by Edwin L. Carpenter – Associate Editor, The Dove Foundation
Raven-Symoné Pearman, the former child star of “The Cosby Show,” and present star of “That’s So Raven,” appeared in concert at the Allegan County Fair in Michigan just before the premiere of her new film, “Everyone’s Hero” coming to theaters September 15, 2006. The day after the concert, she spoke with The Dove Foundation about the film and various aspects of her career.
We began the interview by asking what interested her in voicing the character of Marti Brewster in “Everyone’s Hero,” and what she brought to the part.
“First of all, just a back story – Christopher Reeve was the project’s original director and he believed in conquering your dreams and that everything is possible and that’s something that I believe in as well. So, when they said they wanted me to do this film I said, ‘Of course!’ And they gave me this really cool tom-boy character. When I was younger I actually was a tom-boy. I was a skater. I had those big, big, big skater jeans. I never really did the whole girlie make-up unless I was about to go on camera. So being able to kind of travel back in time and touch that person that I used to be was fun. I wanted to bring that back into the world. I think girls act now like, ‘We have to be prissy,’ but I think it’s kind of fun to throw the baseball around sometimes.”
“Did you get an opportunity to work with Christopher or Dana Reeve?” we asked. “No,” she replied “but their spirits were there throughout every day of recording with the producer that I was working with. He would just say, ‘You know what? I think Christopher would like it like this.’ The producer had worked with Mr. Reeve before so you kind of felt like he was there because so many people did know him and worked with him prior to this film.”
We asked Raven, “What did you personally like about the film ‘Everyone’s Hero’?” “I liked the boy’s courage even though he said he didn’t have any courage. I liked the way it touched on how so many kids are today, where they’re just not confident enough in themselves and they don’t realize they’re creating their dream and conquering their dream. As the day goes on, even though they’re saying, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it,’ you constantly see them do it. I think the movie just tells that story so wonderfully because that’s what a lot of kids go through nowadays.”
We noted that Raven has appeared in a lot of family programming and we asked her if this was a conscious decision, or were these just the roles that had been offered to her?
“I think it’s a little bit of both, and it’s also been fun. You don’t have to worry about doing something that you’re not comfortable with. I’m only twenty years old so I’m still 150,000 percent connected to my family. The best way to do work that you enjoy is to once again connect it to how your real life is going.”
Everyone wants to know if Raven is still in touch with Bill Cosby, so we asked her. “Not as much as I should be. But I hear through the grapevine that he’s very proud of me. He never doubted in his mind that I would continue working. That’s what I need to survive-just to know that he’s proud of me.”
We wanted to know if Raven prefers one medium over the other—TV, Film or Music? “Not necessarily because each one brings me joy. With music you actually get to see your audience up-close and personal as you’re creating, and with television you have to create first and then see the people afterwards, and I get to create so many different characters when I’m acting. I get to be myself when I’m singing. I get to dress up in so many different costumes when I’m acting. I get to dress like myself when I’m singing so there’s joy you get from all of them. I don’t have a favorite.”
We asked Raven about favorite acting roles. “I think one of my favorite roles would have to be in the second movie I did. I was never really a teenager that defied my parents or that had such a bad attitude like this character did. It was kind of fun to pretend like I was a bad girl and be punished later. It was fun to talk back to my parents for once!”
Her show “That’s So Raven” will continue to run although no new episodes are going to be made. “It will be running for a very long time. We finished filming the hundredth episode in January and there’s a spin-off. I’m personally starting a production company that’s going to be doing straight-to-DVD material through internet, broadband and mobile. I’m definitely making sure that girls and guys, but mostly girls, are confident–and respect themselves and make sure that other people respect them.”
We had to ask Raven about her performance at the Allegan County Fair here in Michigan. “It was amazing!” she gushed. “It was so funny because the two concerts prior to this got rained out, my CD wasn’t working and we were having problems. It was a little cold, a little chilly! I wore a sweatshirt—not my normal costume! And big old pants! But the show went really well. Nobody failed so that’s always good and the crowd was alive and the parents loved it so I enjoyed it. But I need to go back to L.A.!” she joked. “I enjoyed myself and it’s not bad to enjoy different types of weather every once in awhile, since in L.A. it’s summer all the time.”
We questioned Raven about directing in the future. “Actually I was interested in directing an episode of ‘That’s So Raven,’ but then I realized that directing a four-camera show is more difficult than directing a movie, and I don’t want to start off just because my name is on the show and just because I have the opportunity. I want to have some education behind it. So, eventually I probably will. I’ll start small and work my way up.”
“I like producing a lot better. I like being hands-on with the actors and the studio and the writers and creating. With directing you have a lot on your plate. You have to take so many different orders. When you produce, the director has to come to you! So I kind of like that.”
We asked Raven how she differs from her on-screen character on the TV show. “I’m a lot mellower. I’m not a fashion-designer wannabe! Otherwise, I always say that Raven Baxter is Raven-Symone when I was thirteen. If Raven Baxter ever went to an eighteenth season, she’ll end up like me—calm, mellow, cool!” She said she definitely draws on her life experience to play the character.
When we told Raven that we had awarded the film, “Everyone’s Hero,” five doves out of a possible five, she said, “Well, thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.” We hope that you will catch this film, and see the “former” tom-boy Raven as she was at thirteen!