Kirsten Prout: From Amanda Bloom to Char Chamberlin

Kirsten ProutKirsten Prout is probably best known for her role as Amanda on the ABC Family series Kyle XY, but she has appeared in other series as well, such as Jeremiah and Stargate SG-1. Prout can be seen in films such as Elektra,The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and the TV movie My Super Psycho Sweet 16: Part 2.

Prout now stars as Charlotte "Char" Chamberlin in the new ABC Family drama The Lying Game. The series follows Emma (Alexandra Chando), a foster kid who after discovering she has a twin sister (Sutton; also Chando) agrees to take over her life for a few days. Sutton, while supposedly following a lead on their mysterious birth mother, however, does not return and Emma must choose whether or not to continue the charade in order to find the truth. Char is one of Sutton's best friends, and unlike Ethan Whitehorse (Blair Redford), who Sutton had been secretly dating, she doesn't know Emma's true identity.

Prout sat down with the media to discuss her new role. She will also be joining SciFi Vision and MediaBlvd for an exclusive interview in the near future, so stay tuned.

ABC Family Conference Call
The Lying Game
Kirsten Prout

August 25, 2011

Kirsten ProutQUESTION: On the show Char and her friends practice ballet. Do you have a history of ballet or is that something you trained for during the show?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, if you count running around in a little tutu on stage when you're seven a history in ballet, an extensive one, yes. But, I was not classically trained. I met with a ballet instructor, a coach, who helped me out and helped me through bar work and just the basics and some stretching. It was fantastic. We all had to learn from scratch. But, ironically, the one person who does dance ballet – or actually the two people, Sharon and Allie in real life aren't written as the ballet dancers. So, us novices have to take over.

QUESTION: How do you relate to Char in real life? Do you think you are similar to her in any way?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, I know that we are different in certain ways, but we're both a little bit neurotic. Char's neurotic about social things. I'm neurotic about when I was in university, academically. We are essentially opposites but we do have a few things in common. Char is – she has a meltdown if there's a social snafu or if there's anything in the political system of the high school wrong. Where, with me, I was always focused on my literature mark and how high it was. And now it's me fretting over my garden, what's going to make it, what's going to die. So, we both have our panicky side. But I think Char is a little more wrapped up in the social side of things.

QUESTION: Which character on the show do you think you relate to the most?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Wow. I mean, I love Char so much that I think I do relate to her. I really do understand her. And that there has been times in my life where I've kept a lot to myself and I haven't asked for advice and I haven't really talked things that have been bothering me through. And I think that's something the audience can really learn by watching the show. It's a reminder to me every day when I play Char.

But I think it'll be like an audience reminder as well that if there's something bothering you or if there's an issue you feel like you can't share, always try to find someone to talk it through with. And always try to deal with it by getting the advice of other people because if you bottle it up it'll just get worse. So I think that's something that a lot of people can learn from the show and I'm reminded of every day.

QUESTION: With ABC Family, how did that come about? Did you have to audition or did they just come to you based on your past work in Kyle XY or...?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, I did audition but it was a relief from the audition process because there were a lot of familiar faces. ABC Family is a fantastic network to work for just because it really is a bit of a family feel. I know it's cliché, a new kind of family and all that, but it was really nice. I walked into the audition room and I was able to see Wendy O'Brien, the casting director, and people I've known for ages and it was great. Network executives are always really friendly.

Working at ABC Family again is so exciting because Kyle XY was the network's first real flagship drama. Now it's turned into such a different kind of network but still maintaining its original roots. So it's great to see the evolution of ABC Family and really move into the age of more social messaging and really touching on key issues that resonate with teens and young people. I love seeing where the network has gone and I love being a part of that. So it's great.

QUESTION: Had you read the books before or since getting the role?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Not before getting the role, no. I believe they were just in the process of coming out, initially. But I was really excited to just know that we were affiliated with Sara Shepard because she's got a lot of merit behind her books and the Pretty Little Liars series is quite a wonderful show to be affiliated with. I was just really interested in reading the books. One thing the viewer should know is we do take departures from the book. But I think we're really true to the main message and I think fans of the books will definitely get excited about the show even if the storylines aren't exactly the same.

QUESTION: What have fans been saying to you about the new role? I assume you've heard lots of things from them?

KIRSTEN PROUT: You know, I love the feedback of my fans. When I did My Super Psycho which we're going to be doing the third one probably on the hiatus, but we talk a lot and I really do care what my fans have to say. The reaction to Char has been overwhelmingly positive. And I've really appreciated all the encouragement and all the positive words that have been sent to me. I'm really happy my fans love Char even if they do miss Amanda dearly.

QUESTION: A lot of us know you from Kyle XY - how is performing the role of Char different from the character of Amanda?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, you know, Amanda is your good girl next door and I think Char would have terrified Amanda. I think they're two different characters. Char is the popular girl. Amanda is the girl that is on the sidelines. So essentially, Char is out there. She's bubbly. She's outspoken. She's a queen bee. Where Amanda, as fans will remember, was quiet, introspective, shy; it's two completely different roles.

And we obviously aren't touching on any soul mate issues or playing piano. So, we're two different breeds for sure. But both are equally as fun to play.

Kirsten ProutQUESTION: [On] developing your character - I understand your mom is a child psychologist and your dad is a neurologist?


QUESTION: How has that influenced your development of Char? I'm thinking, in particular, her relationship with her mom which it can be really intense to watch.

KIRSTEN PROUT: Yes. Well, I think, you know getting to the root of that is my family really did help me as a child and when I was first developing my style; in general, when I was first becoming an actor. And how my mom would work with me was if I was doing a scene with her and she was running lines with me she would never say, "Oh, I feel like you should do blank," use film terms or anything. She would just say to me, either, "That felt real," or "That didn't feel real." And that's the approach that I take with all my characters. I want to feel real with it.

And Char is a really funny character. She has larger-than-life moment that are super ditsy. But I just want the audience to ask themselves, "Is that real?" And I love having those moments where Char is so over-the-top and always trying to cover her real feelings. But in that moment where her mother's really disappointed in her or where she's afraid a friendship could be in danger or she feels a little insecure. I think that showing the vulnerability is my key approach to Char because she does have so many over-the-top aspects that I feel like bringing it down every once in a while is really key.

QUESTION: How have you liked living and filming in Austin?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Oh my goodness. It is because, as you guys know, I am Canadian. So I'm slowly exploring America and Austin is definitely one of my favorite cities so far. It's great. The live music and the heat is a little much but you can escape it at Barton Springs. So, I'm not complaining for sure. It's really fun.

QUESTION: How has your character's fashion sense really come into play? I know every character has their own style, so have you really liked your style or is it completely different than your normal self?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Yes. Oh, come on. I get to put on these four inch heels on camera just like I'm going to nightclub every day of the week when I'm going to school. It's super fun. It's over-the-top, for sure. Fashion is such a big part of the show. I think that larger-than-life aspect, the fact that we're always dressed to the nines, is super fun.

Our costume designer, Mimi, is brilliant. And the accessories, the outfits, I mean every episode just gets more and more interesting. And I love the way she dresses Char. She's got that cute – we really bring in a lot of 50s pinup kind of style. Things that are a little more retro. We're kind of definitely finding the groove with Char and we've been finding that by bringing little 30s or 50s accents to outfits that are super modern. So I'm loving it. I've really enjoyed seeing what Mimi's come up with.

QUESTION: Have you had a favorite outfit out of the first two episodes?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Out of the first two? Oh, gosh. I did love my father/daughter dance dress. That dress fit like a glove.

QUESTION: Will we be seeing any of Char getting a love interest at all? I know the hot guys in the show are a big commodity for you.

KIRSTEN PROUT: I know. Well, she's definitely always trying. She's chasing. But in episode three we're going to see Char have a little bit of a little spark but it may not be the best spark for her. So, you guys are going to have to tune in. But it gets a little shifty.

QUESTION: So far, Char seems very sweet, but will we be seeing a mischievous side to you? Will there be any "lying games" played by Char?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, that, I can't answer. But I think you do see many different sides of Char during the show. I think she definitely has a managerial and show runner little streak that you'll see her bossiness come out.

QUESTION: You started acting when you were so young. If you could go back in time, let's say in 1998, when you are like seven or eight years old, and meet your younger self, what advice would you give her?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Oh gosh. I would say, I think my eight-year-old self was pretty tough. So I'd say, probably relax a little, because I was such an intense kid. And I think part of the reason why I worked so hard was I had this streak. My mom was always trying to get me to relax and calm down and just take it one day at a time. And I was always having this mentality like I had to go, go, go.

I think I would've, if I met my younger self, just said, "You just need to take it one day at a time and everything will turn out," because at the time I was so intense. I've gotten to the point now where, in my life, I realize that I can't sweat the small stuff. So, yes, I'd probably tell myself that.

QUESTION: Somehow you managed to find the time to study for a degree from a really good college. So, if you weren't acting, what career would you have pursued?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Oh, gosh. See that question always gets me because acting is something that, for me, I'm never bored with. And when I was studying English Literature in McGill and going to all my special anthropology courses and sitting in the front row and being a total nerd, like I am, I would be so excited to go to these classes and so engaged. But I always ask myself, "Where can I feel this excited and learned this much every day?" And I really couldn't give you another career because as an actor I feel like I learn things every single day.

I walk on sets and I've been doing this for 10 years now, or almost 11. But it never ceases to amaze me. I will learn something new or have a revelation, or a new way to understand our crew or understand other cast members. You know it's always changing. How to build a character, something new. There's always learning and that's what I love the most. I love learning. I love being kind of a student of life and that's why being an actor really suits me so well.

I don't know if I could have another answer. I mean, I don't know. I'd have to do something really simple like raise chickens or have a farm because I don't know what I'd really be happy doing anywhere else.

The Lying GameQUESTION: Do you have a favorite moment or scene that you shot and could you tell us why?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, I can't tell you spoilers. I think out of the first two you've seen, I think I loved doing the scene with my mom. Sydney is a tremendous actress and that was a lot of fun to do.

Preparing for the ballet aspect was also a lot of fun because what little girl doesn't dream of running around in little pink shoes in a flowy skirt. So that was a little dream come true for me there. But later on in the show, all I can say is, I've had such an excellent time playing Char and being involved with the whole Sutton storyline. And what I can tell you is you guys are going to love tuning in.

QUESTION: A lot of fans have commented that they love your hair and they were wondering if your hair is like that in real life?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, considering I have bed head right now not at every moment in real life. But, yes, for sure I will wear my hair curly and I do have blonde hair. But I do not have a professional stylist with me at all times. So I will get my occasional flyaway where Char would be caught dead before she had a flyaway. So, I'm not always perfect. But I do have similar hair.

QUESTION: Is there anything you'd like to tease the fans or like a certain character or story that they should look forward to without giving anything away?

KIRSTEN PROUT: Well, I do think you should keep your eye on Emma and Ethan because that's one of my favorite aspects of the show. I think you guys are going to love their storyline and where the show is going with it and that whole romance. I think fans should definitely keep an eye on that.

Also, the mystery, really pay close attention to the little hints that are dropped. The show drops clues everywhere and sometimes it's hard to pick up on them or they seem like completely unrelated little snippets. But pay attention because they'll always come out in a few episodes ahead. And you'll figure out, oh, man, that little clues could really help you start figuring out something in Emma's past. So, I'd keep an eye on that too.

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