Once upon a time there was a young teenage girl who wanted nothing more than to be a world famous pop singer – just one tiny problem, she could not sing. Not daunted by this small hiccup, Beverly Van Ravensway (Megan Park) came up with a creative solution: she would lip-sing her way to stardom. Alas, just like in any classic Cyrano de Bergerac story, this scheme is almost certain to backfire spectacularly. In a recent press conference call, the delightful Megan Park candidly shared some of her experiences in working in the fun film A CINDERELLA STORY: ONCE UPON A SONG as the musically-challenged Beverly Van Ravensway.
What similarities and differences did you find between this CINDERELLA story and the original?
MEGAN: The original was more sticking with the traditional Cinderella-esque fairytale, and this one was sort of like a modern day take on it, which I thought was kind of unique and creative. Obviously there’s only one wicked stepsister and it wasn’t keeping with the fairytale. It was sort of a more relatable story to modern day teens today, which I thought was really cool. And then, making it about the music, which is another cool aspect, and the music is so great and it’s so pop-y and refreshing. It was just sort of a really refreshing take on the whole story.
Did you draw from the stepsisters in the original Cinderella movie or is there another villain that you drew inspiration from?
MEGAN: I talked to the director about whether I should draw upon the original stepsister and how similar they wanted it to be to the original, and he really wanted me to like just take a fresh take on it. And I guess I could say that I probably drew on past people that I’ve met, personal experiences with, people that in real life, because I really wanted Bev to be as realistic as possible. And also in the original the wicked stepsisters are just purely, purely wicked, and Bev is not. She really does have a heart and she’s insecure and she doesn’t have a great relationship with her mother and so many different things. I wanted to add a lot of steps to her and make her not so completely one note. She’s not purely, purely evil so I wanted that to show.
What made you decide to play this vastly different role from Grace on SECRET LIFE?
MEGAN: I was in New Orleans filming this movie called “So Undercover” with Miley Cyrus and it was a character that’s really sweet and really dumb and a different sort of take on a character more in the vein of Grace. And that’s a character that I tend to play a lot because I really connect with those characters and I really like playing them. Bev is not purely evil and it was sort of a different approach to the character. I thought it would be really cool and fun, and I just like doing things that I think are fun and exciting. And obviously, meeting Lucy and getting to work with Missi Pyle was a major thing for me. I’m such a fan and I love the comedy roles, and this movie is actually very funny. There are a lot of funny moments, and there was a lot of opportunity for me to do some sort of comedic work, and I learned a lot from working with Missi Pyle and that was a major drawing point for me. It was just really fun. It was an opportunity to do something new.
Since the premise of A CINDERELLA STORY is that you can’t sing, does that mean that you don’t get to sing in it?
MEGAN: I don’t get to, which is such a bummer. I have to bad sing. I have to fake sing, which is actually really hard to purposefully bad sing off key. But, no, I don’t get to sing in A CINDERELLA STORY. Maybe I’ll get to sing in something else.
Did you guys have any jam sessions behind the scenes or anything fun like that?
MEGAN: We totally did actually. It’s so funny that you ask that because Missi Pyle—most people don’t know—is a great musician and has a band and has toured, and she had a good friend sing with her named Jenna who is also a musician, and it was amazing. And Lucy’s boyfriend at the time was a musician. My boyfriend’s a musician. So it kind of turned into like this crazy jam session a lot. And Freddie, of course, and Titus, everyone it seemed like, was sort of musical in a sense so it was really fun. Missi had this like great beach house and we were all staying down there, and we would play guitar out on the balcony. It was really fun. Everybody was like really into the whole music thing. It was great. Everybody had their guitar there at some point.
What was it like working with the cast of “So Undercover” and doing that movie?
MEGAN: That was probably the most fun four months of my entire life. We had too much fun. I look back I’m like, did we make a movie? Oh, yeah. I forgot because we just had so much fun the whole time. It was great. We were in such a magical city and to be there for that long and working with Miley and Kelly Osborne and Eloise Mumford. It was basically just all girls all the time. There was an actor Josh Bowman who is in it but he only came at the end so basically it was just a bunch of girls by ourselves the whole time. We all were staying together and we went to sorority boot camp because we’re in a sorority but the real sorority up in Baton Rouge, and we had so much fun. It did not seem like work, and by the time it was all over I couldn’t believe that we made a movie because we had so much fun. But we did so hopefully, people like the movie too.
What’s the biggest character difference between your role in this new film and your role as Grace in SECRET LIFE?
MEGAN: Playing Beverley and playing Grace are literally complete opposites. Grace is a very compassionate person and she really wants to please everyone, and Bev is pretty selfish and just kind of wants to get ahead. I mean they’re both really good people at the heart of it but Beverley is not necessarily the nice girl. So they’re pretty polar opposites, which was really fun to get to do something so different than Grace. It was kind of fun.
There seems to be like an East Indian theme to it, in the home and in the party, was there a special meaning in doing that?
MEGAN: I don’t exactly know because in the original script there wasn’t really any mention of that, but then the director said that they wanted to do a fresh take on the dance in a way that Katie could have her face covered that was kind of unique and fun and fresh. So they came up with a Bollywood idea for the dance so she could obviously be wearing the outfits with her face covered. And then, it ended up sort of like infusing itself into other parts of the movie and with the character Ravi and stuff like that. So it was really cool, and it just kind of made for a little more excitement and a different take on the whole theme of the movie, and it ended up being cool.
Where was A CINDERELLA STORY filmed and can you tell us something of your experiences on the set with your cast, producers, and directors?
MEGAN: We shot the movie in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is a beautiful little town, and we had a lot of fun there. It’s a cute place. There are lots of cute restaurants and we all were staying out by the beach. It was just amazing. Every night we were sort of like going out to dinner and hanging out with each other, and I really got to bond with Lucy and Missi Pyle the most. And the three of us spent a lot of time together, and they’re both just really inspiring and unique in their own way. I got to be goofy and silly with Lucy and just have fun and go out and be crazy. Then, with Missi I got to ask her a lot of questions and pick her brain and do lots of different things. It was really cool. We all had a really good time. Again, it seemed like I wasn’t really working, which is the best feeling.
Could you talk about working on the set, the actual shooting?
MEGAN: It was great being on set. The director was really cool. We spent a lot of time rehearsing everything ahead of time so when we actually got to the set it felt like everybody knew what was happening and what was going on. Honestly it was just a really simple great shoot. It felt like a really creative set. A lot of times we’d film and then the director would be like, hey, let’s just improv this one. Especially working with Missi Pyle, obviously she like to improv and it was hard to keep a straight face 90% of the time when working with her. But it was great. It was just a really simple set and it went really smoothly and other than having to do a lot of dance rehearsal and Lucy, I’m sure, having to do a lot of recordings ahead of time, that was the only thing I was really nervous about, was doing the dancing because I hadn’t danced a lot before. But it went well. It was just really smooth and effortless.
What was the experience like working with Lucy Hale?
MEGAN: Actually I just talked to her yesterday, I think, or the day before. She’s great. We met years before—we actually met in the audition room for SECRET LIFE, which is so weird. And I guess you’re supposed to be competitive, the people I auditioned with, but we just started chatting and became friends, and the she ended up doing PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and I did SECRET LIFE, so it’s kind of cool. And she’s just really easy going and cool, and when I found out that she was doing the movie that was one of the main reasons I wanted to be part of it, was to get a chance to work with her. And we bonded pretty much within the first ten minutes of the read through the first day, and never left each other’s side. Every day off we would go shopping in Wilmington and hang out, and that’s continued since we’ve been back in L.A. She’s just a really sweet girl and she’s very easy to get along with and we ended up having a lot in common. And she’s just really fun and dorky and goofy like I am and doesn’t take things too seriously so we got along really, really well. She’s a cool girl. And we both have major online shopping problems and online shopped together nonstop when we were filming so that was kind of the only bad part, that we egged each other on with the online shopping.
What’s happening with your band, Frank and Derol? And how did you team with Codi Caraco and Brandi Cyrus?
MEGAN: Basically, to make a really, really long story short, Codi was a good friend of mine who I met through my boyfriend, and she’s a really talented musician. She went to Berkeley School of Music, and we started playing music together. I play the guitar and I sing. I’ve been doing that since I was younger and it just sort of happened, I guess, organically as a friendship, and we were like, maybe we should start a band for fun, never thinking anybody would ever hear anything that we did. And so we started “Frank and Derol” just the two of us and started playing shows. And then I was living with Brandi Cyrus at the time, and she’s obviously is a musician as well as so we were like, ‘Hey, come play with us!” You know, she plays guitar so she started playing as well. And then people started really liking what we were doing, which was cool, and we put some stuff on MySpace and everything. And then it was kind of crazy because people started expressing interest in signing the band and all that sort of stuff. So then, once we got the opportunity to sign it sort of became—for me, acting is my passion and my main sort of focus and what I really love and music is more of a hobby. And for Brandi and Codi it was sort of their passion and what they really wanted to pursue. So we kind of sat down and had a conversation and I was like, well, why don’t you guys try to do the thing, sign and do the band full on, the two of you and I’ll still go hang out with you guys and write when I can and play with you. And it just kind of worked out that way for the best because to be honest it wasn’t something that I wanted to commit to fully, to take away from my acting because it was just sort of a fun hobby. And for them it was what they really wanted to do so I guess it was sort of fate that I met Codi and then introduced them, and we all sort of got to do that together. But it worked out for the best for everybody and they’re still my great friends. And it wasn’t like one of us left the band and it was all weird. It was just like, who wants to commit to the time of this, and it’s not that I didn’t want to commit. It’s just that I didn’t want to do something half-heartedly that I wasn’t going to be able to commit to 100% and my passion is in acting and I really wanted to pursue that. So that’s what happened, basically, with the band.
Are you working with the band?
MEGAN: No, officially the band is Codi and Brandi, and they’re doing the album. And I sort of play with them and write with them when I can, and some of the songs that I was originally writing are on the album. But I no longer am a part of the band.
We really love the character of Grace in THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER and we’ve actually seen a lot of evolution with her character throughout the season so could you talk about how you feel that Grace is going to evolve in the future?
MEGAN: Grace has kind of changed really drastically. And to be honest, this season is probably one of the seasons where Grace changes the most out of any year. There’s a lot of like new relationships and some really crazy self-awareness things that happen to her and some major lifestyle changes so it’s exciting. And I don’t really know—what happens with our characters and I never really know what to expect because I’ve been surprised before. But from the looks of it Grace is kind of becoming more independent and really, really going in a different direction than I thought she would ever sort of end up. So my guess is probably as good as yours. It’s kind of a surprise to me as well.
For your character Grace, what can we expect in the new season of SECRET LIFE from your character?
MEGAN: Grace changes as a person the most this season than any other season. She really starts questioning like a lot of major things in her life and really wants to make some serious changes. And she gets confused and she’s not really sure where her life is headed. So it’s like a really big personal discovery for Grace and new relationships, kind of shocking relationships. There’s a lot of growth with Grace. She really grows up this year.
Is it easy to make the transition from actually being an adult and then having to go and play a teenager in your various roles?
MEGAN: It hasn’t been frustrating. It’s actually felt really normal because it’s all I’ve ever known. I’m always really young for my age, just in life in general, I guess. I graduated high school, and then I just sort of moved on to the high school of SECRET LIFE and I’ve been doing that ever since I graduated high school, so it isn’t something that I’m frustrated with. I don’t really get cast for roles older than high school yet so I’m kind of totally fine riding this wave as long as it lasts. But there definitely is something in me that’s looking forward to playing more mature roles and growing up a little bit, but I’m kind of taking it in stride. As long as I’ll play high school, I’ll play high school, and when the time is right and the roles start coming for me to play older I’m totally going to be ready and excited to do that too.
SECRET LIFE has a pretty racy storyline, how did that work for you?
MEGAN: You know it’s kind of interesting when you sign on to a show because you’re basically signing on to play a character because you only really see the first episode of the show. And the pilot was just amazing to me, and it was kind of like shocking, the whole idea of—obviously the show is based on the secret sex life. I think that was the original title, was like the Secret Sex Life of the American Teenager or something like that. And it was sort of eye opening but I think that it was done in a way that was really real, educational, and it wasn’t something that I was embarrassed by. I mean I was really excited and proud to be a part of a show that was sort of breaking down the barriers of that. So no I wasn’t nervous about it and I’m not nervous about it. I think that it’s done in a really real way and that’s always been Brenda Hampton’s focus, not just to educate and to show different choices that people make and how their lives sort of turn out when they make those choices, the positives and the negatives, which I really like. So no it hasn’t made me nervous but it definitely is a risk when you sign on to a show and you don’t really know what’s going to happen, but I’ve just been really happy with everything so far, the way it’s turned out.
About the Gloriana music video “Kissed You Goodnight”, what was your experience like filming that?
MEGAN: It was so fun. We knew the band. My boyfriend knew them really well because he’s a musician, and they came to us and they said would you guys want to do this music video for us? You basically have to just fly to Nashville for a couple of days, hang out with us, and then you’d have to kiss a lot on camera. I was like, wow, this sounds like pretty much the easiest job of my entire life. I’m in. So we thought it would be cool and we loved the song. They sang it to us and obviously wanted to support and help our friend’s band in any way we could. They’re great and we like their music. And literally we got to go there and we filmed in this beautiful house in Nashville, a city that we both love, and we got to be in this music video and kiss. Obviously, he’s my boyfriend in real life and so it wasn’t awkward, and it was just a really fun thing to do. We had a great time. It was really cool.
Do you have any future plans and would you be open to doing more music videos?
MEGAN: I think I would probably love to be in my boyfriend’s music video, one of his at some point when his new record comes out. I think that would be pretty cool, but other than that no plans so far. We’ll just have to see what happens I guess.
As an actress, singer, style star you’re probably considered a triple threat right now in Hollywood. Do you have aspirations to grow the mini-mogul in the future?
MEGAN: I don’t know. I guess I’m not versed enough in like the mini-mogul world to know really like what’s involved. And I honestly really want to do projects that make me happy and hopefully make other people happy. I’m becoming more and more confident and am falling more and more in love with the whole world of comedy, and I think that’s something that I really want to explore a lot more. But right now, you know, that whole thing isn’t necessarily on my vision board of things that I’m aiming towards, but obviously being successful and reaching out to a lot of people is a goal. So if that means doing all those things that would be great but right now I just really want to make cool art that I like and work with people that inspire me, are kind of my main goals right now.
Would you ever consider writing a comedy for yourself?
MEGAN: Actually I am writing a comedy with Missi Pyle. We came up with the idea when we were working together on this movie, and she’s obviously an extremely experienced talented actress. And she kind of approached me and she’s like, I have this idea about this script. Would you like to work on it with me? And I’d never really written. I’d written in my free time but never professionally like we’ve been doing, and so I was like, okay. I’ll give it a shot. I don’t really know what I’m doing. But it’s been the most amazing experience and so rewarding. And we actually pretty much have written a script and it’s going to be going through rewrites and stuff like that. But I’m going to say that she’s the brains behind it and I just sort of helped out in any way I could and sort of helped her voice the young character in this script. But it’s been amazing and it’s obviously a comedy and it’s something that we hope will get made. It’s been pretty rewarding and we’re actually going to be taking a writing workshop together, I hope, at some point this year because for whatever reason our brains work really well together with writing. And she’s been teaching me a lot. So, yeah, it’s definitely something that I really want to explore more.
Be sure to tune in to see Megan Park in her outrageously funny role as Beverly Van Ravensway in A CINDERELLA STORY: ONCE UPON A SONG, on Sunday, January 22nd at 8PM on ABC Family Channel.
Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to TheTVaddict.com. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).