With the screen adaptation of the Annie Barrows books Ivy & Bean premiering worldwide on Netflix tomorrow, 2nd September, Keslee Blalock will be starring as one of the lead characters Ivy in the film series alongside Madison Skye Validum as Bean, which marks Keslee’s first leading character in a series. Earlier this year, Keslee appeared as Barb Sanders in The Skit Guys film Family Camp, and reunited with the cast for the film premiere, and she has recently filmed for an unannounced Network show, which will be airing in October. Keslee recently answered our questions about the Netflix release of Ivy & Bean, starring as Ivy in the screen adaptation of Annie Barrows’ books and filming as Barb Sanders in Family Camp.
How did it feel booking your role of Ivy in the upcoming Netflix film series Ivy & Bean and how much did you know about the books by Annie Barrows before auditioning?
It felt amazing! I was speechless when they said that I got the part. I knew a lot because my sisters were huge fans of Ivy & Bean longer than I have been alive.
Can you tell us about the films and your character Ivy?
So, the films are about not judging a book by the cover. Ivy didn’t want to be friends with Bean at first and Bean felt the same way about Ivy. They become best friends and soon realise that there is so much more than meets the eye.
What was it like meeting the rest of the cast and reading the scripts for the first time?
Reading the scripts together for the first time was so fun because everyone was excited and we all got along so well. It was really cool to see it all come together! All of my castmates are so nice and we all became really close friends! Madison (Skye Validum), who plays Bean, is my best friend and we still talk every day!
How did you find the experience on set of a Netflix film?
I felt like I was dreaming. It was exciting because every day we would film different scenes from the first three Ivy & Bean movies because we shot all three at one time! I loved transforming my look several times a day as we bounced back and forth between movies, you will find out what kind of transformations Ivy went through when you watch! Everyone at Netflix and the production were great to work with.
What did you enjoy most about filming as Ivy and working closely with Madison Skye Validum, who plays Bean?
I loved that we instantly became best friends. We got to spend every day together. I also loved how all of the crew became our family and they took great care of us! Madison and I love glazed donuts and every morning we would both have a glazed donut waiting for us at crafty, if we got busy and weren’t able to go grab it, they would send it to us or remind us that they have it waiting. Ivy & Bean had the sweetest crew ever!
Is there anything you are looking forward to most for the release and for seeing the completed screen adaptation of Ivy & Bean?
YES! I can’t wait to see how everything is put together in order. We spent six months filming and since everything was shot out of order, I feel like everything is all mixed up in my brain now. So I can’t wait to see all three movies.
Who do you think the screen adaptation will appeal to and why would you recommend watching it when it premieres worldwide tomorrow?
I just know that the entire family will enjoy these movies. Not only is it super funny and will keep you on your toes but there are some great lessons to learn for all ages.
What was it like playing Barb Sanders in feature film Family Camp and how would you describe the character?
Barb is a sheltered homeschool kid who is socially awkward and stand-offish. She is a twin to Ed Jr, and her dad, who is a doctor, is also Barb’s hero. Barb thinks that she knows it all since her dad knows it all. It was really fun being Barb because I got to pretend to be bratty. I am homeschooled like Barb but I am not socially awkward or sassy so it was fun to play that role.
How was it working on a film by The Skit Guys and what are some of your stand-out highlights from working on set?
The Skit Guys are so funny and so caring! They invited me to do a skit with them on Bedtime Bible stories and it was so fun. It was filmed live so I really enjoyed improv’ing and being funny to make kids laugh.
Earlier this year, you attended the film’s premiere, how was the experience?
Oh my gosh! I got to see all of my old friends from the set and everyone was so grown up because we filmed that movie in 2020 when I was seven years old. We got to watch the movie together and afterwards we played lots of fun games like Giant Jenga, Connect 4 and Cornhole! There was also a super cool photo booth with fun props from the movie!
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
It started after my very first audition. When I walked out of the audition I knew that I wanted to do it again and again. I just loved performing in person and becoming a character that I wasn’t in real life.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch?
YES! Full House, Fuller House and Stranger Things!
How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend my free time with my family. I also love to draw! I’ve been practicing a lot and I hope to get better at drawing people, like realistic portraits.
What upcoming projects do you have that you can say about and what are you hoping the rest of the year brings for your career?
I just shot a very exciting Network show that I’m not allowed to talk about yet but it will air in October. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!!!
I pray that the rest of the year brings more roles so I get to show all of the levels of my acting because I can cry, I can be funny, nerdy, a bully (but I am not a bully in real life), I can go from a tomboy to a girly girl! I would love to play all sorts of roles instead of one character type.
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