Monday, January 30, 2017

"Ride" Star Kendra Leigh Timmins Talks Horses, Stunts, and the Toronto Raptors

Kendra Leigh Timmins, a Horse lover, stars in Ride, a brand-new Nickelodeon TV show about a girl named Kit, who is scared to ride Horses but ends up competing in equestrian events. The show premieres with back-to-back episodes on Monday, January 30, at 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. To celebrate, Timmins spoke with SI Kids about her favorite sports, getting into character on set, and some silly moments that happened along the way!:


Photograph courtesy of Nickelodeon

How did you get into acting?
I first got into acting by being in my school play. I was five years old, and we were doing The Wizard of Oz. I played a chipmunk, a flower, and a munchkin.

How did you get this role?
I auditioned for this role. It was something that came along, and I just read it and thought, “This is super awesome. This is a great character, and it films in Northern Ireland, and it involves Horses. I have to be a part of this.” And then I had, I think, four or five auditions, where they kept narrowing it down and changing things up. Four or five weeks later, I got the call saying that I got to play Kit.

Do you relate to your character?
Definitely! I think Kit and I are a lot alike. She's a little quirky, and she has a lot of energy. She always means well, but sometimes she gets herself into trouble. And I've also been told that I am as stubborn as Kit is.

What was your reaction when you got the role?
When I got the phone call from my agent, I did a very, very embarrassing happy dance in my apartment by myself, and I was so excited, and I was crying, and the first thing I did was hang up the phone and call my sister. I had to tell her, and then we had a party over the phone.

Are you a sports fan?
I like to play sports more than I like to watch them, but I'm from Canada, so I have to cheer on my [Toronto] Raptors.

What sports do you play?
I love soccer. I played soccer all the time growing up. I try to get out and play with friends any time that I can. I feel like dance should count as a sport because there is a lot involved in that, so those are probably the two that I still do the most of. I like to keep active because I think it's more fun to get exercise that way.

Do you have experience with Horses in the past?
I actually went to a Horseback riding summer camp when I was younger because I thought Horses were so cool, and I just loved them so much. So I had ridden a little bit, and I was really comfortable around Horses. But we learned Western style, and it's more English-style riding in the UK, [where the show is set], so I had switch it up a little bit. But we were very well trained and very well looked after.

Other than that, you were able to get into character pretty well?
That was the only real learning curve. My character in the show, Kit, has been afraid of Horses her whole life, so it was kind of nice because I also didn't have to be very good. I didn't even have to pretend that I knew what I was doing until a little bit later on, so it was really nice.

Do you have any funny stories about the Horses from filming?
Our Horses had really big personalities. A lot of the horses we worked with had worked on other movies. The main Horse in War Horse was the Horse on our set, and lots of our Horses had been in Game of Thrones and all kinds of movies. So when they got on set, they were divas. They knew that they were the stars and that they were in charge. One of the Horses used to notice when someone had a walkie-talkie in their pocket, and he would lean over and pull it out of their pocket and just drop it on the ground. It was just to get some attention for himself, and that was always pretty funny.



Did you jump while riding a Horse in the filming process?
Actually, I don't think any [of the actors] jumped only because when you’re filming, sometimes it’s a little bit difficult because you have to concerned about safety and making sure the actors are O.K. We had incredible stunt doubles who did the jumping. We needed them because when you’re jumping, technically it’s great and everything looks awesome, but we had things written in the script like, “So-and-so gets distracted and knocks a pole,” which means that all of a sudden the stunt double not only had to be able to jump, but also knock a pole specifically when they needed to, which gets a little complicated. Luckily, we had a very good team. I don't know how they did it, but it was pretty phenomenal.

What would you say was the most athletic thing that you had to do on a Horse?
I had to mount a Horse bareback, which I had never done before. I’d always used a saddle, and I remember that day because they walked both my stunt double and me through it. They had her run it to show me how it would look, and even she was having a bit of a struggle because it’s just a larger Horse. And you have to do a little bit of a jump. I went, “You know what? I want to try it. I want to go for it.” I ended up being able to do it, and we got a bunch of takes. That was one of my very proud moments of Horsemanship.

Do you have any advice for young actors?
My best advice is to do it as much as you can. Sign up for anything that involves performing or working with other people. If there is a play going on at your school, or maybe sign up to be in the choir, or find a play that’s in your neighborhood instead, and then work really, really hard at it.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Additionally, from Kidsday:

Come along for the ‘Ride’

By Emma Darmody, JJ Joyce and Max Melnik, Lauren Smalley


Our interview with actress Kendra Leigh Timmins was a once in a lifetime experience! Early last week we went to the Nickelodeon offices in Manhattan to talk to Kendra. To prepare for the interview, we looked up information about her to get ideas for questions.

We found out that Kendra was born in London, Ontario, Canada. We came up with questions that allowed us to know more about Kendra and her character, Kit, on her new show, “Ride,” which airs this Monday night at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

We saw the premiere of the show so we could get ready for our interview. Here are just a few of the things that we found out. The show is filmed in Ireland and Toronto. Since she has been on so many TV shows, we wanted to know of all the characters she has played and which one is most like her.

Kendra told us that she is a lot like Kit from “Ride.” She also told us that right now she prefers working on TV shows instead of movies. One of the reasons is it gives her more time to find out and relate to the character she is playing.

Just kidding around, we wanted to know who were the better actors: the horses or the people. She answered immediately and laughed, “Definitely the horses!” She told us that her mom is with her most of the time when she is on the set acting.

So, what is the new show all about? Well, it’s about horses, adventure, making friends, and trying to be yourself as a kid. You will love watching Kendra as Kit as she adjusts to her new life at Covington Academy -- an elite equestrian-focused boarding school that looks like a beautiful castle.

Kit moves to Covington with her dad, who has a new job.

Almost all of the students ride horses, except Kit. One horse named TK is always getting out of hand, and no one seems to be able to tame the horse. The other people at the school want to get rid of the horse, but Kit feels differently. Kit, who is generally afraid of horses, finds her fears going away as she spends time and bonds with TK.

Kit develops a relationship and connects with this wild horse. Kit feels that the horse is misunderstood and she wants to keep the horse. Other kids who watch Kit interact with TK are amazed by her ability to tame the horse and feel that Kit has a special gift.

You will also love watching how Kit develops new friendships at Covington Academy and how she handles being the new girl in a new place. Kit has a new roommate who is quite different from her, but we loved to see how Kit teaches her new roommate how to have a little fun, fool around, and get in a little bit of trouble. You will love the way Kit handles the new rules she should follow, but finds a way to be herself and breaks the rules, just a little bit! We love Kit’s personality in this show and the scenery is beautiful, it really takes you away!

Kendra is such a great actress! Kit and Kendra have lot in common. They are both funny, quirky, girlie, but yet also have a bit of a tomboy in them.

Kendra really showed the funny and quirky side of herself after our interview was over when we took many pictures, some with big smiles and some with silly faces. We also introduced her to the app, Musical.ly, which she had never heard of before.

She took the time to download the app and find a song that we all liked. We decided on the song “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift for Kendra’s very first Musical.ly. It was so much fun. Kendra was so patient and kind, and we had a blast with her. We hope you love her new show “Ride,” just as much as we did.

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Visit Nick.com/Ride to learn more about the series and its characters and follow @RideOnNickelodeon on Facebook and Instagram. #RIDEonNICKELODEON

More Nick: Kendra Leigh Timmins Dishes On the Making of Nickelodeon's Brand-New Series, "Ride"!
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