like, “Gotta eat meat.” I’m like, “No, I don’t because it’s my choice. I don’t want to eat meat.” So what I do is I compromise and I eat a bit of fish. It’s not as though I’m eating fish because I believe that they aren’t animals too. It’s just because I’m in a stage where I am growing and I have to get some source of protein. And me being a picky eater, that is where I get a lot of my protein.
Q: In this film, your character is interested in space. Are you interested in space as well?
I really like space. It’s really cool to think about that we’re just like this tiny dot. My mom and I are always laughing, we’re like, “What if this is all a simulation?” Or just like coming up with funny conspiracy theories and it’s really fun, but it’s also scary to think about space. It’s just so fast and huge and each star in the sky is another sun and a solar system. So it’s so cool to think about. Don’t even get me started, I could talk about it for hours.
Troop Zero is in Amazon Prime.
For more info on the film, theatre locations, and ticket info please visit: https://t.co/utlNu585r4
Or the film’s official Twitter page at: https://twitter.com/TroopZeroMovie & Facebook Page:
Interview by: Izumi Hasegawa – https://twitter.com/HNW_Izumi & Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/izumihasegawa/
Edited by: Jody Taylor – https://twitter.com/RealJodyTaylor & https://www.instagram.com/realjodytaylor
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