Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brooke White On Her Acting Debut: "I completely fell in love with the experience"

Brooke White makes her acting debut this Saturday in “Change of Plans,” the fourth movie in the P&G and Wal-Mart Family Movie Night series.

Brooke plays Sally Danville, a musician who is living the charmed life with her fighter-pilot husband, Jason (Joe Flanigan). But then, her best friend dies in a tragic accident and Sally is named the legal guardian of her four children—three of whom were adopted from third-world countries. With the help of a social worker (Phylicia Rashad), Sally and Jason must learn how to change their lives and create a family.

This week, Brooke did a conference call with Randy Jackson, who produced the movie soundtrack and makes a cameo in the movie. Here’s a sample of what they had to say:

Brooke on taking on acting: “It was definitely something that I wasn’t anticipating. It kind of came out of left field. At first, I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure if acting was something I even wanted to do. I wasn’t out auditioning or doing anything like that. My first day on set I hyperventilated a little bit, thinking I don’t know if I’m cut out for this. Then we got to filming and we got a week in and I had been bitten by the acting bug and completely fell in love with the experience. It was better than anything I could have planned for myself.”

Brooke on the hardest part about acting: “I found out I got the part and then shipped off to Toronto within two days. So there was very little time to think or prepare, which was probably in my best interest because I was afraid. But gosh, what can I say was the hardest part about acting? Probably my 4:30 a.m. pick up every day. That was probably the hardest part. I have to say, there were certain technical aspects I wasn’t super savvy to, but other than that it’s so supernatural just to get in. I think I was concerned about what if I forget, I’ve been known to forget lyrics here or there or whatever, and I was worried I would forget a line or two, but it really isn’t a big deal. You get in there and memorization of dialogue isn’t that big of a deal when you get there. I don’t know. I thought it was more fun than hard.”

Randy on Brooke’s life after “Idol”: “What I look for the most is people when they exit the show, how well did they do after and how did they sustain their career and if they grow. Yes, Brooke has definitely grown as a writer, she’s grown as a singer, as a performer. I think she’s leaps and bounds above where she was on Idol. It’s just amazing. That’s the true mark of a real artist, how they grow over time.”

Randy on the movie being an example of alternative methods for artists to get music to the public: “I think this movie is an example, ‘Change of Plans,’ that Brooke is starring in and performing three songs in the movie and we’ve made a great soundtrack for her with a lot of great artists on it. I think what you have now is there are other ways to get your music out and other ways to try and break an artist and also to continue an artist’s career. So I think this movie is a testament to that. I think all the commercials, all the stuff that you’ve seen is a testament to that.”

Brooke on the challenges for artists today: “The thing that’s different now is that our audiences are very spread out. It’s not like we just have three channels on TV and FM or AM radio. Now between the Internet and video games and TV and Pandora radio, there’s just so many options. So the truth is we have to hit all of those. We have to be everywhere, which is challenging, but as Randy said, it’s an opportunity for us to be creative and step out of the box. Things aren’t going to be the same. I think you can’t live in denial that things are going to be back to the way they were. It’s just a different climate musically and entertainment-wise, and that’s why we decide to become more multi-faceted. I consider myself, like I was a serious artist, not really looking to act, and then when this opportunity came it was like a well, you never know unless you try…This was the perfect opportunity because it wasn’t like I had to leave music behind. It was an integral part of the film and of the character, so it just made so much sense.”

Brooke on her life post-“Idol”: “I would never have anticipated standing on the ‘Idol’ stage that post-‘Idol’ that I would be working with Randy. I didn’t foresee it. Things just happened in a strange way. I remember we were actually both at Guitar Center, I was looking for a keyboard and he happened to be there at the same time as me. I don’t know if people watching from their TVs can tell how personable Randy is. He sits and takes his time to talk to everyone and he really was just talking about life after ‘Idol.’ He was just so incredibly positive and said, ‘Hey, let’s keep in touch,’ and before I knew it we started really, actually working together. He helped connect me with my management and has been a major player and supporter in my post-‘Idol’ life…[I]t is very difficult to survive and to stay present after ‘Idol,’ and the trick is becoming an artist because the music business is becoming more and more difficult to sustain as an artist. Randy earlier said you’re lucky if you have a ten year career or more than one hit, and I think I’m really trying to adopt the, maybe not the rocket ship but the climb, and steadily and slowly building a career that I hope lasts. I’ve been super fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him, both on my own record and then to do this movie and the soundtrack. It’s just been a huge surprise and a blessing.”

Brooke on her acting future: “I do not have [any roles] lined up at the moment. I’m just enjoying the release of ‘Change of Plans’ here, and actually just saw it for the first time yesterday, the full cut…There’s those few moments, like the answering machine syndrome where you hear your voice back and you’re like, ‘I don’t sound like that, do I? Please don’t tell me I sound like that.’ I had some answering machine syndrome, but the majority of it I was just pleasantly, I don’t want to say relieved, I was surprised, I was happy with it. I think it’s such an endearing, sweet film and it’s all about these little moments between the characters I think that really define the story and just the whole theme of sometimes the change of plans are better than anything that you could have come up with yourself, like this acting gig.”

Randy on his viewing plans Saturday night: “I’m going to sit and watch the movie with my family, man. It’s a great family film. Brooke did an amazing job in it. She sings three songs in the movie that I produced and co-wrote the songs and it’s really, I mean, change of plans, we’ve all had that in our lives, right?”

Brooke on why Idols have success in other venues, such as acting: “You know what, really, ‘American Idol’ gives us a massive advantage, and that is to be seen, not just heard, but to be seen. We’re really presented to people not just as singers but as people. I think that gives us a connection. When you’re in people’s living rooms week after week you really do make that connection with people. So when you come off the show, it’s amazing, when I see people on the street they ask me funny things, like are you still a nanny or do you still play barefoot or did your husband cut his hair, like really funny questions or I’m sorry that you missed your sister’s wedding. People pick up on these little personal elements about who you are and so I think because of that it lends more opportunities to us. TV and film and commercials, those things are opportunities that come, those are the doors that open from ‘American Idol’ and we’re very, very fortunate. The trick is just to keep them opening and to keep walking through them…And thanks to Randy, and I mean this, thanks to Randy he’s been a big part in keeping those doors open for me, so I’ve been really fortunate.”

By the way, Michael Johns co-wrote one of the songs on the soundtrack.

“Change of Plans” airs Saturday, January 8th at 8 p.m. on FOX. A DVD/CD set will be released at Wal-Mart at a later date. You can see a trailer for the movie here.

Photo Credit: FOX