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Danielle Panabaker Interview

Danielle Panabaker plays Layla on Sky High.
Courtesy of Buena Vista

By: Sindy

You may be more familiar with Kay Panabaker, who plays Nikki Westerly on Summerland, but her older sister Danielle Panabaker has been acting for awhile and most recently appeared on the big screen in the superhero flick, Sky High. She stopped by Kidzworld to talk to me about her upcoming movie, and what it was like to work with her sis and Jesse McCartney!

Sindy: Hey Danielle, I loved you in Sky High! Did you have fun working on this movie?
Danielle Panabaker: It was the greatest experience! I keep telling everyone that I'm going to make Sky High again. I don't even have to do the sequel, I just want to relive Sky High cuz I had such a wonderful time.

Sindy: In the movie, you had the power to control nature. If you could have a superpower in real life, what power would you want to have?
Danielle Panabaker: In real life, I would love to be able to [kwlink]mulitiply[/kwlink] because then I could multi-task. I could be in lots of different places at once - one of me could be at school in the morning, one of me could be still sleeping, one of me could be at the beach hanging out, I could be everywhere!

Sindy: Cool! So your next movie is Yours, Mine and Ours. What character do you play?
Danielle Panabaker: Yours, Mine and Ours is a story of two families - Rene Russo's family and Dennis Quaid's family - and I'm Rene Russo's oldest daughter. And she's sort of like a rocker, she's got her electric guitar, she sings and writes her own music. She's great, she's a lot of fun!

Sindy: When's it coming out?
Danielle Panabaker: That movie comes out in November 2005, I'm not exactly sure when.

Sindy: You recently made a guest appearance on Summerland. How'd you like working on that TV show?
Danielle Panabaker: It was so much fun! My little sister, Kay, had the greatest time working on that show. That was like her real family. The people she lived with and saw every night - eh, whatever! But the crew and cast of Summerland she adored, and so it was nice for me to be able to get to know them a little bit better.

Sindy: So what was Jesse McCartney like?
Danielle Panabaker: Jesse's a doll! I loved working with him. He and my sister have the greatest relationship. It's hysterical to watch the two of them together. She treats him exactly like she treats me, like an older brother. She's always like, "Pull up your pants, Jesse!" It's crazy. He's a great guy, really wonderful to work with, very professional.

Sindy: Was this the first time you and Kay worked together, or have you worked together in the past?
Danielle Panabaker: No, that was our first time.

Sindy: So how'd you like working together?
Danielle Panabaker: Oh it was so fun, it was crazy! The first time we shot a scene together, it was a true acting exercise because I felt like I was looking in a mirror and the characters were supposed to be complete strangers, so we couldn't have any of the same mannerisms or anything like that. It was tough, but it was a lot of fun.

Sindy: Do you like having your sister work in the same industry as you?
Danielle Panabaker: Oh I love it, I think it's wonderful. Some people worry about this business being so... it really is a true business, and a lot of people are concerned with children growing up too quickly or separating families. For my family, it's really brought us closer together, in my opinion. We have something that we all share, we all like to swap stories about crazy things that happen on the set, so it's a lot of fun.

Sindy: Do you and Kay ever compete for roles?
Danielle Panabaker: Very, very rarely. Not only are we 2 1/2 years apart, and as children, that actually makes a big difference when they're casting roles. So if they're looking for someone who is between the ages of 14 and 17 and we both go out for it, and if they cast Kay, they're looking for someone who not only has a completely different look but a different energy. And we don't ever bring the same qualities to a role.

Sindy: How'd you get started in the acting biz?
Danielle Panabaker: It started by accident. My mom enrolled my younger sister and I in a day camp when we moved to Georgia in hopes that we would make new friends and that I would sort of become more outgoing, and we ended up having such a great time with it. The day camp was run by a woman who had an acting studio and we just continued taking classes and doing community theater because we had a great time.

Sindy: So what was your first job?
Danielle Panabaker: My first job was a commercial I did for a state park in Georgia called Stone Mountain and it was two days of running around with my pretend family, doing all the cool things you could do at this park, like the petting zoo, riding around on the train, that sort of thing.

Sindy: Have you always wanted to act?
Danielle Panabaker: Not always. I started doing it, like I said in community theater in Georgia, and I didn't realize how much I actually loved this until I started doing Empire Falls.

Sindy: What would you want to be doing if you weren't an actress?
Danielle Panabaker: Let's see, I'm 17 so I would've just graduated from high school so I'd be headed off to college to go four years at a university, probably live on campus in a dorm, and I think I probably would've decided to be an English major, whether or not I was in this business.

  • Click here to find out more about Danielle Panabaker, from her fave acting gigs to her fave books and movies!
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  • Sky High Movie Review
  • Jesse McCartney Interview
  • Michelle Trachtenberg Interview
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