Did you see Disney’s PROM in theaters? If not, you can get your chance to see it this Tuesday, August 30th when it comes to DVD and Blu-ray! It’s such a fun film and with school back in session for most, this is the perfect time to watch a movie about life at school.
Not only did I have the chance to interview Janel Ortiz who plays Ali, but I also interviewed Nolan Sotillo who plays the shy Lucas Arnaz who’s trying so hard to get the girl. We chatted it up about his character, making the movie and his next project – a pilot for Disney Channel called Madison High!
modOration: Tell me a little about your character Lucas from PROM.
Nolan Sotillo: Lucas is a sophomore and he’s kind of a geek and he has one very close friend at school, played by Cameron Monaghan, Corey. They’re really close friends and Lucas can totally just be himself around Corey. But then when it comes to his crush, Simone who’s played by Danielle Campbell, he is super super shy and just really awkward.
Every time he’s around her, he doesn’t know what to say. He’s done everything he can to try to have a chance with her. Through all his awkwardness and not knowing what to say, he actually turns out to be really charming.
modOration: So, your character was struggling between getting the girl and keeping your best friend, have you ever dealt with something like that in real life?
Nolan: No, not as badly as Lucas did because he was trying so hard [to get the girl] that he forgot about his best friend. He didn’t really do it on purpose, he just wanted to impress Simone.
modOration: Do you have any advice for guys who want to ask a girl out to prom and they’re really nervous and they have no idea what to say?
Nolan: You know, I don’t think there’s ever really the “right” thing to say. And even if you did find just the right thing to say, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to say yes. You just need to be yourself because you don’t want to put up a front and then they end up liking someone you’re not. Then you can never truly be yourself around them. If it’s the right girl, she’ll like you for who you are.
modOration: Are you and Lucas a like in any way?
Nolan: Yes, in some ways. He has a big love for music and so do I. It’s a big part of my life. I have a couple of really close best friends. I don’t think I’m as awkward around girls as Lucas is though.
modOration: Have you been to your prom and if so, what was it like?
Nolan: No, not yet. I’m only 16 and am a junior this year so I haven’t been to one yet. But, I am definitely looking forward to attending one.
modOration: This was your first big screen movie right? Tell me about that experience.
Nolan: Well, the auditioning process was just like a normal audition. You always have to put 100% into every audition because you never know where it could lead to. Through the whole process, I just gave it all I could and it worked out. I realized then that you have to always give what you do 100%.
The movie itself was just the greatest experience of my life. Being on set and making all these amazing friends. There were such great people from Disney to work with and it was such a great experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast.
This also led to me auditioning for another show, which is a High School Musical spin off called Madison High. I ended up booking that show. It’s a singing and dancing show. It’s a pilot right now and they’re trying to get it picked up, but it should be on next year.
modOration: What was it like working with the cast from Prom?
Nolan: It was just incredible. I didn’t get to work with everybody who was in the movie in a scene, but I did get to hang out with everyone. I had such a unique relationship with every single person. Our cast bonded so well, right from the get-go and I definitely have to thank them for helping me out so much on the film, since I didn’t have much experience. They really helped guide me through the process.
modOration: Do you have any funny stories from making the movie?
Nolan: I do actually have one. The shoot was so quick. We only did about 30 days on set of shooting. But, there was this one point where we were doing a photo shoot and Janelle [Ortiz] was in her prom dress and we were doing this shoot at the top of the stair case. So, we finish the shoot and Janelle is walking down the staircase and she tripped and fell and tumbled down the stair case. She was bleeding and think she cut her leg a little. Everyone ran up and wanted to make sure the dress was okay.
modOration: Do you have a favorite scene from the movie?
Nolan: I actually really loved the tree scene just because it was such a blast to shoot. We didn’t do it at the studio, we did it at someone’s house and the tree was just amazing. The tree looks so amazing from the outside and the inside of it is hollowed out, very cool.
So, I had to hit the pencil case so that it would fall down. They worked some movie magic there. They had a piece of clear tape and string, but it turns out that I hit it every time that I threw. The scene was shot at midnight and that whole scene was a lot of fun to make.
modOration: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about? You mentioned Madison High. Can you tell us anything about that?
Nolan: Right now, it’s still just a pilot. But the cast is just incredible. I’m not sure if it’s just luck or what, but everyone is just bonding so well. It’s going to be a great show. It’s really funny. The music is great. We have some really talented song writers that wrote music for the pilot. I got to be in one of the songs.
My character’s name is Colby Baker and I’m pretty sure he’s a sophomore in high school. He’s really into anime and he draws cartoons. He’s such a gifted artist. His cousin is a really good tennis player, she’s a girl named Peyton and she’s played by Leah Lewis. She tries to guide him [her cousin Colby] through his first high school experience but his motto is stay out of trouble, don’t bother anyone and everything will be fine. But she goes out and does the exact opposite.
modOration: When did you start acting?
Nolan: I started getting really serious about acting in January of 2010 and then I auditioned for PROM, so I had been acting for about a year and a half.
modOration: Do you have any advice for kids wanting to get started in acting?
Nolan: Definitely. Just know that it takes a lot of hard work. And it’s not as easy as it might look. You don’t just audition and then the part is yours like magic. It takes a lot of hard work and perserverance. Just put everything you have into every audition. I probably auditioned for about 30 things before I even got a call back. So, you have to realize that part of it is luck. They’re usually looking for a very specific type of person but they’ll bring you in anyway thinking maybe you would be right for the part. Just work really hard and don’t worry if you’re not getting call backs right away. Just keep trying, keep on working on your craft. All you need is one yes to take you somewhere.
modOration: Thank you Nolan!