Julee Cerda – Star of The Mighty Ducks Game Changers!
Today Melissa got the chance to sit down with Julee Cerda, Stephanie Reddick on Disney’s The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Ardus
Julee Cerda Interview
[00:00:00] Melissa: This is spoiler country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show. I’m excited to welcome an actor from the new head show on Disney plus the mighty docs. Miss Julie Serta. Welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Thanks for being here. How are you doing? I’m doing great. Awesome. Well, you know, I’d love to jump right into it and find out more about you.
How did you get started in
Julee Cerda: acting. Oh, well, so. I got started in acting probably a lot later than most people did. It wasn’t something that I went to school for. It was something that I started pursuing after I had graduated from college. I started a career in digital marketing and was something that I was doing while living in New York and doing fine, but just, I guess at that time, that’s.
There was just always a creative gap in my life. And it was around that time that I just started pursuing these creative classes [00:01:00] after, you know, after work. And I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. It just felt like there was a need to do something. So I just remember I’d signed up for a bunch of.
Courses and just, you know, exploring to see what you’re seeing, what was out there. I think, you know, there was a time when I tried to guitar lesson, there was times, you know, I did like these dance classes or even interior design. There was like just something I was doing. And I just happened to stumble by an acting class in village.
Which I thought was really interesting. And it wasn’t like I knew right away. I was like, Oh wow, this is what I wanted to do. You know, because. Like I tell everyone I have a practical side of me. At least I was raised to have a practical side of it. And I knew it was going to be hard, but it was something that piqued my interest and something that I just kept pursuing out of interest, you know, after work.
And I spent a lot of time after work and on weekends, just joining these classes and just having so much fun and just really loving it as an outlet. And it, it probably took a couple of years for me to realize, Oh, this is something that I could actually do. And [00:02:00] so I started just doing, you know, some.
Black box theater productions in the city writing and producing my own stuff. Yeah. You know, what became, what started off as you know, I would say like, a hobby that I had after work, you know, slowly became a side gig, which then was something that I took on seriously and started pursuing full time.
Melissa: cool. That’s you don’t hear that story often? Yeah, no.
Julee Cerda: Yeah. My entire cast, a mighty ducks. I mean, they’re all either starting out as kids or they’re adults who started out as kids. So it’s funny. I’m like the
Melissa: only one. Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s great. Well, and you seem really natural at it, so clearly that was meant to be. Yeah. Yeah. Speaking of your role as Stephanie on the mighty decks, Is how is this different from any other role that you’ve played?
Julee Cerda: It’s been, I mean, different in the sense that it’s just fun, you know? It’s a really sweet show, so it’s, it’s [00:03:00] it’s refreshing for change to talk, to, to do work. That’s something a bit more, light-hearted a bit more sentimental, a bit more wholesome. I don’t get to do that kind of stuff a lot. So it’s been great to be a part of something like that.
And it just, you know, it has that Disney magic and that’s something that you certainly feel when you’re part of the production in, in what’s been even cooler for me, I would say is that, you know, I grew up watching the mighty ducks as a kid. So. To bring something back from my childhood has, yeah, it’s kind of exciting.
I would say at least for me, personal personally, like there’s just, there’s a, you know, there’s a strong connection to my childhood, so that’s been really
Melissa: rewarding. Yeah. Well, I’m a show is great because it truly is a family show because you have the kid aspect for the younger, you know, kids and the adults don’t get.
You know, it’s not one of those shows where like, Oh, I have to watch this with my kids. Like the humor is very adult. And it’s really, really witty and funny, you know? So I feel like everyone can [00:04:00] watch it and enjoy it. Oh,
Julee Cerda: absolutely. Yeah. And I would say all my friends, you know, who also all grew up as mighty ducks fans, like the original mighty duck fans you know, they’re all excited to watch it.
And of course it’s finally something that they can actually watch with their kids. So it’s. That’s certainly feedback that I’ve been
Melissa: getting. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I loved the mighty ducks as well, growing up, and it is nice to see it kind of being revived and also having Emilio Estevez on it, which, you know, it was great to always have someone from the originals.
But what’s it like working with him?
Julee Cerda: Oh, he’s so awesome. I mean, honestly, you can’t ask for a nicer guy. It’s been really, it’s, it’s been really great to have someone, you know, Someone from my childhood to, you know, to, to, to be able to work with him. It was just always, you know, was kind of, I was awestruck in a way, but also it just, you know, he’s, he’s such a nice human being and it’s just been really, really positive experience working with him.
He’s a great guy, very supportive, always there for everybody. And you know, [00:05:00] it was just all about bringing it all
Melissa: together. That’s awesome. Yeah. That scene and this, this week’s episode in the restaurant was hilarious. Was that was any of that ad-libbed at all? Or was that just completely scripted? I mean, it just seemed to flow so natural.
Julee Cerda: I think it was scripted. I don’t know. I’m trying to, I would think I’m trying to think if we add liberal, I think maybe. There might be, I can’t really remember Costco. It was all shot so long ago, but yeah. You know, sometimes we do go off script and, you know, we just have a little fun during little one-liners here and there.
But I, I can’t remember anything specifically again, because, because it does feel so natural, it feels like it’s part of the script, right? It might be. I can’t tell. I can’t tell, but I do. I have a feeling there is something in there that, that is off script. I just
Melissa: can’t, I can’t can imagine. Probably laugh a lot in between takes just because the dialogue is so it’s so funny, especially [00:06:00] with your character.
That must be a really fun, fun character to play because she is takes herself so seriously. And it’s, it’s just it’s her diet. I think you have some of the best dialogue
Julee Cerda: I do too. I actually, I really enjoy this character. She’s just, like you said, she was just. Funny. And you know, what makes her so funny is that she’s just so serious about, you know, about being on top of being a winner, but, you know, I don’t think she’s, there’s no real ill will behind there.
It’s just really just, you know, for the good of it all and for the children. So it’s funny, it’s funny tapping into that kind of mind. I’d say it’s I don’t know, it’s not me at all. So it’s fun. I
Melissa: can say it’s fun. Yeah. It seems like a lot of fun and yeah. What was it like working with Lauren Graham, especially that scene you did where you’re having the the, the hockey slapshot competition.
Julee Cerda: Lauren is great. Lauren is such a pro I mean, she’s just such a natural and it’s actually, you know, part of, because it just, she, you know, she is just [00:07:00] as way with dialogue that just comes rolls off her tongue. And it’s like second nature to her, you know, she’s been doing this forever. So it was really, you know, it was fun tapping into her energy and bringing the scenes together.
You know, most of my scenes are with her, so, you know, whenever her and I get together to shoot, it’s just, boom, boom, boom. We get it done. It’s fun. It’s quick, you know, with the kids. It’s a little more work because with kids it’s always, always fun. It’s always good. The slapshot scene, you know, It’s funny.
It’s not, it was good. We were both kind of cold. I’m not going to lie. Hockey boots hurt a lot, actually with my feet, I just have really messed up feet. So I’m like any chance that I could get between takes, I was just tearing them off. So probably not chat as much as you would think that we, we would on, I mean, we were just cold and on ice and just like, please get us.
Melissa: get it over with. Yeah, that’s funny. Did you did you know [00:08:00] how to ice skate beforehand or did you have to learn. Oh my God. I mean, I think
Julee Cerda: the last time I skate it was when I was like eight years old at camp or something. And like, no by ice skating. I mean, just going as fast as you can and then slamming into a wall to stop.
Cause I was like the only way I knew how so. I can’t really say that I knew how to skate. So I did have to put on skates for this and get some ice time before we shot the show. And I had a good, I had a fair amount of time. You know, I had a few weeks of heads up to do prepare for it. I tried my best cause I knew Stephanie was supposed to be a real pro.
Right. So like I tried my hardest to just really come off smooth on ice, but you know, that’s something that just takes a lot of hours and a lot of years to, to get good at. And then, you know, the older I consider myself. Highly athletic. And so I was like, Oh yeah, I’ll be able to catch on quickly. No problem now.
And I was like, Oh no, this is way better.
[00:09:00] Melissa: Yeah. I can’t even imagine. I’ve never, never ice skated before my life. It looks extremely difficult. Oh yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Do you have anybody there on set, like any kind of, you know, trainers or anything like that?
Julee Cerda: We had we had two, actually three hockey trainers.
You know, they were also our stunt coordinators. They were also our hockey coordinators. They’re there Working with the children every day, you know, they help plan the shots and everything. And they’re great. Dave is fantastic. He was just like, anytime you want to get out of knives, just let me know.
And it would be weekends, Sundays, you know, 9:00 AM. He’s like, I’m here for you. Don’t worry. So, you know, he was able to accommodate and help me as much as possible. And I did not want to let him down. I wanted to desperate. But you know, I did the best I could on that. There’s one scene where there’s a little wobble.
I’m like, Oh yeah, there you go. There it is
Melissa: wobble. The wobble. Yeah. They’re strong angles. That’s hilarious. Are you a big fan of
Julee Cerda: hockey? I can’t say that I was, [00:10:00] you know, it’s part of my internship. At school, I entered from Madison square garden in New York city, which is a big arena where the Knicks and the played.
So I got some exposure to the Rangers, you know, I got to work a lot of the games there. And then I got to watch a lot of it too. But you know, in my household we were diehard baseball fan, so that’s pretty much what I grew up watching. It wasn’t nowhere near anything like Canada. Where everybody knows everything about
Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s really big, fair compared
Julee Cerda: to, it’s kind of cool. I like
Melissa: it. Yeah, it’s a fun sport to watch. I mean, when you really, you know, you get, you can get into it, you can see what yeah, absolutely. Yeah, definitely. And to speak, you mentioned the kids and how it takes a little bit longer with scenes of them.
What is that dynamic on set? Had you ever worked with that many kids before?
Julee Cerda: Never. They are just so adorable. I, I just adore every single [00:11:00] one of them. They’re hilarious. I mean, they’re not just kids, they’re actor, kids,
Melissa: you know, they’re so talented, just
Julee Cerda: it’s just, and it’s just, they come with this certain level of gregariousness and them, you know, they’re just so.
They’re so confident and it’s so unlike any child that I ever was really, so it’s, it’s refreshing. It’s hilarious. It’s funny. They’re so outgoing. They’re just fun to be around. They’re adorable.
Melissa: They’re really. Really good actors. I mean, you know, it’s the child actors a lot obviously and things, but I was really impressed with just that level.
There’s like this maturity about them in a weird way
Julee Cerda: job of casting the team. I mean, I think all of them brings so much to it and you know, they all bring their own uniqueness too, which I really love. And yeah, they’re just, they’re really subtle. They’re natural. And you know, they’re just there, they’re doing the job and I, I admire that so much.
Melissa: Yeah, no, that’s great. You know, [00:12:00] so playing a comedic role is that, is that been challenging at all? Like have you found any challenges as opposed to like when you’ve done some more of your serious and dramatic roles? Oh, no,
Julee Cerda: I find it the opposite. I, I don’t know, maybe just comedy. Just resonates a bit more with me.
So it’s a bit more natural. I don’t know. I personally, I find it comedy just fun and easy. I don’t think too hard. I just, you know, just have fun with it and it just happens and it’s feels more spontaneous. I probably. My maybe work harder with drama, you know, because it is so much more serious. But, but you know, it all really depends on the type of production and the role that you’re doing.
So I can’t really say that comedy or drama is easier. All I can say is that it’s it’s for me, it’s way more fun doing comedy. Yeah. Like I haven’t. I have a strong background in it. You know, I used to be part of a comedy troupe that we did sketch comedies. I’ve done some standup in [00:13:00] my life, so, you know, I’ve done improv, so it’s, it’s, it’s there and it’s something that I’ve just always enjoyed.
I think it’s fun. I think it’s so much fun. It’s fun.
Melissa: It would seem like, yeah, it would be a lot more fun. I think with drama, you’d probably have to tap into, you know, different things, whether it be like traumas or, you know, other people’s stories where comedy, you can kind of just, yeah. Like kind of be silly.
Julee Cerda: You can be silly. I mean, the biggest, the challenge is to be as natural and I guess not try to be so funny, you know, that’s always a challenge, but you know,
Melissa: Yeah. And I feel like Stephanie is her, her character is like funny without even intending to be funny. You know what I mean? In her mind, I think some of the things she says, you know, it was just talking about handing out the pamphlets to get people to move out and, you know, here’s the gym member step.
And, you know, Lori and Gran, Alex is just looking at her like, are you for real, you know? [00:14:00] Yeah. It’s like, it’s very like bougie, you know, kind of in a way too. It’s it’s when you w what was the audition process like when you, when you got the role, did you have to go back like multiple times? Was that you know, see like secretive, did you know who you
Julee Cerda: were.
I think I first, I had put it on tape and it wasn’t until like, it wasn’t like a few months later until I heard back. Oh, they’re interested. And so that’s when I had to fly out to LA to meet with the producers. So. That’s all I remember from the casting process. I mean, it was spending with me and the producers always is interesting.
You know, you just really talk to them and just do it again. Yeah. Some notes. I didn’t find it stressful. I found testing and callback processes way more stressful, but for some reason, I don’t know. Maybe I just felt comfortable with this one or what it was. I just, I was just having fun. Yeah, so I didn’t find it so stressful.
It was just more like, it is what it is. And if you [00:15:00] like me, you like me, if you don’t, whatever,
that’s just something that comes with age too. You know, as I’ve gone through the process, it’s just something that I’ve just sort of adopted. It’s like, look, if it’s mine, it’s going to be mine. You know, I’ll go ahead. And if it’s not, there’ll be something else. And you just kind of have to adapt to that mentality.
Otherwise, you know, you could just throw yourself into a
Melissa: whirlwind. That’s no, that’s a good attitude to have because there is so much rejection, you know, in the entertainment industry. And I think you really do have to have thick skin and be able to just go, okay, like let’s get onto the next day, if that doesn’t work out, you know?
Julee Cerda: absolutely.
Melissa: Yeah. Can you talk about any challenges you’ve experienced, like in your career as far as like, you know, getting roles that you wanted or, you know, anything like that? As far as typecasting, you know, Oh
Julee Cerda: gosh, so much. I mean, it’s just kind of been the. I think it’s gotten better from when I [00:16:00] started out, you know, I started out, I think like over 15 years ago when I first started out and, you know, it’s also just when you’re so new to the industry, the type of roles that are available to you are, you know, these day player roles and they tend to be a bit more stereotypical in the sense of like, Not just from an ethnicity standpoint, but you know, just on like, you’re just meant to just get, to choose, to serve as purpose, to move the story along, you know, there’s real to your character.
So if you’re gonna be playing the taxi driver or the taxi driver, you know, if you’re going to be playing and that’s a long lady, you’re the nail salon lady and that’s your, your role, you know, there’s not much to it. So in the beginning there was a lot more of that and you know, it probably, it has. It’s two-fold, you know, it has a lot to do with also just being new to the industry.
I will say, however, you know, as the years have progressed, you know, I had noticed that things are getting a bit better. You know, people are doing a better job [00:17:00] of making sure that you know, that you’re not going to just. You know, a nail salon lady can be of any ethnicity. She doesn’t always have to be Asian.
People are, are a bit more aware. I’m not going to lie though. There is still a lot of that in the industry at the moment. So even though we have taken a big step, but we’re, you know, there’s still a long way to go. And you know, part of the things that I find challenging too, is that, you know, For, for people, you know, of other ethnicity, other than white it’s, it’s challenging.
I mean, because, you know, in a sense that almost every script I read, you know, it’s the white or Caucasians who are the heroes of the story, you know, and everybody’s cells are porting characters and, you know, and that sends a message to me and to my community. And I know it does, you know, and, and people.
It is something that we have to kind of get over and, and I’m hoping that we’re going to start seeing more of that. And we are starting to see a bit more of that, you [00:18:00] know? So to me, I find challenging. There aren’t as many lead roles for people of color.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of it. You know, obviously it all stems from the top too.
And having more creators that are not just white. Yeah.
Julee Cerda: Yeah. It’s a, from a network perspective, you know, and, and networks are feeding off of what, you know, their general audience wants. So it’s, it’s everything. So it’s almost like the chicken and the egg dilemma. It’s like, who’s going to take that leap.
You need are people who are going to be risk-takers and not afraid, you know, not afraid to fail if it fails, it fails, you know, but at the same time, people are putting a lot of money into the production. So I understand the dilemma that the industry’s facing. But you know, if we can tell more stories with people of color in lead roles, maybe we could be serving, you know, our society in a lot of the racisms that we’re, we’re seeing today, and I’m not saying solve it, you know?
Solve it with that, but I do know how influential media is. [00:19:00] And so, you know, if this is something that people are watching every day, you know, maybe that’s some, maybe it’s a place that we can start and just, you know, just making sure that we’re doing a nice spread of the storytelling, I think would just was, would be something that I’d like to see.
And hopefully we are moving in that direction.
Melissa: Yeah, I agree. I think it definitely would help with bridging a lot of, you know, the division because you know, a lot of, of that racism, not all of it, but a lot of it stems from just a lack of, you know, it’s ignorance. That’s the lack of knowledge, a lack of having people in your life that are from different backgrounds.
And and then like you were saying, when you just see the same type of, you know, person and culture represented on television all the time, that’s how people create the stereotypes because they don’t.
Julee Cerda: Yeah, right. It’s, it’s kind of what, you know, the one thing that we’re we tune into to escape, and then it’s suddenly there in a more subliminal way, you know, somehow sometimes a bit more powerful getting that into the way we perceive the [00:20:00] world.
So, you know, there’s a responsibility and then that I, I find challenging In that sense, you know, how do we get around that? And even myself, you know, a person of color, like accepting roles that I don’t necessarily a hundred percent agree with, but at the same time, it’s the only kind of roles that are available to me at the time.
So it’s kind of like, what do you do, you know, do you take that leap and do you not, do you use. You do, do you represent, you know, the community that you’re meant to represent and just start snapping out and carving out an area. So, you know, it’s, it’s a struggle. It’s not clean, but you know, it’s going somewhere, so hopefully we’ll get through
Yeah, absolutely. I have hope for it as well. And what advice would you give to young women that are, or men as well that are wanting to be, you know, in your shoes and wanting to have a career in acting.
Julee Cerda: Gosh, you know, I mean, I think with the arts in general, it’s just, if it’s something that you feel.
You know, strongly about if it’s something that you want to [00:21:00] pursue, I say, no matter what anyone says or what anyone thinks about, if it’s something that truly resonates with you and it stems from a really, you know, really passionate and good place, then you must pursue it and don’t give up, you know, don’t let any, if you’re going to meet lots of challenges, but just.
Don’t give up, just keep fighting that fight as long as, you know, as long as you stay true to yourself and true to your reasons for doing it. Of course the, the, the hard part I always find is like, when do you know how to quit? Right. Sometimes you do have to recognize that. So, you know, do the work to be as honest as possible with yourself.
I think one thing that I do a lot in which I hope a lot of artists do is just reflection, you know, constantly reflecting on. On the days and the projects that we take on how it makes us feel, why did it make us feel that way? And you know, and really trying to turn that into what I can do to better my next move.
And if you find that it’s steering you off track and to a different direction, then I think it’s okay to go with that. You know, there’s some [00:22:00] people. Well, who feel like, well, I put, I made it in my mind. I’ve committed to myself that I’m going to do X, Y, and Z. So I must complete and do X, Y, Z, which I think is great, you know, but at the same time, you have to recognize maybe X, Y, and Z wasn’t meant for you to pursue 100%.
Maybe you were supposed to go halfway with X, Y, and Z, and then divert in a different way. So I think, you know, yeah, a lot of reflection and just staying true to yourself I think is really necessary in this industry. And.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s great. That’s great advice. That’s really good advice as not being so rigid and keeping an open mind and you never know what could
Julee Cerda: happen.
Yeah. Open-minded flexible, grounded, you know, all that lovely meditation work.
Melissa: Yeah. All
Julee Cerda: that. Yeah, exactly. It just making sure that you’re always taking care of yourself. I think they’re all really
Melissa: important. Yeah. Well, and aside from acting, I’d read that you also have a fashion
Julee Cerda: blog. Oh my gosh. That was like eons ago.
Melissa: that. What was that like? [00:23:00] And I mean, was that, was that before acting or like simultaneously? It
Julee Cerda: simultaneously it was just something that I started doing with my daughter. We were just doing street style and it was just, it was, it started off for fun. And then we started just. Doing it in, like, I know people loved it, so we just kept, you know, doing all these street style together.
But then it got to the point where every time I held like the phone camera to my daughter’s face, she started like getting anxiety. So I was like, okay, this is bad. We’re stopping.
That was a while ago. But it was fun. Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah, it sounds like it would be fun.
Julee Cerda: It’s one of those instances where I knew when to stop.
Melissa: Yeah. I hear like, okay, this isn’t working. Oh, well, that’s great. And before I let you go, I, you know, I definitely have to ask you know, are you aware yet if season two has been given the green light for the money,
Julee Cerda: we have not gotten the word yet.
We’re waiting to hear back. I know Disney wanted [00:24:00] it to air first to see how well it’s. And it seems to be doing really well. I think every, I think the sentiment is that it’s positive feelings. But we have not gone into official word yet. Okay.
Melissa: And if it is renewed do you have any idea of like what we would expect from a season two or is it kind of like
Julee Cerda: I have absolutely no idea.
I mean, I, I really, I honestly couldn’t tell you, it really could go anywhere, you know, and I think, you know, what the producers might try to do is try to, you know, bring back the story in a way that’s relevant to today. And that works, you know, while still resonating with sports and Disney. So I think that, you know, it’s going to be a lot more of what you’re seeing.
Melissa: Awesome. Yeah, it would be fun to see some more cameos too, from some people from the original
Julee Cerda: movie. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. All right.
Melissa: I’m excited. Yeah. It’s a really great show. You know, I watched it with my mom and my [00:25:00] sister and we just, we laughed so much and yeah, it’s just a really family friendly and you all do such a good job.
Thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah, absolutely. And that is on Disney plus on Fridays, you can see the new episodes. Thanks so much for coming on today. Yeah, this has been a lot of fun, so everybody makes sure you go watch the mighty ducks Fridays on Disney plus