Elle Graham: Teen actress from Hampstead celebrates a new movie and hit TV series (“1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)
HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (WECT) - At the age of 13, Elle Graham of Hampstead already has an impressive acting resume, which includes roles in popular shows like Stranger Things and The Walking Dead.
Elle is riding a wave of increased notoriety as one of the stars of the hit Disney Channel shows Secrets of Sulphur Springs, which is currently in its third season. She also has a major role in a new movie that opens nationwide this weekend, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, adapted for the big screen from the classic 1970 novel by Judy Blume.
In the movie, Elle plays Nancy Wheeler, who becomes Margaret’s first friend after the Simon family moves to the New Jersey suburbs. She says she fell in love with the role as soon as she read the script, even though she’s not like the character she plays.
“Me and the other kids on set, we had such a strong connection when we first met each other and then doing these silly scenes,” Elle said. “Some of the mean scenes, it just came out, it was just kind of like a silly and fun, comfortable situation to be in.”
Along with those young actresses, Abby Ryder Fortson (Margaret) Amari Alexis Price (Janie) and Katherine Mallen Kupferer (Gretchen), Elle also had the opportunity to learn from award-winning veteran performers Rachel McAdams (who plays Margaret’s mother Barbara) and Kathy Bates (who plays Margaret’s grandmother Sylvia) on this project.
“Well, I didn’t actually get to meet Kathy Bates, but seeing her on screen, her humor in the show and the way that she plays the grandma so well, it’s absolutely amazing,” Elle said about the Academy Award-winning actress. “You can just tell the family bond that her, Rachel and Abby have. As for Rachel McAdams, she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I think every actor should get a chance to meet somebody so grounded as she is. She’s truly just a beautiful artist!”
Elle said she has tried to gain more knowledge from every movie and television role she’s done, and this project allowed her to stretch her acting abilities in a new way.
“This one specifically showed me how important it is to have a good relationship with the cast around you and have such a strong connection like all of us did all the crew,” she said. “And how feeling comfortable on the set can make you produce some really good work. Also, I had never done improv before. So, this was a new thing for me. I didn’t really know how to just come up with lines on the spot.”
Elle’s appearance on Secrets of Sulphur Springs has increased her popularity in the entertainment industry, as evidenced by the number of interviews she’s done about the show with her fellow actors. The finale of season three is expected to air in May, and while Disney has not made an announcement on whether there will be a fourth season, Elle says playing the role of Savannah in the family mystery has been a great learning experience and a lot of fun.
“Sulphur Springs was my first time really working with a group of kids,” she remembers. “And when we first had the first table read for the pilot, I absolutely fell in love with the script. I wanted to read them like books! After we finished the first season and we heard what people were saying about it, we hoped and we prayed that we would get a second season because we just love working with each other and working with all the directors!”
As far as future acting projects, Elle did not share any specifics, saying she is hoping for more auditions and more acting opportunities. For now, it’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret on the big screen and Secrets of Sulphur Springs on the small one for this successful young actress who, along with her parents, two brothers and two sisters, calls southeastern North Carolina home. I hope you enjoy the conversation with her as much as I did.
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