Travel consideration provided.
“I feel like that’s like another skill set that I really would like to hone,” Heaton told me. “Going from multi camera on Raymond where we rehearsed all week and then presented it like a play to the audience, is very different from going to The Middle where there’s no rehearsal, you’re shooting out of order, there’s no response from an audience, and you don’t know what it’s gonna look like until it gets on the air. So that was a new skill set to learn. And then doing voiceover, where you might think you’re being animated, but you have to kind of ratchet it up a little bit. Because I can sound kind of flat, actually – have you ever listened to yourself and you’re like, ‘Oh! Is that my voice?’ You have to get used to that, and then you have to get used to putting a little more energy in it than you would normally do as an actor – because as an actor they can see your face, so that’s also informing what you’re saying, but here you’re trusting the animator to put that in. It’s a little flying blind, I think. But it’s really fun to do.”
Heaton said that she enjoyed the process of experimenting in the sound booth. “I think the most fun is doing the lines different ways, trying different takes. The director gives you different ideas and like on any show, if you can make the crew laugh, then you know you’re doing it well, so that’s kind of you goal. Although they can’t really laugh because we’re being recorded, but afterwards they do – you can see them snickering or holding it back.”
The Star retells the Biblical story from the perspective of the nativity animals, mixing lighthearted humor with parables. I asked Heaton if her own personal faith played a role in her wanting to be involved in the film.
“I think it’s always nice, if you’re a Christian, to have something out there – especially at Christmastime,” she said. “Because that’s what Christmas is about. You can put something out there for the whole family. The story of Christmas is what I base my entire life on, and all my hope, so yes – it’s nice to have that story out there to share with people.”
When it comes to celebrating Christmas in her own household, Heaton incorporates traditions from both the US and the UK: “I’m married to a Brit,” she explained, discussing how she enjoys making Yorkshire puddings and pulling Christmas crackers with her family. As a British expat in America myself, I asked her if this means that she essentially makes Thanksgiving dinner back to back, as the traditional UK Christmas dinner includes most of the same things. “Yes, so we’re doing Thanksgiving here [Los Angeles] and then we’ll do Christmas in Montana. And the other thing that the Brits do, they have Boxing Day, so the day after Christmas they do another celebration. It’s a little exhausting. (Laughs)”
The Star is in theaters now.