Mandalynn Carlson takes on several new roles (Exclusive Q&A)

Mandalynn Carlson takes on several new roles (Exclusive)
By Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net

Mandalynn Carlson

Mandalynn Carlson

With several exciting new projects in the works, including a role as a series regular in the NBC comedy Brenda Forever and as a star in the upcoming TV movie Holiday Miracle with actor Dean Cain, actress Mandalynn Carlson is quickly building a name for herself in Hollywood.

Originally from Michigan, the 13-year-old actress landed her first supporting role in the feature film Machine Gun Preacher (2011), starring Gerard Butler. Since then, she has appeared in episodes of CSI: NY, Jimmy Kimmel and the ABC drama Scandal. She has also written her own short film and even owns part of a production company.

In a recent Q&A with StayFamous.Net, Mandalynn shared how she got her start in the entertainment industry and some of her favorite moments so far.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “How did you get your start acting?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “I was in my first play when I was 2. My grandmother started a family tradition where the children wrote and performed holiday plays. When I was 3 and until I was about 7, I would memorize all the commercials on television. I had a stage in my basement and I would dress up and do my commercials. I wanted to be on television. Then in 4th grade, I tried out for my first school play – Annie… I also started doing small student films. When I was 10, my drama teacher told my mom I should be in professional classes and that we should look into an agent, I was surprised she did it, but my Mom emailed an agent in Detroit my snapshot and a little about me and he called in like 20 minutes. In less than a year, I booked a small role in a big movie.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Why did you want to become an actress?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “My parents were caterers and sometimes they would cater movies that were shooting in Michigan. I would go to set to visit my dad and I always felt at home on a movie set. I always talked to the actors like Topher Grace, Ann Margaret, Christina Richie, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Lucas, Emma Roberts, Brett Rice and so many others. When I started acting on film sets, I realized I wanted to do this the rest of my life. I always felt like I fit in on a movie set because people accepted me.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What do you enjoy most about acting on set?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “I think the best part about acting on set is everything and everyone around you is also a part of this world that you and the character are a part of. You can go from being you and step into this whole other world with all these great people. And everyone on the cast and crew are exceptionally nice.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Have you had the chance to work with any really cool actors, or have you met any celebrities that you thought were cool?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “Living in LA, I run into celebrities all the time like at stores, yogurt places or events. I have worked with tons of great actors! The most recent is Kerry Washington, when I worked on ABC’s Scandal. She was a phenomenal actress and totally fun to work with. My first job was with Gerard Butler, and he was also amazing! He was super friendly and we talked the whole time.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What are some of your hopes for the future in terms of acting? Is there something that you really want to accomplish, a type of character that you would like to play or anyone that you’d like to work with?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “My life goal for acting is to win an Oscar. I would also love to work with Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts or Harrison Ford. I have always admired [them] and they are my inspiration.”

Mandalynn Carlson on the set of CSI: NY

Mandalynn Carlson on the set of CSI: NY

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What was your experience like working on CSI: NY?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “It was great to work on CSI: NY. Zachary Reiter wrote our episode and I loved talking to him. You know, he used to be a DA in NY? Maybe that is one reason the show is so good. Working with director Rob Bailey was cool. He knows exactly what he is looking for in a scene. I did get to meet Anna Belknap who plays Detective Lindsay Messer when we arrived on the ranch. That was cool.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What character did you play?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “I played Kelly Dupars, one of Lindsay’s childhood best friends. I was a flashback. My character had been killed off years before and Lindsey (as a young girl) witnessed my murder, so this episode was closure….the murderer got the death penalty.”

“My scene was with three other girls, one I knew already. Working with Jadin Gould, Emily Robinson and Olivia Stuck was a blast! All four of us instantly clicked and we all still keep in touch.”

Mandalynn Carlson, Jadin Gould, Emily Robinson and Olivia Stuck

From left, Olivia Stuck, Emily Robinson, Mandalynn Carlson and Jadin Gould on the set of CSI: NY.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Did you film in NYC?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “Most of an episode of CSI: NY is filmed in Hollywood. They do take a few days to take a crew to NYC for the establishing shots. I filmed on the lot and a local ranch for about a week, and it was amazing. The sets were just great and so well built.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “I read that you own part of a production company. How did that come about?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “While I was doing a show called Lucky Detroit, I was asked to be part of the Lucky Epiphany Production company. They gave me interest in the company. We produced web-based content. We worked on a concept for a kid-based travel show and it’s still in the idea phase. It was really fun to learn about the behind the scenes stuff.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What types of projects do you produce or are you hoping to produce down the road?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “Now that I am in LA most of my time, I am going to start a different production company that will focus on films. I really want to produce family and faith-based movies. I also want some real dramatic movies, ones that push the actor’s limits.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Do you like being involved in the behind-the-scenes creative aspect of film making?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “I like to do both. I spend much more time on my involvement in front of the camera and my training. One day, I want to produce and direct, to see how it looks on the other side of the screen. I am pretty creative so I think I will be all over a project, when I find the right one.”

Mandalynn Carlson filming The Dead Kid

Mandalynn Carlson on the set of “The Dead Kid.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What’s next for you? Are there any projects you’re currently working on?”

Mandalynn Carlson: “I will be filming a holiday made-for-television [movie] called Holiday Miracle. The Sheriff arrests a strange man in a Santa suit. Throughout the course of the night this man continues to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true, including reuniting the Sheriff with his daughter and helping him find love. By the end of the night the Sheriff begins to suspect that this Santa may just be the real deal. The Sheriff is played by Dean Cain and I play his daughter Kara.”

“Next month, I have a movie coming out called The Dead Kid. and I play the lead role, Annie Baxter. It is a powerful movie with a moving message about bullying. And in the coming months, I will fly to Miami to film another movie about bullying where I play the bad girl who is misunderstood but in the end, I help the boy make life-changing strides. That movie will be called Chub.”

To keep up with Mandalynn online, visit her official Facebook fan page (click here), follow her on Twitter @IactSoIAm, Instagram (amandaalynnxoxo) and Pheed (IactSoIAm).

Mandalynn Carlson takes on several new roles (Exclusive)
Copyright 2013 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
Photographs courtesy of Actor’s Image

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