Danielle Panabaker Interview (pg. 2)

Danielle Panabaker plays Tick Roby in Empire Falls.
Courtesy of HBO

Sindy: What's been your fave acting gig so far?
Danielle Panabaker: When I worked on Empire Falls, it was a really incredible experience for me because I was able to learn so much and just had a great experience, definitely a life-changing experience for me. I became extremely committed to acting and this business, so that was a great job.

But Sky High was also really fantastic because I got to work with some incredible people who made it so much fun. Andrew Gunn, the producer, really put a lot of heart into the movie and made it a great place to be. Our director, Mike Mitchell, is this crazy guy who is just another one of the kids. And that was the greatest part - there was a dozen of my peers on set that I could hang out with everyday. And Michael Angarano is the funniest, most charismatic young actor I've ever had the opportunity to work with, and so it was always great to see him. And there's other cool people - Steven Strait, I'm convinced he's going to be the new boy that girls drool over, and yet he's the nicest guy. He's a big brother, he's extremely intelligent. I don't think he owns a TV, he just reads, he's incredible. There were some great people on the movie, and I really had a wonderful time.

Sindy: So of all the actors and actresses you've worked with, who have you liked working with the most?
Danielle Panabaker: Oh goodness, there's so many! Ed Harris was wonderful to me on Empire Falls - he really took me under his wing. And the same thing with Helen Hunt. And then on Sky High, Michael, I adored working with him. I've been really fortunate to work with some incredible people.

Sindy: Have any of them given you any acting words of wisdom?
Danielle Panabaker: When I did Empire Falls, I was very new, and everyone sort of took the time to share little anecdotes with me, which was wonderful because their experiences are things that only they know and can pass on. So Helen told me a story about doing stunts and how you have to be extremely careful and make sure you're safe. And Ed helped me in terms of acting and breaking down walls inside of me, and it was wonderful. I feel incredibly blessed to have had that opportunity.

Sindy: Who would you like to work with in the future?
Danielle Panabaker: I don't have any specific aspirations to work with anyone in particular. I would love to continue to work with such wonderful people as I have. I think everyone can bring something different. I mean, actors are a crazy bunch - how you wind up in this business is always a fascinating story, so I just want to keep working with good people.

Sindy: You've worked in theater, on TV and in movies. Which do you like doing the most?
Danielle Panabaker: I would probably have to say movies because there's something wonderful about working on a project and really having a great time and submerging yourself into the material and the people. I love movies because you can really develop characters.

Sindy: What do you think is the greatest thing about being an actress?
Danielle Panabaker: The people I meet. I'm a very big people person, as you can probably tell. Everyone has such fascinating stories. The entertainment industry is filled with such great people because not everyone gets here by going to school - some people just stumble upon it. It's really interesting and everyone is ultimately passionate about what they're doing when they get to this point because this is a business, a venue in which if you don't have passion for what you're doing, you'll never have a good product.

Sindy: Is there anything that's bad about being an actress?
Danielle Panabaker: I've only dealt with this a little bit, but sort of a lack of privacy. People think they know you, they can get on the internet and say whatever they want about you and you can't defend yourself. I always have to be very conscious of what I'm doing in public no matter what the circumstances because who knows, even if I'm just at school in class, I'm always worried about giving the wrong answer because I'll appear stupid or something like that. It's sort of a heightened awareness.

Sindy: What do you do when you're not acting? Do you have any hobbies?
Danielle Panabaker: I live at home with my family and we have two dogs that I love to play with - Peanut and Butter. And we have a pool in the backyard, just hanging out with friends, trying to relax because generally I am incredibly busy, my whole family is, so when I'm not working, I really enjoy the time and read books.

Sindy: What's your favorite book?
Danielle Panabaker: My favorite book is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and it's a wonderful story about fitting in and accepting who you are, which is oddly kinda like Sky High!

Sindy: What's your favorite movie?
Danielle Panabaker: I just saw the movie All About Eve, which is a classic and I adored it. I thought it was funny and witty and well-done and I really enjoyed it. But a more contemporary movie that I love is Notting Hill.

Sindy: What do you have planned for the future?
Danielle Panabaker: As of right now, I'm finishing up my associate's degree and then I'll go to UCLA in the fall as a junior. And as soon as I finish this semester of school, I'm going to go to North Carolina for a couple of weeks and shoot a small, independent movie with Haley Joel Osment. It's called Home of the Giants and it's about a small town, and the all-star basketball player and his best friend and sort of their journey as they discover who they really are.

Sindy: Do you have any advice for kids and teens who want to break out into the acting industry?
Danielle Panabaker: Sure! My first piece of advice if you want to be an actress would be to make sure you have the support of your family. I'm not saying you can't do it without their support, but it would be extremely difficult. I've been blessed with a family that's so supportive. We all moved out here just so that my sister and I could do what we love. The second piece of advice I would give is to really put your heart and soul into it and do everything you can to be the best you can be because if you don't, somebody else will. Like I said, this is a business where, without passion you cannot succeed and so try your hardest and shoot for the stars.

  • Click here to find out what Danielle Panabaker thinks about Jesse McCartney!
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