On a `Degrassi’ high: Hit show’s stars dish on fame and fun
By Jamar Torres
Monday, October 4, 2004
Deanna Casaluce and Mike Lobel from The N’s hit TV show “Degrassi” play Alex and Jay, twomean, jackass-like characters who bully and fight with their peers.
I met up with Deanna and Mike during a recent autograph signing at the Natick Mall.
Their characters are fairly new to the “Degrassi” scene, but are set to make a bigger impact on the show this season.
Going into the interview I thought I was going to get beat up and have my money stolen. However, Deanna and Mike are way cooler than their “gangsta” characters.
BH: How old are you and where are you from?
DC: I am 18 years old and I was born in Mississauga (Canada).
ML: I’m 20 and born and raised in Toronto.
BH: When did you get into acting?
DC: (Laughs.) Since I could walk and talk. My first video footage was when I was a little girl.
ML: Since high school. I started acting for plays. Plus, being a musician and performer also got me into to it.
BH: There are so many teens out there who wish they could be on “Degrassi.” I myself wish I could. So how does it feel to be on a hit TV show and how did you find out about it?
ML: The original “Degrassi” was what got me really into the show. I’m a big fan of the franchise. When I got the part it was unbelievable. Like a dream job.
DC: Prior to audition I used to watch reruns like every day after school. I am very proud to be on the show.
BH: So tell me about yourselves. How are you different or the same as your characters on “Degrassi”?
ML: I used to be bullied in high school. I was like the different kid of the school. I think the character Jay is important to the show. It makes the show more real because there is always a person like that (in real life).
DC: Alex is very aggressive. She’s also a strong, independent woman. I think Alex is just trying to find herself. Like Alex, we are both very strong people.
BH: How does it feel to get into fights on the show? Do you find it hard to sort of act out a fight?
DC: I kickbox on the side. There is choreography, so it feels awesome that I get to do fight scenes. You actually don’t hit them at all.
ML: I love it. It’s a really great way to release tension. I learn a lot of it more as an actor.
BH: What do you think of “The O.C.” characters versus your own?
ML: I don’t really watch it. My sister is a huge fan of it. I think “The O.C.” is different from “Degrassi.” “Degrassi” is more about everyone.
DC: There are differences in actors. Teens can relate better to this show. “Degrassi” also has a lot of input from teens and even asks the cast what is real, and what would happen in real life. Take opinions and it is way more realistic.
BH: What type of music do you like? What are your favorite artists/groups?
DC: I love everything. I like just about every type of music. I am really not mainstream. As far as mainstream I kind of like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I like a lot of old rock too. My favorite hip-hop group is Atmosphere. Have you heard of them?
BH: Actually I haven’t. I don’t really know much about underground music because I am more of a mainstream person. What about you, Mike?
ML: I really dig solo singers. I like Jeff Buckley. He’s a great Canadian singer. But I really like Hotsley Walkman. I listen to it like each and every day on my CD player. In particular I like alternative rock, jazz and Cuban (stuff). I guess anything, really.
BH: Would you be interested in moving on to motion pictures?
DC: Absolutely. Pretty much any area where I can act.
ML: Yeah, I totally would. I really would like to be in feature films. I love movies so much that I watch one movie a day. I have no life pretty much. (laughs)
Jamar Torres, 17, is a junior at Belmont High School