Chandler Kinney is a young, vivacious actress whose talents include dancing and the martial arts as well. She got her start in the entertainment business when she was approximately 8-years-0ld and is best known for her recurring roles on Amazon’s original show Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and the Nickelodeon series, Haunted Hathaways.
Today she took time out of her busy schedule to talk acting, season two of Gortimer, and her birthday. Check out the interview below.
“I know! I’m soo happy!”
Do you get to take a break on the weekend or do you film over the weekend?
“I get a break and my birthday is actually Monday so we’re having a party this weekend.”
Awesome! Happy birthday! What kind of party are you having? Any kind of theme?
“No, not really. I mean, we’re gonna just kinda hang out at the house with my friends, something small, but I’m really looking forward to hanging out with them. I guess if anything the theme is games because we’re gonna have a lot of games, board games and…a lot of different kinds of fun games that we can all play. I’m looking forward to it.”
What’s your favorite board game?
“My favorite board game, well ok, a good Monopoly game, that’s fun. However, it can go a little long, so…Monopoly is one of my favorite games but I also really like another game called Tell. Not a lot of people know about it but it’s kind of just this fun game where you do all these really random, wacky, fun things.”
So, Gortimer season two. Are you working on that right now?
“Yes. We are filming right now and we are towards the end of season two.”
How many episodes are in the second season?
“There are thirteen episodes in the second season. And it’s really exciting and fun and I’m looking forward to season three.”
Have you already been renewed for a season three?
“Yes. So we got twenty-six episodes and what they did is they split that up into two so we’ll have thirteen in season two and season three will have thirteen as well.”
So how many of those episodes are you in, then?
“I think I’m in about eight of season two, if I’m right. I think eight. Eight out of thirteen.”
That’s great! So we’ll be seeing a lot of you.
What drew you to acting and how did you get your start?
“Yeah, so, I’m a dancer and I’ve been dancing since I was 3-years-old. And, you know, I started getting cast in different plays and got to start auditioning through my dance studio. They would send out small groups of people to auditions. And I got cast in a Gap commercial. It was mostly dance but then the casting director was like, ‘Hey, you should start acting.’ And we were like, ‘Um, ok!’ So she said something to some people and I tried out different acting classes and I just really fell in love with it. And that’s how I got started.”
When was that? How long ago?
“I think I was nine when I did the commercial. Eight or nine. Yeah.”
Are your family and friends pretty supportive of you?
“Yes. They’re very supportive. I really honestly couldn’t do what I do without my friends’ and family’s support and, I just, I love them all.”
Did the dancing you did on the Gap commercial help you get the role on Battlefield America?
“Indirectly, yes, because that’s how I started acting, but then I started auditioning and I got my agent and my agent got me to the audition for Battlefield America and I booked it. So, that was really exciting, too, because that was one of the first auditions I had been to and it was just really overwhelming at the time, but yeah, it was just crazy.”
What’s it like to use your other skills in the acting field? Do you want to do that again? Maybe with the martial arts you’re doing?
“Yes. It has been really cool to use some of my other skills and incorporate them into my acting. It’s something that I really want to do in the future, too, because I want to continue training in martial arts and dance as long as I can, until acting completely takes over. And then I can incorporate my other skills into it. I’ve gotten to do it a bit already and I’m looking forward to doing it in the future if I can. Maybe I’ll do an action movie or something and I’ll get to kick butt or something. (laughs)”
Is it really difficult to keep up with the dance and the martial arts AND your studies along with your acting?
“Somehow I manage. My mom helps me a lot. Everything is just kind of squished together in my life and sometimes I really wish that I had more hours in a day, but I wouldn’t get rid of anything and that’s the problem. I love everything so much that it’s really hard for me to drop anything. My mom always says ‘Ok, well, if it’s getting a little hard, you should drop something,’ and I’m like, ‘NO, I don’t want to give up anything.’ So sometimes it’s just a little harder than others and I want to add even more, but we manage, and I’m getting to do what I want. I’m getting to live my dream and that’s really cool and I hope I can do everything as long as I’m here.”
Do you feel like your studies are affected by all the other things you have going on?
“Well, affected by it as in having to make all situations a school situation…I mean, I can work on set and I can work in the car and that makes it slightly harder but I still have straight A’s and I think that my education is very important and if anything else comes in the way of that, then I will do something about it. But for right now everything is working really well so as of right now I’m happy with everything that I’m doing and school is not a problem. It’s still hard, obviously, cause that’s how it works, but I’m keeping up with everything hopefully I can keep doing that!”
Do you actually get any free time at this point?
“I do. A little bit. On weekends.”
What do you like to do with your free time?
“When I have free time I usually like to stay at home, ’cause I don’t get to be at home much. I play with my dogs. I have two dogs and I love them. Sometimes I’ll hang out with my friends when I get a moment. It’s hard to match up our schedules sometimes, but we make it work. So, yeah, that.”
I’ve watched your show and to me it’s got sort of a Lemony Snicket meets Judy Blume sort of flavor to it. Kind of fanciful and fun but real. Is that an accurate description? Or how would you describe it to someone who hasn’t watched it before?
“Yeah, that’s a pretty accurate description. I would use the word…I mean, it’s really just a story about friendship, mystery, and adventure all done with a bit of magic. And I think it’s keeping that magical element in a way that’s realistic.”
Who do you feel the show is really aimed at? I know Amazon has it listed as a family show. Do you think there’s anything in it that really does appeal to grown-ups or is there a certain age range of kids that would find it the most appealing?
“Yes, it’s really for families. It really is. Because it has so many valuable life lessons that kids can learn and adults can be reminded of. It also deals with very serious issues and some of those issues are more in season two, but it is really for families because everyone’s there. There’s also adults in the series, too, so…it’s for everyone.”
Can you tell us anything about the issues that will be getting addressed in season two or are those kind of under lock and key?
“Under lock and key. (laugh) Sorry. There will be more problems that the kids will have that will need to be worked out and it takes a bit of a serious turn at a point, but no, I can’t say much about it.”
What’s been your favorite thing about being involved in the show and playing the super smart Catherine?
“My favorite thing about it is probably meeting new people because we’re always bringing in new guest stars and having new people on set, which is really cool because I get to meet all these different talented, creative people and we all have something in common. We all act and we’re all in this business together and I think it’s just really cool that I get to meet new friends and expand my relationships with people. And also just the fact that, we talked about this earlier, I get to use some of my other skills in my acting.”
Of all the people that you’ve gotten to meet and act with, have you had a favorite?
“I don’t know! Honestly, I don’t really have a favorite. I’m sorry. The ones I’ve worked MOST with are Sloane Siegel who plays Gortimer, Ashley Boettcher who plays Mel, and Drew Justice who plays Ranger and then also I’ve worked with David Bloom and Coco Grayson who play Stanley and Abigail. And those are the kids who I get to work the most with and really we’ve all just become best friends. We all hang out on and off set and it’s really fun. And also I get to work with different directors, too, and I really like that. They’re all so different and it’s really cool getting to work with different ones because you get to work on different sets. It’s almost a completely different set when you have different directors. You just learn more.”
Is it difficult to work with different directors on different things and figure out what each of them wants from you?
“It’s not difficult. It can be described as sometimes being a healthy challenge. It challenges me to be really a better actor and work on different sets and work with different people. None of them have been difficult per se but they’re different. They’re just different. I don’t know how to explain it. Some know exactly how they want things to be done and then other directors will say, ‘Hey, I want you to experiment with the role and try it your way.’ And both ways are nice to have.”
What kind of things have you learned from playing Catherine?
“Okay. What I have learned…a lot of different things about the world. Because she’s always the one who has all these brainy facts that no one else knows and I’ve learned new words and things like that. But also I’ve learned…do you mean specifically things that I’ve learned?”
Yeah! Are there words or facts that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise? Or are there things that you’re learning about her that you wouldn’t have expected?
“Ok, so yeah, I’ve learned a bunch of different obscure facts like in season one I had a line where I’m going through a read and I say, ‘I’m gonna go read Dostoyevsky,’ and I’m like ‘Who’s Dostoyevsky?’ so I went and looked up Dostoyevsky and I learned about him and I actually got one of his books that I’m trying to read right now, Crime and Punishment. Obviously, it’s very difficult to read and I was a freshman at the time, so…But, also, yeah, I’ve learned more about her and that’s something that I’ve never really gotten to experience before because I’ve never really gotten to stick with a character so long where I can really grow with the character. It’s something I can almost describe as having a friend. When you meet someone and become friends and then you’ve been friends for a really long time, you learn more about the other person and you guys become closer and that’s what I kind of feel with Catherine. I think of her as a person because I have to play her and she is a person. So we’re friends and I get to learn more about her every day I play her.”
Now that you’ve done film and TV, do you have a preference between the two?
“I have done more TV than I’ve done film so I prefer TV right now, but I’m sure as I grow in the industry and do more films, it’ll be pretty even because Battlefield America was fun to film and being on a set for so long with people and working really really really hard and then boom it’s done and then you get the whole finished product, that’s pretty cool too. Maybe…as of right now, TV I enjoy a bit more.”
Is there anything you can tell us about what to expect from season two and do you know yet when it’s gonna be released?
“I actually do not know when it’s gonna be released. They’re still playing around with dates. But I can tell you that there will definitely be more adventures, you’ll find out a LOT more about the different characters on the show, and secrets, and mysteries, and things will be revealed, and I can’t say what all exactly you’re gonna see, but there’s so much more that you really get to be a part of Normal Street in the second season. I’m really excited for it to be released.”
Do you have any other projects that you’re working on right now or are you pretty booked up with Normal Street and all the extracurricular activities you’re involved in?
“Right now I’m just busy focusing on Gortimer. I’m still doing my other activities when I can, but Gortimer is taking up a lot of my time right now. So, I mean, I’m focused mostly on that.”
If you haven’t caught up on Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, check it out on Amazon Prime now!