Last Wednesday (June 29), the ABC Family comedy Melissa & Joey returned for its summer 2011 premiere. The show originally debut last fall and is about a city council member (Hart) forced to house her niece and nephew after her sister and brother-in-law are involved in a scheme that lands her sister in prison.
If you have had a chance to catch the new show on ABC Family you may recognize TV veterans Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, but the character of Ryder (played by Nick Robinson) may not be quite as familiar. However, we do not expect that to last for long as Nick is one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, an intelligent 16 year-old that has managed to land a prominent role on a hit situational comedy after only his second Hollywood audition.
TeenChive recently chatted with Nick Robinson about growing up in Seattle, his start in theater and, of course, Melissa & Joey.
Hey Nick, can you tell us a little about your childhood and what inspired you to get into acting?
“I’m from Seattle, I actually still live up there. I was always interested in acting. I think around 8 or 9 I entered a theater program up there called Theater Bound. I realized that I really enjoyed acting. I wanted to keep pursuing it. At 11, I did my first professional show up in Seattle. It just kind of kept going from there. My second audition (in LA) was Melissa & Joey. It’s been a whirlwind ever since, it feels kind of surreal.”
What did you learn from your time in theater?
“Theater is really, really great. It teaches you how to think on your feet because you know, there’s no cut. You got to just keep going. (Theater) taught me work ethic and time management. There is actually a quote that I love about acting – ‘Acting is great because you can step into somebody else’s shoes without suffering the consequences.’”
My favorite show was one called A Thousand Clowns. It’s a really great play. I actually learned to play the ukulele for (the play) and I stuck with it.
What do you like about Seattle?
I really like Seattle. I like flying back and forth between Seattle and LA to get a contrast. It kind of keeps me grounded. (Seattle) is great because it’s in the same time zone. If I lived in New York, I don’t think I could go back and forth especially with the time change.
I understand you have a large family?
I have four younger siblings and two half brothers/sisters that my dad had from a previously marriage. (It’s) kind of like The Brady Bunch – a big family. (There is) never a dull moment.”
You’re also the oldest in the family. Do you feel like your siblings get away with a lot?
Being the oldest is kind of a double edge sword because you get to do things that the younger siblings do not. You get to have all these new experiences, but with that come more responsibility. Your parents are expecting you to look after the kids, clean up the house, or whatever. In the long-run it’s rewarding. I like being the big brother.
I like the fact that ‘Melissa & Joey’ is this unconventional family comedy. What do you like about the show, particularly your role as Ryder?
“(Melissa & Joey) makes for a really fun dynamic. It’s about the relationships between all the people in the house. (For) Ryder and Lennox this is a whole new world for them. Ryder especially is kind of cautious while Lennox is more the assuming teenager and Ryder is just trying to take it one day at a time. Both Ryder and Lennox have to deal with all these weird issues that most teens do not have to face, they also have to deal with the normal issues like school, girls, homework and everything like that. They have a whole plate and are just trying to take it one day at a time.”
Check back next week for part two of our interview with Nick Robinson. New episodes of Melissa & Joey premiere every Wednesday (8/7c).