BSCkids recently spoke with the talented young actor Sloane Morgan Siegel, the star of Amazon’s series “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street.” He spoke with us about the series, his past work, and why he loves being an actor.
Sloane Morgan Siegel stars at the title character Gortimer Gibbon in the new pilot “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” which went live on Amazon earlier this month. Life is anything but normal for Gortimer and his two best friends, Ranger and Mel, as they navigate Normal Street – an ordinary suburb that has a hint of something magical just beneath the surface. Sloane is also known for his recurring role in CBS’ “Partners” and his appearances on Nickelodeon’s “Wendell and Vinnie.”
BSCkids: Sloane Morgan Siegel
Tell us about your new show, “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street.”
The show is about three best friends, Gortimer, Mel, and Ranger, who live on Normal Street where nothing is quite normal. They uncover hidden and dark secrets that no one wanted them to know. There’s drama, comedy, and some magic and mystery to keep one’s attention. Amazon went all out by hiring a Director (Luke Matheny) who won an Academy Award for Directing in 2011, and Producer, Richard King from Hannah Montana. It has a first class cast and crew.
What is your character, Gortimer Gibbon, like?
He’s smart, a little nerdy, and likes to do the right thing. He would do anything for his friends and family and can be counted upon to do the right thing no matter what. He loves his family and is respectful of his elders. He’s the “boy next door”.
Do you share any similarities with him?
It’s been my favorite role out of many because he’s basically me. I identify with each and every characteristic that Gortimer has. Even my name, Sloane is unique like Gortimer. It might not be as unique, but there aren’t many out there.
Do you get along with your co-stars on the series?
Absolutely! All film projects become a big family, and I can tell you that Drew and Ashley were wonderful to work with. They are the type of kids I love to be around. Actually Ashley’s parents and mine have become good friends and we see each other all the time.
Are there any story lines you can tease for us that you are looking forward to?
The writer has been kicking around some really neat ideas for additional episodes, like one where a bully takes over a bridge and we need to figure out how to get him to let us pass (wink wink a troll), one where Mel gets trapped in a mirror image of the day while cleaning a house for extra money, or one where Ranger finds out his grandfather may have had an alien for a girlfriend. There are endless possibilities!
Do you have any funny stories from the set?
The frog was a real African Bull Frog that was a cannibal. He had fangs and ate rats. When he met our Director, he hissed at him and bared his fangs, but when he met me we became buds. I asked his handler if I needed to worry about him hopping at me while I was on all fours under the house and he said no. He said Elvis (the name of the frog) was too fat to hop, but he might waddle at me, but I should keep at least twelve inches from him so he didn’t nibble my fingers. He was a good frog and did his job well. I was actually supposed to also have a tarantula fall on me but thankfully the shooting schedule did not allow it. Whew!!
What do you do in free time when you are not acting?
Like all kids, I love spending time with my family and friends, playing video games, jumping on trampolines, riding my razor scooter, playing with my dog, and indoor skydiving. I also love movies and great TV.
When did you first decide you wanted to be an actor?
On some level, I believe I’ve always known I was meant to be an actor because I have always been an outspoken person who was never afraid to start a conversation or meet new people. I am blessed to have an awesome set of parents who have raised me to believe in myself as they believe in me. I think they realized it when I was chosen to attend an amateur acting competition at age 9 in Las Vegas and I scored in the very top of several thousand hand-picked young actors in my age group. Then of course it was reinforced when we came out to Hollywood for what we thought was to be a two or three month stint during pilot season in 2010. The bookings came immediately and the success has been overwhelming and wonderful.
How supportive has your family been about the choice?
For anyone to be successful as a child actor, they have to have supportive parents. Mine are amazing. They turned their lives upside down to come out here and let me “get my shot”. They have always been there for me. Obviously a 13 year old can’t drive, so they get me where I need to be. They help me with school, run lines, print scripts, and are always there to bounce things off of them. Basically they do everything for me and keep me grounded so I keep my head on straight while things can get a little frantic here.
How do you manage school and acting?
I work a lot which is a good thing. I’m home schooled and again, my parents are always there to help me with that. It actually requires that I remain disciplined to ensure I get all of my work done.
Has life with your friends changed since you began starring in the series?
Not really. My friends are mostly all actors themselves, its great when we get to hang out because they are all busy with their own projects too. I’ve also spent a lot of time with my cast mates, we’ve actually become best friends in real life!
If you could co-star with any celebrity who would it be?
This is a tough one, and hard to narrow down to just one. My favorites are Tom Hanks, Robert Di Nero, Tom Cruise, and John Cusack. “Grosse Point Blank” is one of my favorite films and folks say I look like him when he was younger. I would be thrilled to work with any or all of these super stars.
What is your favorite TV series right now (other than your own of course!)
“Doctor Who”, “Dracula”, “Perception”, “Homeland”, “Intelligence”, “Face Off”, “Revolution”, and “Impractical Jokers” are my favorites.
Tell us about your experience working on the Nickelodeon show, “Wendell and Vinnie?”
The experience was a great one. I grew up watching Jerry Trainor on “iCarly” and love his sense of improv and timing. They treated me very well there and allowed me to improv a little with him on the show. The Director was excellent and easy to work with. While shooting the show there was actually a hail storm in Burbank. They shut down the show and had us all go out in it to experience it. It was a blast.
Do you have plans to one day transition to films?
I blog every week on my website, www.sloanesiegel.com and always end my blogs with the following statement: “See you on the screen big or small no matter to me.” So far, I’ve been in ten feature films. None of them have been huge roles, but I did have one, “Voodoo Possession” go to DVD after getting picked up by Image Entertainment. I was a co-star in that film and had some powerful scenes. I performed all of the flashback scenes for the lead of the film. I have actually written my first film and hope to produce and direct it one day. There is no role for me in it as I would like to focus on the film itself. I have at least ten more scripts rolling around in my head as we speak. The real answer is of course yes. I’d love to be an actor whose name is on everyone’s lips and be recognized for quality acting on the big screen as well as TV.