YEM Interview: Catherine Bradley shares how she was able to overcome some of her obstacles through acting

Catherine Bradley is an actress who is in the movie “A Loud House Christmas”. “A Loud House Christmas” premiered on Nickelodeon and Paramount+ on November 26th. The movie is based on the Emmy Award winning animated series , “Loud House,”. Catherine portrays the character of Luan Loud. YEM was able to speak with Catherine about similarities between theatre and television, similarities she has to her character Luan, and her favorite line that she got to deliver.

Young Entertainment Mag: How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in acting?

Catherine Bradley: I knew I wanted to pursue a career in acting after finding that I loved telling stories while dancing. I began my career as a dancer and auditioned for my first professional musical for one of the Ballet Girls in Billy Elliot.  I was terrified at the audition, waiting to go on the stage. But once I got under the lights and sang, I became a little girl who loves ballet and performing.  I could not believe when I booked that part.  First day of rehearsal, I was hooked and opening night, my fate was sealed. I cannot imagine doing anything else in life.  You get one life and I want to do what I love, and I LOVE acting – also singing and dancing!

YEM: If you could describe acting in one word, what would it be?  

Catherine: Hmmm…. Well, if it had to be one word, I would use the word transformative.  When you are acting, you are transforming yourself into another person.  You get to experience different peoples’ lives, point of views and perspectives on the world. It is very eye opening to see and feel how different people live and perceive things based on differences like socio-economic class, where they live, their home life situation, and different events that have happened to someone – both good and bad. This is what I love most about acting – losing yourself in someone else.  It’s just fun. One day you can transform into a superhero and the next day a murderer and the next day a fun teenager who loves comedy and is obsessed with pranks and puns!

YEM: What was it like to play Lily Luna Potter in The Cursed Child on Broadway?

Catherine: It was incredible.  I mean it was ….. Broadway….. and then it was Harry Potter…. and then it was, wait . . , Harry Potter’s daughter – like really?  I had always dreamed of being on Broadway since I was little girl. Getting to open the show on the legendary Platform 9 ¾, wear fluttery fairy wings, going under the Sorting Hat, speaking a proper British accent, and looking out at thousands of people staring at you is just surreal and an experience I will never forget.  Also, the family we became on that show and the bond we all had was something I will always cherish.  It was a really special show and experience.

YEM: Are there any similarities between theater and television?

Catherine: Yes, there are a lot of similarities. In both theater and tv, you become another character and person and tell that story for an audience, whether it is live or on the screen.  The biggest difference is the adrenaline you get from performing live and the immediate feedback and energy you get from the audience.  It is a unique experience and there is a lot of pressure because you get one shot, and you cannot mess up.  When you are singing, you have to hit those notes and you can’t have a bad day or a “bad take.”  There is only one take!  With tv, it is fun to experiment and try different takes and there is more time to explore and create as these are usually new characters and new stories that many times you are creating for the first time so there is no preconceived notion on how they should be played. You are originating the role and that is special. It’s also okay if you flub a line because you can do another take.

YEM: What was it like voice acting as Deema in the show Bubble Guppies? How is voice acting and acting in person as a character different?

Catherine: Voice acting as Deema was another dream come true.  I watched Bubble Guppies as a preschooler and little girl and was obsessed with Deema.  I would have never guessed back then that I would become the voice of Deema and that little kids all over the world would get to hear me every morning saying “You’ve certainly come to the right place” on their tv.  Parents come up to me all the time and tell me how much their kids love the show and especially love the “drama queen” Deema with her sassy and spunky personality. She is a little over the top sometimes and a lot of fun.  She sounds a little bit like someone I know!

Voice acting is different because you don’t have the energy of the other person who is in the scene with you. You have to imagine all of this happening as you say your lines.  You also have to be more colorful with your voice to express your emotions because they cannot see your face.

Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson

YEM: Have you ever seen the original The Loud House animated series?

Catherine: Yes, I loved it when watched it when I was little. I started watching is again after booking the role of Luan and saw all sorts of funny adult humor things I didn’t notice before. Honestly, when I auditioned for Luan, I did not watch the cartoons. I did not want to make Luan feel like a caricature of the cartoon but wanted her to feel like a real person with a heart and soul.  So only after I booked the live-action version did I rewatch some of my favorite episodes.

YEM: Do you share any similarities to your character Luan?

Catherine: Yes, I am very mischievous and can sometimes get a little carried away!  I am the prankster of our house and can be quite the comedian.  I fancy myself very funny.  Luan and me both have very BIG personalities and neither of us are afraid to be ourselves!  Like Luan, I come from a big family with a lot of sisters, Aubin (who played Lucy in Loudhouse) and Alex and one brother, Colin, and we girls gang up on him and my Dad a lot!!!

YEM: What is your favorite line that you got to deliver?

Catherine: I had a lot of fun lines but had a favorite!  During the scene, where Luan is literally devastated because her Christmas comedy show has been canceled at her grandfather’s retirement home, she and Mr. Coconuts (her puppet who is with her at all times) are explaining to her brother Lincoln that her show has just been canceled.  Our director, Jonathan Judge, encouraged me to improv during scenes, and at one point, me as Mr. Coconuts said to me as Luan, “Well, what about me? What will I do?” and I just literally lost it on him and went berserk screaming, “It’s not all about you Mr. Coconuts.”  That was my favorite line because I had literally been crying seconds before and then went AWOL.

YEM: Was there ever a time you faced an obstacle while acting? How did you overcome it?

Catherine: With acting and becoming a character, I have not faced many obstacles in the sense that acting is natural, and I have been really lucky to be able to connect with the different characters I have played.  But while acting, one of my biggest obstacles has been performing in live theatre when I was sick.  One time when I was nine, I performed as Mary Beth in the Broadway tour of A Christmas Story the Musical.  I was food poisoned and had a high fever, but managed to sing, tap, dance and made it through the show.  Also, when I was Annie in Annie the Musical, the entire cast got sick with a vicious cold and unfortunately, I caught it right at opening night.  Singing the ending high note in “Tomorrow” and holding it for the required 8-10 seconds while managing a live dog is a challenge for most singers, but certainly with a sore throat and cold. In both cases,  I just told myself that I was going to do it and, in those moments, my mind and body somehow would forget they were sick, as I became either Annie or Mary Beth.  After the show was over though, I was drained!!

YEM: Who is your favorite character that you’ve played and why?

Catherine: I have been really lucky to play some of the roles that most young girls dream about like Annie, Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, and Small Alison in Fun Home, but Small Alison would have to be my favorite character that I have played.  First of all, I got to work with three Broadway veterans including Bob Cuccioli who played my dad, and I learned so much from him.  But this role, this character, was so special to me.  I played a young 10-year-old girl who was on one hand just a kid, a young girl desperately struggling to gain her father’s approval.  And on the other hand, she was struggling to understand her sexuality and why she had feelings that many in our world unfortunately do not perceive as not normal and do not accept.  Singing Ring of Keys as Small Alison was one of the highlights of my career.

Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson

 

YEM: Who is your biggest acting inspiration and why?

Catherine: My grandfather since I was a little girl told me that my comedic acting reminded him of the actress Lucille Ball.  I did not know who he was talking about so my mom showed me a few of the iconic I Love Lucy episodes like the factory scene where she is eating the candy trying to cover up that they are messing up or the grape crushing scene.  What I loved about her was how lovable she was and happy.  I also loved how expressive she is, and her different faces was so funny and perfect. You could feel what she was feeling.  Most people don’t give her enough credit as a serious actress.  Comedy is actually very challenging:  funny can become corny really quick and you also have to be real. She was real!  She has always inspired me – the light, humor, the happiness, and the craziness.  She was just fun!

YEM: What is a motto, quote, or saying that you try to live by?

Catherine: A motto that I try to live my life by is, “I think, therefore I am.” I think a philosopher said this.  What it means is that if you believe that you can accomplish something, it will happen.  If you manifest in your mind your dreams, your hopes, and positivity, that becomes your reality. If you manifest negativity, self-doubt and insecurity, then that becomes your reality. While I have bad days and disappointments like everyone else, I want to be a happy person and I am. This is because my mindset is positive, and I want to be happy and look for the good in situations. Also, surround yourself by people who love you and support you!

YEM: What is the most helpful acting advice that you’ve been given and would pass onto someone else?

Catherine: Never give up if acting is your dream.  It’s a lot of hard work and it’s a hundred “no’s” before you get a yes.  And even if you don’t get that part, even if you thought you had it, don’t get upset because there is another part waiting for you. It is truly out of your control. What is in my control is not giving up and to do the best auditions I can.

YEM: How have you grown as an actor from your first acting project to now?

Catherine: I have become a better actor as I have over the years worked with so many incredible actors that I have taken knowledge and insights from them. Also, as I have gotten older, I have had many more life experiences which help me relate even better to the characters I portray.

YEM: Without giving too much away, do you have any upcoming projects that you would like your fans to know about?

Catherine: SPOILER ALERT!  I am working on a few projects that I can’t wait for my fans to see which hopefully I can talk about soon.  But I am most excited for another sequel and hopefully a series of The Loudhouse on Nickelodeon!  You are going to be seeing much more of Luan!

Watch Catherine Bradley in “A Loud House Christmas”!

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