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"Dedicated. Dynamic. Delightful. A well spoken actress with a bright future."
"It really was very comforting, like you were at home all the time."
"It was all just a great memory that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."
"My dream is to be an Academy Award winning actress."
"Without my parents, I wouldn't be here. They are terrific."
"The auditions (are) the best part because I get to do what I love every day."
Taylor Dooley  

Interviewed by Mark Sells
April 2005

Dedicated. Dynamic. Delightful. These are the words that come to mind when talking to Taylor Dooley, a well-spoken young actress with a bright future. Born in Michigan, but honing her talents in Arizona, Taylor began her career by studying dance and acting with Phoenix Theater's Performance Troop. And by the time she was nine years old, she was on a daily regimen of auditions and rehearsals, practicing and performing regularly. As the determination and enthusiasm took over, casting agents began to notice. And soon Taylor was thrust into the national spotlight with commercials for Famous Footwear, Disney Superstar Kids, Mary Kate and Ashley clothing, and many more.

Yet for Taylor, these commercials were merely a stepping-stone. Wanting to pursue a career in the movies, she convinced her family to leave the comforts of Arizona for California, the land of motion picture opportunity. It was not an easy decision, but one that demonstrated the love and confidence her parents have for her. So, with her parents' support, she went to work in Los Angeles. And while it was inevitable that something would turn up, no one would have imagined that that something would have been a starring role in a Robert Rodriguez film!

Making her film debut in Columbia Pictures' "The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lava Girl in 3-D," Taylor explodes onto the big screen with fiery pink hair and a molten hot suit. As the title superhero, Lava Girl, she joins forces with Sharkboy to save Planet Drool all the while demonstrating the importance of dreams. It's a fitting first feature for Taylor, one that showcases her charisma and confidence. And, most definitely, it's an all- important first step toward a promising young career.

Reel Questions, Reel Answers

Tell me a little about your early work, especially how you became involved with Phoenix Theater's Performance Troop.

Well originally, I wanted to be a model and so, I took a few modeling classes. But I also took an acting class and found that I really liked it. So people referred me to the Phoenix Theater and I did that for a little while. And then I started auditioning during pilot season. I got an agent and a manager. And I kept coming out and coming out for auditions.

I did this for about 2 months. I'd get commercials, but nothing big. And at the same time, I kept begging my Dad to move to California until he finally said 'okay, let's move to California!' So we moved, my Dad got a job promotion (which was good), and we got an apartment. And while we were house shopping, I'd go out for auditions. It was at this time that I went out for "Shark Boy & Lava Girl." And I had to go through 5 auditions before I knew I got the part.

How hard was it to go from theater or commercials to feature films?

Well, I'd always auditioned for feature films while I was auditioning for commercials. But actually doing it is different because I was used to doing 2 or 3 day shoots and this was 3 ? months. So, it was different and a little weird. It took me about a month to get used to the set environment. But when I got used to it, it felt much more comfortable than commercials.

What can you tell me about Lava Girl, her super powers, and the pink hair?

Ah, yes. The pink hair. Well, the reason for the pink hair was because Robert didn't want kids to set their hair on fire saying "Look Mom, I'm Lava Girl!" Lava Girl's hair is supposed to be on fire because she's lava. So her hair is fire and they didn't want to make it look like real fire for fear that kids would set their own hair on fire. So, they made it pink.

As for my super powers, as Lava Girl, I can actually shoot lava out of my hands. I can turn into lava by saying "Hot Lava" and then I'll become this great big blob of lava. It'll just be my head that's solid and the rest of me is lava, which is great for escaping enemies.

And the story?

The story is about a 10 year old boy who is kind of a nerd in school. He gets picked on all the time because he's always sleeping in class, always daydreaming.

And one day, he dreams up Shark Boy and Lava Girl and this huge planet that's in trouble. And he realizes his dreams become reality when Shark Boy and Lava Girl break through the school wall and ask him to help save Planet Drool. And so, the film is about their adventures in trying to save Planet Drool.

What was it like working with Robert Rodriguez and the rest of the cast (David Arquette, Kristen Davis, Taylor Lautner)?

It was great working with Robert. He's just the nicest person. Although the set was my first movie set, it was the most family oriented set ever. It really was very comforting, like you were at home all the time.

And working with Taylor was great because he's so nice. He's a great kid and he only lives a few blocks from me. So we see each other all the time. And Kristen Davis and David Arquette were extremely nice too.

The film emphasizes the fact that it was shot in 3-D. How different is shooting in 3-D from regular film?

For 3-D, it was certainly different. You always had to move a certain way or place your body a certain way. And it was harder because all your movements had to be really big so they would show up in 3-D. But even though it was a little weird, it was still a lot of fun.

How are Taylor and Lava Girl alike?

I've always wanted to know what it was like to be a super hero and I actually got to experience that, which was really cool.

They're kind of similar in how neither of us is a tomboy. Lava Girl is actually a little girly girlish even though she's a superhero. And the girly girlish characteristics are how we're a lot alike.

And you both like pink, right?

Yes, we both love pink! Pink is my favorite color!

Speaking of super heroes, who is your favorite and why?

Other than Lava Girl, I'd have to say Spider-Man. I just like how he can use his web powers and swing all over the place. He's really neat.

If you could choose only one super power, what would it be and why?

Hmmm. Probably that everybody would be nice. Because there are just so many mean people, people who don't care what other people think, people who say things to intentionally hurt others' feelings.

So I'd have to say my power would be the ability to make everybody nice in the world.

What was your favorite memory or moment from the making of the film?

Well, there is a scene in the movie where Shark Boy saves me. And I thank him, kiss him on the cheek, and say "Thanks for saving me." It's my favorite memory from the movie because of the joke that Robert played on me.

I was always so nervous because I had never kissed anybody before. Even though it was only on the cheek, I was still really nervous, always asking Robert "where are we going to, where are we going to?" Never knowing what we were going to shoot. And he would always say, "Right before the kiss, but you're not going to do it yet."

So, finally, he said: "The next scene is going to be that scene." And I was so nervous. So nervous that he brought out this wooden pole with green wrapped around it for the green screen. And he said, "Kiss this pole, like it was Shark Boy." So, I sat there kissing this pole, saying "Thanks for saving me." Like I was kissing Shark Boy on the cheek.

But I had no idea it was a joke. Yet everybody on the set knew it was a joke. So when Robert busted out laughing, the whole set was filled with laughter. And I thought, "Yeah, something's funny. But what's so funny?" Everybody was laughing, even my Mom. And then Robert came over and told me it was just a joke. And then I started laughing because I was so embarrassed!

Now, this wasn't caught on camera, was it?

Yes, it was.

So audiences can look forward to it on the special edition DVD?

Yes (laughing), I'm sure it will be on there!

Do you have a worst or least favorite moment from the film?

I don't really have one. It was all just a great memory that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. Although once, I did fall on the set and everybody thought that I fractured my wrist, but I didn't. I just sprained it. So maybe that was my worst moment.

Your bio says you'd like to one day attend Julliard. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

My dream is to be an Academy Award winning actress. And my idol is Natalie Portman. I'd love to follow her path and do what she does. She's such a great actress.

And if you couldn't pursue acting, what would you do?

If I couldn't act, I'd probably do something with animals because I'm a major animal nut. Not really a vet or doctor, but something within the industry that deals with animals.

What do you find is the hardest part about being an actress?

The hardest part is that you don't really have much free time when you're auditioning all the time. There's just not much time to be a kid. And so my weekends are my opportunities to be a kid and spend time with my friends.

What is the best part about being an actress?

The auditions. Every day. It's the best part because I get to do what I love every day.

What kind of role do your parents play in keeping you grounded while also supporting your career?

Well, without my parents, I wouldn't be here. They are terrific. They are the best parents I could ever ask for. And they are so willing to do this for me, giving up everything so that I can do what I love. My Mom was a PTA President and my Dad had a really good job in Arizona that they gave up for us to move to Los Angeles. Even my brother sacrificed - he had to switch schools twice so that I could pursue acting! I'm so grateful.

My parents are always keeping me grounded and making sure my head is in the right place. They are just awesome!

You mention reading as a favorite hobby. What should I be reading now?

My favorite book would have to be a new book that just came out. It's called "I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader" (by Kieran Scott). I just finished it and it's really good. It's about a girl who goes to a school where everybody is blonde and she's the only brunette. Kind of like real life, how people treat others who are different. It's about tolerance and friendship. Overall, just a great book.

And lastly, what kinds of things do you do for fun?

Well, I take dance classes. And I hang out with all my friends when I get a chance to. Like last weekend, my friends Jenna and Cayden (from "Shark Boy & Lava Girl"), came over and we all went to Six Flags and had such a great time. And then, this weekend we're going back to visit and spend time with all our friends in Arizona.

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