In grade school, students are likely to be asked the common and thought-wrenching question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Answers widely range, as students have aspirations and dreams of becoming princesses, astronauts, and firefighters. Darby Camp, on the other hand, fulfilled many students' greatest fantasies, or answers to that question, as she turned her wildest dreams into a reality with sheer determination, undying passion, and, of course, pure talent. Now, the Big Little Lies young starlet is making her mark, as she can be seen in Paramount’s upcoming films, Dreamland, and Clifford the Big Red Dog, along with Netflix’s upcoming sequel, Christmas Chronicles 2. In this exclusive interview, we had the opportunity to chat with the ultra-talented actress to discuss her newest roles in her abundance of upcoming projects, an inside look into her acting career thus far, and her love for 80s’ music and experimenting with makeup.
Megan Morgante: Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to enter the entertainment industry?
Darby Camp: My mom did, she had a degree in acting in college. When my older sister and I were born she got both of us into it. My sister did auditions for a few years, but then she got an audition where she had to cry, and my sister did not enjoy it. But, after seeing the process I was like, “...I want to do that!” So, to start I did a few commercials and then I got auditions for TV shows. I just really enjoyed it.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
DC: I was about four-years-old when I started to get commercials. I was auditioning when I was younger, but I didn't really book anything. When I was four I got a commercial that I did with my mom and she was like, “...Why is she really good at this?” Then I got an audition for The Leftovers on HBO. I booked the job and I went to Austin, Texas for two weeks and worked on it, so that was super fun. One night my parents were on Actors Access and they found an audition for a job with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, [Big Little Lies], and they thought I would be perfect for it. They told my agent about it and got me to do a self-tape at home for the audition. We then got a call that they wanted to see me in person in Los Angeles, so we flew out to LA for one night and did the callback. It was so funny because we thought, “...We don't know if we’ll ever come back here.” We didn’t know if I was going to book the job, so for the entire night, we went to Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard, and did as much as we could. But, then I booked it and I got to be out there for five months, in LA!. After working on Big Little Lies with those amazing people it opened many doors for more auditions and bigger projects.
MM: You have some very exciting upcoming projects; can you give some insight into Paramount Pictures’ new film premiering November 17th, Dreamland?
DC: Yes! We filmed the movie in 2017 and it's so surreal that it’s finally coming out, I'm so excited. We filmed that in New Mexico, and I was there filming for about a month. It was so cool to work there because I've never been to New Mexico. The film was set in the 20s, so the wardrobe, the scenery, and just being out in the desert was so cool. My character was barefoot for most of the film, so I was in the desert, barefoot. Personally, I did not like that, I’m a germaphobe and I hate being in the dirt. The film did have a premiere in Tribeca in 2019, so it was really fun to go to that with Miss Margot and Finn and everyone. Now that it’s going to be in the theaters, I'm just so excited and happy about it.
MM: You’re set to star in Paramount’s, Clifford the Big Red Dog, premiering in 2021, congratulations! What can you tell us about the project, working with the cast, and what your role in the movie entails?
DC: We filmed this project in the summer of 2019 in New York City, which was crazy. It was so hot, and I had to wear jeans and a sweatshirt as my wardrobe, so I was dying [laughs]. Besides that, it was super fun to work with the whole cast and it was phenomenal to work with Jack Whitehall and director Walt Becker. A lot of my friends' parents are huge fans of Jack, which is so funny to me cause I didn't know him. I play Emily Elizabeth, Clifford’s owner, and I love her character. She's a very bright, fun, and creative girl and her relationship with Clifford is very special. I have two dogs of my own and I love them to death. I think that every little girl should have a dog, they're always there for you. Working with a fake CGI dog was very hard, but it was still cool to see how it all works. When he was a puppy, they still didn't use a real dog, because he was supposed to be abnormally small and, eventually, abnormally big, so it was cool to work with this heavy, stuffed animal. Then, when I got to ride the big Clifford, it was very different, because I was sitting on this giant mechanical thing all day. When we were filming me riding him, that was the last week of filming, so I was the last actor left. So, in between each camera angle, it would take about an hour to switch camera shots, so they got me a Nintendo Switch to keep myself busy between shots because it was summertime, so I didn't have school.
MM: Now, what about Netflix’s, Christmas Chronicles 2, (launching November 25th) opposite Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. What was your experience like filming this project and working with the cast?
DC: Filming the first Christmas Chronicles was so amazing. It was my first experience filming with Netflix, which was so cool. I was so excited because Netflix is such a big company and all of my friends have Netflix, so they'll be able to see it. There's a bunch of other movies and shows that I’ve done that my friends aren’t able to watch, including Big Little Lies and The Leftovers, because they’re meant for adults. My character and I, Kate, are very similar in a bunch of different ways: having an older sibling who can be mean to you sometimes[laughs], having a love for Christmas, and being a very passionate person. For the second film, it was so exciting to hear that I got to go back and see my Christmas Chronicles family again. When you're filming for three months at a time, you become close with all of the cast and crew, so it was great to see everyone again. The second film was surreal to film because I was doing the same thing, but more. Doing the stunts was also super cool, I got to wear a harness and go in the sky. There's a scene in the Christmas Chronicles 2 in Cancun, Mexico where we had to jump off of Santa's sleigh and a parachute magically came up, so my co-star and I were flying in the sky. It was so crazy because we could see the whole resort and see everybody. It was so beautiful and then we landed on the beach, it was so awesome. It was also great to work with Mr. Chris Columbus. He's an amazing director and he's done a bunch of other movies that have special effects like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, so it was really cool working with him.
MM: If you could give a piece of advice to someone looking to enter the entertainment industry, what would it be?
DC: There are two types of movies or TV shows that you could be doing. For instance, when I was doing Christmas Chronicles, I was used to working on projects like Big Little Lies and The Leftovers, which is more serious acting. But for Christmas Chronicles, it consisted of big, playful energy, so I had to be more enthusiastic and theatrical. I remember Mr. Chris told me to be more enthusiastic because I was so used to being serious. So, it was kind of hard to go from being serious to doing more theatrical work. I would say if a director’s ever telling you to go bigger, just go as big as you can. They can always tell you to dial it back down if it’s too much.
MM: Where do you tend to draw your inspiration from when preparing for each role?
DC: Before each project, I always like to take a minute to really study the character, read the character description, read the script, and think about how I want to portray this person. I like to enter the who, what, where, when, why eyes of the character. Who are you? Where are you? Why do you do these certain things? My mom typically helps me prepare for a role. Most of my characters are very similar in their characteristics, and a lot of the roles that I've played are very similar to me. In Big Little Lies, my character, Chloe, is very similar to me in her love for the 80s and 80s’ music, which I love.
MM: Is there anything you do to try and maintain a sense of normalcy in your everyday life?
DC: I've been homeschooled for the past three years, but I’m back at my awesome charter school now. Sadly though with the pandemic, I have to do almost everything online. I live in North Carolina and most of my friends are here, I try to live as normal as possible. I can always FaceTime and game online with my special Hollywood friends when I miss them.
MM: Do you feel you have a social responsibility with your growing platform on social media?
DC: I feel a responsibility to make people smile and feel good about themselves. I like to let people know that I’m a normal kid and my followers can identify with me. I'm a North Carolina kid. I'm not a glamorous, Hollywood kid going to premieres regularly and things like that. I think I miss some opportunities and I think, “...I wish I lived out there,” but I recognize that everything has a price and that there's a big price to pay to be a Hollywood kid sometimes. I like having my day as normal as possible and I like to be as authentic as possible.
MM: What do your extracurricular activities look like?
DC: I would love to play sports, but sadly, I’m not all that athletic, but I can run fast [laughs]. My older sister Ruthie plays basketball, and she's really good. I love to dance, paint, and also jet ski since we live on a lake. I just got a new skateboard, which I'm going to go on right after this interview. I also love to do makeup. Right now on TikTok, I have a chain of doing Halloween inspired makeup looks. I recently did Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love music, 80s’ music really inspires me. I have a record player in my room and I like to listen to old records.
Photography by: Krystena Patton