Amanda Crew: "Charlie's" Angel
"She's that girl who got to make out with Zac Efron in Charlie St. Cloud." Is pretty young Canadian actress Amanda Crew worried about that description? Not at all. She's the first to admit that locking lips with the High School Musical hunk wasn't all work and no play. "He's a dreamboat. All of a sudden I'm turning into a 12-year-old girl and giggling. Where did that laugh come from?"
Amanda and Zac on the set of Charlie St. Cloud
Amanda, whom you might have seen in various Canadian TV shows like Whistler and American indie films like Final Destination 3 and She's the Man, was astounded to land the part opposite one of the hottest young actors in Hollywood. On learning that the role was hers, she was "hunched over crying" in her agent's office.
We are really finding Amanda to be humble, funny, bright and candid at our sit-down in Marina Del Rey, California. Let's talk Zac, funny stories from set, sailing mishaps and Amanda's stint as the local, hometown Vancouver tour guide for her co-stars. Picture this tall brunette in classy black and white patterned halter sundress by Bill Blass with gathers on bodice and skirt and accessorizing with super high beige heels. On to the dish...
Kidzworld: Let's get to it. Are you ready for a lot of girls and teens
to be super jealous of you?
Amanda: [laughing] Well, so far I've met a lot of Zac's fans because they would be around the set. He has really great fans. I haven't had any mean fans there. They just want to know what he's like and, thankfully, I have only amazing things to say about him.
Kidzworld: What was the whole process of meeting Zac like and how would
you describe him?
Amanda: Well, the first time I met him was at the chemistry read [to see how she and Zac would click]. Obviously he's a good-looking guy but I was never that girl that had his poster above my bed or anything but then I met him and he has this effect on people. He's a dreamboat but he puts you at ease so quickly.
Kidzworld: How do you think he does that?
Amanda: He's just so down to earth. He is genuine. He's humble. He's normal and no ego. So, we did a lot of rehearsals before we actually started filming which was great because we did build this great friendship between us. I think part of that is to do with the fact that he's not this guarded guy. I didn't know him before he had all this success but I feel like the person I'm meeting today is the same person as before all the success hit him.
Kidzworld: What was it about the character of Tess that you felt like
you connected with?
Amanda: It's really hard to find strong roles for girls my age. A lot of the time it's just the pretty girl who serves as the love interest and that's it. What I loved about this character was she's such a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants in life. She's unapologetic about it. She has these goals and she's gonna go for it. I think that's a great role model for girls. She's going to sail around the world by herself. She's brave and ambitious.
Kidzworld: Are you like that?
Amanda: Well, I do come across as very similar to the character in that I know what I want in life but, for some reason, the part about the character I struggled with the most was the unapologetic part because I'm Canadian and Burr was like, “Stop apologizing.” I'm sorry. I mean OK, I'm sor....OK! I'll do it. I'll do it. But I came out of the film and carried some of the character with me so I'm just trying to carry that strength with me for the rest of my life.
Kidzworld: You were shooting on your own turf up in the Vancouver area.
Did you show Zac and everybody around?
Amanda: A bit of that, yeah. I took them some places and then also, it's cool being in your hometown but with tourists because you find out things about the city that you had no idea about. It's always nice being with Zac because people are more willing to show him different stuff because it's Zac Efron so we got to see some cool stuff. We all went up to Whistler one weekend zip lining and stuff like that.
Kidzworld: Was there any location in Canada that you hadn't been to? Did
you have a favorite one?
Amanda: We got to go up to Gibsons which is an island off the coast up there. I have a dog named Gibson so that was the running joke, “Is Gibson coming to Gibsons?” Ha ha. We filmed some of the stuff on the boat outside of Zac's cottage and some of the sailing sequences were filmed up there. That was amazing. That was the first time when I surprise Zac with his boat and we go sailing.
Kidzworld: Did you two actually sail together?
Amanda: Usually the sail boat was rigged to another boat and it's all movie magic. But, at one point, they were like “OK. Training wheels are off. You guys are goin' off out in the water.” We'd done our separate sailing but we sailed together then and it was amazing. So, I think that was well captured on film. But, it was mainly Zac telling me what to do because I had no idea. He was like, “Go right. Your other right! OK. OK.” [laughs]
Kidzworld: Tess was going to sail around the world solo. Did you keep
track of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland who tried to do just that?
Amanda: Yeah. To do this trek, I admire anyone who can do it, especially at that age. My sailing coach was telling me that people who sail around the world, you kind of have to be a little bit crazy because you're spending all this time by yourself and there is a schedule; you sail for four hours and you can sleep for twenty minutes and sail another four hours and that's for weeks on end and you're eating dehydrated food. It's so physically demanding but also mentally. I'm sure that would mess with you a little bit.
Kidzworld: Did you get any tips from young sailors?
Amanda: We had a lot of different sailing coaches and trainers on the set. One specifically was this guy named Sterling. He's young, early 20's so he was great. He told me just little things to do like when I'm standing on my boat in the scene where I'm talking to Zac. This boat is [her] baby. It's [her] home. [She] knows everything about it so [she] doesn't just stand on [her] boat, [she] does stuff. He'd constantly check in with me, “Touch this,” or, “Play with this rope. Tie this up,” so we actually looked like we knew what we were doing.
Kidzworld: Can you tell us a funny story from set?
Amanda: The sailing stuff was always a disaster with me. Zac picked it up really quickly but I'm not very athletic and I'm a klutz. I had bruises all over my body through the entire shoot just from falling over. Just before the screen test, a friend of mine, he's a professional sailor and he's like, “Come up to San Francisco. We've got this amazing boat. We're doing a practice run.” I'm like, “Sweet! Bikinis and champagne.” That's what I pictured sailing to be. It's not. It's a sport.
Kidzworld: What did you actually do onboard then?
Amanda: We were sailing back and forth and pretty much my job was to run from one side [of the boat] to the other for the weight thing which you would think is easy but it's not and I slipped and fell on the deck so hard and had this massive bruise down my leg and arm. So, I show up to the screen test the next day with bruises. “What happened?” “I have an abusive boyfriend....No, I went sailing. I swear I'll be good if you hire me.”
Kidzworld: How many lessons did you have before you actually started
Amanda: We were on the water every day for at least three hours then in the gym every day. I never felt so physically strong. Not just mentally connected to the character but also physically connected. Burr was always like 'When you're doing your sailing training, don't be Amanda sailing, be Tess sailing. So Amanda sailing is, “Oops! Sorry. Sorry,” and Tess sailing is like, “Yeah, this is what I'm doin' and I'm doin' it wrong but I'm doin' it.” So, he was always just getting us to be in character.
Kidzworld: Are you based in Canada still or do you live here in L.A. now?
Amanda: I do live here now. I've lived here for a couple of years but work keeps bringing me back up to Vancouver. No complaints.
Lynn Barker, an editor and entertainment journalist for several websites, magazines and newspapers, has been active in the entertainment industry for many years.
Have Your Say
Who are some of your other face Canadian stars? Let us know by posting your comment below!