What was the best part about working on The Way, Way Back?
“From the moment I read the script, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so well-rounded.’ All of the characters have such development — well, not Steve Carell’s character. They feel real, and they feel relatable. It was just so nice to see such well-written dialogue. I felt really good after I finished reading it. Our table read was so much fun. It was at Nat and Jim’s kitchen table. Being able to work with such talented, and happy, generous people was such a huge blessing. Nat and Jim are the bomb. I’m really excited to see the movies they make in the future ‘cause they’re going to be on the money every time.”
How big of a departure was it for you to play this character as opposed to playing Carrie Bradshaw in The Carrie Diaries?
“It was a very different character. I had finished the pilot, and then shot this film before going back to The Carrie Diaries. I’m an actor! I’d hope I would be able to play different characters. I think Susanna is very different from Carrie in the way she sees the world.”
Do you have any real Sex and The City likes?
“I love my Magnolia cupcakes and especially Jimmy Choo shoes. Just being in New York City, I feel like every woman thinks she’s a Sex and The City character. I mean everything from walking down the street, going out to dinner with your friends, or tripping over your heels — it’s all a New York moment.”
What was it like working with Steve Carell?
“He’s not intimidating at all. When I read the script and heard Steve Carell was playing this character, I thought it was going to be funny. But when I saw how he played it, I thought, ‘That is so the right way to play it.’ It’s not like the funny, mean guy; he’s just a person stuck in a rut. It was really fun to watch him perform. I didn’t have many scenes with him, so watching him film was great. He’s such a talented actor and a comedian. He’s also a gentleman. When I think of Steve Carell, I automatically think of a gentleman. He always opens the door for everyone in the room. One time Allison Janney came into a scene pretending to be drunk, and after a bunch of takes she just said, ‘Steve, do your laugh for me.’ You know that big Steve Carell laugh? It literally got everyone cracking up. Everyone is laughing because of this one guy doing this one, genuine thing.”
What’s the biggest take away from working on this film?
“It was just really wonderful to work with such an amazing cast. I want to do ensembles for every movie.”
Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages
What’s next? What’s your goal?
“I just want to do projects I really care about, that resonate with me. It’s all about the stories, the characters, and the people involved. I’m doing The Carrie Diaries, and having a great time. We have an awesome cast, and an amazing crew — I love them. I’m planning on going to school eventually, but I’m really just trying to enjoy the moments.”
What would you major in?
“I’m not sure yet! Either history, or English…something in the humanities. I think a liberal arts education is important. I want to explore and grow into myself.”
What lessons do you hope Susanna teaches to teens her age seeing the film?
“That you’re not alone. I don’t think older people realize how much of an influence they have on younger people. I feel like everyone I’ve worked with has had such a huge impact on my life and how I chose to do my work now. I don’t think they have any idea — well, maybe a small idea, but I don’t think they realize how much they influence my life. I think that’s true in every situation whether you’re working at a water park or a restaurant. You look up to people because you’re trying to figure out how to grow up.”
What’s your favorite summer story?
“Before I filmed this, I went on a road trip with two of my friends. We took my grandparents' VW camper and went to a bunch of different national parks and camped. It was just the three of us in the west. We were up in the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Nevada, Yosemite, and even San Francisco. It was a fun senior year ‘Woo-hoo! We’re free!’ kind of trip.”
Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.