Samantha Isler knows a little something about being on stage and camera. After all, the 15-year-old Oklahoman began performing for her family as a small child before honing her skills in theatrical stage productions. Parlaying talent and experience, Isler went on to appear in several short and feature films. This fall, she will be welcomed into the homes of many Americans, co-starring in NBC’s Sean Saves the World alongside Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), Linda Lavin (Alice) and Megan Hilty (Smash), among others. The comedy centers on a father (Hayes) who must catch up to speed when his teen daughter (Isler) moves in. Sean Saves the World premieres on Oct. 3.
Oklahoma Magazine: When did you know that you wanted to be an actress?
Samantha Isler: Growing up, I always was doing skits around the house, and I watched and enjoyed movies. It took a while to realize that these were all individual men and women acting, and I thought it was fun. I began taking classes, made contacts and here I am now. I always knew I wanted to act – it just took a while to figure it out.
OM: What do you consider to be your big break so far?
SI: Probably when I did the film, Home Run. It was a small role, but it was on the big screen, and I got to be in the acting environment and learn a lot.
OM: How did this role come about, and how did you feel when it happened?
SI: Initially, I was asked to audition – I had met the casting director previously. I sent a videotape; I didn’t even audition in person. About three hours later, I got a call and they wanted me to do a screen test. A couple of weeks later, I went out for the screen test and met the writers. They called a little later to say that I had gotten the role. It was great. I was familiar with the people in the show because I watch them. As the process went on, I realized what could happen and tried to process and manage my excitement – and I still am.
OM: What do you think of your co-stars?
SI: They are all so great, and I was amazed that these were all people who I had watched. At first, I was nervous working with such experienced actors. But they helped me a lot and I am learning a lot. It’s okay for me to forget a line or to accidentally laugh at one of my co-stars. They have been so helpful and made me feel more confident.
OM: How does your acting work affect school?
SI: I went to private school through the eighth grade. This year, I will be doing home schooling in California. It will be different, but I will be able to maintain my grades that way…but it will be different.
OM: Where would you like to see your career go from here?
SI: Before I did this show, I did a few films, and I love that as well. I would like to do different things, to experience all of the different types of acting and genres.