Formerly known for her stand-out roles in Switched at Birth and Gilmore Girls, Vanessa Marano showcases her unmatched talents in the newest feel-good movie of the summer, This Is The Year. Working alongside producer, Selena Gomez, and director, David Henrie, Vanessa details her experience starring in the coming-of-age film, pivotal moments throughout her career, and what it’s like to work in the same industry as one of her closest confidants, Laura Marano.
Premiering today, August 28th, fans will have the coveted opportunity to watch the full feature film, a live introduction by David Henrie & Selena Gomez, a cast Q&A session hosted by Charli & Dixie D’Amelio, and an exclusive performance featuring new music by lovelytheband, with the purchase of a ticket.
Megan Morgante: You began acting at the mere age of seven, with one of your first major roles being Luke Danes’ daughter, April, on Gilmore Girls. What initially drew you to the industry?
Vanessa Marano: My mom has a children's theater that I pretty much grew up in. I loved learning lines, creating a character, finding interesting story beats. I knew I wanted to do it professionally about two years before I actually started; it required a lot of begging. Every day I would ask my mom to take me to an agent to audition and she literally said no for two years straight. I wore her down eventually.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
VM: One of the most pivotal moments of my career, and life actually, was booking a lead in a big-budget action film. Unfortunately, an investor embezzled money from the production, so the film fell apart. At the same time, my sister got fired from two separate shows. Our careers hit a real low point; however, it was that moment which led my mom to the idea of us creating our own projects. So, we optioned the book Saving Zoë. It took ten years to make the film. During those ten years, both my sister and I were very fortunate to have booked Austin & Ally and Switched at Birth, which ultimately helped us get Saving Zoë produced. This is all to say that a low point in our careers led us to become producers and helped us make an important film about an issue we are passionate about. We even got to show Saving Zoë to the UN during their political forum on human trafficking.
MM: Your younger sister, Laura Marano, is also a prominent actress. What is it like to work in the same industry with one of your closest confidants?
VM: I'm so thankful we are both in this industry together. It's an insane business, and it's really nice to know that someone has your back no matter what. We can vent to each other, help each other, bounce ideas off each other, and just have a sane person to turn to when things get overwhelming.
MM: Any memorable or favorite project that you have worked on?
VM: The first lead role I ever got was in a tv movie that was directed by Christopher Reeve. Getting to work with Chris was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
MM: Your newest film, This Is The Year, is premiering today, congratulations! Can you give some insight into the overall storyline of the film?
VM: It's just pure joy, honestly. It's a coming-of-age romantic comedy about expectations vs reality. We had so much fun making it. It's funny, it's sweet. It all takes place on a road trip to a music festival and follows a group of friends as their relationships form and change.
MM: What was your experience like working with the incredible cast and the equally iconic producer, Selena Gomez, and director, David Henrie?
VM: They are both wonderful, kind, talented, and smart. It was a pleasure to be a part of this project with them. Coming from being a child actor myself, and having produced a film with my sister, I'm so pumped to be a part of a community that is taking their careers into their own hands and making things happen.
MM: When you were initially introduced to the script, what attracted you to audition for your character, Molly?
VM: She actually reminds me a lot of my sister. My sister doesn't agree with me, but they're both confident and obsessed with love. They're awkward at times, but in the best possible way.
MM: Very frequently when watching cinema, a particular character teaches us things about life, struggle, or love. Was there anything, in particular, your character, Molly, taught you throughout the storyline?
VM: I think the best thing about Molly is that she is proud of who she is. She has no chip on her shoulder about how the world perceives her. She also takes no moment for granted, she finds adventure even in the most everyday parts of life.
MM: If there was one thing you would want viewers to take away with them after watching, This Is The Year, what would it be?
VM: I just hope it makes everyone feel good. I think we could all use that right about now. That's one of my favorite things about movies and tv shows: creating a mood and emulating a feeling. The making of the film was such a lovely experience and I hope the viewing experience elicits that same feeling.
MM: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy partaking in when you’re not acting?
VM: Watching Real Housewives. I love them, literally nothing makes me happier.
Photography by: Brooklin Rosenstock
Hair by: Michael Dueñas
Makeup by: Coleen Campbell-Olwell
Styled by: Alyssa Sutter