I’ll be honest, having two older boys in the home I don’t watch the Disney Channel that often so when I heard that we would be interviewing the cast of Stuck in the Middle I made it a point to watch a few episodes. So cute! The entire family is adorable and the show was really funny. I was really looking forward to meeting the cast and hearing how much the show means to them.
So how many of you are actually from large families?
JENNA ORTEGA: I’m from a large family. I’m one of six kids but if you add one of my nephews there’s seven. But my sister just had another nephew so now there’s eight of us. And they’re always over at the house because we babysit them so there’s eight kids in my family I guess you could say. So it’s pretty big.
So some of you can kind of relate but some of you don’t have big families?
ARIANA GREENBLATT: I have just a little brother.
KAYLA MAISONET: I have a brother, cousins and three dogs, so.
CERINA VINCENT: Actually, she is stuck in the middle (Jenna Ortega). I thought that Disney created the show for her and the family because there are so many parallels. It was perfectly designed.
Do you like being Stuck in the Middle?
JENNA ORTEGA: I love being stuck in the middle. I like Harley’s storyline because at first she’s kind uncertain of where she’s going with her life. She feels very invisible but later on she realizes that she is very important and she plays a very important role in her family. I think it’s important to know that for those middle children out there who feel like they’re not noticed that they are. And they are very important in the families because they make their families their families.
Do you guys do pranks on the set?
JENNA ORTEGA: The thing about his pranks though is that they’re not like set up. They’re jump scares.
ISAAK PRESLEY: Well, I think what they’re talking about is when you pranked me.
JENNA ORTEGA: Oh. It was April Fools’ Day and we were filming onset. And I kept telling everyone, hey guys I have the biggest prank. I’m going to get all of you guys. You guys don’t even know.
ISAAK PRESLEY: There was no prank.
JENNA ORTEGA: That was the prank. That was his prank that he didn’t have a prank. But a couple of my siblings had to be on set that day and I said, well we have to get Isaak before he gets us. Isaak is like the biggest Oreo fan so my siblings and I got a packet of Oreos and we opened one of them and we put deodorant in there. Isaak runs in and we’re eating like the normal ones and he said, oh my gosh, give me one, give me one. So we give him the deodorant ones.
NICOLAS BECHTEL: He shoves it in his mouth. Chews it and then after he chews it he runs to the bathroom.
ISAAK PRESLEY: I was like oh wait, can I have one? Her sister hands me one. I’m like, great. I take a bite of it. As I’m chewing I’m like having different thoughts. I’m like wow, is this a mint Oreo? This doesn’t taste right. And then, and then I freaked out.
What’s the chemistry like on set?
ARIANA GREENBLATT: Family, just straight up family.
NICOLAS BECHTEL: Siblings.
ARIANA GREENBLATT: Off the set, we hang out at dinners. And we really love each other.
JENNA ORTEGA: We see each other Monday through Fridays so it’s like they’re my second family.
JOE NIEVES: And that happened right from day one. It was immediate and fantastic.
ISAAK PRESLEY: I know for Malachi and I we are only children. So like us walking into this as only children, we’re walking into this big family. It was actually like adopting a family.
MALACHI BARTON: I was just going to say, just like Isaak and I, what he was saying is that like in real life, we don’t have any siblings. So it’s interesting but it’s really, really fun to have siblings onset.
CERINA VINCENT: I will say that back to family, I’m not a mother in real life……
NICOLAS/JENNA: But you’re (like) a mother to me. She’s very motherly.
CERINA VINCENT: I always wanted seven kids, it was a weird childhood thing, like a fantasy sequence. And (now) I have them all but in a different form. It’s really cool. We’re bonded.
MALACHI BARTON: I mean even for like the only children onset that don’t have siblings kind of like again what I was saying is that it’s amazing how you can have siblings when you actually don’t have siblings.
CERINA VINCENT: Love is love.
How does it feel to be in everybody’s household?
GROUP: Great! It’s great. Grateful. Overwhelmed.
JENNA ORTEGA: I think our storyline is very sweet. What we’re trying to get across to families is you should celebrate being a part of a big family. Like it’s not such a bad thing as people make it out. And to affect people like all around the nation is amazing. I’m pretty sure I speak for all of us when I say this was like a dream of ours to be on a Disney Channel show. So the fact that you know we’re walking down the street people are like, hey, Harley, you want to grab a photo? Hey, Jordan you know like reach out. It means a lot to us.
ISAAK PRESLEY: Well, when I was little watching the Disney Channel Wand ID my friends and I were like joking about it. We were like hi, I’m Isaak Presley and you are watching The Disney Channel, and we’d just joke around. And it would be like just a dream like it’s every kid’s thing. Then you’re standing there and I remember I was shaking because you are there doing what every kid’s dream to do is. It was surreal.
JENNA ORTEGA: I’m happy and excited to be there (filming the wand id) because when I was younger I would look in my mirror and when I first said I wanted to be an actress I told my parents, I want to be on the Disney Channel show, you just watch. They’re like, okay Jenna like slow your roll. I’d twirl my baton and I’d go, hi, I’m Jenna Ortega and you’re watching Disney channel. I was so excited by the time it came to me. I did the first one and then I started balling and the makeup artist was like, Jenna, you’ve got makeup on, be careful. [OVERLAP].
ARIANA GREENBLATT: I think I was four when I was watching the Disney Channel and I videotaped myself. I went in the kitchen and then I propped up my dad’s phone and took a pencil and said, hi, I’m Ariana and you’re watching Disney.
NICOLAS BECHTEL: And it’s kind of off subject but it’s really cool when even the parents walk up to you and they say like we love your show. When we started off we thought it was just going to be a kids’ show and only kids were going to watch it but now we have parents walking up to like oh, you’re one of my favorite characters. It feels so good to know that it’s not just kids who watch the show and appreciate your hard work but it’s the parents too.
CERINA VINCENT: We have to credit the writers too. They created a different kind of a show for Disney. The writers are brilliant and the jokes are funny and it’s real. And we have a production that keeps everything looking real and feeling real. So it’s cool to be a part of –. It takes a village to create this.
What has changed for you since being on a Disney channel TV show? What’s that ah ha moment, I’m an actress, I’m an actor?
RONNI HAWK: I think when people come up to you and you see how happy they can get because of you being around them.
ISAAK PRESLEY: I do like to be able to learn, I learn from (the cast) and I learn even from the younger ones how I can be better as a person. And I’ve learned so much from them I mean as an actor as a person. I grew up just my dad and I. It was just us two. So Cerina was like a mom figure to me. So like walking in I was like, I have a mom now. I got to learn how to be more of like a son to a mom. And I got to learn how to be an older brother figure and a brother figure.
CERINA VINCENT: I will say to answer your question too, Joe and I you know we talk about all the time, we’ve been working for 20 years and doing lots of different things but we say to each other, it’s the best job we’ve ever had. It’s really rewarding.
(To Cerina and Joe) I love watching the two of you beam at them. Every time they do something I try and look at your faces. And you could just tell that you beam with pride.
NICOLAS BECHTEL: She’s the most believable mom on a TV show.
JOE NIEVES: We went to an event last night (The Moana Red Carpet Premiere) and it was the first time since we shot the pilot and just watching them, I was really proud of them. They all looked beautiful. They handled themselves so well. I was beaming with pride for my TV show children. I was really happy. They were gorgeous.
So those of you that have large families, what kind of influence have you guys had (in the scripts)?
NICOLAS BECHTEL: They’re (the writers) really spot on. But when you really think that there needs to be something to make it more believable because you do have siblings, they’re really open to your ideas. And if they think about it and it’s good and they liked it then they’ll put it in and then it makes it more believable than it already was. So they’re really open and they actually care about our opinions when it comes to that kind of stuff.
JENNA ORTEGA: I think the most relatable part at least for me was the bathroom stuff because we’ve always been told that our bathroom is a mess. The night before we have soccer games and school and things we always talk to each other about what time are you setting your alarm? Because I want to take a shower at like.. So it’s like we kind of have to exchange information so we know what we’re doing in the morning.
What’s your favorite episode?
JENNA ORTEGA: Either the Slushinator or the Quinceanera for me because that family dance was so much fun. And that was also our last shot of season one.
KAYLA MAISONET: I think my favorite episode was the Quinceanera or when we got our eyebrows taken off.
ISAAK PRESLEY: I’d say for me it’d either be the episode where I direct the boys being cops. That was a blast to film with those two because they’re so funny when they get so into character. (It’s hard) maintaining my like straight face when I’m trying to be mad at them.
JOE NIEVES : I would say that the pilot and then the one where we had our dancing at.
In one word can you kind of sum up what Stuck in the Middle means to you?
JOE NIEVES: It’s simple it’s special. It’s special.
CERINA VINCENT: Gratitude.
RONNI HAWK: It’s joy.
KAYLA MAISONET: A gift.
ISAAK PRESLEY: Indescribable.
JENNA ORTEGA: Relatable.
NICOLAS BECHTEL: Exciting.
ARIANA GREENBLATT: I don’t really know how to describe it …ISAAK PRESLEY: I said indescribable, so what does this show mean to you?
ARIANA GREENBLATT: Everything.
MALACHI BARTON: I think amazing.
Catch Stuck in the Middle on the Disney Channel. Check your local listings.
Disclosure: I was provided with an all-expense trip to LA by Walt Disney Studios to attend the Red Carpet Premiere of MOANA, as well as visit ABC televisions sets and attend the BFG brunch. All opinions are 100% my own.