Life is filled with trials and tribulations, served on a silver platter for us to consume and digest, each and every day, leaving very little room for things that feel, “just right.” Rising actress Sophia Mitri Schloss can attest to this sentiment, as she describes how her fondness for the world of entertainment formed a deep, internal, visceral feeling within her intuition, comparing the experience to children finding happiness in the simplest of places. Through gaining knowledge about the inner workings of the arts, Sophia can now be seen in the recently released Disney + series, Big Shot, alongside her on-screen father and off-screen confidant, John Stamos. In this exclusive interview, Sophia discusses her experience on the set of her most recent project, how her early years impacted her passion for the arts, and what she has planned next.
Megan Morgante: Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to pursue acting?
Sophia Mitri Schloss: There wasn’t any one moment when I knew I wanted to act — I always loved reading and telling stories with my family, and I think that naturally morphed into acting. It’s like when you see tiny kids spending their time drawing, or playing the violin, or doing gymnastics, and you think, “...Ok, that’s their thing,” — that was acting for me. It just felt very right. My parents never pushed anything, and still don’t. I think it’s somewhat rare for a kid — especially a kid who doesn’t live in LA — to get into the entertainment industry in an organic way. I’m really grateful that everything happened the way it did.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
SMS: From the ages of five to eight I did theater and student films in the Seattle area, and that’s really how I got introduced to acting. I got my first lead role when I was nine years old, for an NBC pilot called Isabel. Marcia Gay Harden and Kevin Nealon played my parents, and Todd Holland directed. That was such an incredibly fun experience and was really my first look into working in LA. I guest-starred in some Portland-based shows — Grimm, The Librarians, Portlandia — and in seventh grade I was a series regular on an Amazon show called, The Kicks. I’ve also played the lead in two independent films that are very dear to me: Lane 1974, written and directed by SJ Chiro, and Sadie, written and directed by Megan Griffiths. Every experience has both prepared me for my next role and also helped me to better learn about myself. I love that acting is simultaneously collaborative and personal.
MM: You star in the newly premiered Disney+ series, Big Shot.... Congratulations! Can you give us some insight into what we can expect from this series?
SMS: Thank you! Yes — there’s so much to look forward to this season. One thing I love about Big Shot is that each episode focuses on a different character, so the more you watch, the more you’ll get a full picture of who these people are. You’ll see a lot more of my character Emma in episode three, which was so much fun to film (and hopefully just as fun to watch!). You can definitely expect to see Emma’s relationship with her father grow and change and develop over time. That was my favorite part of bringing Big Shot to life.
MM: What has your experience been like working with the cast and crew on this project?
SMS: I cannot speak highly enough of the people working on this show — cast, crew, writers, directors. Dean Lorey and Bill D’Elia have been the best, most caring producers. It is truly a special group — everyone is, first and foremost, unbelievably talented, but everyone is also incredibly kind. That combination made the dynamic on set really wonderful and unique — it was very focused, but also very fun, creative, and open. That really means a lot, both because everyone spends so much time on set together and because the work you do on a set is personal. Acting takes a lot of openness and trust, so being in a space where you feel happy, loved, and respected is so important.
MM: You play the head basketball coach's (played by John Stamos) daughter in the series; what was your experience like bringing that father-daughter relationship to life?
SMS: I had so much fun working with John. He is the ultimate scene partner — because of his talent and experience, and also because of his giving and grounded nature. He found ways to make sure every take felt new and interesting, to make sure the scenes felt relatable. We had a lot of conversations about the best ways to make that father/daughter relationship feel as real as possible, and the process was very organic. I can honestly say that every single day on set with John was the best time. I appreciated that he would always ask what I thought of the scene, if the dialogue or blocking or overall feeling felt right. He treated me like an equal, like a partner. I learned so much from him over the course of filming Big Shot. Hopefully, you can see the fun we had on set shine through when you watch the series!
MM: Do you have any new or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?
SMS: I would really love to work on a new film. We’re all of course waiting to hear whether Big Shot will get picked up for another season — so everything is a bit up in the air! I’m finishing my senior year of high school this spring, so I have college on the horizon and I’m so excited about that. School has always been an extremely important part of my life, even during filming (while filming Big Shot I was also in school full time). In addition, I’ve been working on a lot of music, both my own and for my school’s jazz choir. I’ve been editing audio and video for the group, so we can perform virtually during Covid. As far as my own personal music, I’m a singer/songwriter and am excited to devote more time to writing. Finally, I’m co-writing a TV show with my mom that we’re both very excited about! She is such a great creative partner, and I can’t wait to continue working with her.
MM: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy partaking in when you’re not acting?
SMS: Yes! Again, music is a huge part of my life — my mom and dad are both professional musicians, so from the time I was tiny I was listening to lots of different genres and also going to see a lot of live music. I love going for walks with my family around Seattle and spending time with close friends (especially in nature). I’m very passionate about sustainable fashion (I don’t buy new clothes), so right now I’m working on organizing a clothes swap before we all go off to college! I’m also an avid baker, but I never follow recipes, which results in desserts that are occasionally fantastic and usually mediocre.
MM: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?
SMS: The biggest challenge I’ve experienced with regards to acting has been working and going to school at the same time — two full-time jobs! Both are such important parts of my life, and I’ve been adamant about not wanting either to come second to the other. I’ve been so lucky to attend schools that have completely supported this other part of my life — I went to The Evergreen School from kindergarten through eighth grade and am attending Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences for high school. My teachers and the administration at both schools were always on board to make everything work. It was very challenging, but I’m so grateful that I’ve never had to choose between these two worlds that I care so much about.
MM: Where do you hope to see yourself within the upcoming years?
SMS: I see myself both in college and working professionally — I plan to take time off if I get a role, but for my whole life I have felt very centered and happy in academic settings where I am surrounded by friends. I hope to be focusing a lot on music and doing more screenwriting. I know I will be doing everything while eating some dark chocolate. I want to make time for everything that I love.
Photography by Starla Fortunato