Amanda Bynes is part of that new crop of teenage star that continues to take Hollywood by storm balancing successful careers on both the big and small screen. The attractive young actress rose to fame on Nickelodeon as a preteen starlet and moved on to the WB network for her teenage years. In 1996, she became a regular cast member on the kid’s sketch comedy show All That, which first earned her a growing fan base of adoring admirers.
Sticking with Nickelodeon-style broad comedy, she was a panellist on the game show Figure It Out as well as host for the popular variety show The Amanda Show, which won several Kid’s Choice awards. After lending her voice to the long-running cartoon Rugrats, Bynes made the big switch from the PG world of Nickelodeon to the more mature world of the WB with a part on the short-lived series The Nightmare Room, narrated by author R.L. Stine.
The next year she made her feature film debut in the comedy Big Fat Liar as the best friend of fellow young superstar Frankie Muniz. In 2002, she launched the WB sitcom What I Like About You, playing a comedic younger sister who moves into the trendy Upper West Side apartment of her straight-laced older sister (Jennie Garth from Beverly Hills 90210). Widely released one day after her 17th birthday, the romantic comedy What a Girl Wants marked her first major starring role as Daphne, a girl who goes to England in search of her father (Colin Firth) and finds romance.
Fans of the actress will next hear her as an energetic and colourful robot in Robots. Set on a world populated entirely by robots, this is the story of a young genius, Rodney (Ewan McGregor), who wants to make robots capable of making the world a better place, but he finds his dream challenged by a corporate tyrant and a master inventor, while also being seduced by a sexy corporate robot, Cappy (Halle Berry). Quiet, serious, and matter-of-fact, Bynes talked to Garth Franklin.
Question: So Chris Wedge [director] said you have the perfect voice for an animated Character?
Bynes: He did? I wonder why?
Question: Was it offered to you or did you have to fight for it, was it easy to get?
Bynes: No, I was very lucky they sent me the script and they wanted me to be Piper so.
Question: So lets talk to you about the script. Did you laugh right away when you read it, what was it?
Bynes: You know I loved; I loved the story, which is shine no matter what you made of. It’s like it doesn’t matter where you came from or what you look like but if you have goals and if you want to be something or whatever it is you want to do the only person who can stop you is yourself.
Question: Now were you disappointed that you, I mean, every one is in the same boat, do you get disappointed when you don’t get and a chance to work with an amazing amount of people that are in this movie, I mean, you don’t actually work with Robin Williams you get to work with all these guys —
Bynes: Yeah I mean it’s definitely odd that I’m in a movie with all these talented people and yet I haven’t met them until today. You know, it it’s definitely different but it’s exciting. I mean I’m so lucky to be able to be a part of this movie.
Question: How do you deal with the voice? I mean what do you try to do a little bit different?
Bynes: Well it depends on what you’re doing. for this they wanted it to sound like me so I was kind of lucky. I got to have it easy so I just sort of did a younger version of my voice.
Question: A younger version how old are you now?
Bynes: I’m eighteen.
Question: A younger version?
Bynes: Yeah I just, you know.
Question: A higher, higher?
Bynes: Yeah just sort of a little squeakier and also it is a robot so, you know, it has to be a little different.
Question: Did they send to you pictures of what she was going to look like beforehand?
Question: Did you get the feeling of the animation also?
Bynes: Yes they sent me pictures before I signed on to do it of what it was going to look like; rough ideas, so I definitely thought it looked very cool.
Question: What were some of your growing up favourite animated movies and did you like watching them?
Bynes: Well I love all the Disney movies, because when I was young there really weren’t any..
Question: Well what were some of the classics you loved?
Bynes: Well I loved Beauty and the Beast that was always one of my favourites and like The Little Mermaid.
Question: You spend a lot of time drawing and painting yeah?
Bynes: Yes, I love.I love to .
Question: What kind of things do you draw? Do you ever see yourself ever moving into this sort of design element or something like that or is acting strictly what you want to do?
Bynes: Do you know I want to do there’s so much that I want to do in my life I don’t know. I mean I love to draw and I love to paint so I don’t know if I’ll ever do it professionally but I definitely enjoy doing that right now.
Question: What else do you want to do in your life Amanda? You would want to do a lot more in your life like what?
Bynes: I mean there’s not like one specific thing I want to just do anything that’s good, you know, like I just want to work for a long time so.
Question: Beyond acting?
Bynes: Ah yeah. I might either want to direct one day, I might, want to you know, do a play on Broadway I hope.
Question: A play on Broadway? Are you looking for anything?
Bynes: I always have one eye opened.
Question: Is there a particular play that you want to do?
Bynes: I would love to do My Fair Lady one day, you never know.
Question: Well as much as you want to do how do you find time to juggle it between this, or doing films and a TV show.
Bynes: Well I am lucky because on the show there’s a hiatus, you know there is always a good period of time where I could squeeze in a movie. Like this summer I did a movie called “Love Wrecked” which I think will be coming out in spring, so I kind of always have little pieces of time .
Question: What’s “Lovewrecked”?
Bynes: It was directed by Randall Kleiser and I’m very excited.
Question: Who else is in it?
Bynes: Chris Carmack from the OC yeah and, Jamie Lynn DiScala whose from the Sopranos. I play a girl Jenny Taylor whose obsessed with this pop star like a Justin Timberlake of her time or whatever in this movie and she and he get stuck on this island together. She’s followed him on this yacht and he gets sick and so he falls over and she jumps after him, so throughout this they get stuck on this island and become stranded. So he has broken his leg, so she has to get food for them and so one day she like goes to the trees and she hears la little kid scream, follows the noise and she sees like somebody being hit with a beach ball it turns out they’re actually on the other side of a resort. She goes back to tell him and, you know, she’s running and he goes “Jenny” and he hugs her and she say’s “wait I have something to tell you” and he goes “I just want you to know that if I could have been stuck here with anybody I’m so glad I’m stuck here with you.” And so she doesn’t let him know. She, she leaves out like he says “what do you have to tell me?” And she’s like “nothing”, you know, it’s one of those, I mean wouldn’t you when you get to be stuck with the person of your dreams? So she decides she wants to get to know him a little bit letter so the lie gets a little sicker and sicker and she comes back wearing like, you know, lipstick and full hair and make-up because she keeps going back to the little resort market. He’s like “are you, are you, you know, wearing make-up” and she’s you know has to come up with berries. it was a really fun movie to make, and one that I would want to see myself, so it was really fun.
Question: Did you shoot it in Hawaii or where did you shoot it?
Bynes: The Dominican Republic actually.
Question: What are the challenges of being an eighteen year old, young attractive actress in Hollywood where there’s a kind of a group of you competing and for the best roles around. I mean is it tough that you compete with each other?
Bynes: No I think I mean some people do compete. I’ve never been the type I’ve never been, you know, the cut throat type. I mean I’ve always had my mind set that in this business there are so many movies to make, so there’s room for all of us. I mean if there was only me I’d be exhausted.
Question: You seem very aware of your fan base in that, that you are an inspiration to younger kids of either sex. Do you ever think of yourself as like okay now I’m eighteen can I grow out of this, can I get away from the Nickelodeon image and?
Bynes: No I mean I am so lucky that kids like what I’ve done and, you know, I’m growing up but .
Question: So you are looking for grown up role I guess .
Bynes: I don’t think anybody’s trying to stop me from growing up. No I mean ‘m looking for roles that are right for me at the time I am doing them and everything I’ve done has been true to myself and I’ve never done anything that I haven’t loved and I’m, you know, always true to myself.
Question: Well what did you do?
Question: So how do you feel about some of the images that younger girls are bombarded with and Christine Aguilera kind of thing where they mature and it becomes this real dirty kind of thing how do you feel about that sort of image.
Bynes: I mean it’s just not me but it’s, you know, everybody has their own thing, you know people grow up differently, you know, Christine Aguilera, you know, grew up, you know, she was sort of on I think she was on three, I mean the, the Disney shows, so I mean, you know, everybody wants to find their own, you know, everybody rebels so.
Question: Yeah that’s what I’m asking you before like if you would, if you would be asked to light up a cigarette or strip or, you know, like Natalie Portman or some of these younger actresses are growing up in a, in a film script would you do that or at this point in your career would you say no?
Bynes: Well at this point in my career I definitely wouldn’t do any of that but that’s it and that’s where I am right now. I don’t think I would ever do anything like that because I don’t really enjoy watching that myself, so you know but.
Question: What do you enjoy watching?
Bynes: I love movies that have a good story. I love movies that make you feel good about yourself but I also love movies make you walk away thinking about them. I like things that have you know something to them.
Question: And I take it you’re not doing what a lot of the other teenagers actresses are doing at the moment and recording an album at any time soon?
Bynes: No definitely not.
Question: Can you sing?
Bynes: I, can and I’ve actually started doing musical theatre that’s what I started before I did TV so I definitely, you know, enjoy singing .
Question: So nobody’s ever come up to you with an album idea?
Bynes: Well I mean I, it it’s definitely something that I don’t want to do but, you know, everybody always wants to make money off of anybody talented and, you just have to stay true to yourself.
Question: What are you doing for your next hiatus? You’ve got another hiatus coming up?
Bynes: Well I have two movies that are in the works.
Question: Can you talk about any of them?
Bynes: I can’t.
Question: None of them?
Question: What are they.
Bynes: One is sort of a, a mystery type comedy and then the other one is a comedy.
Question: What about, what about college and, and other aspirations do you have any desire to?
Bynes: Yeah I mean I would love to go to college and I definitely will at some point in my life but right now I’m, you know, I’m doing a show, I’m you know, doing press for me to be in school I just couldn’t be fully there and I want to really be there.
Question: What would you like to study?
Bynes: Well I mean I love and fascinated by psychology so that would be something that I would like to learn more about so anything that would help me in my life and I am so lucky to be doing what I love, you know, for a living so I would love to learn something that would just sort of help me have my best, you know.
Question: Will you study outside of California would you like to go to an east coast?
Bynes: Yeah I might, I mean, I love New York and I have always loved, you know the energy there so I might go there but you know I’m not ready yet so we’ll see.
Question: You seem to have a pretty grounded sense of yourself which is one of the things that I have noticed the couple of times I have met you, where did that come from do you think?
Bynes: I think it’s sort of something that you’re born with I really believe that, you know, there’s a lot you can learn from being with people I mean I learn so much from my parents I think they have so much to do with who I am, but you sort of you are kind of who you are from like you can kind of tell from five years old who you are going to be, if you’re going to be shy or you’re going for things.
Question: But this industry can change that I mean that can make you it can give you ego it can .
Bynes: . grounded wise definitely my parents they get all credit because they, you know, every day are just, you know, they’re wonderful people and I think I, you always look to your parents and I think people who have problems later on in their life always sort of goes back to things that their parents didn’t do or you know what I mean that sort of, you know, that’s your core so I’m really lucky.
Question: What else is happening how much longer are you going to be doing the TV show for?
Bynes: We’re in our third season now, I hope to do a fourth season and then I think I will move on.
Question: So the fourth season could be the last one?
Question: Is that all your contracted for .
Bynes: I can’t talk about that.
Question: Why did you want to do television in the first place, I mean was it, did it represent a degree of stability in your career? I mean you were doing fine you were starting to break out in the movies and.
Bynes: Well I really wanted to do something that was a little bit older than my other TV show for, you know, teenage girls and young adults just to sort of, just because I was growing up I wanted to do something like that and, you know, I, I love, you know, watching those sorts of shows so I wanted to do it and then there’s no rush in other work any movies at the time so that was a good show I said why not?
Question: How do you relax?
Bynes: I try to get like massages, facials, I need to have a thing in that nature, you know relax, meditation type things but I love to go to the movies and, you know, go out to eat with my friends.
Question: What are you going to do this summer coming, you know, thinking ahead this summer what’s do like concerts you want to see, any books you want to read or any movies you want to go to or something like that?
Bynes: I don’t know I know thinking about it, I know I’ve got to get a list going nothing yet.