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Q&A: RUBY & THE ROCKITS' Alexa Vega & Austin Butler

We Love Soaps recently participatd in a Q&A session with RUBY AND THE ROCKITS stars Alexa Vega and Austin Butler. Alexa plays the role of Ruby and Austin the role of Jordan on the ABC Family series which airs all-new episodes on Tuesdays at 8:30pm ET. The show follows the life of Ruby, a teenage girl who finds out that her father is the former lead singer of an '80s hair band. She comes to live with his family and her relationship with her father and her uncle's family are being developed as the story progresses. The show is a family affair as it was created by Shaun Cassidy and stars David and Patrick Cassidy. Below is a transcript from this interview.

Traci Grant (thestarscoop.com): My first question is just tell me a little bit about if people haven’t seen the show yet, why should they tune in now? Convince us.

Alexa Vega: I just feel like we bring back a very kind of special feeling that I think a lot of people who are adults now had as a child, and that was the TGI Friday feeling where you could sit down with the entire family and enjoy a TV show where it’s not too cheesy for adults, but it’s not too savvy for the younger children. It’s really a happy family TV show. I think it just brings the family together, so if you want a good family experience, this show is it for you.

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Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): I wanted to know what you’ve learned so far working with the Cassidy brothers?

Austin Butler: Oh, man.

Alexa Vega: Austin, you go first.

Austin Butler: I’ve learned how, this is something that’s so important to them is family and how they pull all their family into it, and they treat their family with such respect, and they’re so great to each other. It’s really changed how I view my own family. They’re just so loving to each other, and I learned so much from that.

Alexa Vega: Yes, from the Cassidys, they’re just such good, good guys. They really respect each other, and they also really make fun of each other, too, on set, but that’s kind of what makes the whole brother dynamic work. Learning from them is really, they grew up in this business, and they’ve had it way, I think, harder than anyone else because they really were those teen sensations, those teen pop idols. I’ve learned from Mr. Shaun to really value and enjoy every day because he said it goes by so quickly that you just want to take it one step at a time.

Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps): Thanks. Nice to talk to you guys.

Alexa Vega: Hi.

Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps): How much did you actually know about David and Shaun Cassidy before this show?

Austin Butler: See, I didn’t know who they were exactly. I’d heard their names, but I had no clue what they did or anything. My mom, of course, knew exactly who they were, and so when I got the audition, she was really, really excited and stuff. She wanted to go with me to the audition, and then eventually, right after the first audition, I went on YouTube and started looking at all these videos of them, and then I was so amazed at how huge they were. Alexa, you knew who they were, right?

Alexa Vega: Yes, because I grew up watching THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY. I didn’t grow up really watching cartoons. I was one of those weird kids who loved I LOVE LUCY and GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and stuff like that, so PARTRIDGE FAMILY was just another one of those oldies shows that was on the network that I watched, and I loved it. I didn’t see the THE HARDY BOYS. That is one thing I do have to catch up on, but I really, really knew who David Cassidy was, and then the only poster my mom ever had on her wall growing up was of Shaun Cassidy, so I had heard a lot about him from her. All I knew about Mr. Shaun Cassidy was the amazing feathered hair, so yes, I knew a little bit about Shaun, but mostly about David.

Alex Boisvert (Teen Hollywood 411): I was wondering have there been any funny or embarrassing moments on the set?

Austin Butler: There’ve been some pranks. I mean, Alexa and Kurt have pranked me. I don’t know why. I always get the short end of the stick. One time-

Alexa Vega: I’m sorry.

Austin Butler: One time we were filming and I had to be eating cereal, and when I turned away, they put salt in my cereal. That’s the kind of thing that I always get stuck with.

Alexa Vega: Well, we’re just trying to make it exciting for everybody.

Austin Butler: Yes, yes, exactly.

Alexa Vega: I think I’m not really used to singing. This whole singing thing has been super new, especially this. Mr. Shaun, originally, we were supposed to lip sync the songs that we sing on the show. We’re supposed to go in and record them, and then lip sync them when it’s on shoot day, but ten minutes before we had to go in and shoot, he tells us that he wants us to sing it live, so Austin and I are quickly warming up our voices, but it adds such a different feeling to the show. It gives it this great, kind of like, raw feeling, and if you mess up, it makes our characters a lot more relatable, whereas other shows it just like gosh, those kids sing perfect, and there isn’t anything wrong with them. I’ve cracked quite a few times in front of the audience, and that’s definitely embarrassing, yet very humbling because it lets everybody know that you’re just a normal, real person.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): You guys just mentioned the pranks. I heard about some of the other ones. I just wanted to know has Kurt done anything with the tarantulas yet?

Alexa Vega: No, the tarantula thing was, my boyfriend threatened him, saying that he knows where he can get 100 tarantulas on-call, so he was saying, “Don’t you try anything on Alexa’s room.” That’s what that was.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): Oh, okay.

Alexa Vega: He was not going to do anything with tarantulas.

Austin Butler: But Kurt took it as he has Shaun on his side, and he could put tarantulas in my room any time he wants.

Alexa Vega: Are you serious? Oh, no, no, that’s not what Shaun meant.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): Well, Austin, since you’re the butt of most of the pranks, have you come up with anything to get back at those guys?

Austin Butler: I have come up with a couple really good ones that are confidential because I can’t let Kurt ever hear until they happen, so once they happen, then I’ll do breaking news, and I’ll tell everybody. There’s one that I’m really excited for, but it takes a couple weeks of preparation.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): Oh, sounds complicated.

Austin Butler: Yes.

Alexa Vega: Gee.

Austin Butler: Yes, I’ll tell you about it later, Alexa.

Alexa Vega: Are you trying to kill the poor child? It’s a prank, Austin.

Austin Butler: No, I’m just trying to make him go to therapy for years.

Alexa Vega: Oh, no.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): I just have one more quick thing. Austin, have David and Shaun given you any advice on how to deal with the screaming female fans?

Austin Butler: Oh, man, David basically just laughs at it and says, “You’ll deal with it.” There was one time when we were, both me and he, were walking to the bathroom after one of our scenes, and then there was some crazy girl over there, and he just kind of said, “Oh, it must be nice to have girls all over you,” or something like that. I was just thinking, you’ve had so many girls all over you your entire life. What’re you talking about? They basically tell me when it gets too bad, then to come to them, and then they’ll give me the actual sound advice.

Josh Bozeman (thebluesite.com): You guys are both really rooted in material that the entire family can enjoy. Is it important to you when choosing roles, and did any of that come into play when deciding to take part in this series?

Alexa Vega: Absolutely. I had kind of, after Spy Kids, I was in such a mode to get out of that kind of Spy Kid world that I quickly jumped into trying to find more mature roles and something completely different and opposite from Spy Kids, and then after I kind of did that for about five or six years, something like that, I kind of decided I didn’t realize how special that was that I had. Being able to play young is still a wonderful gift that not a lot of people can still do. I’m just like, you know what, I’m going to embrace the fact that I look like I’m 15 years old and go for this all over again. For me, being able to jump back into a family show that everybody can watch and isn’t too gritty for kids because all these roles now days, the moment I turned 18, the big question was “Will you do some really kind of crazy scenes?” Every role now is you have to take your clothes off. I’m like, “Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous.” For me, Ruby and the Rockits is exactly where I want to be.

Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps): For both of you, how would you say you’re the same and how would you say you’re different from your characters?

Austin Butler: Well, I think I look a lot like my character, for sure. No, he loves to play music, and I love to play music in real life, but the difference between us is that he feels like he has to write really depressing music all the time because that’s the only way that you can be a good musician. I’m kind of learning from him in my real life to not write super-emo songs or anything.

Alexa Vega: For me, I think I’m like Ruby in the sense that I feel like I’m a high-spirited person. I feel like I usually have a good energy about me, but unlike Ruby, she’s such a go-getter. I mean, she really is not afraid of anything, and I feel like she is just a little bit braver than I am. I feel like I’m brave. I can sometimes go for it, but I feel like she really doesn’t have any walls. She can do anything, and she’s not too afraid of being embarrassed or of basically falling down. She knows that she can get right back up again, but she also has this really cool sense of style. I’m definitely more on the tomboy side, and I feel like Ruby’s a lot girlier than I am, but it’s really exciting because being able to play her, I dress up in so many different cool outfits. I’m starting to find my girlie side in Ruby. I’m starting to change my style in real life because of some of the clothes that she wears on the show, so it’s funny how suddenly when you play a character, it starts impacting your life just a little bit.

Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps): How would you guys describe the relationship between Ruby and Jordan?

Alexa Vega: Oh, yes. Ruby and Jordan, at this point, because we’re still, I think, only in four episodes. Right, Austin?

Austin Butler: I think so.

Alexa Vega: Something like that. I think that it’s hard because Ruby is still a new girl, and for Ruby she’s just enjoying having this new family and understanding that dynamic of, even though she’s living with her cousins, they kind of almost feel like her brothers because she’s living in the house that way.

Austin Butler: Jordan and her still have that sort of she’s the new girl and they’ve never met feeling, to Jordan anyway, and so he’s still got that kind of crush going on, and he’s still trying to fight those feelings, but later on in the episodes, it starts to get, they turn into more like siblings, and then they have that sibling bickering, and it’s really fun to play.

Alexa Vega: Rivalry almost.

Jennifer Wagner (Examiner.com): I was wondering for both of you if you’ve noticed that you have any families that are fans where the kids are fans of the two of you and the moms are fans of any of the Cassidy brothers, depending on their age?

Alexa Vega: Absolutely, I always get messages on Facebook and MySpace and even on Twitter. It’s so funny how everybody’s talking about, “Oh, my gosh. My mom and I love the show,” or you’ll even get moms in there that’ll be like, “My kids and I watch you all the time on the show.” It’s just really nice to be able to get moms or kids who watch the show with their parents writing to us, telling us how the whole family gets together to watch because that’s exactly what you want when you do a TV show is to get the fans excited about. When we have the group of fans, the exact fans that we want to be watching the show watching it, it’s definitely an accomplishment.

Jennifer Wagner (Examiner.com): Yes, no, that’s great. I had been a big fan of David Cassidy back during the Partridge Family days, so I think that this is really cute.

Alex Boisvert (Teen Hollywood 411): What has been your favorite episode to shoot so far?

Alexa Vega: I would say the one that’s airing next week.

Austin Butler: Yes, that one was really fun.

Alexa Vega: Just because we were able to rock out a little bit more with the songs. I think Austin was able to really play up the jealousy which made it more fun for me to kind of torment him with the fact that Ruby is totally head-over-heels for this guys, and he’s an older guy, so it’s her real first big crush that you get to see on this show. It was really exciting to play that.

Austin Butler: There’s that big twist in that episode that I love.

Alexa Vega: Oh, yes, a huge twist.

Austin Butler: It’s just a really fun episode.

Alexa Vega: It gave us a lot to work with, and that was really exciting. We were able to change it up a lot.

Austin Butler: Yes.

Alex Boisvert (Teen Hollywood 411): Good, can’t wait to watch it. Do you guys still keep in touch with members of the cast from your other projects you worked on?

Alexa Vega: Yes, you know it’s hard just because you get really busy, but I talk to, not really a member of the cast, but I’m still very, very close to Robert Rodriguez. He has been definitely the father figure in my life for a long time, and I feel like he’s my family, so I definitely keep in touch with him.

Austin Butler: I did Aliens in the Attic with Carter Jenkins and Ashley Tisdale, and I still see them. I just saw Ashley the other day, and Carter and I are like best friends now. Carter and I were there five months together, so we became so close, so that’s really great.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): Alexa, I wanted to know, going into this since it was a musical kind of show, were you intimidated at all with Shaun and David there, or what kind of advice did they give you on the musical side?

Alexa Vega: I have to say, there can be a lot of intimidation, especially when going into a show where these guys grew up as huge teen sensations, but because they’re such wonderful people, they made us feel so comfortable and so confident when going up there that there were nerves, but they really talked us out of them. It’s so important to have people guide you along the way, and Mr. Shaun’s been so unbelievably helpful, and David is just so wonderful because he always tells us the sweetest things and makes us feel confident in that sense that he’s like, “You sound great. Just get up there and do it. You look good,” and everything. He knows those words of encouragement.

Austin Butler: He’s so complimentary.

Alexa Vega: Mr. Shaun really sits down and gives us that heartfelt conversation of, “This is going to be so important to young kids. They’re going to feel like they can relate to you, and there aren’t very many relatable characters on TV.” He’s like, “Be that person for those young girls.” That’s exciting to be able to share that and go for it.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): Right on, I was surprised that David’s a lot funnier than I thought, too.

Alexa Vega: Oh, yes.

Austin Butler: He’s hilarious.

Alexa Vega: His comedic timing is great.

Troy Rogers (thedeadbolt.com): I like him in his spandex pants. I thought that was hilarious.

Alexa Vega: Oh, boy, more to come.

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