When you ask most young actors what they would be doing if they weren’t lucky enough to have the acting career they hoped for, you typically get a variety of answers with various job titles like a nurse, a veterinarian, a teacher or a yoga instructor. For 21-year-old actress Emma Myers, there was never a backup plan – becoming an actor was the only option.
Growing up in Orlando, FL, Emma Myers found her love for the inner workings of film and TV by studying behind-the-scenes style vlogs the filmmakers of The Lord of the Rings would share on YouTube to a very fanatic online fanbase. While most girls her age were likely watching reruns on Disney Channel or the latest teen drama series, Myers was obsessing over the fantasy adventures in franchises like The Chronicles of Narnia, and imagining herself in the worlds and the characters she was watching on screen. After countless auditions and a few small roles, Myers’ imagination and persistence would eventually lead her to landing what would be a breakthrough role for her – the role of Wednesday Addams’ bright-eyed werewolf best friend Enid in the hit Netflix series, Wednesday. The Addams Family spinoff ended up being an overwhelming success and one of Netflix’s top-watched shows ever, racking up over 6 billion viewed minutes in the first week of its release, and spent six weeks at number 1.
Myers’ latest addition to her resume is quite different from her last. Out now on Netflix, she plays the role of CC Walker, the daughter of Jess Walker (played by Jennifer Garner) in the new holiday family comedy, Family Switch. Similar to Freaky Friday or Garner’s 2000s romantic comedy 13 Going On 30, Family Switch is a holiday-themed twist starring Garner and Ed Helms star as out-of-touch parents who suddenly find themselves occupying the bodies of their teenage children (played by Myers and Brady Noon), and vice versa. The juxtaposition between a role in a family comedy like the 17-year-old soccer star CC Walker after portraying Enid in Wednesday, and excelling at both, proves that there are no jobs too big or complex for Myers. With so many projects in the pipeline, including a new season of Wednesday, the lead in the upcoming series A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, and her newly announced role in Minecraft, Myers proves she is unstoppable.
Fresh off the release of Family Switch on Netflix, Emma Myers chats with 1883 Magazine about learning from acclaimed actress Jennifer Garner, spending days off shooting at Disneyland, and where she hopes to take her career in the future.
First off – I saw your Deadline announcement this morning that you’re joining the cast of the upcoming Minecraft film. Congratulations! I know you haven’t started production yet, but is there anything you can tell us about this project and your character in the project?
Thank you very much! I can’t really say much because we’re just getting started with it and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can tell you that I am very excited to get started.
Are you excited to be spending some time in New Zealand?
I am! It’s been a bucket list destination of mine for many many years, so I’m very excited to finally get the opportunity to go.
Backing up a little, I would love to hear about your path to becoming an actress – when did you first decide that this is the career you wanted to pursue?
Since I was little, it’s always been the thing that I’ve wanted to do. I did a lot of theatre when I was younger as a starting point, but really I wanted to do film and TV because I loved The Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings filmmakers used to do these behind-the-scenes vlogs, and I watched them every single day, and it just made me want to be an actor. It’s always been my plan A – I haven’t ever really had a passion for any other potential career besides acting.
You mentioned The Lord of the Rings, but were there any specific films or actresses that you admired growing up that made you want to pursue acting?
I really, really loved the Narnia series – I read the books when I was little and absolutely loved the films. I think that the fantasy genre kind of inspired me a lot as a kid, so anything in that kind of realm for sure!
I’ve been meaning to re-watch the Narnia films! I also loved those so much as they came out, and I feel like the holidays are the perfect time to watch them.
For sure, definitely!
Do you remember your first-ever audition?
I do – it was actually a commercial audition. I can’t remember what commercial it was for, but I think it was just your run-of-the-mill casting call at someone’s little commercial office in Orlando. Definitely nothing too noteworthy [laughs].
When you first started to go out for auditions, were you just going out for every potential opportunity, or was there a specific type of job you were trying to go for?
Well, when you’re early on in your career you don’t really get to decide what roles you get to go out for. You can’t afford to be picky with jobs unfortunately, so you end up auditioning for any jobs that come your way, even if it’s something you don’t want to be doing. You can’t turn down opportunities because you don’t really have any notoriety yet. I got lucky with my jobs, though! I never had to do any work that I wasn’t excited about. I have enjoyed every job I’ve had thus far, which is actually kind of a blessing. There are times when you audition for things that you really want and you don’t get, but later on, realize it’s actually a good thing you didn’t get that job because it would have gotten in the way of another opportunity. I’ve enjoyed my career path!
What was it that eventually led you to audition for the role of Enid on Wednesday?
Well, you don’t really turn down a Tim Burton audition! I wasn’t turning down any audition at that point, especially a Tim Burton audition, you just don’t pass that up. So, it wasn’t really me debating whether or not I should audition or something specific drawing me to it. It’s Tim Burton.. It’s The Addams Family! So you are kind of desperate to be a part of it. It was a good four months of auditioning. You’d audition, and then it would be silent, then you’d audition again, and it would be silent again. You’d go in for a callback, and then more silence. It was a lot of waiting and a lot of hoping. It was a long four-month process, but it was totally worth it.
Obviously your part in Wednesday was a career-defining role for you – how excited are you that there’s going to be a season 2?
I am very excited about it! I have never had to come back to a project before, other than reshoots, which are hard enough trying to remember what you did. I think it’s going to be fun seeing all of my friends again and having that same sense of community that we did, wow, two years ago now. I am excited – new place, new experiences – it’s going to be really fun!
Is there anything you can share about season 2? Do you have any specific hopes for Enid’s story?
You know what, no one really tells me what’s going on with season two, so I could not say one thing about it because I do not know [laughs] – but for Enid, I would just love to see her be more confident in herself. She’s finally grown into her wolf abilities, and I would like to see her use that instead of being scared and upset by it. I would love to see her be an instigator in things instead of just being dragged along with it.
What was it like transitioning from Wednesday to your latest project, the family comedy/holiday movie Family Switch?
They are very different tones [laughs] so it was a bit of a switch-up, but the cast made it very easy to get into that comedy space. I was just having a lot of fun, honestly! I was just along for the ride.
I watched the movie a few nights ago and it’s definitely a very fun holiday film. Was a project in this genre something you’ve always wanted to do?
No, surprisingly! I’ve always been afraid of it because comedy is harder than drama, like way harder. So I have always kind of been unsure if I could pull off the right kind of comedic timing. But I had a lot of fun filming this and I’m glad that I did because it’s just something really different than anything I’ve done before.
“It just comes easily when you’re working with someone as iconic and talented as Jennifer Garner to work with. You can kind of just watch her, learn from her and ask her questions, which is what I did.”
How difficult was it to go from playing the 17-year-old version of CC Walker to the adult/mom version of her? You nailed it by the way!
Well, I joined the process really, really late. I joined a week before principal photography started, so I only had one week to prep. In that week we had an amazing movement coach. Me and Jennifer Garner would spend hours playing these weird acting warm-up games where we would mimic each other, and then act like dogs (laughs) and then we would swap sides and I would read her lines, and she would read mine, and then we would switch again. Just different exercises where we would get out of our bodies and become more comfortable imitating another person. We did a drill of that in the first week, which really helped. But also, it just comes easily when you’re working with someone as iconic and talented as Jennifer Garner to work with. You can kind of just watch her, learn from her and ask her questions, which is what I did.
Oh my gosh, I can imagine what an amazing experience that must have been. What was it like working with Jennifer Garner and having her as a mentor? Is there anything that she taught you that you will take with you to her next role?
Just be kind to every single person on set. Everybody is there for a reason, and everyone has a specific job. She would learn everyone’s names and always say hello to everyone on set and was always very sweet. That’s one of the things that sets her apart from other actresses, is that she is just so personable and kind. I think that’s so much more important than any other acting lesson that can be taught. Just how to be a nice person.
You and the rest of the cast seemed to have amazing chemistry. Do you have a favourite off-screen memory from this experience?
Oh my gosh – Brady and I actually went to Disneyland one day for fun because he got some free passes, so he invited me. I haven’t had that much fun off-screen on a set in so long and it was just so refreshing for us to just goof around and be ourselves at the Disney park. It was really fun.
I love Disney! Now I’m curious, do you have a favourite ride at the Disney parks?
Well, I grew up in Florida, so all of the rides that I love are at the Florida parks.
I am familiar with Disney World in Florida, by the way. I actually used to work there when I was in college!
Oh my goodness, well, I’m glad you survived that [laughs]. My favourite ride is probably Everest in Animal Kingdom, that was always my favourite as a kid, which they don’t have in California! Animal Kingdom is such a good park.
Yes! Animal Kingdom is probably my favourite park at Disney World, but Disneyland is so quaint and magical, being the original park. Do you have a favourite attraction at Disneyland? And was this your first time experiencing Disneyland California?
Yes, I had never been before! I am trying to remember if I rode anything that we didn’t have in Florida – I really wanted to go on the Cars ride, but it was closed! I guess the Everest equivalent – I’m trying to remember the name. It was on this big mountain..
Yes! That one. That was such a fun ride.
Well, you’ll have to come back and ride the Cars ride, it’s so good.
I know! That was one of the main reasons I wanted to go, but it was closed! Oh, and the Incredibles ride! Incredicoaster – that was fun. We went on that one like three times.
As you should, especially for your first time!
Okay, going back to Family Switch– I also loved your wardrobe in the film. Were you able to contribute to that at all? Did you have any personal favourite looks that your character wore?
I did! Thankfully everyone was really open to me giving input. My favorite look for CC – I always loved her clothes as CC and not as her mom Jess, because she kind of dresses more in the realm of how I dress in real life. My favourite look of hers was probably the tracksuit because it was so comfortable and I got to be in sweatpants and a sweatshirt when everyone else had to be in an actual costume.
Did you get to keep anything from your character?
I did, I stole a bunch of clothes actually! That now my sisters have stolen [laughs], so I don’t really get to wear them anymore. I did keep the sweatpants from my favourite look though!
“I just want people to learn how to understand each other better. Not everything is black and white, and you can’t just assume you know everything about someone’s life just because you live with them.”
Family Switch is such a heartfelt film. What do you hope people take away from this film and its message?
I think I just want people to learn how to understand each other better. Not everything is black and white, and you can’t just assume you know everything about someone’s life just because you live with them. But also, it’s a great movie to watch with family, just to be all together watching it at Christmastime, or even on a normal night throughout the year. It’s just a great family film to get people together.
Are you a fan of holiday films in general?
I am! I am a fan of holiday films that I watched when I was younger – like a classic is The Polar Express. I watched that movie with my family all the time growing up.
Oh yes! Do you have any other holiday films you watched with your family as a tradition around Christmas?
Elf we watched a lot! Home Alone is a good classic one. A Christmas Story – my mom loves those so we definitely watched those quite a bit!
Those are all on my list too! And although it’s not technically a holiday movie, I always watch the first Harry Potter film around Christmas.
Yes, it is! I usually start those around Halloween, but it’s definitely a good movie to watch around Christmas too!
Now that you’ve had a few very diverse roles in your career as an actress, what do you hope to tackle next? Is there a specific type of character, show or film that you would love to be a part of?
Not horror, but I really think that something in the realm of a suspense thriller would be really fun. Those are the types of films that scare me the most, so I feel like doing one of those would be kind of fun. Something in the same realm as A Quiet Place or Bird Box.
Yes, I could definitely see you doing something like that!
Family Switch is streaming now on Netflix.
Interview Rachel Martin
Photography Gustavo Chams
Styling Gloria Johnson at Tunnel Media Group
Talent Emma Myers wearing Chanel
Make up Glenn Brownell at The Only Agency
Hair Sky Kim at The Only Agency
Photography Assistant Joshua Colón
Styling First Assistant Shakia Daniels
Styling Second Assistant Robert L. Newman III
Retouching Helena Colliny
Location and Special Thanks The Fifth Avenue Hotel