You might know Landry Bender as Blithe, the scene-stealing charge of Jonah Hill in the 2011 comedy hit The Sitter. But this feisty and talented actress no longer needs a sitter. She’s all grown up now and starring in her own projects, most notably her very own Disney series Best Friends Whenever. YE was lucky enough to catch a moment with the busy Disney star who is also handling the pressures of high school (just like you!) in addition to her acting career. Landry gave us the scoop on her new show, some of her faves, and what’s up next in her bright future!
In case you aren’t familiar with the time traveling shenanigans of BFW, Landry broke it down for us. “Best Friends Whenever centers around two best friends named Cyd and Shelby who–through a crazy series of events–get the power to time travel.”
Landry plays Cyd, the “spunky, sporty and strong” half of this dynamic duo. “Cyd is super direct too so that’s been fun to play around with. There are some aspects of Cyd that I do see in myself; I think that’s natural with any character you play. We are both very sarcastic, quick-witted, and know what we want.”
Though Landry admits there are definitely some differences between her fiery character and herself. “She is, admittedly WAY more athletic than I am, has so many more ‘tomboyish’ qualities than I do. My fashion sense is definitely A LOT girlier than hers, but I love getting to play someone so cool and different.”
And what is Miss Bender’s favorite part of being a time traveler? “Personally, I love how much we’ve gotten to experiment with eras which is something other shows don’t really get to dive into. Our 70’s episode just aired and got some great feedback and we have another really fun one coming up later this season, too!”
There’s plenty of down time on a Hollywood set as everything gets set up for each scene. But Landry tells us that she and her castmates make the most of their free time together. “Our cast and crew are honestly some of my favorite people. I spend a good amount of my time up in the production office when I’m not on set because I love being nosey and figuring out what’s happening in upcoming episodes. A few of us actually ran up there at like 10:00 last night after we finished filming. Running around the lot can be an adventure. We really do make work fun.”
Also in her downtime from filming, Landry still manages to find time for finishing her studies, and she tells us that balancing her time between school and work is her number one priority. “We have on set teachers that help us balance our schoolwork, but it can definitely be hard. I always just try to remember to focus on both equally. For some kids in this business, education can become less important but it is to me so I make it a priority. So I feel that just because I get to do what I love, doesn’t mean I should focus less on schooling.”
And of course, we’ve been dying to ask: TELL US ABOUT THE SITTER!!! “It was to this day one of the best experiences of my life!!! Jonah is such a talented guy, and I learned so much from him in that few months. But to be honest, I was 10. I only really knew Jonah Hill as the guy in that one scene in Night at the Museum 2. It was the first project I’d ever done (like EVER), so excitement was probably the main thing. Now, looking back though, I can say now I’m proud and appreciate what that opportunity gave me.”
When we asked Landry about some of her faves and role models in Hollywood, she didn’t hesitate for a moment, with very solid and quick opinions on her icons, with a quickness and a certainty that not all young people could muster so readily. She rattled off a laundry list of her faves, so get ready! “This interview would be 1000 pages long if I told you everyone I looked up to in this business. Because there are seriously SO SO many brilliant people. Neil Patrick Harris is perfect in every way, and I can watch everything he does and get butterflies/goosebumps/tears every time. He’s incredible. Jimmy Fallon is someone I look up to also in comedy along with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Jennifer Lawrence, Bill Hader, Jason Segal, Will Ferrell. (Like can I be all of their best friends, please?) Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn, and Julie Andrews, I will forever be obsessed with. Oh, and BETTY WHITE–she is my favorite person on this planet! Also Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Aniston, Allyson Hannigan, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, and Emma Stone are some ladies I love. Okay, I’m done!”
And what’s up next from this self-assured young actress? In addition to more Best Friends Whenever, Landry also stars in an indie adventure flick called A World Away. “We’re almost done with Season 1 of the show, which is crazy to think about! A World Away is a project I shot last year that is in post production right now. It has a little bit of a Goonies feel to it. I’m really excited for everyone to see it.”
Besides those new projects, what’ on Landry’s horizon? College perhaps? Any other goals for the near future? “College is a big one! I’d love to go to a university and maybe study fashion when the show wraps up. Fashion is something that is a huge art to me, and I’d to get deeper into exploring it. I also want to start writing, producing, and directing. They are all such incredible parts of this business, and branching out into them would be so amazing. And working in comedy definitely has a huge place in my heart, but it’s definitely not all I want to do. There are so many brilliant projects out there that are being written everyday. As long as I continue to fall in love with this business and the ones related to it, I want to work until I’m a billion!!!”
As Disney viewers continue to fall in love with Miss Bender, we wish her the best of luck on college, comedy, and making it to a billion! Be sure to check out new episodes of Best Friends Whenever on Disney Sundays this fall!!!