An interview with Vanessa Marano star of ‘Switched at Birth’

Credit: ABC Family

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

I recently got the chance to talk to Vanessa Marano, who stars as Bay Kennish on Switched at Birth, about the current season of hit ABC Family drama (Mondays at 8 p.m.)   I really liked what Marano, who I’ve watched grow up on Without a Trace and Gilmore Girls, had to say about her career, her show and Bay and Emmett. I think you will too.

TV Gal: I like that Bay hasn’t gotten back together with Emmett after he slept with Toby’s girlfriend. But Emmett is obviously so apologetic and devastated and he drew a beautiful mural for her. How do you feel about Bay and Emmett?

Marano:  I’m definitely one of the few people who thinks they shouldn’t get back together. That was really awful. I’m from a belief that if someone betrays you in that way, you don’t give them another chance. It’s incredibly disrespectful. But I think what this season does teach, which I think is super important, is that you can still forgive somebody. You don’t need to necessarily to have them in your life in the same way or feel the same way about them or be a doormat but you can forgive them.

TV Gal: Will they get back together before the season finale on October 22?

Marano: I really don’t know.  It’s heartbreaking because they were such a cute couple. What I like about our show is that with so many intense, crazy, dramatic things happening, it really is character driven and through that so many real emotions come out and that’s what keeps the story grounded.

TV Gal: Are you surprised by how popular Switched at Birth has become?

Marano: More than surprised I’m incredibly grateful. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve done so many pilots that don’t get picked up. I’ve always put my heart and soul into everything I’ve done

I’m so glad that this was the one that was successful. I love everybody I work with. It’s a great show. It’s very interesting and it teaches people sign language and really a well done program. But, more than anything, I’m so proud to go to work with a cast and crew that I adore.

TV Gal: You didn’t know sign language before? How challenging is it to act while signing.

Really hard. It’s easier to speak it than to understand it.  The hardest part about it is I started doing scenes with Sean Berdy [who plays Emmett] and Sean doesn’t talk and I didn’t know when my cue line was. If he put his hands down he could be taking a dramatic pause. And when we started to do fight scenes that was so hard. It’s really hard to elevate your voice. It’s really difficult to fight and scream essentially with yourself.

TV Gal: You started acting when you were very young.  How did you know this is what you wanted to do?

Marano: I knew I wanted to act when I was six. My mom was a drama teacher. She was a professional actress and ended up being a drama teacher and opened her own theater so I was always surrounded by it. I just saw my mom direct teenagers in plays and I thought, ‘That looks like fun’ so I begged my mom for two years and she said, ‘No it’s a horrible industry. I don’t want to turn into a stage mom. I don’t want to drive you around. It treats women really badly and you should have a childhood.’ And I said, ‘But I want to do it.’ So two years of that – that combative back and forth

A friend of hers, who was a child actress, said to her, ‘You’re not being supportive of your daughter.’ So she said, ‘Okay. Fine.’ And she looked up agents and there was this one agency that crushes the souls of children and destroys their dreams and she was like, ‘Ah sweet!’ I go in and my mother, who’s an acting teacher, does not help me prepare the dialogue.  I go in and read for the agent, she calls my mother in and says, ‘I’ll take her.’ My five-year-old sister walks in and says, ‘Oh I don’t have an agent.’ And the agent says, ‘Oh I’ll take that one too.’ So my sister didn’t even have to beg or audition by the way. I did all the hard work. And now we’re both employed by the Disney Corporation. [Her sister Laura Marano stars in the Disney Channel series Austin & Ally].

TV Gal: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I love the show even though I know I’m not in the target demographic.

Marano: Anyone who watches is our ideal demographic.

Where Have I Seen Them Before and Quotes of the Week

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

Back by popular demand and because I love doing them, I bring you the best familiar faces and quotes on TV last week.

Where Have I Seen Them Before

Jamie Chung played Mulan on Once Upon a Time – we will see quite a bit of her this season. Chung was Ed Helms’ fiancée Lauren in The Hangover II. Michael Raymond-James was the mysterious man at the beginning of the episode who received a postcard with the word “broken” on it. He was Britt on the much-missed Terriers (if you didn’t see this show when it was on, you need to watch it now.) He was also Rene Lenier on True Blood.  Sarah Bolger was Princess Aurora. Bolger was Mary Tudor on The Tudors and if you really want to feel old she was also the little girl Christy in the movie In America. Julian Morris was Prince Phillip. He’s Wren on Pretty Little Liars, Dr. Andrew Wade in the final season of ER and Anders on the short-lived My Generation.

Todd Grinnell is Charlotte’s sketchy doctor on Revenge. He was Andrew’s boyfriend on Desperate Housewives and I always remember him from the comedy Four Kings.

Kurt Fuller is Kristina’s doctor on Parenthood. He was on the dad on the comedy Better With You (another show that aired that I totally could have used a support group for).He also recurs as Judge Peter Dunaway on The Good Wife and as Woody on Psych. Rose Abdoo was Gwen, the cancer patient Kristina befriended. She plays Sam on Bunheads, which of course also means she was on Gilmore Girls, where she played Gypsy.

David Walton was Jess’ blind date Sam on New Girl. Walton is in my “I wish he had a hit show” file. He played opposite Amanda Peete on Bent last season (a show that never got the chance it deserved) and was also Vance on Perfect Couples.

Erynn recognized Dallas Roberts, who plays Alicia’s brother Owen on The Good Wife, as the husband of the victim on Elementary.  He was also Miles in Rubicon.

Jeremy Davidson was the District Attorney giving Alicia a difficult time on The Good Wife. He’s Chase on Army Wives and Kitty’s boyfriend Jack on Brothers & Sisters.

Michael Trucco is currently playing Robin’s boyfriend Nick on How I Met Your Mother. He was also Kate’s boyfriend Detective Tom Demming on Castle and Samuel Anders on Battlestar Galactica.

It was driving me crazy trying to figure out how I knew Daniella Alonso, the actress playing Nora on Revolution. And so much better to worry about a familiar face then to think about how utterly ridiculous and poorly acted Revolution is (I need to begin my character relocation program for Billy Burke and Giancarlo Esposito stat!).  Alonso was Carlotta, the nurse for Saracen’s grandmother on Friday Night Lights.  She was also Brenda on My Generation so it’s good to see that those actors are all finding work.

Quotes of the Week

“So you’re not their favorite parent. You’re a solid second place.” Mike to Frankie when she finds out the kids prefer Mike over her on The Middle.

“As my uncle used to say: let’s not let a botched kidnapping ruin a perfectly good afternoon.”  Shorty to Jay on Modern Family.

“You must leave because despite what you hope, I’m still a monster.”  Mr. Gold to Belle on Once Upon a Time.

“He wants to protect you for anything bad happening and here’s the thing: the bad thing is already happening.” The cancer patient Gwen to Kristina about Adam on Parenthood.

“Are you cooking a frittata in a sauce pan? What is this? Prison?” Schmidt to Jess on New Girl.

“And you were right – I had no idea.” Castle to Beckett on the season premiere of Castle. Thanks to Lisa who sent in this quote and reminded me that the line referenced the exchange between Castle and Beckett at the end of the show’s first episode.

That’s a wrap up of some of last week’s best familiar faces and quotes. Remember to email me your favorite quotes and familiar faces through my contact page.