“Secret Life” Stars Celebrate 100th Episode and Kidzworld is There!
Kidzworld is in Burbank, California at the Warner Studios “Ranch” where “Secret Life of the American Teenager” is shot for ABC Family. We’re sharing fun and cake with Shailene Woodley (Amy), Daren Kagasoff (Ricky), Megan Park (Grace), Greg Finley (Jack), Francia Raisa (Adrian), Renee Olstead (Madison), Molly Ringwald (Anne) and more! New episodes start up March 26th.
Shai was shooting a bit later than the others and finally, when the production wrapped for the day, it was party time, celebrating 100 episodes! Shai, wearing a cute, filmy black tunic and pants, hugged one of the twins playing her son John in the show (Joey and Matthew Levinson) and then she and Megan and Francia got all arm-in-arm to sing the classic “Lean on Me” (“We All Need Somebody to Lean On”) with some cool harmony. Do we sense a Broadway act in the making?
We’re talking bullying, the casts’ film projects and more. We caught Greg and Daren chillin’ outside and got the latest:
Kidzworld: What did you guys STILL not get to do on the show that you wish they would write for you?
- Daren: More fist fights!
- Greg: They haven’t done a lot of bullying on the show. There was one episode where this guy kind of roughed Daren up a bit. It’s such an important issue.
- Daren: Yeah. I think they will. But we’ve kind of done it all, otherwise, man.
Both guys indicated that they wanted to direct in the future. Luke Zimmerman, who plays Tom Bowman joins us briefly and says he’d like to direct a scary movie. The guys agree that they should all be in it together.
- Greg: I’ll be a zombie, man. I love zombie movies.
Kidzworld: Any movies in the works while you are on a break from the show?
Daren: I’m trying. I may have something in the works now. But not official. We’ll see.
Kidzworld: Shailene’s movie career has really taken off so I’m sure you guys are like “Me next! Me next! Right?
- Greg: We’re just happy for her. Finally, it’s one of us.
- Daren: A little indie with George Clooney (The Descendants). It was a hell of a script and great acting.
Kidzworld: Are you guys also writers?
- Daren: Yeah. Greg and I both write.
- Greg: I wrote a screenplay and Daren is Mr. Novel over here.
Kidzworld: What kind of movie would you like to be in some day? Maybe be an action hero? What new acting challenge would you like to tackle?
- Daren: Oh yeah! Action hero!
- Greg: That’s every actor’s answer. It’s true.
- Daren: Comedy is hard. You might think you’re funny but everybody else might not so I don’t know about that.
Kidzworld: Other than whether or not Amy and Ricky will really get married can you give us any hints on what is coming up on the show for the fans?
- Greg: There’s a new kind of a relationship.
- Daren: And some crime!
- Greg: Yeah, we’re like “The Sopranos” over here.
We think they are only semi-kidding. Here comes Francia (Adrian). We talk “Hunger Games”.
- Francia: I read the book. Now I’m obsessed!
Kidzworld: Speaking of films, what are your ambitions on being in feature films?
- Francia: We’re filming the show right now but I definitely want to do films. I’m a martial artist so I want to do a Tomb Raider type film where I can show that off. Hey, I heard there was a prequel coming up. There’ll be a new Angelina so watch out! [she laughs].
Kidzworld: What have they not written for Adrian that you really wish they would?
- Francia: We’ve touched on everything but which we could touch more on is STDs and how easy it is to get them. Hooking up is around in high school of course but I don’t think a lot of them know what an STD (sexually transmitted disease) is. I wish we could say more about, when you finally do choose to have sex, you are very careful with your partner. Always be safe.
Kidzworld: Are you into directing or writing TV or films some day?
- Francia: I am! I’m actually writing my own dance film right now. There’s a romantic comedy I’m trying to put together with my friends but the dance film is my baby right now. It’s not like Footloose, about wanting to dance. It’s a romantic movie about friendships, kind of like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but with dance incorporated into it. It says that dance is the universal language for everyone.
- Francia: I also directed a parody. You know those “S**t L.A People Say” parodies? I directed “S**t Golddiggers Say”. It’s really funny.
Kidzworld: What is up with Adrian now on the show that fans will see?
Francia: Well, I had just broken up with my boyfriend and Adrian is now dating this guy in college who claims to be Bow Wow’s older brother. I’m really upset now because Rick and Amy had just gotten engaged. He gave me the kiss off kiss at the party so I slept with Ben’s best friend. There’s a lot of drama that comes with all the decisions that Adrian makes.
Kidzworld: Do fans ask you advice about boys?
- Francia: They have come to me on Twitter to ask about men and boys and how to deal with them and when is the right time and I always say, “[Hooking up] is such a huge emotional responsibility that I don’t think you are ready for at such a young age”. I have friends who have been together since high school now seven years later but they waited until after high school so they could see what’s out there.
When you’re in middle school or high school you feel like that little world is the only thing that exists. They haven’t met anyone else. Once you go to college or start working and see the adult life, you see this whole new world around you and you don’t want to live life in regret.
Kidzworld: Very good advice!
Renee Olstead who plays Amy’s friend Madison Cooperstein, is wearing cute glasses and a funky/fun outfit when we find her at the buffet table.
Kidzworld: Talk about how Madison has changed over the seasons and where she’s at now.
- Renee: Madison has transitioned very well in the last few seasons from being a sidekick to coming into her own, taking on a kind of bad girl persona. I think she’s still a follower, validating herself with other people. She likes attention and she’s fun to play. She’s often misguided.
Kidzworld: Is her kind of guy Renee’s type too?
- Renee: I’ve been a relationship girl for the last few years. I’ve been with my boyfriend
Tommy King for four years now. He’s the musical director for “X-Factor”. It’s fun. I do music as well. That’s how we met. I was on the road and Warner Brothers got me in touch with Tommy then we really got in touch (we laugh).
Kidzworld: What do you wish Madison could do on the show?
Renee: Well, they’ve let me sing which is wonderful. They’ve been so supportive. There should be more of that in the future season! I would love to do some crazy adventure with Camille [Winbush who plays Lauren].
Kidzworld: With the subject of bullying trending so highly right now, do you hope the show addresses that in the future more?
- Renee: I think bullying effects everyone. I’ve certainly been bullied in the past. There are a lot of people who say a lot of bad things online and people take it to heart. I’m not immune from that when someone attacks you or your character, you can take it personally. In the cyberworld, just because you are anonymous, doesn’t mean you don’t hurt people’s feelings. A lot of people hide behind that.
Renee starts munching so we corner Megan Park who plays Grace.
Kidzworld: Megan, you did “The Cinderella Story” movie on a break from the show and isn’t another one coming up?
- Megan: I did So Undercover with Miley Cyrus which is coming out. That was really fun and also Aaron Sorkin’s new show for HBO called “The Newsroom” which I was so grateful to be a part of.
Kidzworld: Good work! Grace has been done wrong by her boyfriend on the show. Is she ready to move on?
- Megan: She’s not ready to totally move on. She has some unfinished business with several characters on the show so Grace is going to be tying up some loose ends this season.
Kidzworld: She was very conservative the first season and has changed. Was that fun for you to play as an actress?
- Megan: It was fun and exciting more than anything else. It felt like what every teenager goes through at some point in their lives in high school or college. It felt like I was kind of reliving high school so it wasn’t that far off for me, not too much of a stretch.
Kidzworld: What do you wish the showrunners would write for Grace?
- Megan: I want to see Grace have a little more fun in her life. I think she takes herself too seriously sometimes. I like to be fun in real life and joke around so I’d like to see her explore that a little more on camera.
Kidzworld: Do you have a dating pet peeve?
- Megan: If my date was rude to somebody else, that would be a total turn off. Like if we were at a restaurant and they were rude to the waiter or staff. That would be a huge turn off for me. Or if they text in the middle of a conversation with you or when they’re driving, that would so not be cool!
Kidzworld: We agree! Do you have a message for kids and teens about bullying?
- Megan: Oh, if you see somebody bullying someone else and you don’t try to stop them or be a good influence, it’s just as bad as being a bully. If you see that going on, tell someone; tell a teacher or someone who can help change the situation because bullying leads to dangerous things. If you see bullying do something to help or talk to someone who can help.
Kidzworld: Very good message. Now, go eat cake!
We all walk over to the “Secret Life” Grant High School set to cut the cake with the whole gang! Happy 100th Episode to the “Secret Life” team!
By: Lynn Barker