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Ryan McCartan for R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls

September 29, 2015

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By: Lynn Barker

To kick off the Halloween season, Ryan McCartan, who pays Diggie in TV’s “Liv and Maddie”, along with girlfriend Dove Cameron, is starring in the film R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls. In a recent conversation with Kidzworld, Ryan told us that his “new boy in town” character Hunter is the polar opposite of sweet jock Diggie and that his musical theater background got him a bit frustrated when the cast busts moves in a dance competition in the movie while his character has to watch from the sidelines.

Ryan as new guy HunterRyan as new guy HunterCourtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

Ryan let us know that he and Dove have a lot of Halloween plans already and it’s one of their fave holidays. Check out our fun conversation with this talented hottie!

Kidzworld: You won a huge national Musical Theater contest a few years ago. Can you tell me briefly about that?

  • Ryan: My senior year in high school I sort of threw a bunch of things at the wall and hoped for some of them to stick. I got really lucky that some of them did. There is a local competition in the Minneapolis school system called Spotlight Awards. They come to your high school, watch your performance and give out awards. So, out of all the Spotlight winners there is another competition in Minnesota with like 8 of the finalists.
  • I won that award so they told me I could go on to the National High School Musical theater awards in New York and try my luck at the “Jimmy” award. It was really fun but it was a grueling, intense week. We put on a whole performance. It was crazy rehearsals and sure enough I won the whole thing. It was crazy. The people there were just amazing so I didn’t expect that at all. It was really affirming to me.

Ryan and Dove inside Dr. Hysteria's horror houseRyan and Dove inside Dr. Hysteria's horror houseCourtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

Kidzworld: Very cool! A spooky horror show comes to town in this movie. Do you recall a haunted house or horror show that really scared you as a kid?

  • Ryan: Oh yeah. I was maybe 10 or 11. In Minnesota there’s a big state fair and a big haunted house and I went and it like scarred me. I got sooo freaked out. I love scary movies but when I’m in a haunted house it just feels too real. I don’t even do haunted houses anymore. But I was young so it freaked me out.

Kidzworld: Can you compare and contrast your “Liv and Maddie” Diggie character with Hunter in this film? They are so different.

  • Ryan: I can only contrast them because they are polar opposites. Diggie is such a homebody, sort of like boy-next-door, a nice guy. He’s really sweet, really earnest and innocent. Hunter is the new kid in town. He’s extremely mysterious. He’s very dark and brooding. He’s as far away from Diggie as you can possibly get. It was fun.

Ryan as Diggie on Liv and MaddieRyan as Diggie on Liv and MaddieCourtesy of Disney Channel

Kidzworld: Was it challenging for you to play such a different character, especially in his relationship to Dove’s character in this film?

  • Ryan: Yeah. The paths that (Dove’s and my) careers have crossed have been strange. We met and worked on “Liv and Maddie” all the time and we did a guest spot on “Austin and Allie” where we actually played brother and sister which was really weird. Then, in “Monsterville” we play these sort of star-crossed lovers with a mysterious “who are you”? It’s been very interesting to play these different roles opposite each other. It’s been fun for us. We love working together.

Kidzworld: Hunter drives a cool classic muscle car in this. Did you get to actually drive it? Did you want to keep it? And, what do you drive?

  • Ryan: I sure did drive it. That was the best part of the whole thing. I love cars! It was a 1960’s Dodge Charger. We only had it for a few days and it was a very precarious situation because there was a part where the director wanted me to flick the lights on and drive away and I couldn’t get the lights on or get the gears to shift. The car was still in pretty good condition but it was definitely giving us some trouble. But, just the idea of even sitting in that car or being ten feet from it was just crazy for me.
  • I drive a Scion FR-S. They’re a little incognito sports car. I like that it’s fast. I’m a speed demon. I like Jaguars too.

Ryan as hunter next to the Dodge ChargerRyan as hunter next to the Dodge ChargerCourtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

Kidzworld: At one point in the film you and Braeden LeMasters as Kellen have a cool fantasy fight. Did you have to have a choreographer for that? Was it fun and were there any injuries?

  • Ryan: A lot of it was stunt guys. There are insane things in that fight sequence like having people in choke holds while their legs are dangling below. A lot of that stuff was super human so, obviously that wasn’t us but we had a full day of rehearsal. Clay, who did the choreography, is just brilliant so he had us out there and the number one thing is safety and to make sure we knew what we were doing and were comfortable with it.
  • Yeah, a lot of times that we were throwing punches at each other was real. No one got hurt. That fight sequence was unbelievably fun. All of a sudden it was an action shoot for a day. A dream come true for me and Braeden.

Kidzworld: What is your favorite scary movie?

  • Ryan: Probably The Blair Witch Project just because those woods look like my backyard and I also like the remake of The Amityville Horror.

Ryan with Dove on Liv and MaddieRyan with Dove on Liv and MaddieCourtesy of Disney Channel

Kidzworld: Any Halloween plans this year?

  • Ryan: Yep. Me and Dove are huge Pokemon fans and we want to dress up as Jessie and James from Team Rocket. And we’ll have a bunch of friends over and everyone gets dressed up. Our house has been decorated for Halloween for like three weeks already. We love Halloween so doing this film was great for us.

Kidzworld: Where did you shoot this and was there any time to eat out or have fun off set? If so, what did everybody do?

  • Ryan: We had plenty of down time. We shot in Vancouver and we had a day off every week and not all of us worked every day. Braeden and I would bike around up by the aquarium up there. We were in the center of downtown and we’d eat out like every day after the shoot me and Braeden, Tiffany (Espensen as Nicole) and Casey, he was a local hire and Dan Angel the producer would come with us. We had a great time.

Ryan as mysterious HunterRyan as mysterious HunterCourtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

Kidzworld: You sing and dance well so was it frustrating to just play the character who watches everybody do that in this film?

  • Ryan: Obviously, I was kidding but I was complaining about that all day “I want to dance!” Sexy and broody isn’t nearly as fun as dancing.

Kidzworld: Did anyone play pranks on set or who was the big jokester? Every set seems to have one? What did they do?

  • Ryan: We didn’t have much time but the haunted house thing was shot at a real theme park that had an actual working haunted house so before we shot the scene the director and producer thought we should go through it. I was trying to look all cool but I was secretly shaking in my boots. We went through. I think I was pretty brave. But, I love Tiffany. She’s like a younger sister to me so every five seconds I’d try to scare her. But not much as far as pranks. I remember a lot of word games and riddles to pass the time. We’d do that for hours.

Ryan takes a cast selfieRyan takes a cast selfieCourtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

Kidzworld: When you aren’t working, what is a typical day like for you?

  • Ryan: I sleep a lot. I love video games. I play Nintendo Wi and the X-Box. I live really close to a lot of my friends so I’m always over at their house and I love cooking. We’ll go buy a bunch of stuff and make food. I make a pretty mean shrimp linguini. I make avocado mac and cheese. I throw a bunch of crap in a bowl and hope for the best.

Kidzworld: You are in a movie called Emma’s Chance. What is that about?

  • Ryan: That is about a real ranch in California called the Red Bucket Equine Rescue and their calling is to save slaughter bound horses. All of us who did the movie donated our time to this great cause. We made a fictional movie to parallel the good works of this charity to bring attention to it. I play Jacob who is a good friend of the girl played by Greer Grammar who works there.

Kidzworld: That’s great. Why will tweens and teens really enjoy seeing Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls?

  • Ryan: It is a scary movie. There are some moments where you’ll say “That’s creepy witch” or “That’s a creepy clown” but it’s not so horrifying that you can’t go to bed at night. When I was a tween and young teen the movie The Ring freaked me out for a week. There are some funny moments, sweet moments and scary moments in this so you get the nice combo platter. They’re gonna like it.

R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls DVDR.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls DVDCourtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls is available on DVD and Digital HD September 29th!