Interview Transcript – Episode 5: Kate Melton

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If you want to follow Kate, you can find her on Instagram @katemeltoncoaching, or at katemeltoncoaching.com.

(left to right) Nick Palatas as Shaggy, Kate Melton as Daphne, Marion Ross as Hilda Trowburg, Robbie Amell as Fred, and Hayley Kiyoko as Velma for Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster (2010).

AL: What’s your relationship to Scooby Doo, did you grow up watching?
KM: Yeah, I absolutely did. In fact, when I got the audition for it, I remember thinking “Wow, this would be so cool,” because I dressed up as Daphne for Halloween when I was a kid, I grew up on it. I loved it. And I had seen, up to that point I had pretty much seen every Scooby project that there had been. So, I had a very good relationship with it. There’s tons of pictures of me as a kid, I had a bunch of Scooby Doo T-shirts and stuff, like I was really into it. So when I got the audition, I just remember thinking how cool that would be for whoever got to do it, to get to be a part of a franchise that is so loved by so many and has been for such a long time.

AL: Do you have a favourite personal memory related to Scooby Doo before you booked the project?

KM: I mean, definitely when I booked the project that sort of trumped all other memories. But I remember there was, I’m probably going to butcher this, but there was one that was like Ghoul School? I used to be obsessed with that when I was little. I used to watch that like every single day. And I haven’t seen it now in probably 20 years, but I think that for me, those memories of, especially being home from school in the summer, I would always watch that. I have some very fond memories of watching that one.

AL: What was the audition process like for the Mystery Begins?

KM: It was really long. Let’s see, I was I believe probably 15 when I auditioned for it, and it was one of those projects that everybody in town was going out for, I mean, they cast a really wide net for this one. I think that they auditioned everyone. You know, being an actor, all of my friends were my same age but they were all actors too, so literally everybody that I knew went out on this project, especially because there are four such distinct roles, right. There’s kind of a type for everyone.

I got the audition and I went in and I believe that the casting director, Harriet Greenspan, I had known her for a while just because I’d been auditioning for such a long time, and you know, I went in, I had the audition, it went really well. I think that I want to say we did something close to maybe, I want to say I probably went on seven auditions for it. It was the original audition and then callback after callback and then – I don’t know how much you or your listeners know about the audition process and the way that these things work – but you go in for a couple of auditions with the casting director, and then you go in and you meet the producer and the director. So eventually I went in front of Brian Levant and Brian Gilbert, the producer and the director. And then eventually after you make it past the producers and the directors then you have to go in front of the entire network, and do what’s called a screen test and a chemistry read. When we got to that point, there were two groups. So there was two of each of us. There were two Daphnes, two Shaggys, two Freds, two Velmas, and we were kind of all competing against each other. What they do generally in a chemistry read and a screen test is they’ll kind of mix and match people to see who has the best chemistry and who works the best together. And it was actually, my group was me, Robbie, Hayley, and Nick. It was the four of us from the very beginning. So it was like, I knew either we were all going to get it or you know, none of us were. And for some reason in that room it just clicked. We did the scene in the library where we’re all at the table and we’re in detention, before the books start flying and stuff. And I mean, we just, it was weird, we all just sort of clicked and it was like the perfect fit, and I think I got the call a couple days later that we got it. But yeah, I mean it was a couple of months worth of auditioning, it was quite a process. Every time I’d get called back I’d be like “Oh my gosh, again?” It’s torture kind of! Like it’s exciting but it’s also, it’s kind of tedious, (it’s) a tedious process because you just keep going back and back and back and wondering like “Is this the time they’re going to tell me I got it? No, I’ve got to go in again.” So it was pretty tedious.

AL: Was there a point when you were pretty confident you were going to get (the part), or were you always in the back of your mind thinking that you might not get it?

KM:  I mean I think that as an actor, especially a young actor, you kind of have to always have a certain level of skepticism and cynicism about it because you know, if you go into everything thinking you’re going to get it, you’re going to be destroyed so many times emotionally, and especially when you’re as young as I was. I think even when I got the call that I got it, even though I was excited I just remember being like “Okay well I’m not going to celebrate until I’m on set,” you know, because you just never know. Things can change, and there’s so many different factors. So I feel like I thought that I would, but I had gotten really close on several other projects, like I was really close on Wizards of Waverly Place, I was really close on Hannah Montana actually, so I had been through this quite a few times, this process of going on 10 auditions and screen testing, and then not getting it for whatever reason, so I think with this one I was cautiously optimistic. I felt good about it, but I just tried to stay grounded in it.

AL: What was your reaction when you did get that call?

KM: You know it’s weird, I think because you have this vision of like jumping up and down and screaming and you’re so excited, but I feel like I was in shock. Because it wasn’t just any project. It was Scooby Doo, and it felt, from the very beginning it felt like something really special. And I don’t think it actually sank in for me until I was on a plane to Vancouver with Nick Palatas. I think that’s when I was like “Oh wow, this is really, this is really happening.” So obviously you know, I was really excited, everyone in my family celebrated, we were so excited. But it definitely took a while to feel real, just because it was such a big job.

AL: Had you ever met Nick (Palatas), Robbie (Amell), or Hayley (Kiyoko) before the screen test or was that the first time you had met them?
KM: Nick I had met before, Nick and I had a lot of mutual friends, and you know, he’s a little bit older than me. (Since) he was a little bit older, we didn’t really hang out too much, but we had met before and I knew of him. His little brother Cameron is closer to my age. Then, Hayley I had never met, Robbie I had never met, but we all met at the screen test and after we all booked it, we got together a couple of times and we had lunch, I think we went to like IHOP once, just to kind of get to know each other. But with the exception of Nick, the screen test was the first time I had met Hayley and Robbie.

AL: What was the dynamic between the four of you?

KM: I just feel like it was really good. I think that we all were really different and we all got along. I was the youngest, and then it was Hayley, and then I think Robbie and then Nick. So, I was 15, Hayley was 17, and then I think the boys were like 19 and 20. So there was a little bit of an age difference there, but we all just, we had a really good time, we all got along super well. There was no drama, and we all worked together really well.

AL: What’s your favourite thing about the character of Daphne?

KM: The character of Daphne… She’s really smart but she also you know, has a flair for the dramatics which I definitely have, and I like that even though she was fashionable and pretty and all these things, I like that she was still grounded and she was still really smart. I think that too often as women, we kind of are told that we have to be one or the other. And I think that she’s a great character because she gets to be all of those things. And that was another thing that I really like about the live action interpretation that we did, was I feel like they gave Daphne more meat, if that makes sense. In the cartoon sometimes I feel like she’s just kind of a pretty face and she’s just there, but she was contributing, you know. I feel like that gave girls a really good role model to look up to like “Oh, I can be pretty and fashionable and all these things but I can also be smart and helpful and a good problem solver.” She had her own way of doing things but she got the job done, I guess is what I’m trying to say, and I really admired that about her.

AL: And what did you want to bring to your interpretation of her?

KM: I think I just wanted to make her feel three-dimensional. I wanted to make her feel like a real person as opposed to, like I said, the cartoon which was just you know, she wasn’t the main focus of the cartoon. And she wasn’t the main focus of our film either but I think it was really important for Nick, Hayley, Robbie, and myself to bring a little bit of our own personalities into it. So, you know, I gave Daphne a little bit more of an attitude, she was a little bit sassier at times. I just really didn’t want her to be the stereotypical like ditzy, pretty girl. I really wanted her to have some depth. And I think that I accomplished that. And I also didn’t want to go in and copy anything that Sarah Michelle Gellar had done, because I think Sarah Michelle Gellar did a wonderful job, but I thought it was really important, and I know that the whole cast felt that it was important that we set our interpretations apart and just have fun with it, and I think we did that.

AL: What is it like to try and bring such an iconic cartoon character to life in live action?

KM: You know I would say that it’s difficult, just for the fact that, because it is Scooby Doo, there’s going to be so many critics out there, you know. So many people that, no matter what I did, or no matter what anybody else did, they were going to have something to say. The Scooby Doo loyalists, as I call them. So it was a lot of pressure in that sense. But the great thing was that we had an amazing director, Brian Levant, who encouraged us to just go with our guts and said “You know there’s a reason you guys got these roles, you’re perfect for them, and we want you to just go for it.” And he really encouraged us if we had ideas of “Oh this would be funny,” or little things we wanted to add, little improvisations, he was very open to that. And I think that took a lot of the pressure off of us. So I would say there was a lot of pressure but I felt just so lucky and so honoured to get to do that, especially with a franchise that I, like I said earlier, that I grew up with and loved. I just felt like that was such an honour that they chose me to do that.

AL: After both of those movies came out, had you ever had kids come up to you recognizing you as Daphne?

KM:  Yes, I definitely had that happen to me a few times but also, after the movies were done, after the first one, I was back to my blonde hair. We dyed my hair red and then I was back to blonde, and I think that I look very, I don’t know. For some reason when I would have blonde hair people just didn’t really pick up on it. Although it was funny, several years after the movies had been released, I want to say 2017 or 2018 maybe, I had a girl come up to me at Universal Studios Hollywood of all places, and she was like “This is crazy but you look just like this girl from this movie, from Scooby Doo Curse of the Lake Monster,” and I was like “Yeah, that’s me.” But it was just so funny that all these years later, people are still recognizing me, or even I get a lot of people that find me on social media and they’re very confused and they’re like “Wait, is this you?” And I’m like “Yes, it’s me.” So I definitely had people recognize me back then, but I mean even to this day I still get, occasionally I’ll get people that track me down on social media and want to know, “Hey, you look like this, is this you?” Yes, it’s me. It’s actually amazing to me how many people are still so invested in these films. 

AL: What’s that experience like having people recognize you?

KM: Weird, but I mean I think as an actor that’s kind of what you, that’s part of it, that’s part of what you sign up for, and part of what you want. So, I just have always felt flattered by it and lucky that I have been able to have any sort of impact on anybody’s life in a positive way. You know, I’ve had people tell me that the films helped them through a certain point in their life or that Daphne inspired them or that I was a big part of their childhood and honestly I feel so honoured by that and I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to be a part of so many people’s lives in that way. So any time anybody recognizes me or recognized me, I always just feel grateful.

AL: Going off the hair here, you are naturally a blonde, was there ever any discussion as to whether you would dye your hair or maybe wear a wig?

KM: No. I think from the very beginning, and I had said to them, they asked me “Would you be willing to dye your hair,” and I was like “Of course I would be willing to dye my hair,” you know. For this role, of course. And then, no, I mean, if anything, the first movie my hair was more of a, like a strawberry blonde. It wasn’t really that traditional, like cartoony red. And then by the second movie I remember having a conversation with them and just being like “Listen, if we’re going to do it, let’s just do it. Let’s just go full red.” That to me is like the classic Daphne hair, the Daphne from the second film. And I had the most amazing hairdresser on that film, her name is RaMona Fleetwood, she’s worked on everything in the world, and it was quite a chore to keep up that hair. I mean, I would have to stay, like everyone else would go home at midnight and I would be in the hair trailer until 3 a.m. getting my hair touched up once a week. To keep up that continuity, you know, because red hair fades a lot, and really easily and so to keep up that continuity of “Okay well my hair was this red in the scene prior,” so we had to keep it up. It was crazy, it was a lot of time spent on that hair, I’ll say that.

AL: What was the atmosphere like on set?

KM: It was so fun. Both sets were just two of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had working in this industry. Everyone was just so nice and so happy to be there, and we were working with people that, for example in the second film our director of photography was Dean Cundey, who was the director of photography on like Back to the Future and so many huge films. So we were surrounded by people that really knew what they were doing, and were such inspirations to us as actors. Robbie, Hayley, Nick, and I, we really loved each other, we hung out, especially when we were in Vancouver we would hang out on the weekends and it was just such a pleasant experience. It was honestly just no drama, and I can tell you right now, there’s not a lot of sets that it’s just totally drama free, but ours really was one and I think we all just had a genuine love for each other and for the project.

AL: Who would you say you got closest with on your time on set?

KM: I would say Nick. Nick and I have stayed really close and he’s just a great guy. Everyone is awesome, but I would say Nick and I bonded the most for sure.

AL: Out of both movies, or one for each, do you have a favourite scene?

KM: Oh, wow. Out of both movies I would say my favourite scene is probably the scene in the second film where Fred and Daphne are in the boat and they get trapped. And the monster breaks the valve or whatever so the room starts to fill up with water. Just because I thought it looked so cool and it was such a nightmare filming that scene that when I saw it and it looked really good I was just so happy because you know, we were in a water tank pumped full of water and the water was so warm. It was like, you know that feeling when you’re in a hot tub for too long and you feel like you’re going to pass out? It was that, and we were in there for probably two hours. And there were light bulbs exploding where they shouldn’t have been and so it was such a nightmare that to see it and see how cool it looked and how well it came together was really, really cool and I think that’s just a great scene.

AL: The character of Daphne is often known for being a bit of a fashionista, what’s your favourite outfit that Daphne wears in either of the movies?

KM: I definitely like the Daphne fashion a little bit more in the second one, I think it’s a little bit more grownup. I love that just iconic purple turtleneck dress that I wore. I think I wear it in the beginning of the second film. It’s like a purple turtleneck, it’s when they’re arriving at the country club and all that. I love that one, and in the second film we did the music video, musical number portions, and the costumes for those were so cool. Like the disco costume and the barbershop quartet outfit with the mustaches and the 60s one. I loved all those costumes as well. We got to wear really fun stuff for that.

AL: Out of those costumes, do you have a favourite?

KM: I really love the I Can Be Scared with You, the 60s outfit when I’m playing the tambourine. I love that outfit. It’s so fun. I obviously don’t know how to play the tambourine either if you watch that, I’m like not even. I don’t even know how to find a beat, it’s so embarrassing. But Hayley’s a real drummer, so that was really her playing the drums, which you can tell actually, she looked really good. But oh boy, I did not. They’re like “Kate, you have to find a beat, that’s how this works.” I’m like “Oh, yeah.”

AL: Did you get any input when it came to the wardrobe at all?

KM: I think on most sets – well, I don’t know, I can’t speak for most sets. But I think on a lot of sets it is a little bit of a collaborative process. So I know that at the end of the day, the final say went to the director Brian. But I definitely in my wardrobe fittings would kind of be like “I don’t like that” or “I do like that” you know, and the things that I would gravitate towards and feel the most comfortable in, because you want your actors to feel comfortable in their wardrobe. It’s their character, and they’re the ones that are up there for the whole world to see, so you definitely want them to feel comfortable. And so I think that, like I said, at the end of the day Brian got final say, but I definitely think the wardrobe department allowed me to sort of say to them “Oh I like this” or “I don’t like that” and the things that I really liked and felt comfortable with, because they trusted me as an actor and they knew that I was in touch with my character, they would sort of try to push those things a little bit. So I think that, yeah, I would say I got a fair amount of input on it. I would say probably more so the second one because the characters were developed and we were all so comfortable in them at that point, that I think that they really listened to me a lot on that one.

AL: After filming ended for either of the movies, did you get to keep anything from set or a wardrobe piece or anything?

KM: I don’t have any wardrobe pieces just because they are not usually very willing to let you do that because they take all the props, all the wardrobe pieces and stuff, they take them back to the warehouse and they store them in case we ever needed to do re-shoots or something like that. But, I do have certain things, like I have my chair back that says Kate Melton, it has the Mystery Machine and it’s signed by everybody, I have certain little things. There’s a little, what is that cartoon dog, Huckleberry, there’s a bobble-head in the Mystery Machine of another Hanna-Barbera character, and my parents have that. So we do have little things here and there, but as far as wardrobe pieces, no I don’t have any wardrobe pieces unfortunately. I wish that I did! Oh, actually, wait. I do have my scuba gear from the second one. I have my flippers and my scuba mask from when we scuba dived but I think that’s about it.

AL: Moving more specifically to the Mystery Begins, what was it like to be able to film an origin story for Scooby Doo?

KM: It was awesome. I mean, it was so cool because it hadn’t really been done at that point. In fact, I’m so protective of it, that now when new, like SCOOB! just came out for example, and I’m like “That’s not right, that’s not the origin story, we already did it!” I’m so protective of it because at that time it felt so special and it felt so cool that we were going to get to tell that story first. And it still does. I’m just going to forever consider our origin story the real origin story. I can’t say enough about how much that franchise has meant to me over my life and how much getting to bring an iconic character to life, especially telling the origin story of how they all got together, how much that meant. I mean, there are films that people have done and people will do that are popular but they’re not part of a legacy in the way that Scooby Doo is. And I just can’t express enough how awesome that was.

AL: Out of the more out there, crazy scenes like the fight on the bus, the library books flying off the shelves, and just running from ghosts in general, which one was the most difficult to film?

KM: The most difficult to film… let me think about this for a second, this is a good question. The library books was really fun because – I mean, I say it was fun, it’s fun looking back. In the moment it probably wasn’t that fun because there were literally just crew members throwing books at us. In fact, I think my mom actually got in on it too and was actually throwing books with the crew members, which I’m sure she loved. But, I’m going to say the most difficult scene to film, not even technically, but the scene where we go in the first film to the graveyard, and Velma does the rubbing of the gravestone. That was probably the most difficult to film only for the fact that it was like 2 o’clock in the morning, and we could not keep it together. Like, the four of us could not stop laughing. I don’t know why, I think we were just tired and we were just, whatever. I think Nick had a line and it just cracked us all up and we must have done 40 takes of that scene. And Brian Levant is like “You guys need to get it together!” and we just like couldn’t stop laughing. We were just dying during that scene. And I think it was just, we were all tired and we were all so comfortable with each other. So that was difficult for that reason. That’s the only time in my career that I just haven’t been able to get through a scene. I couldn’t keep it together, none of us could.

AL: Which was the most fun to film?

KM: The party in the second film was really fun, where the lake monster shows up to the party and Robbie gets thrown across the room. That one was really fun. Also because we had Nichelle Nichols on set that day. She was in the original Star Trek, so we were all really big fans of her, so that was a cool day. I loved filming the scene where Shaggy eats the napkin in the second film, just because it was so fun to watch Nick eat the mascarpone napkin over and over and over. I really enjoyed watching, I didn’t do very many stunts, or any really at all which is probably for the best because I am not very coordinated. But I really enjoyed being on set and watching the boys get to film those scenes. I was fascinated by Robbie and Nick and their ability to do their own stunts and I thought that was really cool. Also another great scene was the scene where we unmask Velma as the witch, Wanda. That was really fun. I just can’t think of a single day on those projects that I wasn’t just so excited to go to work or that I didn’t have an awesome time. It’s so hard to kind of pinpoint what was the most fun because overall it was just such an enriching and awesome experience and every single day was just the time of my life.

AL: Going off of Nichelle Nichols, there were a lot of really cool people playing supporting characters in the two movies, who was your favourite to work with?

KM: I’m going to have to go with Jonathan Winters. And actually, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t actually even know that his scenes made it into the final cut of Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. But he plays the owner of the barn that we burn down. And I mean, just a legend. And that was so cool. He was just ad-libbing, he was totally going off book, and he was just cracking us all up and it was hilarious. He was just such a legend and sadly he has passed but it was so cool to be in the presence of somebody that has had such a huge – I mean I think even Robin Williams said that Jonathan Winters was like his biggest inspiration. Being around him was just so cool and I think he passed not too long after. Then Marion Ross, that was really cool. She was the mom on Happy Days, she’s worked a lot. Nichelle Nichols. It was so cool as young actors to be surrounded by these veterans of the industry that have been in it for so long. We were just in awe of them. It was so cool and they were so kind to us and would give us advice and it was a dream. Still to this day I just can’t believe how many awesome people we got for those films. And I think a lot of it is due to Brian Levant, because Brian Levant has been in this industry for a really long time and he’s known a lot of these people for a really long time and he’s worked with them. So, he was able to get us quite a few really special guest stars.

Kate Melton as Daphne with Marion Ross as Hilda Trowburg, for Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.

AL: For the Mystery Begins, what’s the filming process like when it comes to CG things that might be added in later?

KM: We had people kind of cueing us so while we didn’t exactly know what the ghosts were going to look like, I mean we’d seen storyboards so we had an idea but I mean that’s part of being an actor. You just have to sort of use your imagination. It was weird getting the hang of the ghosts and Scooby and kind of getting the hang of knowing where Scooby is and the right height of Scooby and how to interact with him. Nick definitely had it a lot harder than us in that respect. But I think once we got the hang of it, and like I said you know, we had Brian Levant who is such a veteran in the industry, and I don’t know if the movies would have been half as good as they are if it had not been for him kind of walking us through it. Because none of us had really done anything like that up to that point. And so we would have him trying to scare us like the ghosts would and showing us where they would be and we just had to kind of react to them. It got a little bit easier when we got to the second film because when we got to the second film then we had Luke Youngblood who was in the Scooby, like a Scooby green screen suit type thing and would walk around on all fours. And he had like mo-cap sensors and he would do the faces and the dialogue and kind of react for us, and that definitely made it a lot easier. But I feel like by the second one we were kind of like pros at it already because we had been through that already.

AL: When you go down into the old school underground, that was actually real spiders and snakes wasn’t it?

KM: Yes, it was. I had like a tarantula on my shoulder and the trainer, because whenever you work with animals, like even a frog like how we had frogs in the second movie, or a spider, there are people there making sure that all of those frogs get back, you know, make it out of set safely. In fact, if you, say you’re filming with like 10 spiders and you lose one, you can no longer put at the end of the movie “No animals were harmed during the making of this film,” which is a big deal. I just remember the spider handler being like “Okay, we’re going to put this spider on your shoulder, but just whatever you do, don’t blow on the spider. Like just don’t put air on the spider. You’ll be fine, just don’t blow on it.” And I’m like “Okay.” And then Brian Levant is like “Somebody blow on the spider, we’ve got to get the spider to move!” So they have a straw and they’re blowing on this spider and I’m like “This spider is going to attack me.” It was one of the more frightening experiences that I’ve had on a set just because I am not, I am not a spider gal, I can tell ya. And then actually when we did Curse of the Lake Monster we had all those little baby frogs and we lost one, like we couldn’t find it, it got away. And they had to shut down set for like two hours to find this frog.

AL: Did they find it?

KM: They found it, they found it. But this is why people say they don’t want to work with children or animals, because it’s crazy.

AL: So at the end of the film you have the recreation of the Scooby Doo opening, what was it like to shoot that?

KM: That was so cool, we were so excited about that. And that was all the brainchild of Brian Levant again, who is such a Scooby Doo loyalist and really wanted to give a nod to that. And you know, it was cool we had all the classic villains from the original opening like the voodoo guy and the clown and again, I think any time we were doing something that was a nod to the original we were so happy. Like that is what we all really wanted to do. I think it turned out great. Like I said, I’ve said it a million times, I’ll say it a million more, Brian Levant is a genius.

AL: Moving more specifically to the Lake Monster, how much of a break did you have between wrapping Mystery Begins and starting on Lake Monster?

KM: I think probably about a year. Because we didn’t start until after Mystery Begins aired. They already had the script but if my memory serves me correctly, we didn’t actually get the green light to go ahead and do Curse of the Lake Monster until after the network and Warner Bros. and everybody saw how successful the first one was. I believe to this day, Mystery Begins is still the number one rated broadcast in the history of Cartoon Network. I believe it’s still to this day. So once they saw that and they realized what a success that it was, I think that’s when they went ahead and gave us the green light. And actually we were supposed to be a television show at one point. It was considered what they call a backdoor pilot which just means that they’re kind of testing the format of a show to see if it would work as a show and they’d do it as a film. So we were going to go on and we were going to do a season of a television show but what ended up happening was the CGI was too expensive and the network didn’t want to do it, which is a shame because it would’ve been a great show I think. People would’ve loved it and so yeah, I would say we had about a year’s break because I want to say I was probably about 15 when we wrapped Mystery Begins and then 16 by the time it aired, and then I don’t think we started on Curse of the Lake Monster until I was about 17.

AL: You mentioned that you didn’t really do a lot of stunts, but when Daphne falls out of the barn, was that actually you?

KM: That was me. And that’s probably why they don’t have me do my own stunts, because it was hard. Being on a harness like that, like you think it’s going to be easy but it’s hard! And I got to be honest, I don’t have a whole lot of like core strength at that point in my life I guess. So you know, you’re strapped to this harness and then you have to kind of keep your legs up to make it look real. Then of course Robbie caught me. But that was me, that was my one and only stunt, was falling out of that barn. And it was something else. Although I could consider playing tennis a stunt, because I didn’t have any idea how to play tennis. I mean, they asked me, they’re like “Can you play tennis?” and I’m like “Yeah, sure, I can play tennis. Like how hard can it be.” No. I could not hit a ball to save my life. It took them forever, there’s videos of Brian Levant out on the court trying to show me how to hit a tennis ball, because Daphne’s supposed to be a good tennis player and I was the worst. I’m just like the least athletic person alive. I think if you watch the movie you’ll notice they never actually get me on camera hitting a ball because I couldn’t.

AL: I think you actually might.

KM: Do I? Like just barely maybe. But like it was a process. And I just remember Robbie would sit there and laugh and laugh and laugh at me when I was trying to hit those balls. It was, oh man, that was one of the more embarrassing days of my life actually.

AL: So that barn moment really kicks off the romance that’s kind of played up in Lake Monster with Daphne and Fred, what was it like to act that out with Robbie?

KM: I mean it was weird I guess because we were friends and you know, there was sort of a brother-sister dynamic there. But I think everyone knew that’s kind of what the fans wanted to see. They wanted to see the Fred and Daphne dynamic, but it was fun to do the scenes where they kind of start fighting, and like the jealousy issues and stuff like that. That was cool. Robbie’s a super good actor, he’s a super good dude. So he’s super respectful and I always felt very comfortable and I think that he did too and it was just, you know, just another day at work.

AL: What are your thoughts about the Fred/Daphne romance in the franchise, do you think it’s totally a thing?

KM: I mean, yeah, I do. In fact, I didn’t know how they were going to, because we were supposed to do a third film, and there was a lot of discussion about what they were going to do. Were they going to have that be a thing again, was that going to kind of be us addressing it and then we were going to squash it. But I mean I think that there’s always that chemistry between them. I think that’s an indisputable part of it. The thing that was weirder to me was the Shaggy/Velma romance. That was where I was like “This is weird.” The Fred and Daphne thing felt just kind of natural, but I mean, I don’t think we’d ever seen a Velma/Shaggy type romance ever before so that to me was weirder, not weird in a bad way, but like weirder than the Fred and Daphne thing. It was like “What?” Cause I mean everybody expects Fred and Daphne to be a pair, right? I think that’s what people wanted to see and I think that the Altiere brothers who wrote both scripts were really interested in giving the fans what they wanted to see. And they wrote an amazing script for the third film and I’m just so sad that it never happened.

AL: What was the plot supposed to be like for that?

KM: So, obviously it’s been a long time since I read it but I’ll do my best to kind of summarize. Essentially what it was going to be was that it was going to take place in Europe. London, I believe. And it was a time travel movie, so we were going to time travel and at one point I think that Daphne was supposed to end up as like a druid sacrifice and they were going to save me. It was going to be really, really cool. And I think too that there’s been, the Altiere brothers I think did an interview where they kind of elaborated on it, but it was going to be so fun. I was going to get to ride a horse, which I was big into horseback riding at that point, so I was going to get to ride horses in it and it was going to be awesome, I’m so sad that they didn’t end up doing it. And I think the reason they didn’t end up doing it was just because, I mean it was weird because like I said, Mystery Begins was the highest rated broadcast in Cartoon Network History at that point, and then when Curse of the Lake Monster came out that was now the second highest rated broadcast in the network history at that point. The division of Warner Bros. that co-produced the film, Warner Premiere, they just sort of started to fall apart. And I believe it was the people that owned Scooby or something, they just didn’t want us to do it and it just became a whole mess but we were ready. We had a table read, the whole cast got together, we read the script. We were ready to start working on it and then at the last minute it just kind of fell apart but it’s a shame because it was going to be a really, really good movie, I have the script somewhere. We were going to go to Eastern Europe and film it, so we were all really excited about that. It’s just a real shame.

AL: Now you and I think Nick as well aren’t as involved with acting anymore, but if the chance came to maybe reboot that would you do it?

KM: Oh, absolutely, yeah. I mean here’s the thing, I’ve been an actor since I was 11. So for me I just wanted to kind of take a step back and work on the other side of the industry for a bit, but I am an acting teacher, I’m an acting coach, so that is my number one love in life. I love acting, I would always 100 percent, if they ever called me, I mean I think I’ve probably aged out of it a bit now but if they called me and they wanted to reboot it, yeah, I would be there in a heartbeat for sure.

AL: Moving back to Lake Monster, what were your thoughts when you first read the script, especially with the Velma storyline?

KM: I loved that script. Curse of the Lake Monster is my favourite out of the two. And I thought that script was hilarious, I thought it was different, which I liked. That was obviously a huge twist that it would be Velma. I think we were all really excited about it. It gave us a lot more room to play and do a lot more than we got to in the first one, and there was more classic Scooby gags in the script I felt like, like when they’re running from the frog monster, and he paints like a tunnel on a wall, stuff like that. We got to do – one of my favourite things was the classic gag where we’re running down the hall and then we go in one door and come out the next door and then we go in another door, you know what I mean. That was something we really loved about that script was I feel like there were so many more classic, because also we had a much bigger budget. And we were able to do a lot more. I loved that script, the Altiere brothers are phenomenal writers and I think that they did such an amazing job bringing these characters to life for us.

AL: What was the filming process for the running through the doors?

KM: I would say that it was exhausting. Listen, I told you I’m not very athletic, the other thing I’m not great at is running. I literally had to, the medic – every film set has a medic on set in case somebody hurts themselves, right. That medic was by my side non-stop. The other thing was they would put me in heels, and then they’d be like “Okay Kate, run up this hill,” and I’d be like “What? I’m wearing like three-inch, four-inch heels, what do you mean run up the hill?” So it was just a lot of me being stressed out trying not to fall on my face, is what I remember about those because I just am not super coordinated. I’m just not. In fact, there’s one part of the music video section where we’re all holding hands and we’re skipping down a hill or something. If you watch that you will notice that I’m staring at my feet. ‘Cause I’m on a grassy hill wearing like thigh high boots and I was going to fall down at any moment. So if you watch that, you’ll notice that I’m literally just staring down at my feet the whole time.

AL: Going off of that, what were your first thoughts when you heard there were going to be musical numbers in that film?

KM: We all had the same reaction, and that reaction was “What?” 

I’m not a singer, okay. I’m not. I will just be really honest with you, I can carry a tune, but like, not very far. And neither can Robbie. Obviously Hayley can, and Nick, you know, I think the song was a little high for Nick’s voice but I won’t get into that here. Nick and I have had this conversation though, I love you Nick if you’re listening. You know, that was not in the original script. That was something that Brian Levant came to us with like a week before we started filming and was like “Guess what?” and we’re like “What?” He’s like “I’ve added musical numbers!” and we were like “What?” Like I was just like “Excuse me?” and so much of it, again, I’m not athletic. If you pay attention in the skating scenes, I am not in those scenes. Because I cannot skate. Like the roller disco, I am not in those. And actually they built me a little machine where they dressed me up, and then they put me – this is so embarrassing – they put me on this like rotating, it was almost like a merry-go-round. And they had me like stand like I was doing a pirouette with my leg up, and then they spun me around and they shot me from the waist up so it would look like I was spinning. And it looked so bad they didn’t use it. So I mean I think we were all just like, oh, I don’t know. We were really surprised by it, I was not expecting it. I just remember there being a lot of confusion. It was totally sprung on us out of nowhere. And honestly I’m glad that it wasn’t in the first film because I probably wouldn’t have gotten the role. I think I did okay but it took a lot of rehearsal for me to get it.

AL: What was the process like when it came to putting together all those various musical numbers?

KM: We had a choreographer that came and worked with us. We rehearsed for like, I want to say we rehearsed for probably about a week before we started filming. We would meet up at a dance studio near our production office and we would rehearse the choreography and stuff. But I just remember Nick and Hayley being super into it and Robbie and I just both being like “What in the world is going on, like what are we doing.” That’s my memory. And then when we had to go and record the actual vocals, because that’s us singing backup, I just remember feeling like I was going to pass out from the stress, I was so nervous about it. And if you watch some of the behind the scenes stuff of us recording the vocals, me and Robbie just look like we’re mortified.

AL: What was it like to have to go into the recording studio to do that?

KM: I mean it was really cool just because the composer that worked with us, his name is David Newman, and he, I mean, he did the score for the animated film Anastasia, he did Matilda, he’s won many many many awards. So he was like a big deal. So that was cool, we actually went to his house in Malibu and that’s where his recording studio was, and we were surrounded by you know, I think he has an Academy Award, we were surrounded by his various awards. So that was really cool. His cousin I think is Randy Newman. So it was just cool, like I said, we got the experience of working with some of the coolest people that I can imagine. Like I said, I always say Dean Cundey, our director of photography, who I believe even did Jaws, like he’s done everything. And then David Newman which was a big deal. And I mean it was fun, that’s the thing, we always had fun. Whatever it was that we were doing, we all generally really enjoyed each other and we had a good time. So it was fun for that reason, but I do definitely remember that I was very nervous, and very uncomfortable.

AL: Do you have a favourite out of those musical numbers?

KM: I really, I liked the By the Light of the Silvery Moon one where we went through all the different genres of music, I thought those were really cool, and I love Nick and Hayley’s performance on that as well.

AL: Was the rap always part of it or was that added in a little bit later?

KM: The rap! I forgot about the rap. That was added in when he added in the musical numbers. That was added in when he told us “There’s going to be this and this and we’re going to do this and also you’re going to rap!” and we’re like “What? We’re going to what?” And he’s like “Yeah, you’re going to rap.” We’re just like “Oh my gosh.” But, yeah, the rap. Good stuff man. Now I’ve got to re-watch these movies.

AL: As we are coming up to the 10 year anniversary for Curse of the Lake Monster, and the 10 year for Mystery Begins was last year, what is it like to still have people messaging you about those movies 10 years later?

KM: I’m always just like shocked kind of. I would say in the last couple of years it’s gotten even more, I’ve gotten it more so. And I feel really lucky, I don’t think there’s a lot of actors that can say that they’ve done a movie or a series of movies that 10 years later are still so popular. And so I feel, like I said earlier, I just feel really lucky and really blessed and I’m so happy that people still respond to it so much. It was such an awesome time of my life and I’m still so proud of it to this day, and the fact that people still love it and still message me from all over the world, I mean, I get messages from all over the world. Brazil, China, Canada, everywhere. And it’s just really cool, it’s a cool feeling.

AL: And why do you think that Scooby has been so popular for over 50 years now?

KM: You know I just think that, I mean, let’s see. I think that Scooby Doo itself, I think that there is somebody for everybody to relate to. You know I think that you can either relate to Daphne or you can relate to Fred or maybe you can relate to Shaggy or maybe you can relate to Scooby or Velma. I mean, there’s a little piece of each of us in those characters, and there’s a little piece of those characters in each of us. Even if it’s a combination of two characters that you relate to. But I think everybody has someone that they can relate to, and I mean, who doesn’t love an adorable talking dog with a speech impediment? I mean seriously, who doesn’t love that? And you know I think it’s kind of the same concept as like, crime shows are really popular and I think that’s because people love a good mystery. And they love a whodunit. And so to take that format of a crime show and these mysteries and then put it together with these awesome characters, like who wouldn’t love that?

And I also think that you’ve got generations of people that grew up with it, right, and now we’re going on 50 years. So people that introduced it to their children because it was a piece of their childhood, and then they loved it, and they introduced it to their kids. So I think it’s very much because it’s been around so much, it’s just a very generational thing. And I think, you know, I know that when I have kids I’m definitely going to want them to watch Scooby and I’m going to introduce them to that. So I think you just have grandparents that introduced it to the parents and then parents introduced it to the kids and it’s just really stood the test of time in that way. And I think also, they’ve been very smart in the way that they’ve constantly reinvented him, reinvented Scooby. And you know, done an origin story, and then they did this, and it hasn’t become stale yet because they’ve constantly kind of reinvented it.

AL: I wanted to chat about your coaching a little bit, had that been something that you had always wanted to do or did you stumble upon a love for it?

KM: I kind of just fell into it. I sort of decided I wanted to try something else and kind of take a break from the process of auditioning, it’s kind of a tedious process. And so I started working in casting, I actually started working for the casting director that cast Scooby. I started with her and I really liked casting but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do, and then I ended up working at an acting studio here in Los Angeles with primarily young actors and I just realized that it was something that I was really good at, and I think that part of that comes from my, obviously my years of experience as a young actor. I think when you have an acting coach that is able to kind of relate and walk you through the unique challenges that young actors face, I think that’s a really good perspective to have. And so I ended up leaving the studio that I was at and I branched out at the beginning of 2019 and I created Kate Melton Coaching, and it’s beyond my wildest dreams. I feel so lucky every single day that I get to wake up and do what I do. I love my young actors so much. I work with kids from the age of seven to, I think my oldest right now is about 22. And I love it, and I just happen to be really good at it. My kids are booking left and right, I mean, I just feel so lucky that I get to be there to walk them through the process and also to help the parents, because it’s kind of a scary industry for a kid, you know.

AL: What’s your favourite part about getting to work with young people?

KM: I love that I have all of this information in my brain of like years of training that I did and years of learning and years of experience, I love that I get to pass that on to somebody, and it’s not just sitting in my brain driving me crazy. And there’s something that I just love about working with young people where they’re so much more resilient than we are as adults, and they’re so much more open to criticism than we are. I learn from them every single day, I try to learn to not take myself so seriously and I try to learn to be brave. Because these young actors, they’re putting themselves out there every single day and they’re so brave to be doing that, and even though I used to do that as well, I feel like as we grow up, we just kind of tend to put up walls and try to protect ourselves because we’ve gotten a glimpse of the real world. They remind me that not everything is so serious, and that it’s okay sometimes to just have a good time and step back and be a little bit more vulnerable. And I think that’s a super valuable thing to be around every day.

AL: Is there anything else you wanted to add at all?

KM: I would just like to say something to the fans out there if I could really quickly. I just want to say, and to you too Alexa, I really appreciate you contacting me. And just to anyone out there that the movies have meant anything to, I just want to say how much I appreciate you guys, how much I know that Nick, Robbie, and Hayley appreciate you guys, and you know, just thank you for always being so kind to us and bringing us into your homes and allowing us to be part of your families and your childhoods. We love you guys and I’m so happy that this film has stood the test of time and means so much to so many people. It just, it makes me so happy. I love you guys.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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