Danielle Campbell for Madea’s Witness Protection
By: Lynn Barker
Pretty, 17-year-old Danielle Campbell played Simone, the hot girl young Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) was crushin’ on in Disney’s Prom film. She was also the lead along with Sterling Knight, of the Disney Channel movie “StarStruck”. Now, Danielle plays a snooty teen who needs life lessons from Madea in the funny new Tyler Perry film Madea’s Witness Protection out June 29th.
Madea with a disguised Eugene Levy
Danielle (right) with the family
Just how funny is being directed by Tyler when he’s dressed as Madea? Danielle gives us dating tips and book and music faves. The actress is calling Kidzworld from Atlanta, Georgia while filming a guest star role on the show “Drop Dead Diva”. Madea’s Witness Protection was also shot there at Tyler Perry’s studios.
Kidzworld: Had you been familiar with the Madea character or those movies before?
Danielle: I have seen every single one of them. I grew up with these movies. They’re so good, funny and with a good message. They’re just great all-around movies. I love them.'Cindy' in TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTIONCourtesy of KC Bailey
Kidzworld: So tell me about your character Cindy and does Madea do her funny “tough love” on her?
- Danielle: Yes! Cindy, when you come into this movie, she’s very spoiled and very self-centered. Her family in general is mis-functioning. Nobody is really together. Cindy strongly dislikes her stepmother (Denise Richards) and half brother. The whole family doesn’t get along very well. When they go to Madea’s house in the witness protection program, she ends up whipping the whole family into shape. They have to realize that family is the most important thing. Madea has her own special way of doing that, her own message. But, it works.
Kidzworld: Witness protection means new identities and leaving your old life behind because you saw a crime, right?
- Danielle: Yeah and for any family or person this would be a very hard situation to walk into; not being able to see your friends or talk to anybody but Madea brings it all together.
Kidzworld: How was working with Tyler Perry as Madea? He directs his movies too so does he break character and direct as Tyler or does he stay Madea and give you directions? Must be sooo weird.
- Danielle: (laughs) It honestly was the craziest situation I’d ever seen. You have this big strong guy with a deep voice and he’s directing you. He’ll be his character Brian at one point and acting at the same time. That was new to me. Then the next day, he’s dressed up as Madea and he’s directing me with this deep voice dressed as a woman so that’s hysterical. Then, when he’s acting, he’s Madea and he, uh, she is hilarious going off on these tangents. He’s the king of improv.
Kidzworld: How was working with Eugene Levy and Denise Richards as your parents?
Danielle: They were such sweethearts. Denise was literally my mom on set. We’d be with her kids and she would help fix my hair. She is the most nurturing and kind woman and she’s gorgeous. Eugene was hysterical and such a nice guy, so friendly. The boy who played my little brother, Devan has an old soul. He’d go off on stories. Such great people.
Kidzworld: Any fun in Atlanta off set when you shot the movie?
- Danielle: Yeah, we had such a great time. We had cast dinners almost every night. We got along so well. We didn’t have much time because the production got cut short because Tyler had to go to Whitney Houston’s funeral. We had to squeeze two extra weeks of filming into the time we had.
Kidzworld: Yeah, that was sad. How was the audition process for the role? Were you up against a lot of other girls?
- Danielle: From what I heard there were a lot of other people auditioning but I sent in a tape because I was in Chicago. I was cast off of my tape so I got really lucky.
Kidzworld: Most fun day on set and worst day on set?
- Danielle: I can’t remember a worst day and that’s good. One of my favorite scenes was a one on one with Tyler as Madea. I get this bucket of water dumped on me. He and I, to get ready for that scene, had to be yelling at each other before he dumps the water. We were both cracking up and had to cut. Yelling at each other was really funny.
Kidzworld: Who are you listening to musically now?
- Danielle: I’m basically into anything on the radio. I’m a huge country fan. My mom grew up in Nashville so I love country but also love anything that plays on KISS (radio) or I love Selena Gomez and Rihanna, Beyonce and Jason Derulo and I’m a huge Usher fan.
Kidzworld: What must a guy never do on a first date with you or he won’t get a second date?
- Danielle: I’m not a big fan when guys are pointing out your flaws. Sometimes they’re not trying to do that and they may be joking but that’s not something you want to do on a first date. Also every girl wants a guy who is confident with himself but some guys are too confident to the point of cocky and that’s a little too much.
Kidzworld: I agree. What are you reading now?
- Danielle: I just got back from a bookstore with my dad and I got three books. I’m a huge reader in the summer. During the rest of the year I don’t have much time unless I’m on a plane. I just finished “The Hunger Games” books. Love those and I got “Divergent” and “The Mortal Instruments” series. I know they turn certain things into movies so I Iike to see what books are coming out soon.
Kidzworld: Those are good choices. Why do you think kids and teens will enjoy seeing Madea’s Witness Protection?
- Danielle: I think they’ll enjoy it. It’s got everything that happens in a good movie. It’s funny, it’s got a great cast and a great storyline that teaches a lesson but does it in the most funny, entertaining way.
Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection - Theatrical Trailer