-We visited the set of “10 Things I Hate About You” back in June and had the chance to sit down with some other online bloggers and chat with one of our SO-M faves, Meaghan Martin, who plays social butterfly “Bianca Stratford” on the show. If you haven’t already guessed by now, “10 Things” is one of our favorite new Summer shows. We had the chance to see two episodes being filmed, and both are super hilarious. The comedy is witty and the show even pushes the envelope a little. We were insured by writer/producer Carter Covington that there will be some kissing before the season is over between some of the main characters. There was some kissing in the episode we saw being filmed, but not between who you’d expect. We’ll dish details about that closer to the airing of Episode 6 & 7.
We had the chance to chat with Meaghan about her relationships with the other cast members, her character, and more. Check it out.
You’ve done other TV shows, how is the set of this one different? It’s very different because I’m working with adults now, like almost all adults, even most of the people on the show with me. I’m the only one in the lead cast under 20. So it’s very different, but at the same time it’s exactly the same. We still have so much fun. I love coming to work every day, and I cannot emphasize how much I love it. I mean, it’s only when we’re working till three in the morning that I’m like, “Oh, my God, I can’t do this.” No, but it’s so—it makes it worth it.
And I’m working with such a talented group of people that, like, I said before, I’m learning so much from. And it’s very different to be on your our own series, too, whereas, when you’re guest starring, you kind of feel like, “Oh, I don’t want to say anything. I mean, they’re already like a family.” And it’s cool to be a part of that family now. I mean, with Camp Rock, we only had the five weeks what we were shooting.
Did you and Lindsey Shaw click right away? Lindsey and I definitely clicked. We have a great relationship. From the pilot on, we’ve been talking and texting each other. I ran into her boyfriend the other night, and I was like, “Hey, how are you? Where’s Lindsey?” [Laughs] And it’s just been so great to have that new friendship in my life because she’s an only child. So she was like, “I’m not sure how this sister dynamic is.” And I have an older sister who actually is quite a bit like Kat. [Laughs] And so I was like, “Oh, don’t worry. I got this down.”
And so I tell her stories about my family, and I met her dad the other day. He came to visit. And when my family came to visit, she met all of them. And I graduated high school two weeks ago, and she texted me on my graduation. We’re definitely sisterly.
How is the relationship between Bianca and Cameron (Nick Braun)? : Oh, poor Cameron. I just feel so bad for him because things aren’t going so hot right now in the Bianca-Cameron department. And he just loves her so much, and it’s the cutest thing ever. [Laughs] I watch him filming his scenes, and I’m just like, “Oh,” and I wish I had a guy like that in my life. And I feel so bad for him about that one because there’s literally a line where I’m like, “Oh, I’m so happy I have you in my life.” And he’s like, “Oh, she’s loves me.” I’m like, “You’re such a good gay best friend.” [Laughs] And he’s like, “But I’m not gay. I love you.” And I’m like, “Yeah, sure you do. It’s okay.” So it’s very sad. And Nick Braun does such a fantastic job playing the character. He’s so funny as Cameron. And I remind him of that every day, which is probably bad. I probably should stop. His ego’s going to get too big. [Laughs]
Are you anything like Bianca? I am very similar to Bianca. It’s kind of scary how much Bianca and I have in common. We both—well first of all, we dress very similar. [Laughs] But besides that, we both have this “want to be accepted”. That’s something that I’ve always struggled with growing up. I was the girl in school saying, “Everybody hates me,” and, “Why do they all hate me?” And Mom’s like, “They don’t hate you. Like, what are you talking about?” And I’m like, “No, they do.” [Laughs] And I feel like Bianca doesn’t realize that she really is popular, and she’s working so hard to get there when she’s already there.
But at the same time, I don’t think that my priorities were quite as mixed up as Bianca’s are. She definitely doesn’t have her priorities straight, but I think that’s what makes her fun and likeable and relatable, is she’s not quite sure where she’s going in life.
Do you get to work closely with the writers? Oh, definitely. I just had a great moment with Robin Schiff, who is one of the writers, and producers of the show. And I came up to her and I said, “I really want to be sure that Bianca doesn’t come off dumb in the next scene because she’s not dumb. She’s certainly by no means dumb.” And Robin turned to me and she said, “I was just about to talk to you about the same thing.” And it’s great that we all, we all really know our characters, and there’s nothing better than to really feel comfortable talking to these people because they are telling you what to say. I mean, they are giving you exactly how you should be interpreting the character and the script. And it’s nice to have a good trust and a great relationship with them.
How is the dynamic between you & Larry Miller, as far as less experienced actor to experienced actor? Do you see eye to eye? Yeah, I’d say so. I mean, it’s a learning process for me everywhere with everybody. I mean, I’m learning from Lindsey. I think we’re all learning from each other because everybody brings different things to the table and everybody has a different way of thinking. The other day I had a scene where I walked in the front door with Lindsey, and she turns around and she locks it in the middle of the scene. And I’m like, “Wow, I wouldn’t have even thought about that, locking the front door. Wow.” Like, it’s great the stuff you learn. [Laughs]
The show is based off the movie of the same name, were you a fan? I definitely had seen the movie before. I have older siblings, so they [watched it]—I was seven when the movie came out. So I obviously didn’t watch it when it came out. But I had saw it a couple months before I auditioned for this and loved it. And then I watched it again right before I auditioned for this. And it’s just such a classic teen movie but in a better way than any other teen movie. It’s not stupid. And I feel like a lot of teen movies treat teens like they’re dumb. And that’s something that I know I don’t appreciate as a teenager. And I think that’s the really cool thing about our show is we use big words. And I actually had an interviewer ask me if I understood the big words on the show. [Laughs] And I was like, “Yes, I do actually.” So I think it’s—I think that that’s one of the great things is we really do, we treat teenagers like they’re human beings and adults because they are, and they’re intelligent too.
What was your audition process like for the role of ‘Bianca’ like? Well I read the script for this, and I was like, “Oh, that’s really hilarious. I love it.” And they were like, “We want you to go in for Bianca.” And I was like, “Okay, cool, sounds good to me.” But I figured I was too young because usually when it comes to a TV series and playing a teenager, I’m usually too young because they like to cast 25-year olds to play teenagers. [Laughs] And so I walked in the room and I did the scene, and I was like, “Okay, I mean, that felt good.”
But you know, with auditions, there’s not really much you can do about it. So you just hope for the best. Expect the worst and hope for the best, that’s what I live by. So I left the audition. I got a phone call. They’re like, “Oh, you’re too young. You did a great job, though.” And I was like, “Okay, I hear that all the time,” so whatever.
And a few weeks later I get a phone call again. They’re like, “Oh, we want you to come in again for a different part.” And I was like, “A different part? What other part is there? Like, I mean, I’m not going to play Kat, that would just weird.” And so I was like, “Okay.” But then they sent me the sides again, and it was for Bianca. And I was like, “That’s not even a different part, but sure.” [Laughs]
And so I went in and they turned out that they had just like mixed up my papers with somebody else’s, and they—which I’m sure happens when you see thousands of girls for the same role. And I did the scene for Gil and Carter who were there that time. And Gil stopped me and he said to me, “Where did you come from?” [Laughs] And I was like, “Las Vegas.” [Laughs] And he’s like, “Oh, well you’re really good.” And I was like, “Thank you very much.”
And then I got a phone call, and they said that they wanted me to come back the next day to do a work session, which is what you usually do before you test for a show. And testing is like when you go in front of all of the bigwigs at the network. And they were like, “We don’t want you to wear the dress that you wore. We want you to where another dress that’s preppier and girlier.” And I was like, “Okay.” But I didn’t know what to wear. So I brought five dresses with me the next day, and I was like, “You guys pick what I wear because I don’t want to screw this up.” [Laughs] And they thought that was hilarious.
And so they ended up picking one of my dresses, and I did the work session with them. And the next day, I went in to test. I read with all the different Kats. And that’s where I met Lindsey Shaw. And it was a crazy nerve-wracking experience. I hate testing for shows. There’s nothing worse than that. But by the end of testing, you usually, usually being the key word, know who got it because they kind of weed people out throughout the day, which is even worse, because you’re like sitting there like, “Oh, my God, please don’t let me go. Please don’t let me go.”
And I ended up being the last Bianca there. And I was like, “Okay, this could be terrible or it could be good. [Laughs] And then I got the phone call that I booked the pilot.
What kinds of lengths does Bianca go to to be popular? She goes everywhere. It’s really funny to watch Bianca through her struggles, and I think that that’s one of my favorite storylines that Bianca has, is Chastity, who’s played by Dana Davis, is very—she is very manipulative and is realizing that Bianca will do anything to be popular. So she’s always testing the limits. Every episode it’s something new. But at the same time, Bianca is sort of coming into her own person and realizing that she doesn’t need Chastity. So I feel like, as time goes on, the tensions might get pretty intense.
In this episode, goes to new lengths to stay popular, including kissing a girl. What was your reaction to finding out about the kiss? I had no idea it was coming, quite honestly. I read—actually, my mom read the script. And she goes, “Meaghan, you’re kissing a girl in the next episode.” [Laughs] And I was like, “Okay.”
I’m just big on, “I’m an actress and everything I do—I’m an actress.” One of my friends was working on a show recently and a guy stormed off the set because he didn’t want to kiss another guy. And that to me is just like, “That’s sad. Are you really not acting? Like, is it you now?” And it’s your character.
And it’s just my philosophy that, if it’s good and if it’s well written and if it’s classy and I feel like it works with the plot, then I’m totally up for whatever. And I thought it was great. I was thought it was very real. I thought it was how teenage girls would think they’re being sexy when really it’s just plain awkward. And I really felt that that’s something that a lot of people may experience. And I think the next scene coming up where I get in trouble for it is also a great scene because we’re not trying to be bad role models here either; we’re just trying to be real.
You also have an indie out called Dear Lemon Lima, what can you tell us about that? I did a movie last summer called Dear Lemon Lima, and it’s an independent film. I’m Megan Kennedy. I’m the bitchy popular girl who ends up joining the FUBARs.
And I’m excited to see it. [Note: The premiere was the day after this interview.] It’s going to be different and fun. And I’ve very—I was in love with the script. I fell madly in love with it. So I was so excited to be a part of it. I definitely had to fight to be a part of it because they didn’t want to spend any money at all, and they were filming it in Seattle. And they were like, “Oh, no, we’re going to cast a local person from Seattle to do it because we can’t afford to fly somebody up and pay for them to stay up there.” And I was like, “Please, you don’t have to pay me. I mean, I’ll pay you. Like, just let me be in this.”
And eventually it worked out that I could come up. I ended up staying with one of my friends whose mom is my acting coach who’s also in the movie. And so that was—it was also cool to have my acting coach on the set because then I knew I was going to do a good job or else she’d yell at me. It was a very cool experience.
You seem to play the ‘mean girl’ character a lot…is there a reason for that? I guess I just look mean. [Laughs] I don’t know. It’s the blonde hair. That’s what I blame it on. When you’re blonde, you’re either dumb or mean. So it’s terrible. I guess I just—my mom’s convinced it’s because I’ve practiced the face so many times, on her particularly, and I’m like, “Hey, I’m not that bad. I’m a good kid.” But I think it’s just because a look—honestly, look-wise, right now, there’s a lot of trends in the business. And right now, the blondes are playing the mean girls.
But I love the fact that my characters have such an arc. In Dear Lemon Lima I love that character arc because it’s a huge difference. In the beginning of the movie and the end of the movie, I’m a completely different person. So that was fun for me. Camp Rock, I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I haven’t even read the script for the sequel yet, so I couldn’t even tell you if I’m nice or mean it in. [Laughs] So we’ll see how that one goes. But that’s why it’s nice to play Bianca because she is not mean by any degree.
Be sure to watch “10 Things I Hate About You” Tuesday nights at 8pm EST on ABC Family all summer.
Photos Courtesy of Adam Rose/ABC Family