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Interview: Mckenna Grace Rules Troop Zero

The actress plays a cool misfit with big dreams.

Jan 15, 2020

13-year-old Mckenna Grace played young Carol in Captain Marvel and will be in the next Ghostbusters movie. She now stars on Amazon Prime Video in Troop Zero as Christmas Flint, a bright, misfit 1970’s kid in rural Georgia who dreams of life in outer space.

McKenna GraceMcKenna Grace

When a national competition offers her a chance at her dream, to have her voice recorded on NASA's Golden Record that will be sent to space, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts in order to enter. This forges friendships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Troop Zero Trailer

 

 

On the day of the movie’s premiere, Kidzworld got info from Mckenna on friendships made on set, acting, an awful haircut she had to wear in the film and more. Check out the fun interview!

Q: Cute outfit. Love your blue dress and little white boots.

  • Mckenna: I feel like an airline attendant or something. Would you like champagne mimosas?

Q: What do you love about “Troop Zero” and your character Christmas Flint?

  • Mckenna: I really loved the story of Christmas, this misfit and she is really wanting to get on the Golden Record and she bans together with this troop of these odd, quirky, weird characters. I love the relationship between her and her dad and all of the troop. I loved how they ban together and end up going on this crazy adventure and they love and accept each other.

Mckenna as Christmas after joining the TroopMckenna as Christmas after joining the TroopCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Q: Does the movie have a message?

  • Mckenna: You’ll find your troop. You will find who you fit in with. There is somebody out there who believes in you and loves you for who you are. You don’t have to fit in with what society tells you to be. You can be whoever you want.

Q: Cool. As a working actor, do you have time to find your own squad?

  • Mckenna: It’s different (laughs) but I don’t work with a lot of other children my age but whenever I do, it’s really great because, usually, we end up becoming very close. Pretty much, every time I work with another child actor, we end up becoming very close so it’s very nice because then I can make friends that way. I love it.

Q: Who is in your own squad right now?

  • Mckenna: My mom, my dad and my fish. I have my best friend in the world right now August Maturo. I love him. He’s actually coming to the premiere tonight we we’re very excited. Then my other best friend, her name is Josie and she is our director of Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Jason Reitman) his daughter Josie, Josie Reitman. I love her and she’s so pretty and funny and great. I love her. I have other people but those are my two best friends. I have many other people who really support me who are coming tonight too and it’s going to be really exciting.

Fun on setFun on set

Q: This one you shot in New Orleans so had you been there before and did you have a good time and how did you keep yourself away from the beignets?

  • Mckenna: I didn’t.

Q: Oh, you’re thirteen. You can eat as many as you want. It doesn’t count.

  • Mckenna: That’s debatable but I did not stay away from the beignets. Ooooo they were good. Woooo. It was my first time there and it was great. I really, really loved working in New Orleans. I want to go there again.

Q: School wise, are you homeschooled?

  • Mckenna: Yes.

Q: So which grade are you considered in now?

  • Mckenna: 8th.

Allison Janney and Viola DavisAllison Janney and Viola DavisCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Q: Is there a favorite subject that stands out for you?

  • Mckenna: I like lunch (she laughs). P.E. I like science and I love English because I like reading and writing poetry so I like getting to do that. That’s my favorite because I get to read Shakespeare for it but I’ve been reading Shakespeare on my own for a while so it’s great because I already know about it so I can get through this quick.

Q: This idea that they were going to send voices into space in 1977 is interesting. Do you have an interest in space and would you want to send a message out there?

  • Mckenna: Yes. I think it’s a really cool idea. It’s really cool to think that the Golden Record is out there floating around somewhere. That’s really awesome. I love it personally. I think it would be a really great opportunity.

Christmas isn't the neatest kidChristmas isn't the neatest kidCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Q: As a young person today, what kind of message do you think needs to be sent out into space?

  • Mckenna: I like the message we sent out on the Golden Record. I thought it was a great idea so send out the music. What kind of music did they send? I can’t remember. Didn’t they send Beethoven and things like that?

Q: Yeah. Classical.

  • Mckenna: It was only classical? I think we need to send another message out with ‘I’m sorry. That’s some good music but I here’s some better (tunes) for you’. Put a little Bowie in there, some Queen, the good stuff. No offense to Beethoven.

Q: You have cool outfits in this. You have those wonderful red rain boots that you get to run around in. Did the wardrobe help you because your character is supposed to be a little “off-balance”. How was it. Was that a wig?

  • Mckenna: No. That was my hair. I wish it was a wig. I did not enjoy it.

Mckenna's bad haircutMckenna's bad haircutCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Q: Was it fun cutting it?

  • Mckenna: No. Not at all. I was supposed to actually cut it myself but, for some reason, I ended up not being able to. They cut it and I was very upset about my haircut and the directors were like ‘Well, I’m very sorry. You can cut my hair’ and she let me cut her hair all lopsided so that was really sweet and all the kids sent me photos of their wacky haircuts too so that was really nice.

Q: Getting back to those red rubber rain boots. Did they help with your physical performance?

  • Mckenna: Yes. There’s a fall right in the beginning in that little muddy field and I lose my shoes. It was not on purpose that I did that. I also have a little scar on my knee because I missed the crash mat by about five feet because I actually tripped, fell and skinned my knee. My grandparents were there that day and they were like ‘Wait. What did you do?’ I said ‘It’s fine. I do this often.’ They are like “What? You are always falling on sets?’ My shoes would get stuck in the mud sometimes. Those shoes were really fun.

Mckenna at the Captain Marvel premiereMckenna at the Captain Marvel premiere

Q: What was it like working with famous actors Viola Davis, Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan?

  • Mckenna: It was really fun getting to work with them.  Allison and Viola are just such amazing actresses and Jim, he is so funny. He is hilarious. My dad and I like his skits. I’ve worked with Allison before and she always seems to play somebody who is really mean to me in a film but she’s just such a nice, good person. It’s very odd but that just goes to show what good of an actress she is. She’s amazing. I love her.

Mckenna on set with Allison and ViolaMckenna on set with Allison and ViolaCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Q: What are you working on now?

  • Mckenna: Well I am producing a film called “Rabbit Cake” and I’m very excited about it. It’s based off of a book which is really great and we have a director now. Her name is Susan Johnson and she did “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, the great Netflix movie. I’m very excited about it. It’s going to be a great film.

Q: How did you end up becoming a producer on a film.

  • Mckenna: I got the book rights and we decided to turn it into a film and we’ve just been working to get a writer, a producer, director and we have all three now and we have the first draft of the script.

Mckenna with castmate Jim GaffiganMckenna with castmate Jim Gaffigan

Q: You’re going to be in it, right?

  • Mckenna: Yes. I play Elvis. She’s the little girl in the film and I’m very excited about it. It’s going to be such a great film. I’m very, very excited if I haven’t mentioned that about twenty times.

Q: Is she a little different and unusual?

  • Mckenna: Yes. It’s about grief but it’s a comedy so it puts grief in a new light. It opens up conversation. So, after you go and see the film you’ll be like ‘Oh’ and you might want to have conversations. It’s a film that’s good for a wide audience.

See Mckenna in Troop Zero starting on Prime Video Friday, January 17th

Courtesy of Amazon Studios
What is Your Take?

Would you do just about anything to live your dream? Have you ever gotten a horrible haircut? Do you think acting might be in your future? Do you belong to some kind of Scout Troop? Let everyone know with a comment.

 

By: Lynn Barker