Actress Daniela Bobadilla discusses playing Emma in the NBC series Awake
18-year-old Daniela Bobadilla is poised for a banner year in 2012. After just a handful of guest-starring credits in shows such as Supernatural, Smallville, and Desperate Housewives, she joins the critically-acclaimed NBC drama series Awake, where she plays Emma, the girlfriend of Michael Britten's (Jason Isaacs) son, Rex (Dylan Minnette). The show airs Episode 1.04: Kate Is Enough Thursday, March 22 at 10 PM ET. The actress will also be seen on the cable airwaves this summer as Charlie Sheen's outspoken daughter in the FX comedy series Anger Management, which premieres Thursday, June 28 at 9 PM ET. I recently had the chance to speak with Daniela Bobadilla over the phone - while she was prepping for rehearsals on Anger Management, coincidentally, and here's what she had to say below.
I was reading an interview you did recently about Awake, where you said how excited you were for the show after seeing the first trailer, which I believe was released last May. I was wondering how much time past between when the show was announced, and when you were called in to read for Emma?
Daniela Bobadilla: I think it was in August or September of last year. They shot the pilot back in April, and then in August or September is when they started shooting. I was in the first episode they shot as a series, the one after the pilot. It was really cool because I was there on the first day, and every one was congratulating each other on getting the series. It was really nice.
It's really intriguing how the whole thing is set up, with both realities, and you appear in them both.
Daniela Bobadilla: Yeah, his partners, played by Wilmer Valderrama and Steve Harris, are in both realities, however, they don't interact with him in both realities. You have to keep at it. Trust me, it's so rewarding.
When the pilots were first sent out to the critics, this was one of the most highly-regarded pilots of the season, and it is one of the last to debut. It didn't have a premiere date for the longest time, so was that kind of nerve-wracking, not knowing when the show is going to air?
Daniela Bobadilla: It always is, but for us, it certainly helped. It's such a high-concept drama, and there was so much going into it, that not having an air date allowed us to do the actual work and do it justice. Because we didn't have an air date, we were able to take two weeks off, just to get the writers to make sure they pulled all the strings that they could. It actually worked out, but, as an actor, you're not doing it for the numbers, you're not doing it for the premiere, you're actually doing it for the work. You just put everything into it so that the show has the best possible possibility.
Can you talk a bit about where your relationship with Dylan Minnette's character goes throughout the season, and how serious it gets?
Daniela Bobadilla: Well, I think we were serious beforehand. When my character got introduced in the second episode, we had been dating for a few months already. In that one, when I'm with him, that was obviously in his reality, and then in last week's episode, I'm actually in the mom's (Laura Allen) reality, which means that Dylan is not there with me. Those timelines run concurrently, so they're both going on at the same time. As we're hanging out in one world, technically, in the other world, I'm actually at his memorial.
That's what I think is so cool about this show. There are all these shows with other realities, but they're set in different times. This is one of the few that is set within the exact same time.
Daniela Bobadilla: I know! It's kind of like 24, in real time. I guess you can debate, because it's not really said in the show, you can debate whether it's the next day or the same day, but they kind of go along the same time.
Can you take us through a day on the set? There is such a great cast here, so can you talk a bit about the everyday life on set?
Daniela Bobadilla: Everyone is just so committed. It's a drama, but everyone is still there having fun, just doing their work and really loving it. The cast and the crew are so loving. Hair and makeup is fun, because it will be 5 AM and Jason (Isaacs) will actually bring in his laptop with these awesome speakers and he will just be blasting funk music. It's amazing. He really set up the mood for everybody to just be having a good time. You have to do your job, but you might as well be nice to everybody and make everyone's job easier. It was an amazing time.
You're a recurring character, so how many episodes do you pop up in this season?
Daniela Bobadilla: For this first season, there are 13 episodes, and I'm actually in seven of them. I'm not in this week's episode, but I am in the week after that. We wrapped in February, but thankfully we were all on set when we found out we were getting the air date. We were all in the hair and makeup trailer and all of the sudden you hear one person screaming, 'We've got an airdate!' It was just awesome to be able to share that with everybody.
A lot of cable shows will have their whole run before they premiere as well, although most shows on network are still shooting while it's running. You don't really get any feedback while you're on the set this way, so do you think it would have helped the show, if you were still on the set while this was airing?
Daniela Bobadilla: Wow. That's actually the most interesting question I've ever gotten. I actually thought about that, and it's actually happened to me on a different project, but it was a movie. We had already shot half of it, and the director had a rough edit and he wouldn't let us see it. He said, 'Should you watch your performance of what you've been doing so far, you might get critical of yourself and you might start changing.' Then it will be inconsistent with what you've already did, so my mind goes back to that. I think it would've been cool, just to know what the show looks like, but I don't know. We get the scripts week by week, so it's almost like we know the story just like the audience.
There are some showrunners who really pay attention to what the fans really like and don't like, and some will actually make changes to the show because of that. It would be interesting to see that dynamic play out on a show like this.
Daniela Bobadilla: Oh, definitely. I have actually looked on the IMDB discussion boards, and people come up with the coolest ideas, so it would have been interesting to see that during production. I know during our actual production, the writers and executive producers went to Comic-Con, and some people had some interesting ideas.
NBC hasn't had the best luck in the Thursday 10 PM timeslot this season. Two shows have already been canceled, but it seems this is the one show that has a solid footing.
Daniela Bobadilla: Yeah, not only that, but it's got a heart to it. It's not just a cop drama, there are a lot of elements to it. I'm sure you already knew this, but Laura Innes directed a few episodes and she acts in it too, but Thursdays at 10 PM was her time slot for 15 years when ER was on. We just thought that hopefully we can get her luck, and that Awake can wake up that time slot (Laughs). The critics have been really behind us, and we're so thankful for that.
I know the network is just now starting to get their schedule in order for next year, but do you know when you might hear whether or not Awake will get a second season?
Daniela Bobadilla: We're all wondering the same thing. We've all been looking at the ratings and, thankfully, they're doing pretty good. I know that we do have to know sometime around sixth episode, because the upfronts are coming up in May, so they have to make a pretty quick decision. I don't think we'll get to air the 13 episodes, before a decision has to be made.
If you got a second season, do you think it would be another 13-episode season, or are you looking forward to a normal 22 or 24-episode season? Or do you think it works better as a 13-episode season?
Daniela Bobadilla: That would be amazing. I know that some fans and some critics have said that we would work as a mini-series. I just want the show to come back, so, whichever one it may be, then I think it would be great. It is pretty intense. Every single episode almost feels like a part to a movie. (Executive producer) Howard Gordon made it a lot like 24, which could have been like 50 movies all on its own (Laughs). I just want it to come back, and I'm sure how ever many episodes we get, we'll be just as thankful as the first 13.
If you do get that Season 2 pickup, are there certain ideas you have in your head, about where you would like to see Emma go in Season 2?
Daniela Bobadilla: I wish I could tell you that, but there is a big plot point coming up, that I want to be expanded. It's pretty amazing, but I can't tell you. You'll just have to watch.
Is that development coming towards the end of the season, or is it coming up soon?
Daniela Bobadilla: It's actually coming up soon, yeah. The March 29th episode kind of leads into it, but the April 19th episode is when it starts happening.
Is there anything you can say about Anger Management? Have you started shooting that yet?
Daniela Bobadilla: I'm actually in my trailer right now for Anger Management. We started on Wednesday, we've been doing rehearsals since Wednesday, and then Monday is our first shoot day.
I love the cast, with Charlie Sheen and Noureen DeWulf, who I've talked with before.
Daniela Bobadilla: She's awesome. We're actually trailer-mates. She's right beside me.
You play Charlie's daughter, and I've read she's quite the rambunctious type. What other things can you tell us about the character before the show starts airing in June?
Daniela Bobadilla: She's just a sweet girl. She's really, really close with Charlie's character. Her parents are divorced, Shawnee Smith plays my mom. So far, from what I've read, she spends a lot of time at both houses, but she's really close with Charlie. They can just throw jokes back and forth. She's a really loveable girl. She's really smart, and she knows what to get. She gets really obsessed with one thing at a time, and it's funny to see the dynamic of Charlie trying to calm her down, but her trying to convince Charlie that this is important. It's a lot of fun. It's total chaos, Charlie's life.
So there are a lot of big back-and-forth dialogue scenes between you and Charlie?
Daniela Bobadilla: Yeah, so far, there has been. It's been really fun. The thing is that, throughout the episodes, Charlie is always worried about me, so he talks about me to his therapist, who is Selma Blair, so it's all about how it ties in with his work life.
We didn't really get a whole lot of details about how he actually becomes a therapist. Is there anything you can say about how this new occupation for him comes to be?
Basically, Charlie is an ex-baseball player, who has a little bit of a freak-out in one of his games, so he himself has to go into anger management. Then, after that, he just decides to turn his whole life around and become an anger management therapist. That's how he interacts with his patients. He says, 'I've been there,' and he shows his video of everything.
Finally, what would you like to say to fans of Awake and to those who haven't seen it yet, about why they should start tuning in on Thursday nights at 10 PM?
Daniela Bobadilla: The show just has so much heart, and, trust me, this is only the beginning. If you think you know what's happening, just you wait. No, I'm serious. When people are under that much stress, they're going to snap at some point. It's going to get interesting. I want to thank people for watching, because it's our little baby, and so far, it's growing up to be something good.
Great. Thanks so much, Daniela. It was a real pleasure talking to you.
Daniela Bobadilla: Awesome. Thank you very much. It was great talking to you.