It’s that time of the week again – the time when I get to indulge in some groveling at the feet of some of my favorite people on TV, so that you can get a little insight into the world of our favorite shows! This week’s “victim?” Conchita Campbell, the absolutely darling 11-year-old Maia Rutledge Skouris, from USA’s The 4400. Frequent readers of the site know that I’ve got a not so secret obsession with this show, so imagine my surprise and delight when I got the opportunity to shoot the breeze with Conchita during some of her downtime.
Amrie: It’s so exciting to be talking to you. You’re just this young girl, but you captivate me as a viewer. What is your favorite thing to play about Maia?
Conchita: I love everything about Maia. She’s a great little girl. She’s a sweet girl. She’s really old, but only 11 years old. I think that’s what I like about Maia. I also like that she’s like old fashioned and stuff. I also like how Maia tries to get to know how to live in the 21st century.
You started out in the business at a very young age, what advice do you have for someone that starts at your age?
Basically, feel the role. Have fun with it. Think about how you would feel, what happens to you, and let it come out naturally.
How much of you goes into Maia? Is it a lot of Conchita in there?
Not really. [laughs] Me and Maia aren’t really the same. I was never abducted, I’m not adopted. My parents aren’t dead. [both Conchita and I start laughing and don’t stop until she finishes her answer]. There is some of the same stuff. We’re both the same age, we both look the same. It’s not that much of me in Maia. It’s how I act it.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not shooting?
I love to ski. I also love hanging out with my friends. Just hanging out, and doing like girl stuff, and stuff like that. I like going on hikes.
Do you go to school, or do you just take classes on the set?
I have an onset tutor when I’m on set. I go to a normal school when I’m not filming. If I know I’m filming the next day, I’ll ask the teachers at school to give me the stuff that they’re doing tomorrow and I do that on set.
Does that get difficult to go back and forth?
Not really. It’s just like I’m at school. I have to have a minimum of 3 hours. It’s basically like school and you just do your work and when I come back, I’ve seen the work that they’ve done so it’s like I haven’t missed a day, so that’s good.
Who are some of your favorite actors and actresses? Would you like to act with them someday?
I love Keira Knightley. I love watching Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnny Depp, I like watching him in that, too. I also like Brad Pitt. [here’s the part of the interview where I say “who doesn’t” ha]. I think it would be an honor to work with them. They’re such good actors and actresses. It would just be so great. So fun, ya know.
How is it working with the cast? Does everyone really get along? Is that how you are in real life?
You know what, everyone on the set, everybody is just like a big family. All the cast and crew. We have so much fun. Working with everyone is great. Working with Jacqui Mckenzie [Diana Skouris]. She’s so much fun. All my scenes are with her because she’s my adoptive mother. We have a special bond together in real life, and we just have so much fun. Let’s say we’re doing a scene or something. When they call cut or we’re done the scene, or they say cut, we’re always goofing off. Ooh and there’s a swear jar on set. Every time someone swears, they have to pay a dollar to the swear jar. I mean, everyone is so much fun. Working with Joel Gretsch is great. I’ve had a couple of scenes with him, so that’s great.
Do you hang out after shooting?
Sometimes. But like, usually, because I can only work 8 hours, usually the adults work later, so I don’t really hang out with them after my scenes because they’re still working but like during lunch, I’ll hang with them, or maybe at the wrap party. I do have time to hang out with them, but not really after my shooting because they still work after it.
How far into the season have you shot?
We are now on the last episode, I think, so we’re almost done, so that’s really really sad. It’s going to be another year before I see them, so it’s like no!! Sometimes the other people are off doing different movies during hiatus. We don’t all get to see each other. When we get back to set it’s like “yay we get to see everybody again.” The year of shooting just goes by so fast and I don’t want it to go so fast!
We just saw the episode – wasn’t a big episode for your character, you were in a couple scenes, finding out that April was back. What can we expect from Maia as the season progresses?
You know what, from Maia, is learning how to use her ability better. She is learning how to, the way she sees it, when to say it at the right time, and to use it to her advantage. Maia is becoming smarter. Maia’s becoming more of a grownup but still that little sweet girl. You’ll be seeing more from Maia.
Is there anything we can expect for the rest of the gang?
You know what, The last episode is going to be big. It’s really good. I love it. The whole season, the 4th season is the best season yet, so be careful people, because it’s really good. [she’s just so charming, she gets me laughing again]. If I’m watching tv and I’m flicking through the channels and I see it’s on, I’ll definitely watch it.
Is it weird to watch yourself?
Not really. When I first started out, I was always shy and used to hide behind my mom. Now when I see myself, I’m like, ya know what, cool, it’s like a mirror object of yourself, except there’s no mirror in front of you. It’s actually kind of cool if you think of it that way.
What else do you watch on TV? What about music?
I usually like the Family Channel – Zoey 101, Hannah Montana – the shows that everyone watches. I like different kinds of music. Avril Lavigne, a whole bunch of different people. Gwen Stefani, it varies.
Is there anything that you would tell a new viewer to the show – what is the one thing they should know about The 4400 that would make them love it?
That it’s a really great concept show. It’s captivating. It’s really good. There’s a whole bunch of good things that are happening this season. It’s something that you can’t really explain. It’s really great. Even if I’ve seen an episode 20 times, I’ll still watch it again, I love the show, it’s so great.
You’re so charming – thank you for spending time chatting with me!
It was nice speaking with you.
Our time on the phone flew by – she was so poised, and polite. She’s only 11 years old, but she’s got a maturity, a wise-beyond-her-years outlook that is truly something worth celebrating – you heard her – “be careful people, because it’s really good.” I think things are only going to get better for Conchita as the years go by and I intend to tune in and find out! The 4400 airs Sundays at 9 on USA.
In Other News
Just a few highlights for your week –
Eureka is back on Tuesday – please don’t forget to watch it at 9PM on SCIFI!
Tommy Gavin and his crew return to F/X this week with an all new episode. The house is forced to deal with the fallout of what happened to Jerry in the last new episode we watched. I got to watch this week’s episode (and next week’s as well) and I promise, the show is just so good. I think the season is only going to get better from here on out! Tune in Wednesday night at 10 on F/X.
Some people may not be fans (I’m not exactly a fan), but I thought it might be worth noting that Hilary Duff is going to grace the stage of So You Think You Can Dance? on Thursday night’s results show. She’s one of the only musical acts her age to maintain her dignity (ironically enough, also the title of her brand new album!). Also featured? A group dance number performed to “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray, choreographed by this week’s guest judge Adam Shankman, director and choreographer from said film. Cue me, freaking out, because I’m a little bit excited about A) all the dancing and B) the movie!
I know some people aren’t fans, but Monk and Psych return this Friday with all new episodes (ooh Friday the 13th!). Sarah Silverman guests on Monk, and ubiquitous every-man Tim Curry guests as a Simon-Cowell-wannabe on Psych (9PM and 10PM, respectively).
Also – I beg you to continue watching Jericho, starting with the recap of the first half of the season at 8, and the Spring premiere rebroadcast at 9 – make CBS proud of renewing the show!!
That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for a look into the mind of Ed Helms and my picks for Emmy nominations (can you believe that it’s already that time of year again?)
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