Interview: Cast of Baby Daddy
During my press trip to LA I visited the ABC Family Baby Daddy set and had the opportunity to interview the cast along with 24 other bloggers. While they were live taping Baby Daddy scenes we got to sit down individually with Jean-Luc Bilodeau (“Ben Wheeler” – @jlblives), Tahj Mowry (“Tucker Dobbs” – Tahj_Mowry), Derek Theler (“Danny Wheeler” – @DerekTheler), Chelsea Kane (“Riley Perrin” – @ChelseaKane) and Melissa Peterman (“Bonnie Wheeler” @Followtheblonde)! We even had special surprise guest star Eddie Cibrian visit us for enough time to take some photos!
I’ll share our interviews with each cast member. They were all exceptionally nice! I did have a hard time hearing the audio I taped from the interviews because we had to be extremely quiet since they were live taping. I’ll share with you what I can!
We asked Jean-Luc Bilodeau what he loved the most about working on Baby Daddy. He plays Ben Wheeler, Dad to Emma who’s mom (Ben’s ex-girlfriend) left her at his door step in the first episode. Jean-Luc said it’s his first sitcom experience and everyone is super cool. Laughter is something that he loves to hear which you don’t get to hear on other sets that aren’t sitcoms. He enjoys the live audience every Friday which makes it really enjoyable. Jean-Luc said, “The cast is awesome and the food is great.” We got to eat while on set and it was delicious!
Jean-Luc said his mom got him an agent when he was nine years old so he started in the business very young. He started out doing commercials but really didn’t consider it a lifelong career until he was about fifteen. He said he actually loved working on cars his whole life and wanted to become a mechanic. His mom said to stay with acting and he decided acting was his jam. We are sure glad his mom pushed him to stay with acting! Directing may be in his future though. Jean-Luc said he would love to try directing at some point. Maybe a future episode of Baby Daddy?
Jean-Luc said he enjoys playing hockey and chilling out in his down time. He said they work three works on, one week off so he tries to go back home when he can. And he loves working on his car. I wonder what kind of car he has. I wish we would have asked! I love cars too!
The cast all have great chemistry on-set so we wanted to know if they are all close off-set as well. Tahj Mowry, who plays Tucker Dobbs, said they definitely hang out. Derek and him enjoy going to action or superhero movies. Chelsea and him are like brother and sister. He said Melissa lives just a few minutes from him. Tahj said, “She’d beep the horn and I’d be like ‘Melissa’s here’. Yeah, so we’re all super close.” I love to hear it when cast members are close! It makes watching the show even that much better!
I’m sure if you grew up in the 80s like me then you are a huge fan of Who’s the Boss?. Tahj actually made his acting debut at the wee age of four as a one-time guest star character on the show! I’ll have to find that episode! It was one of my favorite shows growing up. He also done a lot of commercials especially for McDonald’s. I wasn’t able to find a McDonald’s commercial with Tahj but I did find a Twix one!
I love that he said he loves the people the most. Tahj said they have the best crew and co-stars. He said, “I hang out with the crew members also off the set… it’s just a good environment, a good energy, everybody’s fun and loving.” Director Michael Lembeck showed up during his interview and added, “It just doesn’t happen that people have the same kind affinity for one another like these guys do – cast and crew – it just doesn’t happen. It’s really rare and quite wonderful to come to work every day knowing everybody wants to be here, everybody roots for everybody and it’s really not like that.” We asked Michael Lembeck about directing Friends and he said, “On Friends, we loved coming to work, everyone loved seeing each other every day. It is delightful like that. That group of six was tight like this group of five. They really counted on each other.”
Tahj is actually putting the finishing touches on his album. He said he’s been wanting to do one for a long time. The first single, “Walker”, comes out in February and he’ll be releasing free stuff online such as on iTunes. Starting today you can get a free download of “Bossy” by Tahj on his website http://www.tahjmowryofficial.com/. He said he loves Prince and Lenny Kravitz so it’s sort of a mix of the two. It’s very funky, kind of electronic and very different.
It’s no secret, I absolutely adore Melissa Peterman who plays Bonnie Wheeler, Ben and Derek’s mother. She is the main reason I started watching Baby Daddy. I love her energy and after meeting her, how down to earth she is. It’s pretty obvious by her great personality that she’s a fellow Midwestern-er. If you’re from the Midwest you know what I mean. People are just different or at least they are here where I live. You drive down the road and wave at everyone you meet. You know everything about everyone in town. It’s just the way it is here.
The interview was so quiet that I was unable to hear parts of the interview but we were able to enjoy Melissa’s company while viewing the set too. We also got to meet her parents and they were absolutely lovely! I love what Melissa said to us when we started the interview, “I don’t want to wear pants after 8 o’clock at night.” She said she rarely goes out because she likes her house and her husband. She likes to be at home. I’m the same way!
Melissa said if she weren’t acting she would hope she would be doing something with kids or animals. When she was a kid she said she wanted to be a veterinarian, teacher or a lawyer. That’s so funny because I was actually pre-veterinarian in college. What happened, right? She said, “I really like kids. I like them before they care what other people think and they get an editor.”
She said she tends to mother the cast on Baby Daddy. Melissa continued, “Like, I say ‘Is that what you’re wearing? Do you have socks?’ Like, you know, Jean-Luc will go to Canada to visit home, ‘Do you have warm enough clothes?” She’s more like Chelsea’s older sister or a fun aunt. She tells them stories about her son. Of course, Melissa is tall so she said her son is going to be like Derek who’s like 6’5″. She said her son is 9 years old and 5 feet tall. The bandit is actually the same, 9 years old and just over 5 foot. Crazy, right? I’m already buying him men’s jeans and shirts!
We asked Melissa if she had a favorite episode. She said she had a couple of favorites, “I loved Ranger Roos episode where Tahj and I were auditioning for the mascot for the Rangers and we had… that was physical and that was very fun. There was one we just shot that I really like that hasn’t aired yet. I had a really great episode with Danny where I had lied about a birthday. And it was basically how I just wanted time with my son and it was really sweet moment and I really do cry at those moments. And any one with ‘Brad The Pad’ cause, I don’t know if you’ve seen him but Peter Porte who plays my boyfriend on- and off-again. He’s ridiculously beautiful and also just very fun so, we enjoy those weeks when he’s around.” Those are definitely funny episodes! I love Bonnie’s on- and off-again boyfriend Brad.
Derek Theler plays Ben Wheeler’s brother, Danny, who’s a professional hockey player on Baby Daddy. One thing that surprised me about Derek is that he graduated from Colorado State with a degree in Pre medicine. I love that he finished his degree and what an amazing degree to hold! It’s so funny because his character on the show is sometimes not the brightest which makes his character that much more fun! Derek said he was really nervous when he first started the show but now that he’s gotten used to the live audience and he has grown into the character it is pure fun. They lead up to their big Friday show with the live audience all week. The audience is really involved in the show so it brings a whole different energy.
We asked Derek what it’s like working with the babies who play Emma on the show. Derek said, “It’s amazing. They’re a set of twin babies playing one character. As the seasons go on, every finale to one season and premier of the next is supposed to be one week, so we have to change twins. Otherwise, our original babies are 4 1/2 years old, so we change them.” That makes sense and explains why the actresses playing the babies are often changing. Derek said they hit all of their cues and know their lines better than they do. Derek continued talking about the babies, “They have tricks that they have to do, like they have to burp on command and put her arms up in the air like “bring me a basket of french fries” so it’s been a little bit longer than normal waiting for the babies to hit all of their cues, so we’re a little bit behind schedule.”
When they have a live audience on Fridays they normally run through the same scene a couple of times. If they get it right the cast gets permission to say whatever they want or pitch new ideas. Derek said the writers are really great about working with them on that. “We usually do a take that’s just for the audience; we’ll have different characters come in out of doors and surprise the actors who are on stage. It’s fun, it’s a fun atmosphere to come and see because there’s a lot unique things that happen during the show that don’t happen on the show that you see on television.”
One of Derek’s favorite scenes was when he got to beat up a guy that was mugging Jean-Luc and Chelsea’s characters this season. He came up a back alley and had to fight him. Derek said the other guy was padded up so he got to throw him against the wall which was a lot of fun. He also loves the big sets, stunts and costumes. In one episode he got to wear a full-blown centaur costume, a horse body, where he was bare chested with horse legs and a horse bottom. Derek said he had to walk around the whole set in it which was a lot of fun. “Melissa and I had this whole thing going on when she’s eating an apple and we had all these horse jokes that never made the show. She’s like, feeding me an apple so I’m like, wandering around, whinnying like a horse. It’s funny.”
Chelsea Kane plays the fun lawyer, Riley Perrin, who’s best friends with Danny and torn between the two Wheeler brothers. Which one will she choose? I’m so torn on this one. I love her and Ben together but I’ve always been rooting for Riley and Danny. I’m anxious to see if anything happens between Danny and Riley this season!
Chelsea said she was working on a television musical movie, Lovestruck, for ABC Family when she could hear the execs talking about the new comedy Baby Daddy. She told them she would really love to read it because it sounded interesting. Luckily after a great time working with them on Lovestruck she was able to walk right into the role on Baby Daddy. She said, “It really makes me believe that someone else has a plan for me ’cause it really did just fall into my lap. I feel so incredibly lucky that it’s turned into what it has. It’s been the biggest blessing.” A blessing for sure! She makes an amazing Riley on the show!
And as I mentioned before, Riley is torn between the two Wheeler brothers. We wanted to know if she had any idea which Wheeler she would end up with. Chelsea said she thinks she finally has an idea this season where it’s going so viewers can get some closure. Chelsea continued, “My character is so torn because they are both great guys. Danny is a professional hockey player, 6’5″ and super hot. Ben has really taken the reins with raising a child being a single dad and she loves that about him. I really do understand why Riley’s kinda torn.”
We asked Chelsea if she is like her character in real life. She said they are a lot alike because they’re a type A personality, real go-getters, almost to the point of getting a little crazy at times. Plus, they’re both kind of a guy’s-girl and a little more drama-free. Chelsea said that she honestly does enjoy hanging out with the boys on the show after work. They have a really good time together.
In Chelsea’s down time she said she loves to be at home. Sounds a lot like Melissa! Chelsea grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and went to Saguaro High School She loves to visit family. They actually do get a lot of downtime because of the three weeks on and one week off. Chelsea actually enjoys making candles. She cuts glass out of recycled wine bottles and makes her own scents and wax. Sounds so neat! She said during the holidays she made Sugar Cookie candles to hand out to the cast and crew.
We asked if being on the show has changed her perspective about parenting. She said it definitely has! Chelsea said she had never held a baby in her life. Tahj has nephews and Derek worked in a daycare so everyone was really good with kids except her. Chelsea laughed, “It’s funny, the first couple of seasons I was like, ‘Please do not write scenes where I have to hold the baby,’ because I would just lock up and you could see how uncomfortable I was but now after being around them… Dan [Berendsen, creator] always jokes, he’s like, ‘I can hear your ovaries kicking in’, so now when the babies are on set, I’m just like, ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme’.”
They actually have some fans that come to the show every week who haven’t missed an episode. They now keep a list of mess-ups and who makes the most mistakes. Every night after the taping they do cool designs and keep track through the whole season. They actually give them awards at the end of the season for who doesn’t screw up the most. Chelsea said, “So, now we’re all in serious competition to not screw up. They’ve really helped us stay on our game during taping because last year, Derek won and got a cool little trophy. I’m a virgo and a perfectionist so that is mine! It’s become a really fun game for us now. We have incredible fans. They come back every week, and the fans online… we’re very, very lucky.”
Thanks so much to the amazing cast and crew for putting up with 25 excited bloggers! Be sure to check out the sneak peek of the Baby Daddy winter premiere below:
Connect with Baby Daddy
Official Baby Daddy website
Like on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BabyDaddy
Follow on Twitter: @abcfbabydaddy
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Connect with the Cast
Jean-Luc Bilodeau on Twitter
Tahj Mowry on Twitter
Derek Theler on Twitter
Melissa Peterman on Twitter
Chelsea Kane on Twitter