Yara Shahidi Interview

Exclusive Interview with Yara Shahidi

-Newcomer Yara Shahidi stars opposite Eddie Murphy in the new family comedy, Imagine That which opens on June 12th. The movie tells the story of a financial executive (Murphy) who can’t stop his career downspiral is invited into his daughter’s imaginary world, where solutions to his problems await (via IMDB.

We chatted with Yara recently about the movie, as well as her upcoming projects, which include Salt with Angelina Jolie and Unthinkable with Samuel L Jackson.

The movie opens June 12th, are you excited? Yes, I’m very excited!

What can you tell us about “Olivia”: My character, Olivia, is sassy. She always wants to have her way and she’s smart. She finds a way to get her dad to play with her, but it’s also helping him with his work.

How was it working with Eddie Murphy: It was a great experience because before, I knew him as the voice of “Donkey” in Shrek. So it was fun to actually get to work with someone that you’ve seen in the movies or their voice in the movies, that you love.

Did he do the voice of “Donkey” for you: No, but he since his regular voice is like “Donkey’s,” I could picture it.

What was your favorite part about making the movie: My favorite part that everyone was so nice. And most of it is something crazy fun to do.

Do you have a favorite scene: Oh yes, I do. My favorite scene is the pancake scene because I get to make a mess and I actually get to make pancakes. And I get to make a ton. I get to pour a ton of condiments on like mustard.

Did you actually have to eat them: Luckily I did not.

In the movie, Olivia has a really good imagination. Are you pretty imaginative: I have a really good imagination when I’m dreaming and asleep. And I can imagine things if I try to make a science experiment.

You’re also in “In the Motherhood.” What can you tell us about that show: It’s about the crazy things that moms do. My character is Esther. I play the daughter of Ms Jessica St Clair and my brother is in it with me playing my brother.

What’s it like working with your brother: It’s really fun working with him. He’s my best friend.

Is there ever any fighting on set: No, no no no [laughs]

Your upcoming projects include films with Samuel L Jackson and Angelina Jolie, What can you tell us about those: In “Unthinkable,” my brother and I play Samuel L Jackson’s kids. He reads a story to us and we have to tuck to teddy bears into bed. [laughs] And in “Salt,” the Angelina Jolie movie, I play Angelina’s neighbor.

Is there anyone else you’d love to work with in the future: I want to work with Justin Timberlake because he is a good actor and I want to work with Queen Latifah and Chris Rock.

What do you like to do in your free time: I travel and I love doing karate. I take it ever Monday and I’m a yellow belt.

Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled: I love Italy.

Favorite bands/singers: I like the Beatles and I like Michael Jackson. And I like “I’ll be in the Sky” by BoB.

Favorite movie/tv show: My favorite TV show is “Time Warp Trio” because it’s three kids traveling back in history and I love history. My favorite movie is…I like all the movies I see like all the Shrek’s.

Favorite part of being an actor: My favorite part is that it’s really really fun to do and everything is a new experience.

Is acting something you want to continue to do in the future: I want to keep doing it when I’m older, but I also want to become a historian and a scientist.

Do you have a message to the fans: The movie is a family movie and I think you’ll enjoy it because I enjoyed it.

Be sure to see Yara in Imagine That, in theaters now.