Visual Tales: Congrats on the return of Disney’s plus “Zombies 3”. You just attended the premiere on July 9, it was a reunion of sorts with the entire cast, how was it and how does it feel to be working on this film?
Milo Manheim: The premiere was absolutely amazing. It was overwhelming in the best way. It was a night full of love and it was a blessing to get together and celebrate with everybody that was involved in making the movie in the same place all in one night.
VT: How did you land the role of Zed? Can you share with us your thoughts on your character and the development of your character?
MM: It took me many, many auditions. I think I auditioned for Disney 11 or 12 times before I booked the role. As I’ve grown as a person over the years doing these movies, obviously Zed is going to grow and change as well. It’s interesting to see how I’ve changed over the past couple of years and to see myself reflected in Zed throughout every movie.
VT: The film is pure entertainment from start to finish: From choreographed dance sequences, musical numbers, science fiction, and comedy to futuristic hair/makeup and costumes, it all looks so easy but what is it like doing this film?
MM: It isn’t easy, I’ll tell you that! Every morning while we’re shooting, there’s always an additional two hours that you’re going to have to add to your day just to do makeup. What takes even longer of course is just learning the dance routines. I’d say half the time spent was just in rehearsals. We spent at least two and a half months getting ready to do those big dance numbers, because obviously once you’re on set, you can’t learn them on location. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it and while it isn’t easy, it is very fun.
VT: What’s your take as to why this film is so popular with the fans and what would you like for the audience to take away from watching this film?
MM: I think Zombies is so popular because of the message that it sends. Obviously, it’s a very exciting movie and there are lots of fun things that are a part of it, but I think the reason why it sticks in people’s hearts is because of the message that it sends and that is to always remind people to be accepting of others.
VT: You started out acting at a very young age (6 years old), definitely due to your mom, award-winning actress, Camryn Manheim. Was acting always your calling or did your mom have a lot of influence in steering you into this industry? What are some of your early memories of wanting to perform?
MM: I’m not sure that acting was always my calling or not however, because of my mom, I grew up on sets watching the magic happen and I think that from that age, I’m always been in love with it. There’s no telling if it was my calling or chance, but I’m happy it ended up the way that it did and I definitely wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for my mom.
VT: In 2018, you competed on season 27 of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, paired with professional dancer Witney Carson. It might appear to be extremely entertaining but we bet the discipline and pressure of competing must be incredible. From your personal account, share with us what it was like dancing and competing in the show?
MM: Dancing With The Stars was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I learned so much, not only about being a dancer but also about being a human. When it comes to the work ethic that you need to have on that show, that changed me for life – for the better of course because after doing something like DWTS and then going into Zombies, I think that the way I had to handle doing that much dancing in that amount of time, DWTS made Zombies 2 and 3 much less daunting for me. And the amazing people I met there – that’s truly an experience like none other because you’re meeting all of these people from different industries and you get to really hear the ins and outs from the people firsthand which is such a cool experience, but I definitely dance-wise learned things on that show that hopefully made me a better dancer for the rest of my life.
VT: You are still very young, so multi-talented, from singing, acting and dancing, what type of projects would you like to gravitate towards in the future?
MM: I loved the career that I’ve made for myself so far with all of the singing and dancing because that is what I love to do and I hope to continue to do that forever, but it would be really interesting to take on more of a dramatic role or even some kind of action role like a spy or superhero. But honestly, I am open to doing whatever comes my way as long as it seems like a good fit.
VT: You are currently filming a new project, 2nd season of Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. in Hawaii. How’s it going and any details you can share with us?
MM: I’m currently in Hawaii filming Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. I’m having an amazing time. Ya know, I don’t think I’m ever going to work in a place this beautiful ever again, we’ll see. I do think the show is amazing. I watched Season 1 and it got me super excited to be on Season 2. I think Season 2 is even better – the writing this time around is really great. There’s crazy stories in this one and I really think people are going to love my character. He’s a really cool guy and I’m jealous on his outlook on life. He’s faced with a big challenge and I think it’s his positive mindset that gets him through it.
VT: What professional advice would you like to give someone, knowing all that you know now about the industry?
MM: I would say the most important thing to remember is that you must be yourself, and I know that sounds so cheesy but no matter how talented you are in your position, no one is going to want to work with you if you are not a positive effect on the environment. When you can walk into a room and show people who you are and prove that you’re going to be someone that is helpful to have around, whether you’re working on a production as a crew member, or you’re the director, or producer, or as an actor… are you going to lift up the project? A lot of that has to just do with attitude. Keep showing people that you are somebody they’re going to want to have around.
VT: What do you like to do in your spare time when you have a moment to escape?
MM: My number one thing is I want to be hanging out with friends because then I could be doing whatever, and I will have an amazing time. I love to do escape rooms and I love going to see theater!
VT: If you have the opportunity to remake a film or show, which one and character would you choose?
MM: I would want to do a life action TANGLED and play Flynn Rider. I love singing and dancing and I love adventures like TANGLED. I’d also love to be James Bond. Doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen in the future but I’m a big fan of James Bond and would be honored to play him.
VT: What's something about yourself that a lot of people wouldn’t know about you?
MM: I love to cook. I’m a big chef. I make food for myself pretty much every night. Ever since quarantine, I’ve been getting into the food game.
VT: If your life is turn into a biopic, which theme song would you choose and why?
MM: I would say just the song “Intergalactic” by Kid Cudi. I really like the vibe. It’s a song I would like to walk through my life listening to.
VT: Famous quote you kind of live by when life is not as smooth sailing as you would like to be.
MM: I have two quotes. The first is “mind over matter.” Someone actually told this to me when I was on DWTS. This quote has been gotten me through a lot because life can be daunting but you really have to trust yourself and know that you’re capable of getting through whatever situation it is, which brings me to my next quote which is “day by day.” A lot of things seem like you can’t take them on all at once, but when you just break it up day by day, you handle each day one at a time and face your problems as they come to you. It’s a lot less daunting. With those two quotes, it reminds me that I’m capable of getting through anything.
VT: Growing up, which superhero did you look up to and why?
MM: The superhero I looked up to wasn’t necessarily a classic superhero - Adam Sandler in the movie CLICK. The ability to control time is one of the coolest things ever and I would so much rather have a little remote that controls time than fly or be invisible. I’m sorry, it’s just true!
VT: Since your show is about different sides living in harmony, describe a world you envision that would be perfect for vou.
MM: If I were to describe a perfect world, I would first make it look a lot like Hawaii. I love the greenery and the blue water. As for the people, I would want everyone to be accepting of each other. I’d want everyone to make some really good food, so we could all eat well. I really just want kindness – you can do whatever you want in Milo’s world as long as you’re not harming anyone else.