Debby Ryan Gets 16 Wishes
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have all your wishes come true? Well in the new Disney movie 16 Wishes, starring Debby Ryan from Suite Life on Deck, that is exactly what happens for her character Abby. . . but it doesn’t turn out the way she hoped!
Abby has been planning for her Sweet 16th birthday ever since she was a little girl. When the big day finally arrives, she excitedly adds her sixteenth and final wish to the secret wish list she’s been keeping. Then begins the first of many unusual occurrences that day each including visits from a peculiar woman, Celeste, who first appears to deliver a mysterious box of 16 birthday candles.Her birthday gets a whole lot brighter when Abby realizes that the candles correspond to her 16 wishes and that they’re each coming true — she lands the attention of her crush, she gets back at her lifelong nemesis Krista Cook and is suddenly fashionable, athletic, and popular. But when one wish goes horribly awry, it changes everything, even her relationship with best friend Jay, leading Abby to finally understand that being a kid isn’t so bad.
Here is Debby herself talking about the movie, her advice for surviving 8th grade, and an embarrassing 4th of July accident.
Q: Did you get anything cool for your birthday?
Debby: I did. Ever since I got my DSLR, my digital camera, I’ve wanted a fisheye lens for it because I’m really big into taking pictures with symmetry and a fisheye lends kind of bends that a little bit and makes them symmetrical. I got that from my parents, which was huge because I didn’t think we were going to be able to afford it this year.
Q: Tell us about 16 Wishes.
Debby: It was my first starring role, which was surreal. It’s funny, kind of, when people are holding umbrellas over your head. I was like, “I have hands, I can do that.” My character, Abby, it’s her long-awaited 16th birthday. She has these 16 wishes, a wish list that she wants. It all takes place in one day, which was amazing to film over six weeks. On her birthday, her birthday fairy shows up and gives her these magic candles that correspond to the wishes on her list. So essentially she has the power to make all her wishes come true. And as she does that she grows and she learns. Everything goes great and then she makes one wish that kind of is taken out of context and she has to fight to get her old life back. She realizes that everything that gets taken away is not. . .
Q: Kind of like you don’t know what you got till it’s gone?
Debby: Exactly. And what’s cool about it too, as I was looking at it, it has a lot of different themes — be careful what you wish for, and then, she really wants to grow up too quickly, and she learns that that’s something you can’t really get back.
Q: Is there a love interest?
Debby: There is. Jean Luc Bilodeau from Kyle XY plays Abby’s best friend, Jay, which was awesome because I was such a big fan of Kyle XY. Hearing the dish on that was great, and working with him, he’s such a sweetheart. So he’s actually Abby’s best friend in the movie and we’ll see through the movie how. . .
Q: We all know where that’s going. . .
Debby: Of course.
Q: Where would you wish it would go?
Debby: It’s funny because as I’m looking at it, Abby kind of learns a lesson through the film but before she learns that lesson she really doesn’t deserve Jay. She kind of takes him for granted to be honest. But then afterward she doesn’t, and she realizes how special and amazing he is to her and for her.
Q: How do you find the leap to something different?
Debby: At the end of the day, it depends on the script. You can do a comedy and it’s completely different than a different comedy. I watch a lot of movies. 16 Wishes, when I went up to do that I watched Sixteen Candles (rated PG) and a couple of coming-of-age films. I love Molly Ringwald.
Q: In school did you ever deal with bullies?
Debby: A lot. As I grew up, I had a lot of different. . .I was a cheerleader, I was a gymnast in competitive gym, I was also a mascot, chess club, so many things. And in 7th grade I was like the emo kid. I dressed in all black and had my rock ‘n’ roll friends and got made fun of for hanging out with certain people like that and also made fun of by the cheer captain for being the mascot, anything. We weren’t super well-off so I shopped at Wal-Mart and got made fun of for wearing Wal-Mart clothes. By the way I still have tank tops from Wal-Mart that I got in like 7th grade that I wear on red carpets. “Oh my God, that’s so cute!”
Q: Memorable first day of school?
Debby: I remember walking into school on my first day of freshman year, no it was 8th grade, and I remember being so out of my element because it was the first day of school. There was a girl who, it seemed like it was her classroom. She was so laid back and super-friendly to everyone. And I’m like, “Why can’t that be me?” We’re all in the same boat as far as not knowing what to expect.
Q: Did you become friends with her?
Debby: Yeah, we became friends and hung out. I remember she was going through kind of a crazy problem and I was really helping her through that and by the end of the day we were chill friends. But I remember realizing that being the popular one, the confident one has nothing to do with upper hand. It has to do with the way you approach it. So that was super memorable to know that and it still helps me now. That was my 8th grade year.
Q: Any summertime embarrassment story?
Debby: The 4th of July I went to Disneyland with my friend. We were like the last people there in the parking garage. I tripped up the down escalator, I’m so clumsy it’s tragic, and long story short, we tried to find. . . we ended up in three different emergency rooms. One of them I remember was just disgusting. I was bleeding from the knee. It was gashed open and my best friend faints at the sight of blood so she’s trying to help me and we have like a Kleenex and a sock in the car and we’re trying to find an emergency room. The best part, I’m laying there and they stitched it and we’re good to go, and my best friend comes in and she’s ghost white, and I look over and she’s hooked up to an IV. The best part was me sitting there with stitches doing better than my best friend who’s about to pass out.
Interview by Gerri Miller
Photos courtesy Disney Channel