Known mostly for her theatre credits, Emma Hunton broke into the television scene earlier this year on Freeform’s hit show Good Trouble as Davia, a body-positive influencer and Teach for America teacher who lives in the Coterie alongside Callie and Mariana.
I got the chance to talk with Emma about how she got into acting originally, how she landed the role of Davia on Good Trouble, her feelings on the Davia/Dennis pairing and what we can expect from that relationship this season, what she’s currently nerding out about and so much more! Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you got into acting originally.
I didn’t have any friends when I was a kid, and I DESPERATELY wanted to be an actor. My mother wasn’t crazy about me being an actor, mostly because she was a child actress and didn’t like the business. So around 6 or 7, when the bullying REALLY started, my mom put me in a community theater group. She thought I could A) make friends and B) see how much I enjoyed acting when I was the fourth girl from the left in the back row. The director of the community theater group was, and still is, a well-known casting director in Los Angeles. He asked me before my mother if this was something I was really interested in doing for life because he thought I was good enough to make this my career. I told him it was what I wanted more than anything in the world. He approached my mother and she said, “It’s a good thing you asked her first because I would have said no.” My mother is INSANELY supportive of my career; I think she just really wanted me to have a normal life, but normal was always so boring to me.
Was there a specific person or experience that you would credit with helping you decide that acting is what you wanted to do for a living?
I was always very imaginative. I think the idea of playing pretend for a living was always fun to me. I didn’t have any friends so I found ways to have fun in which I didn’t need any. And my family encouraged my weird imagination. My whole family, while not having necessarily creative jobs, are all funny and quirky and weird and creative, so I was always surrounded by imagination.
Let’s talk about Good Trouble, which is my favorite new show of 2019. Going back to the beginning, what did you first think about the show when you read the script? What was your audition process like for the show?
Thank you so much! The first time I read the script, I looked to my friend and said, “Okay, I know I might be biased but I think this is really good.” So I made her read it and she agreed that it was great. So that was kind of an “oh shit” moment when you know you’re going to be part of something really special and real and that makes people think.
I had been lucky enough to do a show with EP and co-creator Bradley Bredeweg the summer before they started casting. I had just moved back to New York because I wasn’t booking anything in LA and I wanted to get back to my theater roots. I had just finished a show the day before, so my hair was bright pink. Bradley sent me an email around 11pm my time saying, “We’ve been trying to cast this role and I just keep hearing your voice in my head. Will you do me a favor and just put it on tape really quickly?” So I told him “absolutely!”, but inside I’m freaking out because my hair is bright pink. So I bleach it all because I knew I wouldn’t book this role if my hair was bright pink (and coincidentally why Davia’s hair is blonde). It’s just not who Davia is. And I sent him a tape and he passed it through to casting. I was in rehearsal for another show at the time and we were heading into tech the next week. I remember sitting in the rehearsal room 10 minutes before lunch and I got a text from Brad and my agent saying, “The network approved you. You got the show.” I just started crying like a crazy person in Pearl Studios.
I know a lot of actors bring a bit of themselves to the characters they play, but in what ways do you think you’re similar to Davia and in what ways do you think you’re different from Davia?
I think Davia and I share her confidence for sure. We’re both funny, if we do say so ourselves. She’s more organized than I am and she’s younger than I am. Davia asks a lot of questions about things I’ve already had to ask and now know the answers to. So reliving those moments of ignorance is kind of interesting for me.
Just when we think we’ve seen the last of Jeff and Davia together, something happens to keep their relationship going, most recently with Jeff saying he will move to LA for her in episode 2×02. What can we expect from this relationship moving forward?
Look, I think Jeff is trash, but Davia is not innocent either. I think Jeff is [an] important [relationship] for Davia to go through so she knows what NOT to do for the right guy. Any time I see Jeff pop up in the script, I cringe for Davia because you know she’s doing something dumb. But I do love working with Chris Sheffield, so its awful that he has to play such a hated character.
Davia is also trying to sort through her new found feelings for Dennis, which I’ll be honest – I did not see coming. Were you surprised when they told you that this was where they were going with Davia’s story? What do you think makes Davia and Dennis such a good pairing romantically?
I was not surprised at all. It always felt like the shit Davia gives Dennis is unwarranted. So as an actor you kind of have to say, “Okay, what is the root of that? Does she even know that she has feelings for him?” I think they both know they have so much to work on for themselves and that they both have SO much baggage to bring to the table that they really want to take the time dissecting it so that when its on – its ON. I think it’s too precarious of a situation to not do it the right way and they respect that and each other that they don’t want to mess it up.
Kind of going off of that, what’s it like working with Josh Pence as a scene partner?
It’s the bee’s knees, dude. Obviously, Josh is one of the best actors on any screen and I get to watch the live show. He really cares about his craft and about Dennis and he’s the sweetest guy, so it makes my job so easy.
One of my absolute favorite moments from the show so far was Davia and Dennis singing “Danny’s Song” in season 1 (still low-key hoping there’s a studio version out there somewhere that will one day get released). If the storyline was right, would you want to do more singing on the show at some point?
Absolutely. I think music is an integral part of being a human, and I’m a musical theater whore, so I’m always down for a musical moment. There is never a wrong time to sing.
Which upcoming episode in season two are you most excited for fans to see and why?
Ooh, I’m really excited for people to see Episode 6 BUT I CAN’T SAY WHY! But you’ll know when you see it. Also, everyone was working that day so it was fun to have a Coterie moment again.
Since Good Trouble is all about what it is like being in your early 20s and figuring out adulthood, what is something you wish you had known in your early 20s?
Everything isn’t so important. It doesn’t all have to get done right now. There’s time to stop and enjoy life. And that I can’t control what people think of me. There is always going to be someone there who doesn’t like you or won’t agree with you and sometime’s their reasons don’t seem valid to you. But that is THEIR opinion that they are allowed to have. And it is too exhausting trying to change that. So move on, tiny Emma.
Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
I recently got a Nintendo Switch, so I’m currently nerding out about Super Mario Odyssey. Every time I use both controllers, I feel like I’m operating that dive robot in the beginning of Titanic. So that’s pretty cool.