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5 Questions with Kerris Dorsey

Lending her acting skills and singing talents, Kerris Dorsey enduring a comically catastrophe stretch alongside Steve Carell, Jenn Garner, and the rest of her movie family in Alexander…and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

The 17-year-old actress, noted for her recurring role on Ray Donovan (where she is Liev Schriber’s daughter) and Moneyball (where she is Brad Pitt’s daughter), plays the daughter of Carell and Garner in this Disney family comedy. It’s her younger brother Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) who makes a wish that seems to plague the family.

Dorsey chatted from her home in Los Angeles to reminisce about the shoot, offering her thoughts on music, and discuss what it’s like to be in high school while also on television and film.

What did you learn working with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner?

I was such a huge fan before I meant them, so I was freaking out a little, trying to keep cool. The Office is my life and loved Alias, so I knew going into to it I would be a total fan girl. They’re such comedic timing, they’re both so funny. They showed you don’t really have to be in your face or loud in order to get your point across. They’re really funny and slapstick, but there are funny moments when they’re being quiet that hit home. You can be smart and witty and still be really funny and make people laugh out loud.

Is it true you performed for Steve on his last day?

I did. Steve wrapped before us, so we waned to do something for him before he left. He is just the kindest, so loving, such a good person. I wanted Ed and Dylan [Minnette] and I to do something, so I took ‘Beds Are Burning’ by Midnight Oil’ and inserted lyrics and changed them to be relevant to the movie. On the last day we performed it for him, and he got teary-eyed and really emotional. I was so surprised, he was really touched and that made me very touched.

You sang in Moneyball and did the theme song for this film, so what do you lean towards more, music or acting?

I love both. Music is such a huge part of my life and my passion. I’m recording music now and hoping to put an EP out; just for fun, just for me. I love performing and I love singing, but I’ve always found luck in acting and I love it. Certain times in your life you’re going to gravitate towards some things, I think performing is more an extrovert thing. It’s more vulnerable. You’re putting yourself out there. Depends on where you are in your life, but I love them both.

I listen to music a lot when working, especially emotional scenes. I really listen to certain music to trigger that, so it’s already part of acting for me.

So what did you listen to for Alexander…?

I listened to really upbeat music, and show tunes as well. Some Peter Pan [as her character is Peter Pan in a school play]. And all of my really happy Beatles music, anything fun and happy. Parents give you influences,they told me to listen to some classic rock, so Led Zeppelin IV, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd. I listen to anything, from Arcade Fire to Kanye West to Beyonce to Arctic Monkeys.

You have a lot of young fans, and you’re only 17 yet have starred in television shows and films. In what ways does your life seem normal or familiar to those who aren’t actresses?

My life is pretty normal. I’m still in school, junior in high school, I’ve lots of homework, I always gotta get my school work done, I make my bed every morning, I email friends. I do work and TV shows and movies and whatever, but at the end of the day, I text my best friends, go to the movies, finish my homework.

My mom always says, what you are is what you do. My friends play soccer or are on a dance team, and I go shoot and do a movie. That’s a little bit abnormal, as far as filming, because people consider it to be a more glamorous thing. I think about all my friends who are actors, it’s just about healthy balance. It’s being a teenager and being a kid and working. It’s all how you cope with it and what you do with your off time. I hang out with friends and enjoy music. I feel quite normal. Very normal.

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.