A Whirlwind Conversation with Make It or Break It's Tween Mean Girl, Cassie Scerbo
Cassie Scerbo is the modern-day version of a triple threat. A cable actress, pop singer and an accomplished dancer, her skill trifecta has earned her roles in a number of projects including Bring It On: In It to Win It and currently, ABC Family's second highest rated series Make It or Break It, where she plays Lauren Tanner, Rocky Mountain's "bitch of the beam." When she isn't embodying one of the nastiest characters on ABC Family, the upbeat actress packs her schedule with voice overs, auditions, online college courses, church and a boyfriend, her Make It co-star Cody Longo.
Earlier this week, Movieline caught Scerbo in a rare moment off to discuss her Facebook death threats, an upcoming cameo in the Not Another parody movie co-starring Chevy Chase, and nearly everything in between. Although she was hoarse from a nonstop itinerary, the upswinging actress presented herself with the certainty of a star.
Your character on Make It or Break It is pure evil.
[Laughs] I guess that means I'm doing my job. If I'm getting death threats from little girls on Facebook, then I figure I'm succeeding at playing a bitch.
That must be a good release though. What's the best part about playing the bitch?
I think just that it's so different from any other character I've played. I get to come to work and be somebody completely different than what I'm used to playing. It's a lot of fun to play someone mean and spicy.
Did you know right away that you wanted to play the mean girl?
Originally, I actually auditioned for the role of Payson [now played by Ayla Kell] and [the producers] brought me back and had me read for Lauren. [Laughs] Maybe it was the way I looked? I think I probably just did not seem as focused as Payson needed to be. Ayla plays that part the best so I think that it all worked out in the end.
It seems like Lauren is going to be more proactive this season in getting her way, especially considering the latest cortisone shot scandal. Can you talk about any other evil schemes your character has up her leotard?
It's kind of funny, the best part about the whole cortisone thing is that the actor playing Nicky Russo, Cody [Longo] is my boyfriend in real life. It was so fun getting on set and being able to mess with him and I said, "You can't get mad at me! I'm acting." There's definitely a lot more drama coming everyone's way. There are a lot of twists and turns that everyone will be shocked by, especially with the Lauren-Carter-Kaylie love triangle. My character definitely comes between a few other people's love interests. There are a lot of different things in store for the characters and I think it's going to be a big surprise and of course, you have the whole world of gymnastics which is really exciting, especially seeing where Payson is going to wind up.
Have you gotten to meet a lot of real life gymnasts?
Oh yeah. Last season, we were all on set stretching and getting ready for a new scene and out of nowhere, one of our producers comes up to us and was like, "Guys, meet [Olympic gold medalist] Nastia Liukin." And we were like, "What!" It was amazing because especially after all of the studying we had to do on our characters, just getting into that whole gymnastics realm of things -- getting to see her was like seeing God.
Did she have any feedback for you guys?
She told us that she liked the show and we were hoping that she'd get to come on one of these days. I don't know, we'll have to see. She took pictures with us and was just really kind and sweet.
The production team does a really great job at simulating the gymnastics. Is there a lot of waiting around on set as you wait for your doubles to complete the stunts?
The producers have it mapped out pretty well but I think that might be why our shooting days tend to take a little longer than some other one-hour shows for teenagers. We love the days we have stunts though because we just get to watch. It's like we're working and watching an amazing gymnastics meet at the same time. All of our stunt doubles are national champions or have been on the Olympic team and they're like super humans. It's incredible.
Are there cliques on set -- the gymnasts versus the actresses and actors that play gymnasts on TV?
No, everyone is very mature. A lot of our doubles are in their twenties and they are just very sweet women. Even within the cast, I don't think we've had one argument in two seasons and that is something to be proud of. That does not happen often, especially with four girls. We get along great with our stunt doubles. We hang out on the weekends -- all of us are really good friends.
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