I Caught up With the Cast of Chasing Life at the #ABCFamilyEvent


While on my trip to California to view movies and Television shows I had the unique privilege to interview some of the cast of the ABC Family show, Chasing Life. This #ABCFamilyEvent was a meet and greet with the stars and also the executive producers of the show. I had heard about this show from the Facebook page of actor, Stephen Amell of Arrow. He posted that his friend Italia Ricci was doing the show and he wished her good luck. I tried watching it one night during a lull at work and didn’t make it that far. I didn’t go back to the show until I learned that I would be interviewing the cast. At that point I watched every episode of the show and I am glad that I did. I really enjoy the show and have even hooked Allison on it and she loves it as well. Allison was very jealous that I got to see an episode that hadn’t been aired yet. This was something that the group got to do the night before our interviews at the ABC Studios.

Two Weeks Ago I was on an all expense paid blogger trip sponsored by ABC Family (#ABCFamilyEvent, #MysteryGirls, #YoungandHungry, #ChasingLife), Disney (#GuardiansOfTheGalaxyEvent, #BigHero6) and DreamWorks (#100FootJourneyEvent). The opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine unless of course they are credited as a direct quote of someone else.

ABC FAMILY – Mom Blogger Day. (ABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless)

I asked Joni and Susanna the question of “Why Boston?” Joni and Susanna are writing partners from the East Coast. Susanna is from Providence and Joni went to Mt. Holyoke. “It is kind of a moody city, its academic, there’s a lot of good hospitals. So we felt it was the appropriate place for this ambitious journalist girl to be from.” Susanna went to say that they wanted to set the show apart and instead of being set in perfect weather California like most shows featuring a young cast are set they wanted Boston to because it is such a character of the show. While the show is not filmed in Boston, it is filmed in Santa Clarita, CA. the pilot was shot all in Boston with a few re-shoots in California. They wanted the show to be shot in Boston but ABC Family wanted it to be shot closer to home. So while 85% of the show is shot in California they save a few scenes per episode to be done in Boston, bank them and shoot them all at once.

Joni and Susanna had been primarily comedy writers prior to Chasing Life and feel that adding elements of comedy to a show with such a heavy subject is important to keep people coming back each week. They met at a sketch comedy writing class and have been writing partners for twelve years. In order to make it and do their own thing they worked retail and temp jobs so that they had time to write. Their advice for writers is generate as much content as possible because you never know what is going to get made.

ABC FAMILY – Mom Blogger Day. (ABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless)

Sean Smith was fun and he wanted to come along with us on the rest of our days adventure. Sean had created and ran the show Greek prior to Chasing Life. Sean has always loved comedy in the context of drama. He joined with Chasing Life after the pilot. At first he didn’t want to do it because he felt the story was depressing. After he watched the pilot he had to challenge his initial reaction to being asked to do the show. “I felt challenged by my own initial reaction of like who am I to say this story is depressing I kinda feel… you know. I’m gay, me coming out, people could view as depressing and I would be really offended and think that is presumptuous because that’s my life,” said Sean.

The challenge of doing a show about Cancer and doing it with a sense of humor was exciting. Once Sean realized that they didn’t have to make every episode depressing and try to manipulate feelings it was liberating. Sean was also integral with casting Scott Michael Foster as Leo in the show. Leo had worked on Greek with Sean prior to chasing Life. We discussed the Leo character for a bit and Leo is becoming one of those characters that I like more and more. Sean also gave us a sneak at the Christmas episode of Chasing Life. He told us who the parents of April’s father are. They will be Marion Ross and Ed Asner.

CHASING LIFE – Haley Ramm stars as Brenna on ABC Family’s “Chasing Life.” (ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin)

Haley Ramm sat down with us first in the round robin and she was so sweet. Haley plays Brenna, the younger sister of Italia Ricci’s April. She starts out as the angsty rebellious teen who is going through some personal difficulties but she rallies when she learns that her sister has Cancer. Brenna started in a dark place but she later becomes more happy. Haley teased that there is a big reason why she was so angsty beyond the reason that her father died. Finding out that April has Cancer has given Brenna a new outlook in life and she sees that life really is too short.

Selfie with Haley Ramm
Selfie with Haley Ramm

What attracted Haley to the show was the subject matter. Seeing the writers giving April and her family such a positive outlook in the face of the Cancer was really appealing to Haley. She is also very much into vintage clothing and 50s and 60s movies. Natalie Wood movies are some of her favorites.

CHASING LIFE – Mary Page Keller stars as Sara on ABC Family’s “Chasing Life.” (ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin)

I loved interviewing Mary Page Keller, she was awesome. I may be partial to her because she recognized that I was a blogging dad. That and she found out about the event hours before it started and jumped in her car to come down. I learned later from another group of bloggers that she and her husband write for a television show that I really like, Grimm. I probably would have geeked out more over her had I know that. I’m also kicking myself because I did not get a chance to take a selfie photo with her.

ABC FAMILY – Mom Blogger Day. (ABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless)

Mary Page talked to us about how fun it was working with Ed Asner and Marion Ross who will show up in the holiday episode. She turned the tables on us and asked us some questions. she was interested in where we were from and our children. She made a personal connection with each person at the table. One of the most delightful interviews that we had that morning. We talked about parenting and she said a very profound thing, “They are their own person, they are only a reflection of you in as much as you let them be who they are.”

CHASING LIFE – Italia Ricci stars as April on ABC Family’s “Chasing Life.” (ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin)

Italia was so cool to talk with. She was attracted to the role because the character was so real. She was so real in her interview. She told us about her love for Big Macs and surprised us that not so much that she likes them but how many she can eat at one time. On her birthday she had four. She hates salads, but she did swear off McDonald’s for a year.

Selfie with Italia Ricci
Selfie with Italia Ricci

I brought up how I learned about the show Chasing Life which was because of Stephen Amell. what we learned from Italia is that she spoke with Stephen’s mother before she started filming the episodes where April goes into chemo. Her connection to Stephen is that she is dating Robbie Amell, Stephen’s cousin. His mom was a huge inspiration for Italia. Italia talked more about how she researched for the role. She didn’t want her performance to anticipate the experience that April would go through so she would learn things at the time when April would learn it. She wanted to give the subject matter the serious attention that it deserved. The one thing that she did not do in her research was attend a support group meeting. She felt that would be too voyeuristic. She certainly feels a large responsibility to portray this character as honestly as possible.

I also liked how cool Italia was with Social Media. she posed for selfies with us and said. “I expect to be tagged in every single one of those.” We did and she retweeted us and favorited tweets and liked Instagram photos and more.

I really appreciated the time taken by everyone involved in chasing Life to come and speak with us. Everyone was wonderful and sweet and funny and genuine. It certainly reflects in the show. You can learn more about Chasing Life below.


CHASING LIFE – “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Chemo” – April and her family prepare for her chemo and hospital stay in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Chemo,” an all-new episode of “Chasing Life,” airing Tuesday, August 5th. Tune in at 9:00pm ET/PT on ABC Family.

With only a few days left before April has to check herself into the hospital for aggressive chemotherapy, April is determined to live as normal a life as ever. But as she has to deal with Leo drama, Beth falling apart, and trying to live under the hovering eye of Sarah, April quickly learns that nothing will ever be “normal” for her.

Meanwhile, Brenna tries to juggle time with Kieran and Greer.

“Chasing Life” is adapted from the successful Televisa Spanish-language Mexican television series and is a co-production of BV Family Productions, Lionsgate, and Televisa in association with ABC Family. The series is executive produced by Sean Smith (“Greek”), Susanna Fogel (“Life Partners”), Joni Lefkowitz (“Life Partners”) and Aaron Kaplan (“Terra Nova”). “Chasing Life” stars Italia Ricci (“Unnatural History”), Mary Page Keller (“NYPD Blue”), Aisha Dee (“I Hate My Teenage Daughter”), Richard Brancatisano (“The Elephant Princess”) and Haley Ramm (“Red State”), with Steven Weber (“Two Broke Girls,” “Wings”) and Scott Michael Foster (“Greek”) as recurring guest stars. 

Official ABC Family “Chasing Life” website: www.abcfamily.com/chasinglife
Facebook: Facebook.com/ChasingLifeonABCFamily
Twitter: Twitter.com/ChasingLifeABCF @chasinglifeabcf #ChasingLife
Tumblr: abcfamily.tumblr.com
Pintrest: Pinterest.com/ABCFamilyTV
Instagram: Instagram.com/ABCFamily

16 thoughts on “I Caught up With the Cast of Chasing Life at the #ABCFamilyEvent”

    1. Amy,

      I like that it is set in Boston, too. There are some moments when you can definitely tell that they are not in Boston, like taking the car from the dealer but otherwise it is decent, plus they shoot in Boston whenever they can.

  1. I love when celebs are down with social media and really sharing in the fan experience! I will have to check out this show. The actors seem really cool and connected to the show. I’m still in awe of the awesome things you got to do on your press trip!

    1. Jane,

      Many times people are down to earth but either they are pressed for time or have people with them looking to protect them from anything negative. The people who were at this event were super awesome.

  2. Oh my gosh, I love this show! We watch it every single Tuesday night, no matter how late it gets before we can finally get the time to collapse on the couch and watch. Such a good show. I’m not surprised at how sweet and genuine they are; the whole show, the characters, it just feels so real. Maybe even more so because my husband’s cousin (who was more like a little brother to him), was just diagnosed with leukemia last year and died this past winter…. it was very rough. And then not even weeks later, we starting seeing previews for the show, so naturally, we were curious. Not to bring you down, but the storyline of the show just speaks to us in such a relevant way. Secretly, I think April and Leo will end up together…. or maybe I just hope. And that reminds me, it’s on tonight!

    1. Mel,

      My wife and I watch this every Tuesday when she gets home from Knitting. I am so sorry about your husband’s cousin. I’m not sure what’s going to go on with Leo and April. The actor is set to go to Once Upon a Time.

    1. Leah,

      Boston is a great setting and the reasons behind choosing Boston make a lot of sense. I needed to ask to find out. Glad I did.

  3. So I’m the 28 year old who is glued to my tv on Tuesday nights watching Pretty little Liars and Chasing Life. I love that it was based in Boston and a month ago I found out my dad had/has kidney cancer so even though it’s completely different it feels connected in my brain. I am uber jealous of this and can’t wait to meet the grandparents!

    1. Heather,

      I can’t get into Pretty Little Liars but Chasing Life has some appeal for me, Maybe it is my nostalgia for Wings or that it is set in Boston. The story has sucked me in big time, though.

  4. Ok, Drew – this is the one I’m going to sit down and watch. Sounds like something I would really love. And I love that it’s got a Boston base! I should go back and watch the Pilot season!

Comments are closed.