Garry Marshall is back at it again with another star-studded ensemble holiday movie.
Mother’s Day, starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis, is a hilarious and poignant film that intertwines stories of different mothers. There’s television host Miranda (Julia Roberts), divorcee Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) who is looking for love and Jesse (Kate Hudson), a woman who wants more than anything to strengthen her relationship with her distant mother. Up-and-comer Gianna Simone also stars in the film as Val, a pregnant, first-time mother navigating her way through the pregnancy and her new role in life, and Sarah Chalke stars asÂ Gabi, the sister of Jesse, who is married to a woman and hasÂ a son named Charlie, played byÂ Owen Wilder Vaccaro.
We spoke with Gianna Simone and Owen Wilder Vaccaro about their roles in this newest comedy and what it was like working with such a high-profile cast. We also talked to them about their other projects, their charity work and their biggest secrets both on and off set – make sure to check out our exclusive Q&A with Gianna and Owen below!
Mother’s Day hits theaters April 29.
Celeb Secrets: How was it working alongside industry icons like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis?
Gianna Simone:Â “Itâ€™s always thrilling to work alongside people who are masters at what they do. When I learn new things, I choose to learn from the best of the best, so I can become that. It is this way with acting, as well. When you are around other great talent it can only bring you up. Not only is the cast amazing, but our director,Â Garry Marshall, is one of the sweetest directors. On set he would walk by, smile, say ‘You’re doing great!’ and just give me a kiss.”
Celeb Secrets: Owen, can you tell us about your character CharlieÂ in your upcoming movie, Mother’s Day?Â
Owen Wilder Vaccaro: “I play Charlie in Motherâ€™s Day. He is a really smart little boy who has two moms played by Cameron Esposito and Sarah Chalke. I got to see Cameron a few days ago at the premiere in LA. She is a stand up comedian so she is really funny and made the scenes we were in together awesome.”
Celeb Secrets: Gianna, in the movie you play a first-time mother. How did you prepare for the role?Â
Gianna Simone: “I practiced my ‘waddle’ with one of those big water jugs. As I would walk with it pressed against my belly I would have the urge to pee! I said ‘Wow this is what it must really be like!’ I also did a lot of research on the entire birth process. There are so many options out there on how to deliver! There were tears of joy, sheer horror, and amazement. It definitely gave me a respect for what all moms go through. It also gave me a lot of great things to learn ahead of time for when I go down this path in life.”
Celeb Secrets: Gianna, not only do you have Mother’s Day coming out, but you also star in Godâ€™s Not Dead 2, which just hit theaters. Can you tell us about that experience and working with Melissa Joan Hart?
Gianna Simone: “God’s Not Dead 2 is an inspirational story of standing up for what you believe in, even when you may be persecuted for it. It’s about faith, hope, helping others in need, and unselfishly giving.Â I play Elizabeth Healy one of the Aclu prosecutors, alongside Ray Wise and Eamonn McCrystal. We try to get Melissa Joan Hart’s character banned from teaching for talking about her faith, and going toe to toe with her attorney played by Jesse Metcalfe. Melissa is a doll. We would all hang out between takes and munch on our snacks and chat about things form our faith, to diets, to ironically the birth process! Â (This was before Mother’s Day)”
Celeb Secrets: Gianna, as a former foster care kid with your own story, you’ve opened your heart to others with the Gianna Simone Foundation. How did that organization come alive?Â
Gianna Simone: “I have encountered things in life that have inspired me to help, and to also make a difference. So I decided to start a foundation based on the change and improvement in certain areas I wanted to see. One is improving foster youths lives, especially while in the custody of the state. Because I was in foster care growing up, I know firsthand the pain and fear that comes with going through this. It took one person to show me love and compassion, and it changed my life for the better. That’s what I hope to do for the youth I encounter through our work.
Celeb Secrets: Owen, you recently teamed up withÂ Musical.lyÂ and MoxieÂ to help raise awarenessÂ of child abuse prevention. Why is this campaign so close to your heart?
Owen Wilder Vaccaro: “The campaign we did with Moxie andÂ Musical.lyÂ was for child abuse prevention during the month of April. I got involved because my friend, Kris Pinto, is on the board for the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. My mom and Ms. Pinto were talking about ways I could help and they came up with the lip sync idea and Moxie agreed to help!Â They made a really cool video and did a whole press release to help spread the word. We have already had over 140,000 videos made using our hashtag #westandtogether. I think kids really want to help other kids but donâ€™t always know how. This seemed like the perfect way. When I learned about how one in ten kids are abused, I felt like we needed to talk about it more. I probably know people and maybe they are ashamed or havenâ€™t told anyone. I hope the #westandtogether makes them speak up and get help. The Georgia Center helps tons of kids every year. The best way to help us with #westandtogether is to get aÂ musical.lyÂ account (itâ€™s free and most kids already have it) and lip sync Rachel Plattenâ€™s â€œStand By Youâ€ using our hashtag #westandtogether. Bonus points if you tag your friends and ask them to do it, too!”
Celeb Secrets: Other thanÂ Mother’s Day, are you working on any other projects?Â
Owen Wilder Vaccaro:Â “I”m working on Highschool Musical (show is in May) and continuing to work on #westandtogether all of April.”
Gianna Simone:Â “I just wrapped a 10 episode sitcom calledÂ Hitting The BreaksÂ that I co-produced with PureFlixÂ Entertainment. I play Sky Liberty, a vegan, rebel, and a hippie. I wanted to make being vegan cool, because it is.Â With heart disease being the #1 Killer in America, and a plant based diet being able to wipe that out entirely, America needs this positive message brought to them in a cool, fun loving way. I’m really excited for it to be released.”
Celeb Secrets: Gianna, since we are Celeb Secrets, can you tell us something most people don’t know about you, and for Owen,can you tell us a behind-the-scenes secret from Daddy’s Home or Mother’s Day?
Gianna Simone: “The first time I was on an airplane IÂ jumped out of it .”
Owen Wilder Vaccaro: “In Daddyâ€™s Home,Â I hope Iâ€™m allowed to say this, Tony Hawk did some of the stunts and he got hurt on set filming that scene. Also, Tumor (the dog) accidentally knocked Scarlettâ€™s tooth out when we were playing with him. We cried when the director said ‘thatâ€™s a wrap’ on the last day.”