In the film, 15-year-old Laura plays Mackie, one-half of the starring twin pair, who is fighting for a spot in a music video dance competition. She’s competing against her twin and BFF Mia (Brisa Lalich), and the twins’ enemy, mean girl Avery (Jayden Bartels).
Everly Mag caught up with Laura to hear all about her time spent working on To The Beat, her friendships with co-stars, and what’s next for her acting career.
Everly Mag: How did you get your start in acting?
Laura: I got started [when I was] 5 years old. I met Susan Bernhardt, who at the time was a Hollywood manager, and wanted to sign me for talent representation. I wanted to be an actress the minute I watched the Disney film High School Musical. I wanted to be just like [the cast of HSM] – performing, singing, and dancing!
Everly Mag: What was the audition process like for To The Beat?
Laura: The audition process was fun and very quick. I did a couple of chemistry reads with different actors, and then BOOM – before I knew it, we were all sitting at our first official table read.
Everly Mag: What did you love about playing your character, Mackie? How are you and Mackie similar?
Laura: Mackie loves her family and her siblings. She’s very supportive of her sister and wants to do the right thing. I also have 2 siblings and would do anything for them, just like Mackie!
Everly Mag: What was it like playing a twin sister alongside Brisa Lalich?
Laura: Playing Brisa’s twin was so much fun! It was just like a really long sleepover to me. We had tons of fun and felt like we were just hanging out.
Everly Mag: What do you hope people take away from watching the movie?
Laura: I hope that whoever watches the movie sees the quality in teamwork! Positivity and love overcome jealousy and anger.
Everly Mag: What was it like filming To the Beat? How was your experience working with Alyson Stoner, Jaheem Toombs, and the other cast members?
Laura: Working with my cast mates was SO much fun. When I found out Alyson Stoner was cast, I was beyond excited! I’ve looked up to her since I was a little girl, watching her on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and [had] followed her journey from that point on. Another fun surprise was seeing Devon Werkheiser. Devon was the star in Scott Fellows’ massive Nickelodeon hit, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. It was really cool for me, because I [had worked on] a recurring role in Scott’s remake of Ned’s Declassified, 100 Things To Do Before High School.
Working on 100 Things was also the first time I worked with Jaheem Toombs. Jaheem joined us [in] To the Beat! and kept us laughing the entire time he was on set! I also got to work with Jake Brennan [and] Trevor Larcom, [with whom] I’d worked on Richie Rich and Fresh Off the Boat [respectively]. So, literally, it felt like a big, fun party working with all these amazing actors and friends. But, of course, we kept it professional and focused when it was time to shoot.
Everly Mag: In the movie, your character is a dancer. Do you dance outside of the film?
Laura: I had really taken a break from dancing when I became so busy with my acting career. I was dancing competitively and was unable to miss classes. Around that time, I booked 100 Things To Do Before High School, Instant Mom, and other projects in-between. I decided to [stop] dancing competitively and just take classes when I was free.
Now, I am currently back to dancing and in regular classes. I loved learning the choreography that Chris Trousdale set for us [in To the Beat]. It really made me miss dancing, and that was my first pitch to get back into the studio.
Everly Mag: What’s your favorite scene from To The Beat?
Laura: The scene where Avery, [played by] Jayden Bartels, approaches Mia and me outside our house. It’s one of the only scenes where we get to act all together, and it’s kind of a mean girl-style showdown. It was really fun to film.
Everly Mag: Outside of To The Beat, what other projects have you worked on?
Laura: My first large projects was [the film] Instructions Not Included which, on its opening weekend, blew everyone away. The film broke records and stayed in theaters for such a long time. It’s now currently available on Netflix. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with Ariana Grande on the Nickelodeon show Sam & Cat.
I would have to say my favorite experience, besides To The Beat, was working on the Nickelodeon show 100 Things To Do Before High School.
Everly Mag: What do you hope to accomplish in the future of your career?
Laura: I hope to continue working in this industry and be a role model to all young girls, as so many actresses were to me.
Everly Mag: Finally, what are some of your favorite things?
Laura: Favorite TV shows are Riverdale and Friends. Favorite movies are Selena and Titanic. Favorite foods are hot wings and fries!
Feature Image Credit: Laura Krystine