*Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you…Miss Brooke Anne Smith. Brooke is an accomplished, award winning actress who has appeared on a host of top-rated television shows that range from “7th Heaven” to “Cold Case” to “CSI” and MTV’s comedy series, “Awkward.” She’s done a few movies too, but you’re going to see just how talented she is when her latest feature – Travis Baker’s Mischief Night – is released by Lionsgate and After Dark Films on May 20th! Brooke plays the lead role, Kaylie, and this is certainly a performance you don’t want to miss! You can find my interview with Brooke below where we discuss her achievements, both past and present, as well as dive into her thoughts and emotions on playing Kaylie in Travis Baker’s Mischief Night.
H: Can you start off by introducing yourself to the readers?
B: My name is Brooke Anne Smith. I was raised in Aurora, Colorado and I chose to be an actress because it’s the only thing in my life that has ever really made sense. It’s the one thing I know for sure.
H: One of your first roles was in Max Keeble’s Big Movie. In the movie you acted with Scream’s Jamie Kennedy and Nickelodeon’s Josh Peck, and you also won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance. How was this whole experience for you?
B: Max Keeble’s Big Movie was definitely one of the highlights of my career. It was only my second job acting, and to have that second job be a lead in a Walt Disney movie was, and still is, an unreal thought. Most teenagers are going to school, and eating dinner at home with their families. I was on set, filming 12 hours a day, going to school on set. My life was [on] set, but my mother was by my side every step of the way to make it all seem “normal.” Really though, there is nothing “normal” about making a movie, it’s a surreal experience, and at such a young age, was even more so for me.
Winning the Young Artists Award for best actress in a feature film for a lead role was also a surreal experience. It was ironic, because the year before, I was a presenter, and had presented the very award I would win a year later. I’m always humbled to be recognized for any work I do. The Young Artists Award is no different. I am grateful that they even nominated me, much less gave me an actual award!
H: In the past you’ve guest starred on episodes of “7th Heaven,” “Malcolm In The Middle,” “My Wife and Kids,” “Judging Amy,” “Cold Case,” and “CSI.” Do you feel these experiences prepared you for your reoccurring role on MTV’s “Awkward” or even Mischief Night?
B: Every role leads you to the next. Every experience you have stepping in to another person’s life, adds something to your own. That prepares you, and makes you grow for whatever comes next. I did “CSI” after Mischief Night and I truly believe that my role playing Kaylie made my role in “CSI” playing Maria possible.
H: How do you feel about being most recognized as an actress now?
B: I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the attention that being an actress brings. I Iove it, and I’m so grateful for the support that I have, but it’s weird. People act like you are special, but I don’t feel special. I just feel like me, trying to make a career doing what makes me happy. I don’t think it’s special, I just think it’s a hard subjective business with a lot of rejection. It takes a different kind of person to get “No’s” and keep trying despite the “No’s”.
H: What was it about Mischief Night that attracted you to the audition?
B: Well, it was never a question of “if” I was going to audition. I’m not one to ever turn down an opportunity. After I read the script, I just knew I had to do it. I knew I had to play this role. I loved it from the very beginning. It’s a type of role that is challenging because Kaylie goes through so many changes and she has so many layers. There was so much to her, and as an actress, those are the kind of roles I die to play. Something smart, something unexpected, something challenging and something that I can sink into. Mischief Night had all of those elements, it was a perfect storm.
H: Can you tell me a little about your character, Kaylie, in the film? Why did you like her so much?
B: Kaylie seems to be a pretty normal teenage girl at first glance. But as you look closer, you find that she has a lot of issues that make her anything but “normal.” She is this beautifully feeling girl who is hanging on by a string to her sanity. One wrong push and she could lose her mind. That was such a great fine line to play, and just so human. Seemingly put together, but fighting to hold it all together and wanting to let it all unravel at the same time. Just so bored out of her mind with monotony that she could just die. I think people can really relate to that. Relate to the humanness of it all.
H: Is there any similarities between your real life personality and your character in Mischief Night?
B: I think any actor who says no is lying. I think in order to wholly play a character you have to start with yourself. That is why no character, if played by different people will EVER be the same. We all have our own unique perspectives and experiences that we take with us when we approach a role. That being said, Kaylie is nothing like me, but I can relate to her and her experiences, so in that way, she is like all of us, or all of us are like her.
H: What was the most challenging part of playing the lead role of Kaylie?
B: The most challenging part of playing Kaylie was our time crunch. When you only had about ten days to film a movie, it’s one take, maybe two and then you have to move on. That was a challenge because I didn’t have as much time for exploration as I think we all ideally would have liked. Outside of that, the thing that was most challenging about Kaylie was also the thing that drew me to her the most. Kaylie has a huge range to her, so I had to be ready to play every note of her, every second of filming.
H: What was your favorite moment from filming Mischief Night?
B: Oh wow! This is a hard one. Meeting and working with Malcolm McDowell was definitely a highlighted moment for me. He is such a talent, and such an inspiration. He kept telling me that I was a “cutie” and that still makes me smile huge.
H: To end things, I saw you’re a partner with Champions Against Bullying. It’s a respectable cause and I would like for you to talk about it for a moment. What does this charity do and how can others get involved?
B: Having been a victim of bullying my entire life, this is a cause that I strongly believe in. Kids and teenagers are hurting themselves because they feel so alone and isolated. I believe the only way to help these kids is to start with acknowledging how serious of an issue it is. I feel like the tendency has just been to brush off bullying in the past, with “words can’t hurt you” and all that nonsense that has been proven to be untrue. Words are powerful, how we make people feel is powerful, and it’s important to make these young people know that they are not alone and that they are perfect just the way they are. Champions Against Bullying does that and so much more. I am truly honored to be an advocate for their cause. Please visit www.championsagainstbullying.com for more information.
*Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Brooke Anne Smith. I appreciate your time, respect your ethic as an actress, and respect you more as a person for your philanthropic endeavors. Any interested parties can donate to Champions Against Bullying here. And, while your wallet is out, make sure you pre-order Travis Baker’s Mischief Night which is being release on May 20th. What more can I say about Brooke? She’s an accomplished actress, she’s articulate and kind, and she’s far from awkward. I welcome her to the horror community with open arms!
*Also, thank you to Travis Baker, Richard Tanne, and Brooke Anne Smith for the exclusive images!