June 03, 2013 9:00am PT by Stephanie Chan
'The Fosters': Maia Mitchell on Her 'Relatable' Role in ABC Family Drama
Up-and-coming Australian actress Maia Mitchell is ready to make her mark on ABC Family’s The Fosters.
In the upcoming drama from executive producer Jennifer Lopez, Mitchell plays Callie, a teenage girl who has spent her life in the foster care system. The one-hour series follows two moms, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena Foster (Sherri Saum), who raise a multi-ethnic family that includes Stef’s biological son from a previous marriage, Brandon (David Lambert), and adopted twins Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Jesus (Jake T. Austin). Their lives are altered when Lena and Stef invite Callie into their home, believing it’s only a temporary stay.
Mitchell tells The Hollywood Reporter that she was in Australia when she found out about the project. After reading the script, she “became obsessed with it," citing Callie's background and hardships as main reasons why she was drawn to the ABC Family drama.
So the 19-year-old star flew to Los Angeles from her hometown to audition for the role. “I love the characters and what it has to say," Mitchell says. "It’s really cool that it pushes me and makes me connect on another level.”
“I loved what she represents, her complex history and how it affects her. I found it fascinating and so relatable,” she adds. “I found so much sympathy for the poor girl.”
Mitchell connected to The Fosters because someone in her own family had experienced the foster care system. “I have a family member who went through the foster system and had a similar situation so I connected with it on a personal level," she explains. "I love that it’s really supporting diversity and bringing that into American homes.”
She admits that playing Callie isn’t always easy, but her castmates' support has helped in the development of her role.
“It definitely took a lot of preparation and analysis. I just really fed off the actors around me, and I think that was amazing,” Mitchell says. “We had an amazing director who helped me create the character, and our writers were actively involved in the process. I think it was just about being in character the whole time during the production.”
The Fosters is created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige (Queer as Folk), who serve as executive producers with Lopez. Mitchell also stars in Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie, airing July 19.
The Fosters premieres June 3 at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.