Darby Camp can currently be seen in the new Starz limited series Gaslit playing Marty Mitchell alongside her screen mother Martha, played by Julia Roberts. In 2021, Darby attended the premiere of her film Clifford the Big Red Dog, in which she played lead character Emily Elizabeth, with the release having been delayed due to the pandemic. In the Netflix Christmas films The Christmas Chronicles 1 and 2, Darby played Kate alongside Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, and was directed by Chris Columbus, and she played Chloe Mackenzie across all episodes of HBO’s Big Little Lies for her first series regular role. Other projects for Darby have included NOS4A2 playing Haley Smith, feature film Dreamland as Phoebe Evans (with Finn Cole playing her older brother), and in the remake of Benji, she played Frankie. We chatted to Darby about playing Marty Mitchell in Gaslit, filming Clifford the Big Red Dog and her time in The Christmas Chronicles films.
Can you tell us about the new Starz limited series Gaslit and your character Marty Mitchell?
Gaslit shows us inside the private lives of real-life people involved in the Watergate Scandal in 1972. Marty’s dad was Nixon’s Attorney General, so she was often alone or surrounded by adults discussing politics and drinking cocktails. She kind of had to grow up fast.
What is Marty like to play and what did you enjoy most about playing her?
She must have been extremely private because I could not find much to research about her. It’s intimidating to portray a real person opposed to a fictitious character because you want to do right by them and represent them exactly as they were, but to be honest, I had to use my imagination for Marty based on what I learned about her parents and the era she grew up in. Then I try to put myself in her shoes and create real thoughts and react how she would. I enjoyed playing Marty for several reasons. It’s fun getting to alter my everyday look by having fake bangs and straight hair and wearing period clothing. The best part was playing a quiet, observant person. Some of Marty’s best moments are just subtle glances in response to the chaos around her.
How was it working with the rest of the cast, which includes Julia Roberts as your on-screen mother Martha?
She was exactly how I hoped she would be… very welcoming and interested in getting to know me as a person. She treated me like a colleague and not just some kid actor. I appreciate that so much. She was just really cool and respectful. I’d love to work with her again!
Do you have any stand-out highlights from your time filming Gaslit?
There’s this one scene where I am looking down at my parents over the balcony in our apartment. Their performance for this long, dramatic master shot took my breath away. I got to watch two of the greatest actors of all-time perform this high energy and physically aggressive scene. In that moment it just hit me how lucky I am to be here working with such gifted performers. It felt like watching live theatre from a box seat. That day will stay with me a long time.
You played Emily in the feature film Clifford the Big Red Dog, what was this like to do?
Soooo hot!!! We filmed in NYC during the summer of 2019, and I was wearing a hoodie and jeans outside for most of the movie! Even in the heat though, I had a blast. The cast was so fun. Jack Whitehall and Izaac Wang are pretty hilarious, so I was so happy to be there.
How much did you know about the Clifford franchise before booking your role and what was it like on set?
As a little girl, I remember the books being read to me, and I always thought Emily Elizabeth was so lucky to have a giant dog, so I was pretty excited to find out that I would get to be in the movie! On set, Clifford was played by two puppeteers holding up either the front or back of him. They were so good at bringing Clifford to life that they made it easy to connect with Clifford and really feel their bond.
What was it like seeing the completed film for the first time?
Seeing Clifford completed was such a special night for me for several reasons. When we started filming, I was only 11 years old, but when we finally had the premiere in 2021, I was already 14! I had changed so much in that time, and we had all experienced a pandemic so when we got to all come together in NYC again it was magical.
How was it playing Kate in Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles and the sequel and what are some of your favourite memories from filming?
Playing Kate was so fun because it really did just feel like me being myself! In the first one, I got to learn how to do some stunts on a wire. I loved those days because it made me feel almost like a superhero! When the second one came around, I got to do more wire on the beaches of Cancun! It doesn’t get much better than that!
What did you enjoy most about working on a Christmas release?
I am a huge fan of all things Christmas, so this just made the season sweeter for me. Mr. Kurt (Russell) and Ms. Goldie (Hawn) have an infectious way about them that makes you feel like you’re really spending time with the Clauses. They were the best! Also, the director Chris Columbus and I connected because we are both like little kids during Christmas time. I mean like the kind of kids that wake up early and run downstairs to the tree on Christmas morning. He is such a special person, and it was awesome to learn from him.
Having played Chloe Mackenzie across all episodes of Big Little Lies for HBO, what was it like to be part of and how was it seeing the response to the show?
Big Little Lies means so much to me. At the time, I was so young and inexperienced, so I didn’t really know how special it was. Now I see how Jean Marc Vallee really took a chance on me and gave me a golden opportunity. Playing Chloe exposed me to so much cool music and kick-started a love of older artists that sticks with me today. Being a part of that ensemble feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I love when people ask if there will be a BLL3 and all I think is “if only it were up to me!”.
Do you remember how you felt booking your role of Chloe as your first series regular role?
I was so happy! I had never been to California, and I felt like I was getting ready to go on a really long vacation mixed in with some make-believe and home schooling.
Can you tell us about playing Haley Smith in NOS4A2?
I was so excited to play Haley because it was my first scary project. They made a head cast of me and gave me creepy teeth and zombie-like makeup. I thought I was so lucky to have “Halloween” every day! The best days were when I got to work with the other kids, especially Mattea (Conforti) and Asher (Miles Fallica).
What was it like working on feature film Dreamland as Phoebe Evans?
Finn Cole played my big brother and I just remember he always smelled good! We were made to look dirty, hot, and sweaty but it was actually really cold. Finn did a good job of always making sure I was comfortable and happy. I have always loved Margot Robbie so getting to be in a film with her was so exciting. I would have loved to have had more scenes with her!
In the remake of the 1974 film Benji, you played Frankie, can you tell us more about this?
Right before I got this audition, I remember telling my mom I really wanted to be in a movie about dogs. I had two dogs at the time, and I was obsessed with them. So, when the audition came through I thought God had answered my prayers! My audition was over Skype and I was so nervous I didn’t think I would get it because I was in North Carolina and couldn’t go audition in person. When they called to tell me I got it, I was so happy to have a doggy co-star.
Where does your love of acting come from and is it something you always wanted to do?
My mom was an actor and drama teacher, so she just shared her passions with me. I have always enjoyed it, but I think as I get older, I would like to learn other jobs in the industry like directing and producing.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I probably watch at least one episode of Friends every single day. I also love The Office, Dumb and Dumber, MAMMA MIA!, Back to the Future, Coraline and Elf…
What plans do you have for the rest of 2022 that you can tell us about?
Right now, I am so happy to have 9th grade in the books and getting exciting about going to the beach this summer!
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