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TV Goodness Q&A: Ryan Newman, Nick at Nite’s See Dad Run

 

Photo Credit: Jim Wright/Nickelodeon

Photo Credit: Jim Wright/Nickelodeon

Ryan Newman is a 14-year-old actress who has been steadily working for years. Back in 2007, she played a young version of Miley Cyrus on the Disney Channel mega-hit series Hannah Montana. Currently, she’s playing Scott Baio’s daughter, Emily Hobbs, on the Nick at Nite original comedy, See Dad Run. TV Goodness chatted with the talented teenager about working with Baio and the rest of the See Dad Run cast, breaking into the business and her love of music.

TVGoodness:  Tell me a little bit about the show and about your character.

Ryan: See Dad Run is a new show for Nick At Nite and it’s about my dad, David Hobbs, played by Scott Baio.  And he was a TV star for 10 years. And his show ends and he comes back home and becomes a stay-at-home dad.  His wife, my mom Amy, goes back to work on a soap opera. So basically he has to learn how to be a dad again and learn how to take care of people instead of people taking care of him.  He gets to rebuild his relationship with his kids and I play Emily Hobbs, the oldest daughter.  But she is a normal teenager and she wants the same things normal teenagers go through.  She has a little sassy spark to her but really, really sweet.

TVGoodness: Tell me about working with Scott Baio and what you have learned from him.

Ryan:  Scott is like a father-figure to me.  We have a very strange relationship.  He’s kind of like my father, yet he treats me like an adult.  We have so much fun together.  We are always laughing.  He gets a kick out of me and I get a kick out of him.  He’s such an experienced actor, that I learn something every time I step on that set.  I’m really luck to work with him.

Photo Credit: Lisa Rose / Nickelodeon

Photo Credit: Lisa Rose / Nickelodeon

TVGoodness:  Did you know who he was?  You are pretty young so you don’t remember Happy Days and Charles In Charge.  Did you know how popular he was on television?

Ryan:  I didn’t when I booked the show.  But I kind of get it now.  I definitely did my research when I booked it and figured it out.  I watched old YouTube videos of his show and that kind of stuff.  It’s still kind of crazy to me cause I will see tweets and stuff how these moms basically are crazy over him!  It’s hysterical.

TVGoodness:  Talk about working with the rest of the cast, the two younger kids, Alana and Mark Curry.

Ryan:  Alanna Ubach, Mark Curry, they are all so amazing.  We are like a family.  Alana is like my mom/sister.  She’s hysterical.  We have so much fun with her.  Mark Curry is amazing.  He is so funny.  He’s true comedy.  He just gives me a look and I’m on the ground laughing.  It’s ridiculous.  And Ramy [Youssef], he plays Kevin, is like a brother to me.  We are super close.  He’s helping me with guitar and yeah, we have a lot of fun together.  And my little siblings on the show, they are like my little siblings in real life.

TVGoodness:  I wanted to ask you about what your experience has been.  What did you do before this show came along?

Ryan:  I was on a Disney show for four years called Zeke and Luther. I think I was 9 to 13 during that show. And that was such an amazing experience. It was challenging…we would do two episodes at the same time.  It was pretty intense.  So I’m really glad I had that experience when I did…that was such a crucial learning time for me when I went through it.  I just soaked up everything.  I just learned so much.  And I’ve also done quite a few movies.  I did Zoom with Tim Allen and Courteney Cox and Chevy Chase when I was seven.  And that was incredible.  That was my first big movie; I was the lead in that.  So that was quite the experience.

TVGoodness:  And you played the young Hannah Montana. I was wondering did you interact with Miley [Cyrus] at all even though you were playing her younger self?

Ryan:  Yes, I played young Miley a few times.  And Miley was great.  She called me her mini-me.  We had lunch together.  We definitely did a lot.  She’s great.

TVGoodness:  How did you get into the business?  How did you start out?  You are so young, did you say, I want to do that.  Or someone met you…

Ryan:  I was 2 ½, and I would point to the TV and say, “I do that.”  And I bugged my parents so much that when I was 3, they finally gave in.  They thought it would just go away, but it didn’t.  I got headshots and the agent.  I started with print and then commercials; and then finally TV and movies.  I was auditioning for movies before I did for TV, I think.  I booked Monster House when I was five or six.

TVGoodness:  Is it true that you were the youngest kid to be motion captured?

Ryan:  Yes, youngest person to be motion captured.

TVGoodness:  That’s so cool, how was that experience?

Ryan:  That was crazy.  Monster House was such a great experience.  I was six.  I was working with all these well-known people.  They were so awesome.  I worked with Steve Buscemi, my scenes were with him.  Your hair was glued up into this cap with all these dots on them, the motion capture dots.  And you are in this wetsuit with all the dots over it.  It’s pretty crazy.  They put dots all over your face…they molded the character after me, after I was on set for a few days and I met with them.  I lost my two front teeth, during rehearsal.  And they took out the two front teeth in my character.

TVGoodness:  That would have been a problem! It must have been so much fun as a kid, not realizing what a big deal that was, but just the fun of it.

Ryan:  Yeah, it was so much fun.  It was my first movie.  It was kind of crazy to do it like that.

TVGoodness:  How do you stay grounded?  Do you go to regular school?  Do you just go to the school on set and then when you are not working you are going to home school?  How does that work for you?

Ryan:  Well I went to regular school until 5th grade. And then I was home-schooled.  And last year, I went to regular school.  Now, I have to be home schooled because of See Dad Run.  But I’m in a great program where I can go back and forth to school.  I have a school ID.  I can go to the dances.  I’m in high school and I get to have the high school experience as much as I want too. So it’s pretty great.  And I have all my old friends from school.  And I think that is definitely how I stay grounded.  And my family is great for that too.  I was always raised that you are lucky to get to do what you do.  I love to act and very lucky to have the success I have.

TVGoodness:  Do you find it hard working on a series and keeping up with your school work?  Or do you feel you can balance that pretty well?

Ryan:  I’ve definitely learned how to balance it.  School and education are always number one for me. It definitely comes first and everyone on set knows that.  The ADs [Assistant Directors] will come to get me for a scene and I’m in the middle of a test so they hold on.  They will wait a few minutes while I’m finishing my test.  And they all know I’m extremely studious.  I spend all my time in the school room.  And when I’m in there, I’m down to business.  I get my stuff done.  It’s definitely…I’m working multi-cameras, it’s a lot easier than single camera, so I get big chunks of time to get stuff done.  I get two and three hours to get work done, instead of 20 minutes, here and there.

TVGoodness:  I watched the show and it reminds me of like a Full House type of show.

Ryan:  That is the biggest compliment.  That is one of my old favorite shows.

TVGoodness:  Especially now when things are getting so crazy, with the internet and stuff…this is a really nice show, where it’s not cheesy, but it’s still family-friendly.  Is that what you guys are going for?

Ryan:  Absolutely.  We are definitely pushing for old family sitcoms. Bring back the Full House, George Lopez days…we love to stick to that.

TVGoodness: Now are you working on any other projects right now?  Or is there anything in the works?Or is it just the TV show right now that you are concentrating on?

Ryan:  It’s the TV show and music right now.

TVGoodness:  What kind of music do you want to do? Pop, rock?

Ryan:  I definitely would consider it pop but I wouldn’t say it’s bubblegum at all.  I love unique voices, like Colbie Caillat and The Script.  That’s what I like, so that’s where I’m headed.

TVGoodness:  Is there anything you want to tell fans, why they should watch See Dad Run? What would you say to someone that hasn’t watched the show but they are looking into it?

Ryan:  It’s so relatable.  There is a storyline for each character and a joke for everyone.  No matter who you are, if you are the oldest daughter in the family or you’re the mother of the family you will definitely relate and you’ll share the humor.

Season 1 of See Dad Run continues with all new episodes — they start airing on Nick at Nite Sunday Feb. 17 @ 8:30pm ET/PT.

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