Interview: Anna Fricks of “Wish for Christmas”
Posted on December 22, 2016 at 8:00 am
Anna Fricks stars in Wish for Christmas, a sweet Christian faith story about a high school girl who impulsively wishes that her parents were not so religious, mostly so she can go to a school dance on Christmas Eve. When her wish comes true, she is happy at first but then misses the compassion and warmth of her parents’ faith. Her mom and dad are played by the gifted comic actors Leigh-Allyn Baker (best known from “Will and Grace”) and Joey Lawrence (“Blossom”).
It was a pleasure to speak to Ms. Fricks about being in the film.
How did you first get involved with the movie?
I had a friend who was a director and she knew Alexandra Boylan, the co-writer and co-producer. She reached out to me and told me that she had these friends that were casting a movie and if I was interested then she could try to get me in the room for it. So, it kind of just fell into place. I was the first person to audition for the role of Anna and I went in and it just kind of fit. It was really awesome and I had a few more callbacks after that and I went to go meet them again to do a few more scenes and then I got the phone call.
What were they were looking for and how did they describe the character to you?
She was a mean girl. She is pretty straightforward like that and she’s very selfish, very conceited, and self-absorbed but she also had a big heart. That really helps me connect to the character, knowing that she still loves people even though she is very caught up in her own world and her own things. That’s what carries throughout the whole film. If you really pay attention you can see that even when she is not very nice to anybody she still treats people she cares about with love in her own way. So that to me was important to get across in my audition, her humanity. Mean people aren’t just mean people, they still have their loves and their joys. That was really important for me to show in her from the beginning. And as far as the change went and the way that she progresses throughout the movie, that was important as well. It’s easy to make it seem unreal. Because it’s a wish movie, you’re kind of like, “Oh that doesn’t really happen,” but it does have a little different twist because of the faith aspect of it. So making it real, making it seem really real was difficult but I really enjoyed that.
I particularly enjoy the interaction between your character and her parents, both before the wish and after the wish.
Yes, it was really fun, the first few days on set it was just me. And then they came in and it was totally different, not what I was expected because they just brought a new life to the set. There was never a dull moment. It was really fun. The first scene we did together was the scene at the breakfast table. It was interesting to just have that energy, and talking and laughing before the shooting and then they said “Action” and in an instant going into the character, but also including improv. We all added our own things and words and stuff and so that was really fun too. It made it a lot more loose and comfortable. So, they made it a lot easier to get work done.
Your parents are played by such experienced and talented comic actors. What would you say that you learned about acting from working with them?
Leigh-Allyn really helped me a lot just because she is very comedic and improvs a lot. I’m more of a traditional actress but working with her really made me love comedy and the improv aspect of it. So, talking with her about that and working with her on that just made me see the beauty of adding your own thing to the lines and just kind of having your own take on things, so that was really cool. It’s always inspiring to work with other actors anytime on any set and so when they’re really that good it’s absolutely awesome and I can walk away from that learning so much.
One thing I think that anybody who sees the movie can identify with is the stress between a teenage girl and her parents where she wants to do whatever she wants and they want to impose rules on it. Was that something that you could draw from your own life or people you observed around you?
Yes, I could totally draw from my own life. It was very easy to relate to that because I’ve been there, not as much anymore now that I’m older but when I was a preteen and a young teenager it was difficult. I grew up in a Christian home so it was very much that way when my friends could do things that I couldn’t and it just didn’t make sense to me. Now looking back, I think, “Thank goodness that they were like that because I would be a completely different person.” So, it’s really a “be careful what you wish for” type of situation that I can totally relate to.
When did you first know that you wanted to act?
The first time I ever did anything with acting, I was three years old and I somehow still remember being on that stage and loving it. So, it’s kind of crazy because I have been acting my whole life. I’ve always loved it. I’ve always wanted to do it. So when I was younger I don’t think I really knew what it meant to be an actress and to have a manager and agent. So my mom actually told me when I was younger, “Okay, we’ll wait until you’re about 16 and then, if you’re still serious about it, if you still want to, then we’ll pursue it.” So I took some classes in Atlanta, which is where I am from, all through my preteen years. I stayed serious about it, I learned about it, took classes, everything I could do and then when I was 16 I said, “Hey mom, you remember that promise you made me? I’m still interested. I want to do it.” So, that’s when I started pursuing it seriously, so sort of all my life but it definitely took some time to really start making it a career.
What’s the best advice you ever got about acting?
Just to make sure that you really love it because it’s a really difficult business to be in. Hollywood is a difficult place and the industry is kind of crazy at times. So make sure that you love it and make sure that it’s what you think you’re supposed to do. I think the only way that things have worked out for me is truly because of Jesus and following him because I’m striving to do it for His glory. So, I don’t know how else to explain that but I think if it’s truly what you think you should be doing then you should actually pursue it with all your heart.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
I do, Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And Psalm 37:4, it is “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” In anything you do, delight yourself in the Lord and the desires of your heart will be His and not your own. So, He’ll make your heart full of His desires. So, that was really important for me to understand going into acting which was that this might be something I want but it’s also something that He has for me.
And you hope in your acting to exemplify some of the principles that are important to you?
Absolutely. I hope it will go far but for now I’ll just give Him the glory and I hope I can really be a light in the darkness that is Hollywood or on sets to be an example because you are actually going into people’s homes when you’re on their television screens or their computer screen. It’s like you’re a part of them for a second. So, I think it’s really good to be a good example for them and important as a Christian in this industry to really be that light and stay in Christ.