With the 2021 Christmas release 8-Bit Christmas, Sophia Reid-Gantzert played the role of Annie Doyle with all her scenes filmed alongside Neil Patrick Harris, and she plays Angela Manderley in Two Sentence Horror Stories, which aired last month in America. Another recent release for Sophia was Psych 3: This Is Gus, in which she plays Lily Lassiter, the daughter of Timothy Omundson’s character Carlton. On Netflix, Sophia plays Karen Brewer in The Baby-Sitters Club across both series, with the second filming during the pandemic, and the show has received great success around the world and she starred as Willa Ward/Willa-Cat in new family series Scaredy Cats last year. Sophia’s previous work has included playing Madison Bailey in Easter Under Wraps, Gigi in Santa’s Boots and she had her first screen role as Harper in the 2017 film The Sweetest Christmas. Alongside acting, Sophia is a talented ballerina, winning numerous competitions including the British Ballet Grand Prix in 2019, and is currently studying ballet in France. We caught up with Sophia about playing Annie Doyle in 8-Bit Christmas, working on both Netflix series The Baby-Sitters Club and Scaredy Cats and the recent release of Psych 3: This Is Gus.
At the end of last year, you played Annie Doyle in 8-Bit Christmas, can you tell us about the film?
8-Bit Christmas is a really fun, action-packed movie which the entire family will be able to enjoy. In the movie, Neil Patrick Harris plays my dad and he is telling me this amazing tale of his quest for a Nintendo when he was younger.
What was it like on set and working with the rest of the cast?
So, all of my scenes were with Neil Patrick Harris and I didn’t actually meet very many of the other cast because they schedule things to isolate us for COVID. I did get to meet June Diane Raphael and she was super nice. Winslow Fegley and I had school together in the onset school trailer and that was a lot of fun.
You’ve recently worked on Psych 3: This Is Gus, how was this?
I was in a movie called Psych 3: This Is Gus which came out on PeacockTV in the US on November 18th. The most amazing thing about being in this movie was how caring the adult cast were. Timothy Omundson, who plays my dad, has stayed in touch and has been very supportive and encouraging with my career. It’s amazing to me that such a great actor would take the time to help someone young coming up in the film industry.
Can you tell us what it’s like playing Karen Brewer in The Baby-Sitters Club and can you say more about her and the series?
Karen Brewer is such a great character. I remember being really excited about the audition as she seemed to have a lot of layers. The script was really fun and it’s been such an honour bringing her to life.
How is it seeing the response to the show and what was it like returning to film Series 2?
I understand why The Baby-Sitters Club has had such a huge positive response to the show. I’m a bit of a fangirl myself.
I was so happy when they renewed for Season 2! I love the show and just hanging out with everyone. There is this great energy on set and behind the scenes. Because of COVID, Season 2 was really different in terms of the cast/crew spending as much time together. Still fun, just different.
Do you have any stand-out highlights from filming with the cast and how does it feel winning awards for playing Karen?
The thing about winning awards is that it’s not possible without a great script by the writers, and a director who is really good at drawing the best out of all the actors, so the scenes work out really well.
A stand-out moment would be working with the amazingly talented Sophie Grace. She really did make me feel like I was her “real sister” and I think I’ve made a friend for life.
What is the experience like playing Willa Ward/Willa-Cat in last year’s release of Scaredy Cats and what is the show about?
I had so much fun playing Willa on Scaredy Cats, I learned so much!! Willa and her two friends (Scout and Lucy) set out to save the town from these bad witches who essentially want to make everyone as miserable as themselves.
We got to spend so much time together on/off set that it felt like life was normal for a few months in our bubble. The crew was all amazing as well, super kind. It was really hard to say goodbye.
How much did you know about the show before booking your role and what was it like reading the script for the first time?
The audition was very long and included several different scenes, so I felt like I knew Willa and the others quite well compared to other projects I’ve booked. It was really fun seeing it all develop as more of the scripts were released!
Is there anything you enjoy most about playing the lead character and working on the Netflix series?
I loved being able to fly! You don’t get a lot of chances to do that and I’m really hoping I get to do more stunts in other projects. The whole experience of always being on set is something I really hope I get to repeat. It was so amazing to wake up every day and do something you love with people that you love. It was sad to see it end.
Can you say about working on the film Easter Under Wraps where you play Madison Bailey?
I had so much fun playing Madison Bailey on Easter Under Wraps! Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by chocolate?! Working with Brendan Penny and Fiona Gubelmann was really great. They are very fun.
You were in the cast of the 2018 Christmas film Santa’s Boots as Gigi, what was this like?
It’s always fun to be on set, especially if there is Christmas crafts! I got to meet and work with Christian Convery and he was really fun to hang out with.
The same year, you were nominated for Best Child Actress at the Oniros Film Awards for your role of Abby in the short film Hearts & Minds, can you tell us about the project?
I loved this project because it was so sad and about something really important. Mental health in returning soldiers is something that we don’t discuss a lot. My “dad” lost his friend in battle and was suffering from PTSD and survivor guilt. He loved his family but couldn’t relate to home life anymore.
You played Sarah Wylkes in Darrow & Darrow, can you say about your time on set?
Any day on set is a great day! Working with Wendie Malick was really fun. She was so relaxed and fun and then could snap into this really intimidating lawyer at the sound of “action”.
What are some of your favourite memories from working on your first film The Sweetest Christmas as Harper and how was the experience?
My favourite memory was meeting Ava Cooper, who is still a friend of mine. She is a great actor and had been doing it a while so it was fun to work with her in my first film. The snowball fight is definitely a highlight.
What was Young Anastasia like to play in Once Upon a Time?
Well, it was amazing to get to be in that show because my mom and I used to watch it before I got the audition. So to be in the show was a dream come true. The carriage and horses were amazing!
Where does your love of acting come from and is it something you always wanted to do?
I’ve loved performing on stage as a dancer for as far back as I can remember. One day I watched the musical Matilda and just knew right away that I definitely wanted to do that.
We understand you’re also a ballerina, can you tell us more about this?
I have been doing ballet since I was three. I have been very honoured to have won classical ballet competitions in the US, Austria, Canada and I even won the British Ballet Grand Prix in 2019. In 2018, I was offered a scholarship to study ballet in London and so my mom and I moved to the UK. It was an amazing experience dancing and making friends with dancers from all over the world.
But COVID has been very hard on the ballet world with all the studios being shut down for so long. I’m currently studying ballet in France.
What do you enjoy doing away from acting and dance and do you have any favourite TV shows and films to watch?
When I am not acting or dancing, I enjoy bike riding in the French countryside where I live now, and cooking.
I love so many shows and movies. The Hunger Games movies are one of my favourites.
Do you have any other projects which are releasing soon?
Another project came out on TV in North America in the new year. It is one of my favourite roles ever because I play a truly evil child. That is very different for me and it was awesome to do that.
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