Interview: THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER’s Ken Baumann and Francia Raisa

secret life of american teenager

Recently, Daemon’s TV took part in the Disney/ABC Television Group summer press junket where we were able to get tons of information from the stars themselves of the upcoming new and returning TV shows.

To start you off, Ken Baumann and Francia Raisa from ABC Family’s THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER were kind enough to stop by and dish out some of what’s upcoming on the show, which airs on Mondays at 8pm. Enjoy!

How realistic do you think ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ is to the lives of real American teenagers?

Francia Raisa: Pretty realistic. I have a sister who’s still in high school and she says a lot of what’s going on has been going on in her experience in high school. Everyone is talking about sex. Everyone is talking about who’s hooking up with who. Nowadays they’re more dealing with drugs. They’re dealing with alcohol. They’re dealing with peer pressure.

Pregnancies happen. When I was in high school I knew so many girls who had abortions. Some left because they had babies. It’s pretty realistic. We deal with it in realistic ways.

Your characters are getting married –

Ken Baumann: Yes, we have an announcement.

Was that a surprise or something that you knew about coming into this season?

Francia Raisa: We never really know what’s going on. It’s always a surprise to us when we receive the scripts. It was a surprise when I found out I was pregnant. Then there was always the question of whether we were going to get married, were we not going to get married, are we going to feed into that. Then all of a sudden I’m trying on a wedding dress.

Ken Baumann: I know. There you go. It happens fast.

Francia Raisa: It’s nice to live it on TV. Not in real life yet.

Has there been a storyline that you want to be on the show that hasn’t happened yet?

Francia Raisa: What hasn’t happened in the show?

Ken Baumann: I would really enjoy becoming the first astronaut… aiming high [Laughs]. No. I would say that our experiences run the gamut. This upcoming season, or the season that’s playing now up until the season that we’re filming at the moment, I didn’t think that it could get this difficult and challenging, but it has. So it has surpassed my expectations. Anything else at this point is icing on the cake.

Can you tease a little of what’s happening in future episodes?

Francia Raisa: We have a very emotional episode coming up. It’s a life changing episode on June 6th. We all worked so hard on this episode. We were all challenged as actors. It’s one of our favorite episodes that we shot. We have the wedding coming up now and then that episode. I hope you guys enjoy it. We had to dig into places that I never wanted to get into.

Given what you just said this might be a spoiler. Are you looking forward to working with the baby or is that not happening?

Ken Baumann: I’ll take that. Throughout the show’s history it’s been a very baby friendly television show and we have handled many a baby and many a twin baby. The more babies the merrier.

You’re not worried about being upstaged or vomited on?

Ken Baumann: No, never. In fact, if a baby could vomit on me and get that on camera I would love that. Anything in the name of comedy, if I got accidentally puked on. How often can you say, ‘Yeah, I worked on a TV show and I got accidentally puked on.’

I had a dog just recently pee on my leg, a huge hundred and twenty pound Weimaraner. I feel that’s pretty similar to a baby puking on you. Just randomly on the street, the dog comes up to me, smells me and I’m petting it and it releases it’s entire bladder all over my leg.

And you just stood there?

Ken Baumann: I just stood there. It was claiming me. It actually really brightened my day for some reason. I was having a bad day and I thought, ‘This is a sign not to take myself too seriously.’ There you go.

Francia Raisa: My story. Zach Abel who’s on ‘Make it or Break it’ who was on ‘Secret Life’ for a bit, we had a kissing scene and he burped in my mouth. They didn’t call cut and I didn’t want to call cut for them. So I kept going. They called cut and I went, ‘What was that?’ ‘Sorry’.

Are there any actors that you want to work with on the show?

Ken Baumann: In my weird fantasy life, and I know this will never occur in a billion years or a billion parallel universes, Daniel Day Lewis as a recurring guest star on ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’. He maybe plays my long lost, true biological father or something. I don’t know. There are so many actors. I just was shocked and amazed that I am Uncle Bobby’s son. I watched ‘Sopranos’ from day one when I was a kid. I probably shouldn’t have, but I was, and like I said, that Steve Schirripa is my dad.

Francia Raisa: He’s my father in law.

Ken Baumann: That’s incredible and I love that. I’m very lucky. We’ve had great guest stars.

Francia Raisa: I wish that J.Lo could be on the show.

Ken Baumann: She could be another little Latin mama. She’s your long, lost biological mother. Just make this a theme.

How is the pace of shooting on this versus a ‘Castle’ or a movie of the week?

Ken Baumann: It is unheard of how efficient this show is. We have lives off set. We have seven day episodes. We rarely do a twelve hour day. ‘Castle’ routinely does fourteen to sixteen, sometimes eighteen hour days when it gets near the end of the week. Like I said, it’s unprecedented how efficient of a machine this show is.

Francia Raisa: It’s a shock if we have to order a four o’clock snack.

Ken Baumann: When people go, ‘Four o’clock snack time,’ people go, ‘Oh, my God, this is terrible.’

Francia Raisa: ‘I’m not done yet?’ Sometimes we’ve had to wait it out because we’re not allowed to be done until when?

Ken Baumann: Sometimes they don’t want us to wrap before lunch, but sometimes we do. We shoot seven or eight pages before lunch. It’s pretty wild.

Francia Raisa: It’s quick.

Ken Baumann: It’s weird and it’s crazy, but it’s a talking heads show. We show up and talk and cut. There’s not much action, sweeping boom shots. It’s simple.

Do either of you want to step out of this world and try some other things since you’ve been doing this for a while now?

Francia Raisa: Oh, yeah. I would always like to try different things. I did a figure skating movie and that was sixteen hour days. That was amazing and different. I want to try a martial arts movie because I was a martial artist growing up and I want to see what that’s like. I want to branch off to anything after this.

Ken Baumann: The more the merrier. I’m in this business because I love collaborative work. So, any chance that I’m able to collaborate with a new group of people, a new group of professionals that I respect that’s the dream. That’s what everybody wants. You want to work with and not just necessarily for. You want to work with people that you love and you love their work and have that inspire you to keep going.

Francia Raisa: And we love being challenged. We’ve been so challenged emotionally on this show and if another project can bring that up for us, bring it on.

Are you ever worried about the example this show sets for kids?

Ken Baumann: It’s interesting to me because first and foremost, like any television show, the responsibility is to entertain. But I think we do it in a responsible way. We show pretty honest results from all these problems that teenagers face.