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Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor
for Radio Free Entertainment

February 19, 2006

Based on the novel by Alice Hoffman, Aquamarine is the story of two young teenage girls (Emma Roberts and Joanna Levesque) who are spending a final summer together before one of them must move away to Australia. But fate takes an unexpected turn when they discover a mermaid named Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) who has washed up into their swimming pool. Determined to get out of a pre-arranged marriage, the mythical creature tells the girls that she will grant them a wish if they help her find true love on land, and the two quickly make it their mission to fix Aqua up with a local lifeguard (Jake McDorman).

In this interview, Emma Roberts talks about working on this movie, which was filmed in Australia.

The Interview

MEDIA: We heard you did a school report on mermaids...

EMMA: Yeah, I did.

What did you learn from working on that report?

That people from different areas, cultures, and centuries all have the same idea of what mermaids are. So I think that's kind of interesting--that maybe they did exist, or they do. So that's kind of a cool thing to maybe think about.

Do you believe in mermaids?

I would like to believe, yeah. I do believe. Why not? [laughs]

Were you aware of Sara's obsession with mermaids?

Yeah, Sara loved mermaids. We saw a preview for the special edition of The Little Mermaid on DVD. She started freaking out. She was like, "I have to buy it!" So yeah, she's pretty obsessed.

Did you have a similar interest in mermaids when you were younger?

When I was little, I'd go on the beach, and you know...You'd cover yourself with sand and make the little mermaid imprint. So yeah, I think every little girl's dream is to see a mermaid or be a mermaid.

How did you like Australia?

I loved Australia. It was great there. When we found out we were shooting there, all of us were so excited...I've always wanted to go there.

What did you, Sara, and JoJo do while you weren't working?

We hung out in each others' rooms all the time. We would go to the beach. We bought bikes there. I had a light purple one, and JoJo had a red one, and Sara would just ride on the back of one of them. And we would ride into town and just go shopping and eat...

Was there a scene that was particularly fun for you to shoot?

We just all had a great time on set. In between takes, we would just talk all the time, laugh, have a good time. Probably the fun thing was I got to ride Sara on the front of my handle bars in the movie, which was really difficult at first because I'm probably the weakest one out of all of them. So we had to have lessons, actually.

And was there a scene that was particularly difficult?

Probably scene 35. I remember the number. Really. That was the only number I knew. And it was the scene where we first meet Aqua by the pool. We probably shot that scene for about a week and half. We did every angle known to man, probably times a hundred. [laughs] It was like so crazy. But it was a really important scene because it was when we first see her and everything. But it was night shoots. We would be shooting really late at night. So, it was so weird, the next week, when we had early calls, I wouldn't be able to go to bed.

Did you ever want to try on the mermaid tail yourself?

I did, but they made it so it would [only] fit Sara's body. It was specially formed.

Are you afraid of the water like your character, or are you comfortable with it?

I love the water...It was so difficult because we were in that tank, and that tank was so much fun. And I would be swimming around, having a great time, and the director would always be like, "Emma, you look like you're having way too much fun in there. You really need to struggle some more." So I had to slow down and do the doggy paddle painfully slow.

In the movie, the girls wear starfish earrings that talk to them. You, Sara, and JoJo provided the voices for those starfish, yes?

I remember when we were shooting the movie, I [said to producer Susan Cartsonis], "I have the best starfish voice. I really want to do a starfish voice." And she was like "No, we already got people to do that, Emma. I don't think you guys are going to do that." So I was like, "Ugh." And then we got to do ADR. We had so much ADR, because it was all on the beach. And they were like, "Here's your starfish voice." And I was like, "I get to do it? Yay!" So yeah, we all did. We had to do like three different voices, and then they layered them on top of each other to make them sound all cool. That was really fun.

What's the inspiration for a starfish voice?

Starfish are carefree and laid back, so they have these nice, high, flowey voices. Like they're really high-pitched and stuff.

The starfish say that Aquamarine is "smart like tuna." What's your take on tuna? Are they really the smartest fish out there?

I'm not sure actually, but obviously, if we're relating tuna to Aqua, they must be pretty smart. [laughs]

Have you ever had to part ways with a best friend, like your character does?

Luckily, I've never had to experience that. I've moved around schools a lot, so I've had to say goodbye to friends like that. But I see them still, because we all live in LA. But luckily, I've never had to actually move away from one of my really good friends, because I don't know how I would do it. I'd be really sad.

In the movie, helping a mermaid earns you a wish. Given the opportunity in real life, what would you wish for?

That's a hard question. I mean, it really depends on the situation at the time, but probably just to have a long, happy, healthy life for me and my friends and family. [laughs] That'd probably be it.

Did you enjoy covering Weezer's "Island in the Sun" for the film's soundtrack?

Yeah. The funny thing was, in Australia, we had to do this Last Splash scene, and that was the song that was playing. And so we heard that song probably a hundred times. And I got back to LA and they were like, "Do you want to sing that song?" And I was like, [sighs] "I guess. I've heard it a trillion times, so I know it by heart already." And then I got into the studio, and I had so much fun doing it. I love the song, I like Weezer, so I thought it was really great.

Sara also contributed to the soundtrack, yes?

Sara did the song that's playing in the previews called "Connected," which I love. I actually called her and I was like, "Don't you love that song in the previews?" And she goes, "Um...that's my song." I was like, "Are you kidding me? I want it." So yeah, I liked it a lot.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen know, Sara and JoJo. They're on my iPod. I listen to Michelle Branch, The Veronicas (I love The Veronicas), Teddy Geiger, Skye Sweetnam...

Is working on a movie like this very different from working on your TV show?

It's a lot different. On the TV show, I kind of play a character that's more like me. I can relate to her a lot. And so being in movies, you play a totally different character than yourself most of the time, especially for this, in my case. And it's three months and then you're done--you're never going back to it. And with a TV show, you shoot for three, four months, and then you go back to it next year. It's kind of just like another home. You always go back there.

Of all the beaches that you've visited, which is your favorite?

Definitely the beach in Australia, hands down. I mean, really, the sand is like so soft and white, and the water is crystal clear and warm. Then you come back to LA and you go to Malibu, and it's like boulders in the water, dirty, cold, freezing...

Do you want to go to college?

I do. I really would like to.

What would you study?

Probably photography or fashion.

Do you have your eye on any particular college?

I would really like to go to NYU or Columbia or something--somewhere in New York. I love New York so much, so that'd be really fun.

What about Los Angeles? You wouldn't want to stay here?

I love both. I love New York because there's something about it. When I get there, I just feel really at home, and I just love it there so much. But I love LA, too, because I've grown up here and all my friends are here and everything.

Thanks for your time.

Thank you. Nice talking to you guys.

Related Material

Aquamarine interview with Sara Paxton
Aquamarine interview with Emma Roberts
Aquamarine interview with Joanna "JoJo" Levesque
Movie Coverage: Aquamarine


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