Ella Wahlestedt is the only girl amongst 3 boys on a quest to help Echo return home in the movie, “Earth To Echo”. You may recognize her from her role in “Army Wives” and you’ll also be seeing her in James Franco’s feature film “Killing Animals”. I actually had the opportunity to sit down and chat with her for an interview.
Here’s what Ella Wahlestedt had to say about her role as Emma in “Earth To Echo”…
Why should we take our families to see Earth to Echo?
It’s very family friendly film. It’s very empowering for kids because it shows us that no matter your age you can do whatever you set your mind to. There’s definitely a message of hope and friendship and it’s kind of this generation’s movie. It’s made for us kids, with the impact of technology we can really relate to it and its this generations E.T. I wanna say.
How did you prepare for this role?
Emma is very similar to me. She’s a typical teenager, so I didn’t feel like I needed to do that much research…her and I are very similar, so I tried to react as I would react in these situations.
Are there any ways in which you relate to your character, Emma?
We’re very loyal friends. I stick by my friends til the very end like Emma does (especially in the scene where Alex is in the arcade and she goes back for him to save him). Also, she is very adventurous as am I. I’m like a dare-devil. I’m an adrenaline junkie. I really want to sky dive for my 16th birthday and I really want to go parasailing and stuff like that, so we have that in common.
What was it like filming with 3 boy costars and no female costars?
So much testosterone (laughter). It was very different, usually I have other girls my age there but it really wasn’t the case in this scenario. Luckily, I have a younger brother whose 13 so I can relate to them very easily. I knew what they talked about, what they like and I mean we ended up usually talking about music or hobbies. There are things I can relate with honestly.
So you were still able to relate to them?
Yeah. It did get a little overwhelming though with all the testosterone. I had to go over to the hair and make up ladies often, to chill out and read some magazines. Talk girly stuff.
What was the most challenging thing for you while filming?/h3>
Definitely, imagining that something is there when it really isn’t. A lot of stuff was done in post production with CGI. So, I had to pretend that I saw Echo, the alien, doing tricks and things. I just had to use my imagination, which was very challenging.
Was there something that served as a stand in?
They had a Toy Echo but it wasn’t able to do all the cool things that Echo does. So I just had to imagine it.
Which actor or actress would you like to have as your mentor? Why?
I really like Tom Hanks. I think he was amazing in Forrest Gump. That character was such a stretch for him and I think he pulled it off beautifully. I also really like Meryl Streep. She’s been in the business for ever and of course she is the queen of acting and her many awards prove it.
Best acting advice ever given to you?
I was told that when I perform to let go because when your constantly thinking am I doing this right? should I be doing this instead of that? Oh my gosh. Can the camera see me? Am I hitting my mark? It just messes with you. You’ve just got to be in the moment and let everything go.
What fun things do you like to do when you are not acting?
I really like to play golf, I’m a golfer…CrossFit has been a huge obsession of mine recently. I’m so obsessed, I go 3 times a week and I can already see my body transforming, it’s amazing.
What do you love most about acting?
I love transferring myself into different characters. The challenge of it is always very exciting and you never know what you’re going to play, so that always excites me. You can play a typical teenager one day and the next you can play a serial killer.
Hopefully in the future, I’ll branch out and try new things. That’s what’s so exciting about acting. I never want to get stuck in a rut. I want to keep expanding and evolving as an actress. I think playing different characters allows me to do that.
Do you want to make a career out of acting or will you also be pursuing another career as well?
…I want to continue doing this well into my adult life because I love it. Once I get sick of it, I’ll quit and move on to something else but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
What would your message be for young girls looking to you as a role model?
I think bullying and self-image is a huge issue in today’s society. I think you need to…stand up for yourself. If anyone is giving you a hard time, don’t take it. I think a lot of girls are hesitant to speak up and stand up for what’s right and I think that’s a huge lesson to be learned.
How do you not let the it get to you when it comes to self-image, especially in your industry?
It’s really tough. I’ve definitely had my rough period. I am petite. I don’t have the most curves and that’s always been something that I’ve felt self-conscious about. I think you really need to stop comparing yourself to others because that’s the worst thing you can do. No one’s perfect. I know that that’s cliche but you can’t compare yourself to others because everyone is different.
What was your most memorable moment while filming?
I love the last scene the movie where they all come back together and it’s a year later and they’re still really good friends. We actually shot that a year later so it was very authentic and we look older in it. I have a lot of people telling me “wow, you look so much older”, it’s because we are. It was a year later…it was such a beautiful scene. I loves the way it turned out, the cinematography was gorgeous.
Be sure to check out “Earth to Echo” when it hits theaters on 7/2/14