You’re so good at comedy. At this point in your career do directors kind of just let you go and allow you to have a lot of input into your characters?
“Well, thank you, I appreciate it. That was really nice. It’s definitely a collaboration. They help me a lot because I don’t know what they want and they’re the ones who kind of have an idea of what the whole movie’s supposed to look like. So with Hairspray Adam [Shankman] said he wanted my character to be very shy and quiet. That way when she comes out in the end, when she sort of becomes a woman, there’s sort of a transition - and so I do that.
With Sydney White, I have the same thing with Joe [Nussbaum]. He basically said, ‘We want her to be a tomboy. We want her to be very different from the other girls in the sorority,’ so they definitely helped me. And then other than that, I do add things into it, just to make it unique to myself.”
There’s a theme that flows through your movies. You always put positive messages out for younger girls. Is that something that when you’re looking at a script, you’re looking for that kind of a message?
“Definitely. When I first got the script it was actually…it was too sweet. There wasn’t enough edgy comedy in it, so we had a big talk with the writers and the director. Then it came back after that initial discussion and it came back way too raunchy, to the point where I was actually offended. It was jokes I don’t feel comfortable saying. There was like potential nudity and all this different stuff that I just felt like, ‘No, I just feel like that’s fine if that’s in movies, but I just don’t want it to be in a movie that I’m in, at this time at least.’ And for that type of movie it didn’t make sense. It was just supposed to be a raunchy college comedy, and I just found it to be crass. So after that we went and we re-wrote it from that point and took it down a little, and that’s where it ended up.”
How instrumental were you in re-writing it?
“I sat down with the writers and I basically said, ‘I want to do a movie that means something to me and otherwise I prefer to not do it.’ I basically said I want to do something that is a movie that girls can go see and laugh, and there are funny jokes but it isn’t so disgustingly raunchy that it’s offensive. They got that, so they took it down. Writers can write whatever you want and they did a great job.”
With the success of Hairspray are you open to doing another musical?
“I would love to. I have been approached by a couple of people for a certain musical that I can’t mention, but I would love to. We’ll see how that works out.”
Were you surprised at the success of Hairspray?
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all. I knew that the music is so unanimously loved and the storyline is about accepting yourself and others for who they are, it just never gets old. I think with all the star-power in it, I feel like John Travolta, Zac Efron, and all the veterans and the newcomers it had, I think someone would like at least one person in it. I wasn’t surprised.”
Earlier you touched on being into fashion. Why did you decide to launch your own clothing line: dear By Amanda Bynes?
“Well, I’ve always loved drawing. I’ve always loved sketching and I obviously enjoy fashion, but I never thought I’d be a fashion designer unless I went to school for it. And since I didn’t and I pursued my acting dreams, I never thought I’d be one. So when they called me and asked me I looked into it and saw that it was a really good company that sells for affordable prices. It’s all well made and they told me Sarah Jessica Parker would be designing a line for them and mine would be following it. I was very flattered and got very excited about it, and just jumped right in.”
Where does your inspiration come from?
“I draw. I came with a bunch of drawings and they sort of tell me what is realistic. I see patterns and we collaborate and create the designs. It’s basically really wearable for girls, and I enjoy it. I wear it all the time and my mom loves it, my sister. It’s something that’s supposed to be for girls who like to wear cute stuff but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg.”
Did you wear any of it in Sydney White?
“I did. I wore one t-shirt because it wasn’t all ready yet so we pre-ordered one design. It was the black shirt I wear at the end that has big yellow stars. So yeah, I wear that in the last scene in the movie.”
How difficult is it to divide your time between the clothing line and acting? I would think the clothing line would be pretty time-consuming.
“It is. It takes a lot of time, but that’s what I love to do. It’s one of those things where I’m grateful that I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s definitely tiring, but hey, I’m having a great time. I’m young and I’m supposed to work – work hard when you’re young.”
How do you manage to stay so normal, so grounded, when you live in such an insane world?
“Thank you. Well I guess I’d say I have no real interest in being scandalous. That’s not my way of trying to get fame. I don’t need fame. As long as I get to work and do the things I love, I don’t know why I really need excess fame. I think it’s actually harmful, so that’s, I guess, that’s my reasoning.”
And you stay grounded by remaining connected to people you’ve known for quite a while?
“Yeah, exactly. My parents are humble and my brother and sister so I don’t have people who, you know… I’m not surrounded by lunatics, which certainly helps.”