‘Radio Rebel’ Debby Ryan Q&A
Debby Ryan, who you may know from the hit show Jessie, stars in the recently released on DVD original Disney movie Radio Rebel as Tara, a shy high school junior by day and podcast prodigy by night named Radio Rebel. Radio Rebel herself, Debby Ryan, had time to step out of the DJ booth and chat with Kidzworld!
KW: Are you excited about the release of Radio Rebel? What makes this movie different to other projects you’ve been a part of?
- Debby: So excited! The last year or two this project has been in my heart, and the fact that it’s in now in DVD feels very cyclical. I feel like when we sat down with the script we established it was different from anything Disney had ever done, but it’s very old-school comedy, like Abbot & Costello, there’s a bit of 80’s rock and roll/John Hughes influence and it’s something I haven’t done before. The comedy is even dry comedy, definitely different from Jessie and The Suite Life. It’s tapping into that grunge-punk rock scene a lot and people on the internet or on the radio trying pioneer things. She’s kind of leading this revolution, a righteous rebellion, and she’s awesome and powerful, I usually play the everyday girl.
KW: How did you get the part in Radio Rebel?
- Debby: I told Disney I wanted to work with them again, and they said we want you to be really creatively involved in anything you do. It’s based off of a book, and I told them what I loved about the book, while taking time off I wrote a music blog where I basically introduce people to bands they don’t know and it happened very organically.
KW: Did you read the book that Radio Rebel is based on, Shrinking Violet?
- Debby: I love the author, I hung out with her and she treated me like this is my neighbourhood, she brought me mangoes from her fruit tree, we totally gelled. There’s a bit of pressure since she created this character you want to do it right. She’s a girl who knows what she believes. It was such an honour, I am a huge book nerd so I was nervous meeting her, more nervous than meeting the director or anything. She’s written other books that are on my shelf. She gets what it’s like to not fit in and she was a radio DJ in college. She’s sweet and mild mannered. I feel like she knows me better than a lot of people who’ve known for years she’s just that kind of person.
KW: How would you describe your character in Radio Rebel and how do you relate to her?
- Debby: For me I wasn’t best friends with a lot of people, I had a small group of friends who were a little bit different, the popular girl didn’t like me, so between the fact that I had a similar experience in middle school, I was the school mascot, I love the idea of breaking down boundaries and hanging with people you haven’t hung out with before, I feel like I’ve done that a lot and the fact that because we’re so different it’s a really beautiful thing.
KW: What is your favorite part of the story?
- Debby: In the movie I really like the moment where she creates the “MORP” idea, the idea for the backwards prom and I’ll tell you why; in life there will always be people who come up against you whether or not you have good intentions and sometimes you have to roll with the punches. She took one blow after another, she was at her lowest point and what she did is made the situation into something that made it all better. And backwards prom was better than if none of it had ever happened!
KW: What was the best part of filming?
- Debby: We filmed at an actual school so the cast and I would go to this little music room and the crew would have to track us down to where the music was. We would have giant jam sessions and drum circles and had so much fun.
KW: What is something most fans don’t know about you?
- Debby: I lived in Germany when I was younger, I took a bunch of kickboxing, I go to the gun range and shoot and stuff - I am very well prepared for an action career, and I think people wouldn’t expect that cause they’re like ‘oh she’s a nanny and she wears heels’ - but I’m ready for my Tomb Raider at any moment.
KW: You star on the hit show Jessie, what has been your favorite episode so far?
- Debby: That’s actually really hard. There’s one where this bad nanny comes and we ended up in a fight in a beauty salon and we ended up literally in the mud bath. And we also have our big season finale. There’s a really epic vacation adventure where everything goes terribly wrong, and then after that there’s an episode where you find out some really interesting things about Mr. Kipling and some growing up happens.
KW: What would you like to see happen to Jessie in the future?
- Debby: I feel like I would like to see who she is, why she came to LA, what she wants to be and watch her grow a little bit, so far it’s been more of watching the kids grow.
KW: Who are some actors you look up to?
- Debby: I love Emma Stone, I love that she can be goofy and painfully dramatic, I think she’s just an amazing actress. You cannot teach in acting the way that she acts. I really like Tina Fey in a business sense and how she writes and I love Zoe Saldana as an action star. I would love to do that kind of work.
- Color: Seafoam Green
- Movie: Lord of the Rings, Almost Famous or The Breakfast Club
- Hobby: Making s’mores
- Food: Waffle fries, sushi and pizza and hot wings
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