Let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t Allison Munn’s first trip to the rodeo. Sure, she only started on One Tree Hill last season and (unfortunately) isn’t in every episode. But with a starring role on the dearly departed What I Like About You, continued involvement with Rock the Vote and a growing role on OTH, I think it’s safe to say “Miss Lauren” is doing pretty well for herself.
TeenDramaWhore: You starred in nearly 60 episodes of What I Like About You. What are some of the differences working on a half-hour comedy versus a one-hour drama?
Allison Munn: I love working in both the comedy and drama format, but they’re completely different beasts. I started out in musical theatre, where I was used to performing in front of an audience, holding for laughs, and getting instant gratification for a funny bit. That ’70s Show and What I Like About You were shot in front of a studio audience, so it was a comfortable transition. Shooting a sitcom is like doing a mini-play every week. You rehearse for the first 3 days, camera block and pre-shoot on the 4th day, and shoot the whole episode in front of the audience on the 5th. It’s super fast and incredibly fun. Dramas move at a much slower pace – you could spend half of a day on one scene. There isn’t as much rehearsal time as there is for a sitcom, but you get more takes. Oh, and actors generally look a lot better in a drama, because the lighting is better – so I love that. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about creating an entertaining and honest performance, regardless of the format.
TDW: When you joined One Tree Hill, did you know you were going to be Jamie’s teacher AND Skills’ love interest?
Munn: When I first joined One Tree Hill, I had no idea I’d eventually be paired up with Skills. I was thrilled when Mark Schwahn called me soon after my first episode and pitched this storyline. I was excited to work with Antwon Tanner because he’s so great on the show and he’s good friends with Wesley Jonathan (my character’s love interest from What I Like About You). Antwon is so easy to work with, super-relaxed and funny. We have a blast.
TDW: What is it like working with Jackson Brundage and the other child actors?
Munn: Jackson is awesome. He’s such a cool kid – I love hanging out with him on set. He’s so professional – always knows his lines (and mine when I forget one!) and takes direction like a champ. Working with babies, on the other hand, is terrifying. On Carpoolers, my character had a 6-month-old baby and he was in my arms in many of my scenes. The triplets they hired to play the baby were enormous – SO heavy. They always dressed me in very tall platform shoes and I was so afraid I was going to trip and drop the baby – to the point where I’d have nightmares about it. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to convince the director to let me sit down in a scene – or put the baby in a stroller.
TDW: As of this writing, the first two episodes of season 7 have aired. Will we see more of you this season? [Ed. note: now 4 episodes have aired, as of publication]
Munn: You will see more of Lauren this season. I think Lauren is really good for Skills. She’s grounded and sincere and genuinely loves him. It’s a very solid relationship and I’m excited to see where it goes.
TDW: Are you working on any other projects?
Munn: Yes, there is project coming up that I’m excited about but I don’t know if I can talk about it yet.
TDW: You’re originally from South Carolina. Does North Carolina seem similar or different to you?
Munn: Working in the South has been one of my favorite things about this job. I’m from Columbia, South Carolina and went to college in Charleston but I haven’t ever worked there. It has been such a blast to work in a town that feels like home. My mom, dad, brother, and sister have all visited at some point. Downtown Wilmington is beautiful – it reminds me of Charleston and the beaches are lovely. Whenever I’m down there I dream of buying a house and moving there. And don’t even get me started on the food – the boiled peanuts, pulled pork barbecue, grits, biscuits, hush puppies…
TDW: In the past you’ve been very involved with Rock the Vote. Now that the election is over, what do you do for them?
Munn: I love Rock the Vote and am proud to have been involved with them. They are a non-partisan organization and their primary focus is to give a voice to a typically overlooked portion of voters. Due to their efforts, the youth vote (18-29 year olds) has risen significantly over the past 10 years and more than doubled in 2008. Now that the election is over – their focus has switched to educating young voters by explaining the issues in ways that young people can relate to. They analyze the issue from all sides and leave the voters to decide where they stand. I think that’s why love this organization so much – they don’t tell you how to think, they give you the tools to think for yourself. For example, if you want to learn more about the health care debate, visit: http://www.rockthevote.com/issues/health-care.html
TDW: Have you given any thought joining Twitter or Facebook so you can interact with fans?
Munn: I’m on Twitter. My Twitter name is @allisonmunn. See you there.
Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!