Are you one of the five million people watching Switched at Birth this summer?
We're totally into this sweet, smart smash hit show, and star Katie LeClerc promises that we haven't see anything yet! We just caught up with the strawberry-blond cutie who plays Daphne Vasquez, and here's what she revealed about Marlee Matlin's appearance, the dish on what secret is a "superimportant part of the backstory" and much more:
Tell us about the audition process—how did you get the part?
ABC Family had a nationwide casting call for the roles of Daphne and Emmett (Sean Berdy), they wanted to make sure they found someone with hearing loss and someone they felt comfortable with so they had a big thing. I actually found out about the audition from my agent who submitted me and I went in for the first audition and then the call back and then eventually the screen test and I remember leaving the screen test and thinking, "OK, it's down to me and one other girl," and on my ride home I was completely over analyzing everything that I had done and when I got home I realized that I was sweating bullets, I was so nervous that I had to calm myself down and luckily everything worked out.
And explain the premise of the show for those who haven't seen it yet…
Bay Kennish, played by Vanessa Marano, grows up in this upper class, rich, fancy, elegant neighborhood with her perfect family and she always feels a little out of place. One day in her chemistry class, she was doing an experiment and finds out that it is genetically impossible for her to have the blood type that she has, with her parents having the blood types that they have. So she pressures them, they go to a genetic counselor, and they find out that indeed she was switched at birth with another girl and that's where I come in. There is a lot of adjusting to do for both of the families. And for the Kennishs, especially, because not only did they have a daughter that they did not know they had but that daughter also happens to be deaf. So there is a little bit of complexity added on to my relationship with those characters.
And Daphne's hearing impairment is because of an illness as a child,r ight?
Yes, meningitis at the age of three.
Does that get flashed back to as we move forward?
It is a superimportant part of the backstory for reasons that I cannot tell you.
Is there a lot of parental drama associated with that?
There is no shortage of drama on this show with all the characters and the great thing is that they cast Lea Thompson who is hilarious and Constance Marie who was on a sitcom and made people laugh for seven years and D.W. Moffett, and everyone is just so, so genuine and they bring this sort of freshness to the show and their characters and they're hilarious! There are great moments for drama but surprising there is a lot of comedy in this show.
Is your character ready to bond with her birth mother?
I think Lea Thompson and I, who have not had very many scenes together, the relationship is still sort of growing, and I think it takes Kathryn a little while to be comfortable around Daphne, where as, Daphne is always inherently there and always sort of finding the middle ground there, but it's great for Daphne to find out that she plays basketball, and it's great to see that she has a dad and a brother who are also really good and into sports and totally functioning in their environment. It's great because she thought that she was the only child, and it turns out she has a new sister, sort of, and a brother.
What's coming up on the romance front?
In the second episode, my character starts the beginnings of this relationship with Bay's ex-boyfriend and that is obviously going to get heated very quickly. Vanessa has this looming relationship with someone who I refer to in the first episode as my brother, so we are very close as well. ABC Family does an amazing job of casting these gorgeous men to look at and they ensue drama from there and there are lots of secrets.
Have you shot the whole season?
We are still in production. We are on episode nine of ten.
What are you personally excited for fans to see?
I cannot wait for the viewers to see Marlee Matlin, she is great and she adds this whole other element to the story line but really I think this show is appealing in a lot of ways because I don't know anyone who was switched at birth but I know a lot of people who were adopted and maybe an egg donor situation, it's still relatable in a lot of ways and I am really excited for people to see these characters having to figure it out. I mean, these kids are practically adults, and they have to make their own decisions and voice their opinions. I am excited for people to see that Daphne is a normal high school teenager. She has problems with grade, and boys and struggles with her family and she happens to be deaf. I think that's an interesting concept and one that viewers are not used to seeing but seeing a deaf character in their homes every week, I think will help a lot of the hearing community to realize that there really are not a lot of differences and for the deaf community to see that that hearing are not always so bad. I think people are afraid of what they're not familiar with.
Switched at Birth airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.