Moved by a passion for dance, singing and acting, young Hollywood starlet Mollee Gray is taking the Disney world by storm. In a recent exclusive interview, Mollee talked about her latest film project TEEN BEACH MOVIE and all the fun she had bringing her character Giggles to life while working on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico.
How did you get involved with TEEN BEACH MOVIE and what drew you to the role of Giggles?
MOLLEE: I was doing a pilot with Disney and I had a role on that as a spunky cheerleader, so one of the casting directors at Disney, Judy Taylor, invited me to audition. She said it was basically already casted, but they had a couple roles left. So I went and I ended up getting it. Then they flew me within a week, after I got done finishing the pilot, to Puerto Rico to start work on it. So that was awesome.
Who would you say Giggles is and what can we expect from her in the movie?
MOLLEE: Her role is part of the surfer clique. She’s super fun, very free spirited and loves to dance and surf and kind of be all about the beach culture life. You can expect her to always be happy, except when there’s confrontation with the bikers. The biker group is like a motorcycle gang. So when there’s confrontations with them, Giggles gets to be a tough girl. It was really fun to play that. She’s a fun girl who can get super tough. That was fun.
Did they ever explain why she was called Giggles?
MOLLEE: They didn’t, but actually all the characters in the “West Side Story,” which the two leads get sucked into, all have very weird names. I’m Giggles; there’s Rascal; there’s Love Nut; there’s Chee Chee. Just all these weird names, except for Tanner. Tanner and Lela have the most normal names. The rest of us have fun, quirky names. I love it! You’d think because my character’s name is Giggles that I would have been giggling a lot, but I don’t. I didn’t really giggle at all. In fact, my character shakes. I wore a lot of fringe suits and she shakes the fringe all the time. My abs were hurting quite a bit.
Did you do any surfing in the role?
MOLLEE: I actually never surfed. What happens is this is a classic beach party movie. Like our hair is never wet when we’re in the water. Everything is perfect because it is done in front of a green screen. So it’s a very classic beach party movie with all the surfing in front of a green screen. That’s why the leads are so confused. They are surfers and then they get stuck in a movie where nothing is real.
Do you have a favorite classic beach movie?
MOLLEE: I have seen some. When I got the role I did some research, but I didn’t get too attached to any particular one.
What was your favorite part of working on TEEN BEACH MOVIE?
MOLLEE: I think that our entire cast turned into one huge family. Our cast got along so well. All of our personalities complimented each other. We were on a resort in Puerto Rico for two months, so it was paradise. I felt like it wasn’t real life. It was very surreal. Then we all got hit by reality when we came back. But I think the best part was getting so close with everybody and being on a beach for two months.
Did you do a lot of crazy, silly things while you were there?
MOLLEE: Oh yeah! Our cast was so much fun. There were lots of pranks that went on, a lot of laughs and jokes. It was a summer paradise. It was crazy.
What was your favorite thing about Puerto Rico?
MOLLEE: I would have to say the food. They have really good food there. There’s this hashbrown thing that had steak in it and I’m a huge fan of steak. I probably had that every single day that I was there.
Disney is known for making sequels of its successful movies. So if they were to do a sequel for TEEN BEACH MOVIE, what would you like to do in the sequel?
MOLLEE: I’d still want to be Giggles. I think it would be fun to evolve her character a little more. I don’t know what’s going to happen or if there is going to be a sequel, but I think it would be really fun for Giggles to step out of her comfort-zone and do something crazy. I liked all the shaking too. I think it could be kind of an iconic thing, which is cool to be a part of. So I would still like to shake, but I would be interested to see what more her story could be.
Of all the characters in TEEN BEACH MOVIE, besides your own, which was your favorite?
MOLLEE: I would have to say Rascal, who is played by Kent Boyd. He is part of the surfer clique as well. He plays one of Giggles’ friends. His character is so loud and almost kind of ditzy. He says really silly things and the bikers snap at him all the time. He was just really funny and I really liked him. He’s the funny one in the group.
You do singing, dancing and acting. What draws you to do such rigorous activities in your career?
MOLLEE: I just love to perform. It’s been a passion of mine since I can remember. I love to perform in front of people, like huge audiences, in front of the camera, whenever I can. So I guess I’m trying to get the most of it and the only way I can do that is to do everything. Dance, sing, act.
Of all the variety of things you’ve done so far in your career, what has been the coolest?
MOLLEE: The coolest thing had to be SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE because it was a very emotional roller-coaster. I was super excited and I am incredibly grateful that I never got stressed out. Even when I thought I was going to give up, I pushed myself to be better. It was a great experience in helping me get prepared for this industry. It was one of my first major jobs, besides the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL series, so it prepared me for what I’m having to deal with today.
Sounds like you have quite an ambitious plan ahead of you. Do you have a goal in mind that you’re trying to strive towards as you pursue your career?
MOLLEE: My goal is to be successful in every aspect of the entertainment industry, as far as performing. Like I want to be known as a singer, known as a dancer and known as an actor. I don’t want to be that girl that is a singer gone dancer, or an actor gone dancer. I want to be the best in all three of them. (Laughs)
Since it’s summer right now, are you able to indulge in any summer TV shows that you love?
MOLLEE: I am a huge ABC Family fan, so I’ve been watching all that. I know PRETTY LITTLE LIARS just restarted and I’m obsessed with it. THE FOSTERS just came out, which my best friend Maia Mitchell (who was the lead of TEEN BEACH MOVIE) is now in. I’m so happy for her, so I’m constantly promoting it. It’s just amazing. So ABC Family is a good channel for me.
As the fans look forward to TEEN BEACH MOVIE, what can you tease that they should look forward to?
MOLLEE: There’s a lot going on in this movie that I think is going to be very relatable to the fans. I guess all I can really say is that there’s a lot of stuff that messes with destiny, there’s villains and there’s a lot of laughter, and obviously a lot of song and dance. I think they’re going to love it!
To see the marvelous moves of Mollee in her charming role of Giggles, be sure to tune in for the premiere of the sassy summer film TEEN BEACH MOVIE on Friday, July 19th at 8:00 p.m. on the Disney Channel.
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