Haylie Duff: The TV Squad Interview
Read on to find about what Haylie said about the finalists, the judges, and her own stint on Broadway as Amber Von Tussie in Hairspray.
Kristin Sample: So tell me about the show.
Haylie Duff: It premieres tonight on MTV. And I'm excited about it. We've got a lot of really talented girls and there's a great prize at the end of the season. So, the stakes are high and we're all excited about it.
Kristin: When will the winner start her run on Broadway?
Haylie: I don't know exactly yet. I know after the show is done.
Kristin: Will she be getting any other prizes?
Haylie: No, it's just the role of Elle Woods.
Kristin: Have any of the finalists performed on Broadway?
Haylie: I think one of the finalists has before. Some girls haven't even seen a Broadway show. So, there's tons of levels of experience.
Kristin: Will we be seeing any of the auditions tonight or are we starting with the ten finalists?
Haylie: You'll see some of the original auditions definitely. There's 2500 and we get down to 50 in this episode. They're from all over the U.S.
Kristin: Do the finalists live together?
Haylie: The ten finalists moved into the penthouse at the Empire Hotel. And they live together, work together, rehearse together and just coexist.
Kristin: Other than the finalists living together, how much like a real audition is this?
Haylie: There are some things that are not like a real audition. For example, they'll get a chance to play the role they're auditioning for. That doesn't happen. You go in a room, in your own clothes. Here they have an opportunity to really step into the role. They get to become Elle and figure out how to make Elle their own.
Kristin: Are they auditioning at all in the actual theater they'll be performing in?
Haylie: They're kind of all over. We had one theater we worked in. But since the Legally Blonde show is running, we didn't get to use that theater.
Kristin: Did the finalists get to met the current Elle Woods?
Haylie: Yeah, she came in and talked to the girls about playing the role and what it was like. About how special it is but how much work it is at the same time. She gave them a little pep talk which is nice.
Kristin: Are you involved in the judging at all?
Haylie: I'm not actually. That's one thing I like about the show is that I'm just there. I don't do any judging or eliminating. I'm strictly there as a peer and a supporter.
Kristin: What kind of involvement then do you have as a mentor?
Haylie: Well, the girls are really professional and really good at holding it together on their own. But I'm there to help with workshops, to explain what they'll be doing. They'll be working with a lot of the people that I worked with.
Kristin: Yeah, I think many people might not be aware that you performed in Hairspray. What attracted you to the theater?
Haylie: Well, 7th Heaven had just been canceled. And I needed a job. And I wanted to do something that scared me a little bit. Once I auditioned for Hairspray, I was like there's no way I could not go and try this. It was all around a really wonderful experience.
Kristin: Which do you like the best then: film, television or theater?
Haylie: I don't know which one I like the best. They're all really different. They call on different aspects of your personality. With theater, you have to really be able to listen and to respond to other people on stage. You're all constantly on your toes. And then with film and television, you can get a second take and things like that.
Kristin: Which is the hardest?
Haylie: I think theater is probably the most difficult. It's a lot of time and it's hard on your body. You've got eight shows a week and one day off a week. And that's not really enough time to rest your muscles, especially if you're in a show that has dancing.
Kristin: Tell me about the judges. Have you worked with them before?
Haylie: Bernie Telsey. That's the casting director. He's actually the man that cast me in Hairspray. I auditioned for him. And I auditioned for Jerry Mitchell as well. And Heather Hach played Elle in the musical and she's done a bunch of features as well. I've not met her previously but she's wonderful. And then we had a cast member Paul Canaan.
Kristin: Which one of them is the toughest judge?
Haylie: I think the one to really win over is Jerry Mitchell. I think he's the one that has the most say in who ends up winning Elle. And he's the one you have to make the best impresssion on.
Kristin: Can you tell me about any of the challenges?
Haylie: I can't give away anything about the challenges. But I can tell you that we don't send them on any ridiculous adventures to get cheesecake. Every thing we make them do in some way helps them reach their goal.
Kristin: That's funny because my next question was going to be about how The Search for Elle Woods compares to other reality competitions, like Making the Band.
Haylie: [laughs] Yeah, Making the Band is great show. All those people work extremely hard as well. I think the main difference is that the winner of Elle will go into a show that's already running. She's got to be able to carry it.
Kristin: Well, thanks for chatting. Good Luck!
Haylie: Thanks, Kristin.
Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods airs tonight on MTV at 10 p.m. ET. Let me know what you think.