Talking with the amazingly talented Alicia Minshew always feels like catching up with an old friend whom I’ve known since childhood. She’s open, honest, real and a truly kind person. Add all of that to the fact that she’s a crazy-talented actress who is down for any and every opportunity and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect star.
Minshew rose to fame when she was tapped in 2002 to play Kendall Hart, the daughter of All My Children’s Erica Kane, and became half of the insanely popular Zach and Kendall, “Zendall,” pairing. Following her almost 10-year run on the show, Minshew has had no shortage of work. She’s starred in the web series Tainted Dreams and Beacon Hill, as well as a number of movies including Lies I told My Little Sister and Desires of the Heart. Most recently, she was called on to play Georgina in Year Rounders, an upcoming series to debut on the new online network, SudsvilleTV.
We caught up with the busy actress to talk about her recent roles, what she misses most about AMC and what’s on her reading list these days.
BookTrib: What’s happening with Beacon Hill? Will we see a new season in 2016?
Alicia Minshew: We actually just heard from the writers of Beacon Hill recently and they have absolutely written Season 2! I’ve actually read Season 2 and it’s so good. It’s not as focused on mine and Sarah Brown’s character as it is on everybody now. Season 2 is about us, but you get to see more of everybody else. Then there’s this crazy soapy awesome cliffhanger at the end of Season 2 that literally had my jaw on the floor. So they’ve written it and want to get a bigger budget than what they had. They’re also actually trying to sell Season 1 as an actual pilot. In the meantime, they want to do Season 2 the right way. So they said, “Stay tuned. We are working on the budget, we’re reaching out to actors, and we are writing, writing, writing.” Now it is kind of a waiting game as these things go. So hang tight; Season 2 is coming up, we are trying to figure out when we are going to shoot it. In the meantime, rewatch the first season.
BT: What’s happening with SudsvilleTV and what can you say about Year Rounders?
AM: Year Rounders is still casting. We are supposed to film in January. It’s created by Meg Kelly who was a writer for Days of Our Lives. The first season is 12 episodes and it’s a drama. It takes place in New England and follows the story of three different families, all from different generations and, well, let’s just say stuff goes down in this town! Meg said to me, “We’ve got this new network called Sudsville TV and we’re going to have a drama, a cooking show, a reality show….” There will be something like 11 different original programs and the scripted one is Year Rounders. It’s going to be geared towards the daytime audience, which I thought was really kind of cool. So I read the script and I was like, “Yes, I love it.” I was asked to play someone who is older than me. The producers said, “We want to age you. Do you mind if we age you?” So I said, “No,” and they said, “OK, so we want you to play the one who’s just a hot mess and she used to be really hot but now she’s just a mess. We basically want you to look like the Housewives of New Jersey who try a little too hard, so do you mind getting a blonde wig and a spray tan?” And immediately I was like, “YES, I’m in!”
BT: Big congrats on the DVD release of Lies I Told My Little Sister exclusively at Walmart! It’s such a fantastic film. Where else can people find the movie?
AM: Lies I Told My Little Sister was so cool and it’s going to be available on Amazon, iTunes and Netflix. I had a cameo in it, but I love the part and I love the cast. I read the script and I cried when I read it. It’s this beautiful family film and Lucy Walters, who’s a phenomenal, beautiful actress, plays the lead, Cory, and I play her sister, Sarah, who dies of cancer. The whole story is about how the family deals with Sarah’s death. It’s a beautifully told film and the actors are all really great. It was kind of cool for me that it was not glamorous! It was not like a soap at all. My hair is wrapped and you don’t ever see my hair. I have no make up on and I look sickly. I’ve played sickly before, but soap opera sickly. This is literally no hair done, no mascara, it was the real deal. It was really special to tell that story for the family and it was a great experience.
There’s also an interesting story. Come to find out that the writer, Judy White, was a big fan of AMC and she actually wrote this story about her sister, Sarah, who died. It turns out Sarah was a huge fan of mine on AMC. Judy said to me, “My sister is in heaven right now freaking out that you are playing her!” When I met her she just just hugged and hugged me and she said, “You have no idea what this means to have you play my sister, because this whole story is about her death.” It was kind of perfect and kind of gave me chills.
BT: Desires of the Heart was just released in theaters in November in India. Tell us about that project!
AM: It also went to the Cannes Film Festival, and made the rounds in the International festival circuit. Half of the movie takes place in India. They filmed most of the movie in India and the other part in Georgia. I know the producer, Solila Parida’s goal is to have it in the U.S. also and she is still working on it. I remember I worked with Val Lauren, who plays the male lead, Kris, and as a film actor he is used to doing three or four pages [of dialogue] a day, but he could not believe when I told him that I did 40 to 50 pages in one day when I worked on AMC. He said, “I don’t believe you! I could never do that.” Working together, we had great chemistry. He’s funny, charming and super talented and he carries this whole film. He plays the man who my character, Madeline, falls in love with. There is a big surprise in the end, though! I’ll say this, it’s a very mystical movie, so things may not always be what they seem.
BT: What do you miss most about All My Children when you look back on it?
AM: Well, first of all, I miss the cast and the crew. I miss my second family. I was there for 10 years, so these actors and hair and makeup people, cameramen and producers, directors, they really became my extended family. I miss the people I worked with on a daily basis. I’m friends with Rebecca Budig, Thorsten Kaye and Cameron Mathison. I’m still very close to them all and I see them, but I don’t work with them and that’s something different. Like, I miss running lines with Rebecca and laughing. I miss being on set with Thorsten and just forgetting my lines and him making fun of me for it. It’s the working relationship with these people that I miss. Cast members I was close with that I don’t get to see I really, really miss. I miss playing Kendall. She was such a fun character to play. I’m lucky I got to do all these fun projects after that. But she was so close to my heart and she became a little part of me, so at the end of the day it’s like I miss my friend. I used to put her shoes on and play her and become her every day. I just feel lucky they gave me so much stuff to do. I’ll always miss playing her.
BT: And of course, we can’t leave out the “Zendall” fans!
AM: I love Zach and Kendall fans. I love them because to this day, and it’s been four years already … and in the street someone stopped me and said, “Aw Kendall, how’s my boy Zach? I miss you two.” And, of course, the Zach and Kendall fans on Twitter. I love them. I know a lot of them personally because I’ve seen them over the years. They’ll send me videos and say, “This is the day Zach and Kendall got married,” and they’ll send me a video. It makes me so nostalgic. I see Thorsten all the time and I know he’s kicking ass on The Bold and the Beautiful. Thorsten can go on any show and take any role and make it his own. There’s nothing he can’t do. He’s an uncle to my daughter and she loves him.
BT: So we have to ask! What’s on your reading list these days? I know it’s hard with a 6-year-old!
AM: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. My husband read this book and…he’s like, “Alicia, you need to read this book and they made a movie about it.” He has now passed down the book to my whole family [and] they’ve all read it but me. I’m also the queen of inspirational books and there’s one that my mom gave me that I actually have started reading … called Angels Walking with Us by George Popovici. It’s another true story. Also, have you heard of Mo Willems? His books are geniusly funny. He has a book called The Pigeon Needs a Bath. He’s from New York, so he puts New York City in his books. There [are] pictures of pigeons, kids running around in school. He is pretty popular worldwide. They’re funny and cute, and an easy, easy read for young kids. So Mo Willems is my obsession, [my daughter] Willow’s obsession, and I pretty much read it to her every night along with other books.
Main image credit: Barry Hollywood