We first fell in love with Laura Marano when she starred in Disney series Austin & Ally and the 23-year-old has captured our hearts again in Netflix original movie The Perfect Date. Laura plays Celia Lieberman, a sassy teen that becomes friends with Brooks Rattigan (played by Noah Centineo). Brooks creates an app that allows people to book a fake date with him – all of this is done so Brooks can save money for college. GF spoke to Laura about all things The Perfect Date, her former co-star Ross Lynch and how she balances her music and acting career. Spoiler alert: she is a total sweetheart!
Congrats on the release of The Perfect Date! It’s such a cute and fun film. What originally drew you to the part of Celia?
It’s funny because I really loved her and I think that there were two aspects. I loved the character in general; she’s very much not your typical rom-com heroine and I love that she took so many things into her own hands. She makes the romantic gesture at the end and obviously, she’s a little bit darker, she’s sarcastic and she has a bitter, dark sense of humour, which I loved and I remember laughing at a bunch of her lines when I was reading the script. And then the other aspect is that I haven’t played a character like her before and that really excited and intrigued me and got me really hyped to play that.
You had two of your own songs in the movie. How did that come about?
I finished filming the movie and kind of on a whim I decided to write a song for the movie. I was inspired and excited to do it and I’d never really done that before – every other song that I’d written was for me and from my own story but this song, in particular, was completely inspired by the movie and the characters in the movie and so I wrote it and I sent it over to the producers. We’d kind of talked about it a little bit before but I was kind of going on a whim and hoping they’d be into it so I sent over a demo and they were super into it and they put a cut in the rough version of the movie and that was before Netflix had acquired it.
So Netflix acquires it and while that was happening I realise that I had another song that I did write for me but I did write it not in regards to the movie, it was just more about my personal life and I realised that it actually worked super well with the movie. Brooks’ whole thing is basically being hired by girls through his app and who want him to lie to them and so the song is called ‘Lie To Me’ and so I sent it over as I knew they were looking for additional music when Netflix bought it and they were like ‘We love this song too!’ so I ended up two songs in the movie and they’ve been so awesome in connecting and partnering with me and there may or may not be a ‘Perfect Date’ inspired music video coming out… I’m very excited! We’re filming it next week.
You released your first EP called 'Me' in March so you’re juggling both a music and acting career. Do you favour one more than the other? How do you balance both?
It’s definitely challenging for sure! I think what’s tough is I cannot imagine my life without acting. I’ve been doing it my whole life and it’s so important to me but music has been something that ever since I can remember like being young enough to talk, I would sing and I would write ridiculously long songs that I made people listen to so it’s always been such an intense, passionate love for me. I really truly love it so much!
I feel so much safer and so much more comfortable in the acting world because I’ve been doing it for so long and that has been a part of my life in the professional realm for way longer that music has been a part of my life in the professional realm but I always tend to say that I favour music a little bit more in my head but definitely scheduling wise it’s always a struggle. I always want to try and do my best and balance in both worlds because one world is always like ‘I need more attention’. Obviously, for acting, I’ve been doing a few more projects even in like the last two or three months but I try to dedicate my fall and winter more to my music aspects so it’s all about balance and time management.
You started your own label called Flip Phone Records, which is such a huge accomplishment. How does one start something like that?
Oh man! It’s definitely very intense. Basically, you partner with some sort of music distributor, so I’ve teamed up with a company and I use their system to upload my music onto all platforms. So from there, basically in conjunction with them, you start your own label and your own entity. It sounds like kind of boring business stuff but its stuff that I’ve had to become very well versed in and that’s been a challenge and an exciting aspect as well as balancing being the businesswoman and also being the artist. I think that has been a challenge because at the end of the day I still want to be an artist, that’s why I love music and why I love what I do but the business aspect has come with some pretty interesting things too like I have 100 per cent creative control. It’s up to me to make any of the creative decisions, marketing strategy and that has been pretty cool but also finding that balance about when I have to wear my business hat and when I have to wear my artist hat.
Both you and your Austin & Ally co-star Ross Lynch are both killing it in your careers – both in acting and music. Do you guys still keep in contact?
Yes! I performed at a venue in LA called The Roxy and it’s a pretty cool venue and he and Calum (Worthy) came to see me and we hung out after the show and it was so lovely and so sweet. He’s awesome and I’m so happy to see him thriving and doing acting and music because I know he loves both so so much and he’s so so talented so yeah we also have a group text that we try to plan hanging out but our schedules are all so crazy but I miss them. I miss them so much!