Disney+’s newest adventure series The Mysterious Benedict Society (2021) is officially made its way to the small screen on June 25th. Based on the best-selling book written by Trenton Lee Stewart, the story revolves around four gifted orphans who are called to embark on a perilous mission to save the world from a global crisis.
We had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Emmy DeOliveira, a talented young actor who portrays one of the orphans, Kate Wetherall. Her previous television credits include a recurring role as Avery on FLAKED for Netflix and the role of Vickie “Mini Snap” on Teachers for TV Land. Emmy has appeared in the Emmy Award winning Sandy Hook PSA “Back to School Essentials.”
DeOliveira has also performed leading roles in numerous musical theater productions and was nominated for “Best Performance in a Children’s Production” for the 5th Annual Valley Theater Awards for her role as Ms. Darbus, in High School Musical.
What inspired you to be an actor? Can you tell us your background and how you developed a passion for acting?
I started when I was 5 years old, my sister was acting first and it looked like fun. Growing up in Los Angeles, it’s something a lot of kids do. I liked going to acting classes and would make friends at auditions. I was always an outgoing kid, so it was a good outlet for me.
Congratulations on your role on the show, The Mysterious Benedict Society! Why did you want to be involved in this project?
Thank you! I really liked the Character of Kate Wetherall when I read the audition notice, she seemed like she would be fun to play. I loved the script and it looked like it would be a really great show to be a part of.
Can you walk us through the process of auditioning for the role? What were the challenges and breakthroughs you’ve encountered along the way, and how did you overcome it?
The audition process was a long one. For the first audition, I went over the character breakdown and read the script and went into the casting office for an in-person audition. The callback was a tape & I recorded that from home then it was about 4 months before I knew I would be testing for the role. The first part of the test was an audition by myself for the casting director and studio. I got called back again to do a mix and match with the other kids they were considering. It was fun getting to meet all the other kids and work with them. I’d say the biggest challenge was that this was my first-time testing for a show, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I overcame it by being solid with my lines and my character choices, then I just went in and had fun with it.
Can you tell us more about your character Kate Wetherall? What do you love about this character? How did you bring the character to life? Were there particular circumstances or personal experiences that shaped the character?
Kate Wetherall is really fun, she is stubborn, adventurous, brave, and independent. I loved her willingness to just go for it, she doesn’t always think everything through, but she is not afraid to just jump in. I think I am a lot like Kate in some ways, so I really just put myself into the character and it felt very natural for me. I can be pretty stubborn too sometimes.
What did you like about the story? How do you think this story will change and make an impact in today’s society?
What I liked about the story is that it focuses on 4 orphans who are not the most popular, or strongest kids. They are each unique in their own ways that make them special and together they are a great team, once they learn to work together. They really come to rely on each other and become family. I think it will show people that everyone can make a difference, superheroes don’t need superpowers, anyone can make a difference if they put their mind to it.
What was the dynamic like between you, your castmates, and the film crew? How did they make you feel? Were there particular moments on set that were memorable?
The crew was really amazing and Seth, Mystic, Marta and I all got along really great. We filmed the show during COVID, so there were things we couldn’t do together. We did get to have some fun with our studio teacher Rachel Graham. She would take us on nature hikes when we were on location and she taught us to play the Ukulele and we would sing, that was really fun. We also spent Christmas in Vancouver because we couldn’t leave Canada, so we all exchanged gifts, and the crew decorated our classroom with a Christmas tree which was really cool. The most memorable moments were going to all the locations and exploring them, Vancouver is beautiful.
Can you give us a sneak peek of what we can expect from this season? What did you love about filming this season?
This season, you will get to meet the characters and follow their adventure to try to stop the “Improvement”. It’s cool how they all go from being alone to being a family and learn to rely on and trust each other. What I loved about filming this season was getting to discover the story we were telling. It was so exciting each time I got a script, to see what was going to happen next!
What kind of films do you like watching? Which films and filmmakers have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
I love animation, I like tv shows better than films, my current favorite shows are Amphibia and The Owl House. I love the style of animation in the shows, and more than anything I love the characters.
What were the monumental life lessons, mistakes, and things you’ve learned that you would like to share with young aspiring or emerging actors, storytellers, and creatives in general?
I can be pretty stubborn and when I have an idea about the way something should be done, I can get stuck in that. I learned on set that it’s a collaboration, the Director is ultimately the one in charge of the performances and I had to learn pretty quickly to make adjustments and take direction. I think in the end I learned that I’m not always right but when I took direction, I didn’t have to lose my vision in the process, rather expanding on it in that collaboration.
The pandemic has greatly affected the entertainment industry. How did you spend your time?
When everything shut down in March, we were in the process of getting ready to start the show. It pushed us back about 4 months. When I got to Canada, I had to quarantine for 2 weeks, then we had to be tested a few times a week and we couldn’t do a lot of the things on set that would normally happen, like eating lunch with my friends or talking with the others in-between filming. But even with all of that, I was happy that we still got to shoot the show with everything that was going on.
What kind of roles do you want to take on in the future?
I’m not really sure if I have specific characters in mind, Kate was a fun character to play. I like strong independent characters; I had a lot of fun with the stunts on the show.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as an actor?
I’m not sure about a legacy, I think I just want to leave behind good work that I’m proud of.
What’s your advice to young actors who want to break into the entertainment industry?
To know that it takes a lot of work, you will get told no a lot more than yes, you have to not let it get you down. If you love it, keep working at it and don’t give up. You never know if the next audition is the one that will change your life.
Do you have other upcoming projects you want to share with us?
I don’t have anything in the works at the moment, High School was a lot of work, I’m enjoying my summer off after filming Season 1 and finishing 9th grade. I hope everyone loves The Mysterious Benedict Society and we start shooting Season 2 soon!
Catch Emmy DeOliveira and the rest of the talented cast, Tony Hale, Kristen Shcaal, Ryan Hurst, and more exclusively on Disney+.