Editor’s Note: Genevieve is our junior correspondent. At 11 years old, she is an aspiring writer and fan of television, books, movies, music, drawing, singing, dancing, and so much more. Here she interviews rising star Josie Carr-Harris, an 11-year-old actress, singer and dancer from Russia.
Josie recently acted as the lead in the whimsical Russian 3D film Rorrim Bo and the Magic Goblet and she is currently performing in “Zorro,” the number 1 musical in Moscow. Before Josie even reached double digits, this half-Russian/half-Canadian triple threat was considered a “child prodigy,” with an extra “something special” by those around her. In addition to acting, Josie is a precocious opera singer and trained dancer. This little dynamo will surely captivate the spotlight in the coming years. If Josie reminds you of a little princess, then you won’t be surprised that in March she will also be filming in St. Petersburg playing the part of Anastasia, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicolas II, in the French-Russian film, Rasputin starring Gérard Depardieu as Rasputin.
Genevieve: Is this career what you thought it would be like?
Josie: We all think it is so cool. It looks so simple and beautiful, with beautiful people singing and acting on stage or in the movies. But really it is a lot of hard work with lots of rehearsals and learning new things. Also there is a lot of waiting around (before it’s your turn on stage or on set) and it is not as glamorous as people think. But I love it and I love the people around me who I work with.
G: What is a normal day like for you?
J: I get up at 7:00 and go to school until 3:30. Three days a week I am supposed to go to my musical theater school until 9:00PM and one day during the school week I see my vocal coach. Once or twice during the week I perform in the musical “Zorro” and I have to be there by 5:00 for vocal warm up exercises, and don’t leave the theater until 10:30 at night. Week-ends are no better with lessons with my vocal coach on Saturday and Sunday and at least one matinee performance of “Zorro” and sometimes an evening performance as well. I also have photo shoots and auditions and,
yes, school work too. My schedule gets messed up when I travel, since in the last three or four months I have performed in Paris, New York and Los Angeles.
G: What is the biggest project you’ve done? Favorite project?
J: The biggest project I have been in is the musical “Zorro” which started rehearsal last summer and is going through to May. It is 8 performances a week, to a packed 2000 seat theater with amazing special effects, flamenco dancing (some of the dancers are from Spain), and music from the Gypsy Kings. It is just such a great show to be in. My favorite project was the movie Rorrim Bo and the Magic Goblet, a Russian feature to be released later this year. I play a spoiled and fussy blonde girl that takes designer clothes and her designer breed dog to a very basic kids camp over the Christmas holidays where some really strange things take place.
G: I have been watching the old Zorro TV series and saw that you are in the Zorro musical. What role do you play? Do you like it? Did you have to learn any new skills to be in the musical?
J: I haven’t seen the TV series, but I don’t think it is really the same. The play starts off with the childhood of Diego (who becomes Zorro) and his brother Ramon (who becomes the bad guy) and their young friend Luiza (the role that I play). When they are grown up they fight over Luiza and one of them (guess who?) wins her in the end. When they are grown up I play a gypsy girl and a peasant girl (singing and dancing as part of the chorus). Yes, and for this musical I had to learn flamenco dancing, and the flamenco style of singing “cante jondo”.
G: Do you go to school or are you homeschooled? What is your favorite subject?
J: I go to a regular Russian school but they are understanding and my teachers are OK with the fact that I miss a fair amount of classes. I manage to get good marks, and I guess my favorite subject is biology (studying animals and plants).
G: How many languages do you speak?
J: I am perfectly fluent in English and Russian, and study French at school. I have been trying to learn a little Spanish from the dancers in the Zorro project.
G: Do you play any sports?
J: I love downhill skiing (I go skiing in March each year) and in the summer I enjoy water sports. My only other “sport” is dancing.
G: What style of music do you like to listen to? Why?
J: I listen to all kinds of music, mostly on radio or the internet. I don’t really have favorites, but there is music that I don’t like. I like to sing classical music, but I mostly listen to pop.
G: What do you enjoy doing during your free time?
J: Play games on my iPad, go for walks, watch movies or TV shows, and play with friends.
G: Do you like to travel? Where is the most interesting place you have traveled?
J: I love visiting different places, but I don’t really like going to airports and long trips on airplanes and stuff like that. I think the most interesting place I have been to is Bali.
G: What projects are you working on next?
J: In the next few months I will be busy. I will perform a “motion capture” role and voice over for a computer-generated butterfly in a feature film, then I will play the daughter of the last Tsar of Russia in the Russian-French film, Rasputin, and probably a pilot for a TV series.
G: What would be your dream project to work on?
J: I have this dream of singing in a famous opera in one of the great opera houses of the world.
You can catch Josie Carr-Harris in an episode of Seriously Funny Kids on Lifetime this spring, and watch for her in the Rasputin project in 2012.