“You’re 18, you’re coming into your womanhood, I was like, ‘I think that time’s passed.'”
Naomi Scott is officially a Disney princess courtesy of the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin, but there was a time when she could have been a Disney Channel star as well – but opted to pass on the opportunity.
While on Collider Ladies Night in celebration of her new audio/podcast series, Soft Voice, Scott looked back on her early days in the industry working on the Disney UK production, Life Bites, and the Disney Channel original movie, Lemonade Mouth. Given the formative nature of one’s first gigs at a young age, I asked Scott what the on-set environment of such Disney productions was like. She began by putting the spotlight on Life Bites:
“Life Bites was this little UK production. That was great. That was so much fun. And again, it was like [a] five-minute sketch show, so it wasn’t necessarily part of the big American machine. I’m sure some of the other Disney stars, child stars that kind of came up on a show, I think that was a whole different thing and a whole different type of pressure.”
Even when it came to making the 2011 feature film Lemonade Mouth, Scott suspects her experience wasn’t like the “Disney machine” many might imagine. She explained:
“I did the Disney Channel movie Lemonade Mouth, [it] was even probably different to that. I was already, at that point 18 so I had a little bit of understanding of who I was, what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do. My friend Bridgit [Mendler], she’d been on a show since she was 14. So again, when it comes to Lemonade Mouth, I entered it [at] 18, so I feel like I somewhat knew a little bit about myself at that point.”
Even though Scott had already found herself to extent when she worked on Lemonade Mouth, there was something valuable she learned on that set – the excitement of craft service:
“The only thing I remember is that they just had the best breakfast on set. [Laughs] I also remember being introduced to craft services for the first time. And for me, it’s this US production and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they have a trolley of candy that just came around!’ And to me I just thought, ‘I’ve made it. This is what I’ve wanted. This is what it’s all about. It’s all about candy on a trolley.”
Even though Life Bites and Lemonade Mouth weren’t part of that “Disney machine,” so to speak, at one point, Scott did get the opportunity to pursue that path, but the timing just wasn’t right. Here’s how she described it:
“I think once it gets into the shows, which, by the way, they definitely were keen for me to go that route. There was an opportunity for me to kind of follow in the footsteps of maybe some of those other girls; have your own show around you that has to do with music, etc., etc. And it’s so interesting that at 18 years-old – 17, 18 – I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. And I think it’s because, again, those deals; they lock you in for such a long time and if you’re already, as I said, you’re 18, you’re coming into your womanhood, I was like, ‘I think that time’s passed.’ If I was 14 and it was like, ‘Disney Channel, have your own show,’ great! But I think that there’s a [frustration] – and you can see it, and I’m sure a lot of those actors would be open about that and these Disney stars that we see now, about maybe that frustration of wanting to grow as an adult and feel like you’re still kind of seen as one thing. I knew that that’s not what I wanted, so I kindly passed up that opportunity.”
A major career move for Scott right there and, at this point, it feels fair to say that it was the right decision given how much she’s accomplished since! If you’d like to here more about Scott’s experience working on projects like Power Rangers, Aladdin, Soft Voice and more, you can catch our full Collider Ladies Night conversation below:
It looks like the decision may have come from an inflamed studio dispute.
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