Wednesday, June 10, 2009

'Make It or Break It' Q&A With Chelsea Hobbs & Ayla Kell (Preview)

Michael Goldberg and I had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session on Monday with Chelsea Hobbs and Ayla Kell, two of the stars from the new ABC Family drama, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT. I'll post their answers to our questions below this synopsis of the show.

Set amidst the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, the new ABC Family original series MAKE IT OR BREAK IT stars Chelsea Hobbs, Ayla Kell, Josie Loren, Cassie Scerbo, Zachary Burr Abel, Peri Gilpin, Candace Cameron Bure and Susan Ward (ex-Meg, SUNSET BEACH).

Gymnastics newcomer Emily Kmetko (Hobbs) has dreams of becoming an Olympic gymnast and, when she receives a scholarship to train at one of the nation’s top gyms, she gets the chance to make her dreams come true. But when she shows up at The Rock gymnastics training center in Colorado, she inadvertently shakes up the gym’s status quo. Emily’s natural abilities and lower economic status don’t win her friends immediately. The three girls most threatened by her arrival are top gymnast Payson Keeler (Kell), whose whole life is gymnastics and who is used to being number one; the beautiful Kaylie Cruz (Loren), who must deal with a dad who is a perfectionist and a secret relationship with the gym’s resident hottie, Carter Anderson (Abel); and ultra competitive Lauren Tanner (Scerbo), who takes Emily’s arrival the hardest. With Emily just trying to do her best, will the girls eventually warm up to the newcomer or, if Lauren has her way, will Emily be heading back to the local YMCA gym she came from?

Sitting on the sidelines, but just as dedicated to the gymnastic world, are the parents of these stellar athletes. Kim Keeler (Gilpin), Payson’s mom, is supportive of her daughter’s dream, even moving her family across the country to help realize her daughter’s goal. But besides being concerned about Payson’s last beam score, Kim worries that her daughter’s utter devotion to the sport is hindering any chance at a semi-normal teenage life. Chloe Kmetko (Ward) is more of a free spirit than your typical mom, which leaves Emily to be the responsible one who must look after her mother and her brother. Besides the Kmetkos, there’s another new face at the gym when Lauren’s dad brings his new girlfriend, Summer (Bure), into the fray. Just as Lauren is less than thrilled with Emily’s arrival, she is furious about Summer’s entrance into her life and makes it known, no matter how hard Summer tries to be friendly.

As the girls vie for their shot at winning the gold, they must contend with the immense pressure from coaches, sponsors and even their own parents, all while having to deal with normal teen issues and finding themselves competing against the same people they consider friends for the coveted top spots.

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT is executive-produced by Holly Sorensen, Paul Stupin and John Ziffren, along with co-executive producer Joanna Johnson (ex-Caroline, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL).
Here is a sampling from the Q&A with the We Love Soaps questions.

Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps): For both of you, do your characters compare to characters you’ve played in the past, and have you ever played athletes before?

Chelsea Hobbs: I’ve played a dancer a few times. Definitely not anything like this. My character, as far as Emily goes, she’s similar to other characters I’ve played, but definitely I’ve never played anyone quite like Emily. She’s got a lot of depth to her and a lot of history, a lot of issues. So it’ll be interesting to see that all play out, for sure.

Aykla Kell: I did professional dance for a long time, and I usually get characters who do something athletic, but it’s usually not this involved, not this much of the character. And when it comes to other character traits, I haven’t really played somebody who is so one focus and really sees nothing else, so it’s really exciting getting to divulge into that and figure out all the little nuances.

Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps): Great. Chelsea, the readers on my blog are really big Susan Ward fans from her daytime soap days. What’s it like working with her, and how is that mother/daughter relationship playing out?

Chelsea Hobbs: Susan is awesome. I am in love with Susan. We all think she’s just so hilarious. She’s got such a great sense of humor. The set is so colorful when she’s on it, and it’s funny because, as much as we have a great banter and there’s something about Susan. We really work well together, but she’s also able to look me in the eyes, and we both can start crying. Like, there’s something about her that is just so magnetic, and she’s just such a talented actress. I learn from her every single time I work from her.

Michael Goldberg (We Love Soaps): What is it like working with Joanna Johnson? I know she’s an executive, co-executive producer with the show, and our readers really loved her from her days on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.

Ayla Kell: She’s really, really great, and she is very interactive with her writing, which is so nice because if she’s shooting for something in her head, and she wants to tweak it just a little bit, she still talks to you in actor terms, which makes life so easy, and she’s just so wonderful.

Chelsea Hobbs: And she’s hilarious.

Ayla Kell: She is hilarious.

More from the Q&A will be posted as we move closer to the premiere of MAKE IT OR BREAK IT on Monday, June 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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