Monday, February 25, 2013
X Factor contestant Hayley Orrantia to star in ABC sitcom
She will play a mean older sister in a show called How the Hell am I Normal?
HIGHLAND VILLAGE About a year ago, local fans were cheering on Hayley Orrantia as she and three fellow singers made their run for a top prize on FOX's singing competition The X Factor.
Now, the 19-year-old Highland Village resident may be on TV screens across the country once again - but in a much different role.
Orrantia has been booked to star in the new ABC sitcom How the Hell am I Normal? The show is written by Adam Goldberg and directed by Seth Gordon.
Set in the 1980s, the show is based on Goldberg's family as he grew up.
"Adam took home videos as a family," Orrantia said. "They were hilarious."
The show will take a single-camera approach and star Jeff Garlin (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids). Orrantia will play their daughter.
The opportunity presented itself to Orrantia rather quickly, she said.
"I came out to Los Angeles to take acting classes, and my agent told me about the audition," Orrantia said. "After the audition, I got a call back to do it again in front of producers."
Then came the screen test, where the cameras are on and directors, producers, and network executives are on hand to watch the performance.
"It's a big deal when you get called in for a screen test," Orrantia said.
Orrantia was going up against Danielle Campbell, who starred in Disney movies Starstruck and Prom, and Danielle Monet, who starred in the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious.
But as Goldberg told her, Orrantia "had it by a mile."
"Since I've been acting, I've been told that I'm natural," Orrantia said. "That's not the best in all situations, but it's kind of my thing. There, they told me they liked how natural I was."
Orrantia plays Erica, the tough and crass daughter.
"She's a sassy, mean, 18-year-old sister and a rebellious child," Orrantia said. "Her goal is to irritate her younger brother to get what she wants. It's interesting to play, but it's fun."
In some ways, Orrantia is already used to the part.
"It's funny because the only other substantial acting that I've done was in a movie called Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang," Orrantia said, referring to a short film originally intended as a creative marketing vehicle for the Denton County community. The film ultimately received critical acclaim at the Dallas International Film Festival. "I played a mean older sister in that, too. So I guess that's my thing."
But in other ways, the role will portray a different type of Hayley Orrantia.
"I did grow up in a Christian community, and I have a lot of values," Orrantia said. "There have been a lot of roles that I have turned down because I didn't want to put my life out on the screen. This show is more edgy than most shows, but I read the script, and I'm very confident that even though it shows me as being mean on the screen, I can still stick to my religious beliefs and morals. It's not who I am in real life. That's how I think about it."
Orrantia got her first brush with national exposure in the fall of 2011 when she, along with Cari Fletcher, Dani Knights, and Paige Ogle, formed the group Lakoda Rayne on The X Factor.
The group continued to perform after the show ended, but Ogle has since left the group.
"I feel like the door on that might be closing," Orrantia said. "We're all in different places, and it's hard to work as a group from across the country. All three of us just have a lot going on. Dani is acting in California, and Cari has a busy schedule going to NYU."
But Orrantia said her experience from The X Factor was important.
"I was in front of a lot of people," Orrantia said. "It prepared me for the auditions and the screen test. It helped me get over my stage fright, and it helped me learn how to work quickly."
Besides, Orrantia's current schedule is about to get busy, too. Filming for the pilot begins in early March. And then, there's the agonizing wait.
"It depends on if the network wants to pick it up," Orrantia said. "Networks decide in the summer which ones they want to pick up. So I'm crossing my fingers because there are a lot of great actors."
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