With the new family film Feel the Beat released last month on Netflix, Johanna Colón can be seen around the world as Lucia alongside Sofia Carson as April, with the film receiving great reviews. In 2019, Johanna played Smash in Troop Zero, which can still be seen on Amazon Prime and was her first major screen role, and in the same year, she played 11-Year-Old Kat in TV series Euphoria. Johanna has appeared on Little Big Shots UK when one of her dance videos went viral in 2015 with a performance of Respect by Aretha Franklin. Speaking with Johanna, she tells us about filming Feel the Beat, playing Smash in Troop Zero and her trip to the UK for Little Big Shots.
Can you tell us about playing Lucia in Feel the Beat and how would you describe the character?
I loved playing Lucia! Lucia is very much like me! She’s Latina like me, and wears glasses like me. We are both jokesters and drop our glasses when we dance! She was so much fun!
How did it feel finding out you’d booked the role?
It was absolutely amazing. I had auditioned for a different part in Feel The Beat and didn’t get it so I was really sad. Then, later in the day, my manager called and said that the producers and director loved me and were creating a part just for me!
What was a typical day filming and how long were you on set?
We are on set for eight and a half hours during filming. I would go between my school lessons, to filming, to trying on costumes for the next dance numbers to rehearsals. The cast always found time to play and dance with each other though.
What’s the response been like to the release of the film?
The response has been absolutely amazing. I can’t believe how many people have reached out to say they either love the film or that it made them smile. It’s a really humbling experience.
How is the experience being part of the cast and filming for Netflix?
I had the best time filming for Netflix. Everyone from the executives to the cast, the crew and production were fabulous. I loved every minute.
You’ve filmed a couple of episodes of Euphoria as 11-Year-Old Kat, what was she like to play?
Kat was really cool to play. She deals with some really hard experiences because of her weight. I could totally relate to her with that because I’ve been bullied because of my weight. When Kat cried, those were real tears from me. I could feel her pain. I also loved her because she had the best outfits!
How were you involved in the storyline?
Mr. Sam was great about discussing Kat with me. He wanted to make sure that her feelings were being shown but was also careful to protect my feelings as a young girl who might be a little insecure about my weight.
Can you tell us about your character Smash in Troop Zero?
Smash is a loveable oaf who would do anything to protect her friends.
What was it like having this as your first major screen role?
It was like a dream! My first role and I’m working with superstars like Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan and Mike Epps. I was so nervous to meet everyone but right from the first day everyone surrounded me and made me feel safe and loved. I learned so much!
How was it filming as Smash and what was it like on set of the film?
Smash was so much fun! I got to smash things and sit on people! The whole experience was like an amazing summer camp. The directors, producers, cast and crew just had so much fun in the hot Louisiana sun!
Your first acting role was as a guest character in The Guest Book, how was this?
The Guest Book was so fun! Mr. Greg (Garcia), on my first day, let me sit in the producer’s chair and help direct a scene (well, I yelled cut, haha). Mr. John (Ortiz) came to my trailer to introduce himself since he would be playing my dad and Ms. Jamie (Pressly) ran lines with me on set. It was the best first acting experience I could have ever asked for.
Have you always enjoyed acting and how did you get into it?
I’ve always loved to entertain people and make them smile. After my dance recital went viral I was given the opportunity to try acting and I fell in love with it! Once I had my first job, I was hooked and decided I wanted to be an actress!
Do you have a favourite screen actor/actress, and who would you like to work alongside in the future?
I look up to Rita Moreno as another Puerto Rican actress! She is so amazing, I would love to work with her! I would also love to work with Will Smith. He is such a great comedian! It would be so fun.
When you were younger, your dance video of Respect by Aretha Franklin went viral, leading you to appear on shows such as Little Big Shots here in the UK, what do you remember most about all of this happening?
I really loved all of the travelling, getting to get my hair and makeup done and meeting new people! I was so little, these were the things that excited me. My trip to the UK was amazing. I got to go to Harry Potter World!
What do you enjoy doing away from your career?
I love to cook. I want to open a restaurant with my dad once I win an Oscar.
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