'Jessie' Star Debby Ryan Dishes on Her Gritty New Guest Role on 'Private Practice'

"This role has been not only a change for me, but a learning experience," the Disney Channel star tells THR.
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Disney Channel’s Jessie fans are going to be able to see a different side of star Debby Ryan’s acting. She has been cast to guest star on ABC’s Private Practice.

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Ryan will play Hailey, an 18-year-old who has a meaningful crossing with Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) in [spoiler] rehab. She’ll appear on the the series’ two-hour event on Nov. 17, as first reported by E!Online.

"It's such a honor to be chosen by [creator] Shonda Rhimes to play this role,” Ryan tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I believe in the story, I'm captivated by the writing, and I was honored to be able to bring a voice to this character.”

The role allows Ryan, 18, to show an edgy side than fans haven’t seen from her title role in Jessie and on her other Disney Channel show, Suite Life on Deck.

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“The work I get to do on Jessie is sitcom style, so this role has been not only a change for me, but a learning experience,” the 18-year-old explains. “Working with Caterina Scorsone, Kate Walsh, and the talented crew on Private Practice was such a great way to grow in an area of TV I hadn't yet been able to touch; one that I hope to revisit in a major way in the future.”

The actress, who is filming the role this week, tells THR that her character will definitely leave her mark on troubled Amelia.

“Playing someone who's sold their life to an addiction at such a young age, and then is learning to rebuild, was a beautiful challenge,” she says. “The relationship between Amelia and Hailey is delicate, but crucial, to recovery and rebuilding themselves as human beings.”  

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Ryan’s current series, Jessie, premiered in September to 4.6 million total viewers, The Disney Channel’s biggest Friday debut in three years since The Suite Life on Deck.

Ryan also stars in the upcoming Disney Channel movie, Radio Rebel, produced by MarVista entertainment, which is currently slated to premiere early next year.

Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated Ryan's episode airs on Nov. 18.

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro