Arguably one of the best moments in Bridesmaids is when Kristen Wiig blasts out a young girl while working at a jewelry store. The scene is a ludicrous (and mostly improvised) argument, with Wiig's seemingly spoiled opponent taking no prisoners. It requires hefty improv chops to rival one of today's funniest stars, but Mia Rose Frampton was certainly up for the challenge when she strolled on set. This hilarious scene may be her most known for now, but Frampton (yes, as in that Frampton) is sure to top it.
Over her nine years in the bussines, the daughter of rock legend Peter Frampton has starred on Make It or Break It and was hand picked by Melissa McCarthy for the film Tammy. We caught up with Hollywood's soon to be "it girl" for what turned out to be an interesting and inspirational conversation including: details on her "bad" audition for iCarly, working with Wiig and McCarthy, and her father's best piece of advice.
RP: So early on in your career you took the plunge and moved to LA. What was that like for you?
MRF: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an actor. My mom once told me that at the age of five I watched a young girl in a commercial on television and said “I can do that”. At the age of seven, I took acting and singing classes at College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and simply fell in love. During a summer program, I got the chance to play the lead in their production of Annie, and without a doubt in my mind I knew I was going to be an actress. At eleven, my parents and I moved out to Los Angeles with the intention of me following my dreams and my father beginning to do music for films and television. I have never been one to shy away from new and slightly terrifying experiences and I love making new friends. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I would do it again a million times over. I am not only eternally grateful to live in a place where I am able to work towards achieving my goals, but live in a city that is an amalgam of all walks of life and beautiful experiences that have helped me grow not only as an actress but as a human being.
RP: Do you remember your first LA audition?
MRF: How could I forget. I completely bombed it. It was at Nickelodeon Studios and I was auditioning for an episode of iCarly. I had watched the show before I had made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles and could not have been more nervous. I was so green that I hadn’t brought in my own set of sides and had assumed I had it fully memorized. I made the cardinal mistake of asking the casting director what my line was. I could feel my face getting beet red and left the lot crying hysterically. With my mom’s words of wisdom, I lived to tell the tale and continued on.
RP: Ah! Do you still experience auditions like that sometimes?
MRF: Like the example above, I have had my fair share of bombs. I still have them every now and then. It’s only natural. Sometimes you study too hard and become so nervous you mess yourself up. Sometimes you think you’ve studied your lines enough and get in the room and completely freeze. You will bomb auditions, but it makes the great ones so much sweeter.
Mia & her father Peter Frampton.
RP: Of course, your father is Peter Frampton. Has he given you any advice for navigating the entertainment industry?
MRF: He explained to me how difficult my endeavor would be and that I must be in the business for the right reasons. He always told me how important it was to keep working on my craft and my skills. Like an athlete needs to work out, an actor must always be honing their craft to gain that certain edge. My line of work is built on the basis of intense competition. Competitors are waiting to take you down at any moment so preparedness is paramount.
RP: You're a musician as well. What is it that you love about making music?
MRF: I love seeing something from the ground up. I love composing a melody or writing the lyrics to a song and seeing how much it can grow. Growing up surrounded by music, I see how powerful it is. How melodies can evoke such strong emotions and bring up past memories that had once been forgotten.
RP: You had a pretty amazing spot in Bridesmaids. How was working with Kristen Wiig?
MRF: It was honestly a dream come true. My dream is to one day act on SNL or act in comedies similar to the caliber of those that Wiig has acted in. She was so sweet and welcoming. She also felt so terrible for all the nasty things she was saying to me. Then I told her that she had saggy breasts and I don’t think she felt that bad anymore.
RP: Ha! It's just such a memorable scene. I watched the extended version and heard you guys improvised a lot of it. What was the process like? Did you have any improv training prior?
MRF: I auditioned for the role twice. The second time, Paul Feig was in the room and I got the chance to improv. I have actually studied with Second City and I fell in love with improv. It is my favorite type of acting. You have to fully be in character when thinking on the spot what the character would say and you don’t have any lines to rely on.
"I died a little inside every time we had to stop because we were laughing so hard."
I had a blast being able to go toe to toe with her. I died a little inside every time we had to stop because we were laughing so hard. I learned so much in the three short hours I was able to work with her, including how important it is to listen and work off of another actor. You have to be fully present in any scene and not just be going through the motions and have fake reactions prepared.
RP: Melissa McCarthy hand picked you for Tammy. How did that feel? I imagine being a part of that was a great time too.
MRF: I also auditioned for Tammy twice. The second time I vividly remember sitting in the waiting room waiting for my name to be called, with my competition giving me the cold shoulder that comes with every audition. Or sometimes you’ll get the fake sincerity and questioning of “what I have been working on” and they continue to tell you what they have been working on when you would rather be preparing.
Mia at the Tammy premiere with her castmates.
As McCarthy walked in, I instantly got a feeling of inferiority as I questioned whether I was still good at improv. It had been over 3 years since my last role that involved improv and I was more than nervous. I went in and felt like I completely bombed it. Walking out I began the long walk of defeat back to my car. All of a sudden my doom and gloom was interrupted by the casting assistant running after me asking me to come back in for another take. I was once again greeted by the ever so sweet McCarthy and her partner in crime, husband and the director Ben Falcone, and was able to try another take. It was such a fun experience and I was extremely lucky to be able to work with not only McCarthy but Susan Sarandon.
RP: That's amazing. Are there any upcoming projects that you'd like to discuss?
MRF: I am actually just about to start filming a new movie called COAST. The film is a coming of age story set in the 80’s with a punk twist. Although it is a female driven cast, I have the pleasure of working alongside Bruce Dern. The feature is being produced by Mr. Dern’s production company Publicly Private and directed by the amazing Jessica Hester & Derek Schweickart. I play the punk expert and best friend of the main character that quickly enough becomes a bad influence.
RP: To end on an inspiring note for our readers, what would you say is your best
piece of advice for aspiring talent?
MRF: After about nine years in this business, I definitely feel like I have seen it all. But I always seem to get surprises to this day that shock me. This business is definitely not for the faint of heart. It can chew you up and spit you back out without even a second glance. You have to stand your ground, pay your dues, and make sure that you are in it for the right reasons. You must be determined, always working on your craft, and patient because it will happen. You also must come to terms with the fact that it is also a lot of luck, and why certain people get jobs is due to circumstances completely out of your control. As the producers simply might like another girl’s look for the part more than your own. It will happen. You just can’t take no as your final answer.
Keep up with Mia on Twitter @MiaRFrampton.