Splish Splash! Aquamarine Swims Into Theaters
Sara Paxton interview by Marie Morreale
Emma Roberts and JoJo interviews by Gerri Miller
(Photo: © Courtesy of 20th Century FOX)
Put your bathing suits and slippers on and get ready for the movie Aquamarine! Hitting the big screen on March 3, 2006, the funfest film stars Sara Paxton (Darcy's Wild Life), Emma Roberts (Unfabulous), and singer JoJo. Based on the popular Alice Hoffman book, Aquamarine tells the story of two 12-year-old girls, Hailey (JoJo) and Claire (Emma), who hang out at a local beach club. One day, the girls make an incredible discoverya mermaid swimming in the club's pool. The mermaid is named Aquamarine (Sara) and the girls befriend her. While on land Aquamarine is able to exchange her fishtail for legs. As she tries to adapt to life on terra firma, she is bitten by a very human emotionshe falls in love with the beach club's lifeguard, Raymond (Jake McDorman).
Hailey and Claire try to make a love match between Aquamarine and Raymondespecially since the mermaid must find true love on land in three days. If she doesn't, she will have to return to her aqua-form and agree to an arranged marriage by her father.
This is one fish tale that is a definite must-see! Check out our up-close-and-personal interviews with Sara, Emma, and JoJo.
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SN: Tell us about your character in Aquamarine.
(Photo: © Courtesy of 20th Century FOX) |
Sara: I play Aquamarine. She is a mermaid and these two 12-year-old girls played by Emma Roberts and JoJo find Aquamarine in a swimming poolshe was washed up there because there was a storm that night before. It is kind of a mixture between The Little Mermaid and Splash. She falls in love with the lifeguard from far away and she gets legs to go on land and get him to fall in love with her. She has three days and if he doesn't say he loves her by the third day she has to go back into the ocean and be a mermaid forever. It's the same kind of thing as The Little Mermaid. In the same way she becomes friends with Emma and JoJo and they show her how to get the guy and how to do things on land. It is a really cute story and there is a surprise ending so I can't give away the ending. I am really excited about it. I hope everyone likes it.
SN: It is based on a book. Had you read the book before?
Sara: Yes, I did read the book. The movie is actually quite different from the book, though. The basic plotline is the same thing but there are little changes. In the book, she is a mermaid throughout the whole thing and she doesn't get legs. The two girls push her around in a wheel chair and put a blanket over her fin, which I think would be kind of difficult to do in a movie. I like the fact that I got legs. When I was reading it, I was like; am I going to be in a wheelchair the whole time?
SN: Do you have a lot of scenes in the water?
Sara: Yes, it does take place mostly with my legs, but I did have a lot of scenes with my tail and the water and everything. That was really cool. I guess every girl dreams of being a mermaid. I am sure when we are little, we all practiced swimming like a mermaid in the pool. I did that all the time. My favorite movie was The Little Mermaid and all I wanted to be was a mermaid so when they put the tail on me, I was already like a pro. I was ready to go. I didn't need any lessons or anything.
SN: Was the tail difficult to maneuver?
Sara: It was pretty difficult, yeah. There was no moving what-so-ever when I wasn't in the water because the tail weighed, like, 70 pounds and it was seven feet long. I had to be carried around by five guys on a stretcher. Once I was in the water, then it was okay. The only problem was that I would have to take a lot of breaks because it was really a lot of aerobic exercise. When I was swimming around I would be panting and be, like, "Can we take a break? I need a break."
SN: Are you a pretty good swimmer?
Sara: Yeah, I was a really good swimmer. We had a month of rehearsal and for that month I swam everyday with a swimming instructor. I have never been so buff in my life.
SN: What did you do with the trainer? What types of exercising and swimming did you do?
Sara: Basically, they just taught me the different ways of swimming, like the breaststroke and how to dive properly. Then we would go to this public pool every morning and we just swam laps back in forth and back and forth. Then we had a practice tail because the real one was not ready yet. The tail has all these intricate little detailings on it. It just took a really long time to make and I practiced with a pretend tail that kept my legs together. We just did basic go across the pool and come back. Then they would be, like, "Try it without your arms"so I would become a really strong swimmer just in case we had to do any scenes in the ocean or anything. That really helped because even though they had planned anything in the ocean would be done in a tank with a green screen, there was this one shoot that the director wanted to get where I had to jump off a 14-foot pier into the water. I did it and Emma and JoJo were so jealous because they wanted to do it too. They had to have their stunt doubles do it, but I was old enough to do it and it was so much fun. I was so excited.
SN: You weren't scared at all?
Sara: No, I was nervous because we had only one shoot to get it. I was supposed to look like I fell in. If it didn't look natural, the whole shoot would be ruined. I did not think it was that high until I was falling. I was like, "Oh my gosh, this is really high!" The director and everyone were on a boat and I had to swim to them. They were all cheering me on. It was really fun.
SN: You are used to the ocean because you surf a lot, right?
(Photo: © Courtesy of 20th Century FOX) |
Sara: I go to Hawaii every year in Maui and I go surfing there all the time. But recently I have really become afraid of sharks so I have not really surfed in a long time. I got shark paranoid now.
SN: What brought on the shark paranoia?
Sara: I don't know. I think I watched something on TV with sharks, and of course last year on the news there were a lot of shark attacks in Florida. Also Australia, where we filmed the movie, is a big shark danger zone and just hearing all the stories and hearing people being attacked by sharks everyday just really freaked me out.
SN: What part of Australia did you film in?
Sara: We were on the Gold Coast. Me and Emma and JoJo lived in an apartment on the beach. We would go out there and people would be like, "You see those giant things out in the ocean?" They were shark nets. I was like, "Oh great I really want to go in the water now, thanks."
SN: After playing Aquamarine, do you still eat seafood?
Sara: Actually yes, I thought about it and one day we had this really big seafood day on set and I was in my tail and people are watching me eating crab legs and oysters. People would just walk pass me and be like, "Something is not right here. I don't like that image."
SN: Did anything funny happen on the set, particularly with the tail?
Sara: Funny stuff happened like everyday. It was so difficult whenever I had to go to the bathroom. I remember my first time in the tail everyone was like, "Okay, do you have to go to the bathroom?" I was so nervous I would be like, "Oh wait stop, stop, stop." I was like running to go to the bathroom. That happened like 4 times, I felt so bad. Everyone felt so bad for me and they were like watching me and wondering. I was just so paranoid that whole time.
SN: Were there any other characters in the book that you would have like to have played?
Sara: There is a mean girl in the movie. She is my character's competition in the movie. I like that lifeguard and I am trying to get him to fall in love with me in the movie. She likes him too. I always felt that playing the mean girl was fun and her character was super-funny. If I couldn't be Aquamarine, I would love to be the funny mean girl.
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(Photo: © Courtesy of 20th Century FOX) |
SN: What was it like working in Australia?
JoJo: It was lovely. We were in Queensland, which is on the east coast of Australia. I didn't get to see much more of it than that. We didn't get to go to Sydney or anything, but it was great. Sara and Emma were great and we were there in the middle of the summer. Everyone there had a beautiful accent and there were interesting foodsit was really a once in a lifetime experience.
SN: You got to swim with the dolphinswhat was it like?
JoJo: I was so frightened. I'm kind of afraid of everything, to be honest with you. Socially, I'm not afraid but as far as animals and sea creatures.
SN: You're freaked out?
JoJo: Yeah. So all the girls were like, "Oh my God it's going to be so much fun!" and I was in the corner crying. "I'm going to die! I'm going to drown!" But it was okay. Looking back I shouldn't have been so afraid because it was an experience that a lot of people won't ever have.
SN: Did you and Emma and Sara bond right away?
JoJo: We did bond right away. It was really instantaneous. Emma and I had met before, because she has her show Unfabulous and I was hosting something for Nickelodeon. She came over and introduced herself and we exchanged numbers and talked, and a few months later we both found out that we had the roles. We had a 20-hour flight together from LA to Australia so we bonded very closely for that time and it was great. We met Sara afterwards and the three of us really hit it off. It was really good because spending three months with people, you either love them or you hate them and thank God we loved each other, it was great.
SN: What did you do off set? Did you go shopping?
JoJo: We did. We went every weekend when we had our days off. We stayed right across from the beach. We were all in a condo. So we went to the beach and made friends with locals and met a lot of different people. We did go shoppingthere are very unique boutiques.
SN: What do you think will make Aquamarine so appealing?
JoJo: I think the appeal is, first of all, the mermaid. You go back to childhood, you watch the Little Mermaid, which was one of my favorite films, and Splash. There hasn't been a good mermaid movie in a long time. That fantasy, that wanting to believe and being mystified, that's in the same vein as the tooth fairyyou love to believe. That keeps you young in a sense. I think it's a beautiful story about friendship and love and love takes time and finding a comfortable place for yourself, and true friendship.
SN: How does the theme of friendship, sacrifice, and the love between friends relate to you personally?
JoJo: My friends are so important to me. I don't have a lot of friends. I'm not that girl with dozens and dozens of friends. I'm that girl with four friends; you know what I'm saying? So my friends are everything to me and I lean on them for everything. I give them what they give me. We have a give-take relationship. I would do anything for them, so I could really relate to my character Hailey in that sense because she and Claire lean on each other. They're all that each other have, really. And in this business, it's hard to find true friends, and it's hard to keep true friends. I've been best friends with my friend since I was eightalmost half our lives.
SN: The separation of best friends is hard; did you have a friend move?
JoJo: My best friend did. She lives in Florida now.
SN: What kind of advice would you give to someone in that situation?
JoJo: It's hard. But if you have that bond, I don't think distance is going to interfere with that. I mean, it might be difficult and you may be sad, and that's understandable because you want to physically see that person.
SN: Did you like the clothes you had to wear in the movie?
JoJo: They were atrocious!
SN: Did you complain?
JoJo: For a second, but I stopped because I'm playing a characterthis is not me. I wore no makeup in the film and I wore my hair pulled back and I wore very ill fitting clothing, but I think it's okay because Hailey is different from JoJo. She so apart from me. I'm very bubbly and I'm not shy. She covers herself up with baggy clothes. I'm not that kind of person. I am what I am.
SN: Both Sara and Emma have released CDsdid you give any musical advice to them?
JoJo: We have very different tastes in music. They're very talented girls and have really pretty voices. I don't think I'm the person to give advice. I don't know what to say.
SN: Did you discuss music?
JoJo: We didn't really talk about it. We talked about boys, mostly (laughs).
SN: You talked about how you're different from Hailey. Do you think you'd handle situations differently?
JoJo: I think we're very different individuals. I think she tries to cover up with her tough exterior. And she's self-conscious about her body so she covers up with baggy clothing. I think it's good to get some comfortableness with yourself as you grow up and become a young woman, so I don't know if I'd handle situations like her.
SN: How would you describe Sara and Emma?
JoJo: Sara is so genuine . . .actually they're both exactly the way they are in interviews. They're really nice.
SN: What do you like most about them?
JoJo: The laughs that we share. We laugh all the time. We're so wacky and wild. We have so much fun. We crack each other up all the time, about random stuffclothes, boys, interviewers that came in. This guy yesterday had a lot of makeup on and you could totally see it. He asked weird questions, and after he left we waited till he was gone, and we were like "Oh my God!"
SN: What funny things did you do on set?
JoJo: Sometimes the director would tell one of us to do certain things to get a reaction from the person on camera, so we'd do wild and crazy things off camera like making faces and saying silly things and, of course, we'd crack up afterward.
SN: Where is the most fabulous place you've been?
JoJo: Australia was very fabulous. I enjoyed it thoroughly. But I'd say Atlantis in the Bahamas is so greatI love the locals, the beaches.
SN: Is there anywhere you haven't been yet and want to go?
JoJo: I feel this affinity towards Africa. I've always wanted to go, particularly Egypt and South Africa. I have this fascination with King Tut right now.
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(Photo: ©Courtesy of 20th Century FOX) |
SN: How would you describe your character, Claire?
Emma: She's just so caring about everybody. She wants to help everybody. And no matter how mean anyone is to her, she'll look at the bright side about that person or be positive about a situation that there's probably no positive outlook on. She's a great character who's very lovable and I think everyone will enjoy the movie.
SN: How are you similar or dissimilar from Claire?
Emma: Claire and I are total opposites, really. She's really shy and scared of everything and doesn't want to live her life. I'm really outgoing. I like to do things. I like to get things done. But it was fun to play a character so opposite you.
SN: Claire had some serious traumas in her lifefor example, her parents die in a drowning accident. Was that difficult to play, especially in a comedy like this?
Emma: It was difficult because on the set we all had a great time laughing, so it was hard to get into that mode of sadness. I just found it really embarrassing, you're always wondering like "Oh my gosh, am I doing a bad job? Am I a loser right now?" All the camera guys are watching you. It's definitely hard, but you get it over with and then you move on.
SN: When did you know you wanted to act?
Emma: I've always wanted to, ever since I was a really young kid, 4 or 5. I put on shows with my family. My mom didn't want to let me get into it too young because she wanted me to have a normal childhood. But when I was 10, I was really getting annoyed; I wanted to start doing it. So she was finally like, "OK I'll send you on this audition." It was to play Johnny Depp's daughter in Blow, and she didn't think that a 10-year-old would get her first audition. I got the part and she was like, "Oh my goodness, what's going to happen now?" And after that I went on a lot of auditions and I didn't get anything. Then it was really exciting when I got Unfabulous because I always said I wanted to have my own show on Nickelodeon or Disney, something fun like that.
SN: Have you hung out with Sara and JoJo here in L.A. since finishing the movie?
Emma: Yeah we do. Me and Sara hang out a lot, and when JoJo isn't back home and is out here, we hang out too.
SN: What did you like about Australia?
Emma: We made friends with some of the locals around there. Everyone was really nice over there.
SN: What special memories do you have from this movie?
Emma: Probably hanging out with Sara and JoJo all the time. They're great girls. We love hanging out together.
SN: What do you like about them?
Emma: We're all really hyper and loud and fun. We just like to do things together.
SN: What did you think about swimming with the dolphins? JoJo was afraid.
Emma: She was so afraid. I felt so bad for her! I didn't do it. I loved going in the water, but I didn't swim with the dolphins. I love the water and in the movie, I had to act like I was afraid, which was really hard for me because I love to swim. I swim all the time. It was definitely hard.
SN: Did you bring back any souvenirs from Australia?
Emma: The Capri Beach ClubClaire's grandparents own it. I took one of the signs from there. It's hanging up in my house somewhere.
SN: What did you do when you had time off in Australia?
Emma: We'd go to the beach, go to the mall, go out to eat, go into town.
SN: Did you visit any places in Australia together?
Emma: We'd go to this mall all the time and to this store called "That Shop". They had cute bags and jewelry.
SN: Did you read the book Aquamarine?
Emma: I didn't. Sara was telling JoJo and me about itshe must have read it. It's very different, she said. The book was basically an outline; they used the characters and the names.
SN: What do you like to read?
Emma: I love to read book series. I love The Clique series. I can read anywhere, anytimein the car, at work, at home. I take a book everywhere.
SN: Do you have a favorite author?
Emma: I'm not sure, I just kind of pick books that I like what they're about. I like Meg Cabot, who wrote The Princess Diaries.
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