Exclusive: Jade Pettyjohn Talks “McKenna Shoots for the Stars”

June 19, 2012


Jade Pettyjohn stars in the new American Girl movie “McKenna Shoots for the Stars” opposite Nia Vardalos and Ian Ziering. Jade takes on the title role in the movie that will be available on BluRay/DVD on July 3rd and will have its broadcast network premiere on NBC on July 14th at 8:00pm.

Jade is a very talented 11-year-old who has already worked on a number of projects including “The Mentalist,” “The Cape,” “Criminal Minds”, and “United States of Tara.” We had the chance to chat with Jade all about her new movie.

What can you tell us about your character Mckenna in McKenna Shoots for the Stars? I feel like my character McKenna is a spunky strong-willed, determined girl who needed a little help learning how to balance her gymnastics with her school work and friends.

Gymnastics is a big part of this movie. Are you a gymnast? Well, I didn’t train for gymnastics before I did the movie, but they flew me out three weeks before we started shooting the movie so that I could train with junior Olympic team.

The movie has a great cast including Ian Ziering, Nia Vardalos and Kerris Dorsey. What was it like working with them? Ian Ziering is such a funny guy. We had a lot of fun taking pictures of us making weird faces together. And you would have to be crazy to not like Nia Vardalos, she is very animated and sweet and she inspired me in a lot of ways. Kerris Dorsey and I hung out a lot off set watching movies, doing cooking lessons with my mom and playing charades. It was a lot of fun.

And we can’t forget Cathy Rigby because she is a total role model and a very down to earth fun person. The entire time she was stretching and giving coaching tips and making jokes with everyone on set. And she can still easily do a back hand springs.

Do you have a favorite scene or memory from the film? Probably shooting the gymnastics competition because there were so many people on set and everybody was excited. There were girls stretching and flipping everywhere in sparkling outfits and all amazed by the lights and the crew and the camera and playing games.

The movie seems to have a great message. What do you hope viewers take away from the film? The balance is important. Not being focused on just one thing. You have to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that to balance life.

What advice do you have for young aspiring actors? To really understand what a script is all about and what you need to communicate. You can’t just stand there and be cute. You have to learn your words and understand them completely so that you can really perform them. If you don’t know the meaning of the words you can’t perform it as well.

Do you have any other upcoming projects? I have a few things in the mix but nothing I can talk about just yet.

Besides acting, what do you like to do in your free time? I love instagram so I am constantly taking pictures of things that inspire me or that I think look cool. I have two dogs that I really love. I think I photograph them more than anything else.

Who is someone you’d love to work with? That is a hard question cause there are many people I would like to work with. Reese Witherspoon, Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning or Elle Fanning, Johnny Depp…. how could I pick a favorite off that?

Why should people tune into “McKenna Shoots for the Stars”? This is an inspiring film that really shows off the mad skills in gymnastics. Any gymnast will love it. And anyone not a gymnast will be amazed by it and inspired by the story.

Photo: Jessica Pettyjohn

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9 Responses to “Exclusive: Jade Pettyjohn Talks “McKenna Shoots for the Stars””

  1. Maia Says:

    Jade i’m your #1 fan.


  2. Maia Says:

    I love Mckenna shoots for the stares. It really inspired me to do gymnastics. Nowido gymnastics.


  3. Haley Says:

    I love American Girl, and I absolutely loved Mckenna Shoots for the Stars. I am officially a Jade Pettyjohn FAN!!!!


  4. Jordyn Says:

    I just saw this movie, and adored it. It is one of the most inspirational films that I have seen in a long time. I want to be a singer and this movie truly inspired me. I remember when I lost my voice right before I was about to sing, and I didn’t want to sing ever again. But with the support of my family and friends I pushed through it. Above that, I learned the true meaning of friendship and balance.


  5. JessicaK Says:

    This movie sounds very inspiring and I can’t wait to see it! Jade, you’re amazing!


  6. Michelle Says:

    OMG!!! I can’t wait to see this film!!!!


  7. Brittany Says:

    This movie sounds inspiring! I need a little balance in my life! Can’t wait to see it!!


  8. ConnieO. Says:

    Can’t wait to see the movie !!


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