What happens when a group of entertainment writers meet actors Yvette Nicole Brown and Kiersey Clemons? Laughter and tears and an inspiring interview. I’m not exaggerating: this was an interview like no other. We’re visiting the set of Lady and the Tramp with Aunt Sarah and Darling and talking about dogs, babies and what to do when Disney calls you.
Last year I had the incredible experience of visiting Savannah, Georgia and the set of Lady and the Tramp.
We met the dogs (oh yes we did!) and the actors, director, producers and the delicious craft services table. Look, writers gotta eat too. And that was some fantastic lunch, I’m just sayin’!
One of the highlights of the trip was interviewing Yvette Nicole Brown (Aunt Sarah) and Kiersey Clemons (Darling). For 15-minutes they shared their stories of being in the movie, getting the roles, and what it means to be lovers of dogs and babies.
Everybody’s Special Or Nobody Is | Fangirling Yvette Nicole Brown and Kiersey Clemons
Annndd… the whole thing ended in tears. Yup. Tears.
This was a first for me in an interview- hearing words so powerful and impactful that I was moved to wiping tears from my eyes from someone who’s work I’ve long admired. And it’s something that’s stayed with me ever since.
That’s what happens when women like this stand together and share their truths.
No-Guilt Fangirls Podcast: Roundtable with Yvette Nicole Bown and Kiersey Clemons
On the podcast today, I shared the audio from the roundtable interview on the set of Lady and the Tramp.
We all walked away with a new appreciation for the casting process and for life as an actor- and I will forever fangirl Yvette Nicole Brown. Knowing there are people like Yvette in Hollywood gives hope for the future of the industry.
Take a listen as you read along, and I think you will too.
Truth 1: Yvette Loves Dogs
Before we met with the actresses, we watched them rehearse and film about 20 takes of the Baby Shower scene from the movie. This had Aunt Sarah swoop in, take over the festivities, and chastise a very confused Lady.
The women played this scene in 20 different ways with some improvisations and subtle tweaks throughout each version. And I thought each one was better than the last!
When we asked what her process was for this movie and for improve, Yvette confesses that there is no process. Oh, and that this was the hardest acting job she’d ever done.
She’s playing Aunt Sarah who, if you remember from the 1955 film, does not like dogs.
Not one little bit.
Yvette Nicole Brown: “This is the biggest acting job I’ve ever done because I love dogs so much!
I’m a hack- so I have no process. It’s fun because if you have a fun actor to play off of, then you- sometimes you’ll throw something in just to make them react when you’re not expecting them, but they- our director, Charlie (Bean), is so open and he’s, like, just kind of be in the moment and feel what you feel.
So sometimes we just slip some silly things in and they, and they make it in.”
Truth 2: Kiersey Didn’t Want To Take a Meeting That Day
When we asked how they were cast and got involved with the process, Kiersey admitted that she didn’t even want to take a meeting that day.
But Brigham Taylor, the producer, had arcade games in his office and that’s what ultimately sold her.
Kiersey Clemons: “I just didn’t feel like it, and I went in, kind of grumpy, and then I saw that he had these arcade games, so I thought, you know what?
There’s arcade games in here. I’m just gonna milk it and not talk about work and be like, ‘what’s up with the arcade games?’
So we played arcade games.”
And that worked because about 2 months later she got the call asking her to be in Lady and the Tramp.
Truth 3: When Disney Calls, You Listen To Momma And You Go To Savannah
Yvette chimed in with her own casting experience. She told us that you’ll get dressed, you’ll take the meeting, and sometimes you never hear from them again.
That’s the reality of things.
Yvette: “So sometimes it does feel like, well why am I doing this? I got a call about the audition, and I read the breakdown of the character, and they said that she hates dogs, and I said, well, I can’t do it, because I know my limits as an actor.
I’m like, I can’t pretend that I don’t like dogs. I love them!
And I also take care of my dad. He has dementia, and so when I found that they were shooting in Savannah, I’m like, I can’t do it. I’m in L.A. I can’t do it.
And my mom said, it’s Lady and the Tramp; it’s Disney; you’ll get to be on set with dogs; you’re going to the audition.
And so I went to the audition, and it was, like, oh- they’re not all great. Every audition isn’t great. Some of them are very hard.
This is one of the best auditions I ever had. The director (Charlie Bean) was so lovely, and I got it.”
Truth 4: Babies Make Your Arms Sore
Kiersey plays a new mother in the movie- not only for Lady but for Lulu who is born as the film progresses.
Yvette showered her with praise on how well she took to caring for the triplet actors on set, and how she’s just “a gooey center of love” for everyone.
Kiersey: “I didn’t know how sore your arm gets when you hold that little thing. I woke up and my arm- whoa- I didn’t know what that was like!”
Truth 5: Everybody’s Special or Nobody Is
And this is where Yvette got us all. She talked about her mom who influenced her and her faith which is what continues to inspire her.
Yvette: “You know, probably my mom. I grew up in a single-family home, and my mother, and my brother- just the three of us, and you know, she just kinda told us that either everybody’s special or nobody is.
So you don’t get to walk around in life as if the sun rises on your doorstep, and everybody else is beneath you.
Either everybody matters, or nobody matters, and so that kind of equalizes things, especially on a set where there are some people that walk around with who I– no, you’re not.
It’s just a job. We all have a job.
Some people are in front of the camera, and some people are taking down cables, but everybody matters. Nothing gets done on the set unless everybody shows up and does what they’re job is.”
What do you attribute your success to?
Yvette: The Lord. I can’t do anything without God.
I literally decided when I entered this industry, the moment I had to set God down to go forward, I won’t go forward. So that meant if it was a role that I had to put something aside to do it, I wouldn’t do it.
If I had to stab someone in the back or step on somebody’s neck to get ahead, I wasn’t gonna go ahead.
I need to, at the end of the day, be on the right side of history- number one, and I need to be able to sleep at night. And when you do dirty things, you can’t sleep well.
So I like to sleep well. I’m a napper. I just sleep, like, all throughout the day, and so I have to keep my conscious good to be able to do that.
So, yeah, that’s the goal was to get my, ‘well done’ when it’s all over. You know, this is- entertainment’s vapor, right? All this stuff comes and goes.
What do people feel when they see you? What do they feel when they’re with you?
That’s the truth of who you are. Your name on a marquis is- it comes and goes, right?”
About Lady and the Tramp
In Disney+’s “Lady and the Tramp,” a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.
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I’m a fangirl and I don’t pretend otherwise. Geeking out over pop culture is a big part of My No-Guilt Life, and I’m here to say it’s ok if that’s your thing too! No matter how old you are. Ahem. I’m solidly on #TeamCap and think Iron Man has gotten a bit big for his gold-titanium alloy britches. Oh- and I’m completely in love with Agent Coulson and Agent May. Completely.