I am so excited to share this news with you!
Back in 2016, you might remember that I had the chance to cover several press conferences and the red carpet event for Disney’s Moana. The highlight of that coverage for me, was my sit down interview with Auli’i Cravalho and her mother Puanani Cravalho to discuss the fact that she was going to be literally launched into the spotlight with her new role as the voice of Moana.
I absolutely fell in love with her back then, so I was thrilled to have the chance to cover her latest project: ALL TOGETHER NOW which aires on Netflix August 28th!
Even better, my daughter was invited to join me for the interview where we had the chance to Zoom chat and interview both Auli’i Cravalho and director Brett Haley.
As you can see above, the interview process is a bit different than it used to be (thanks 2020, for that!) … but with the help of technology and Zoom, we are still able to connect with these film makers and cast members to get the inside scoop and share these fun interviews with you!
Review of All Together Now on Netflix
We screened the movie before our interview and it’s a fantastic film, so well done and the characters were perfectly cast, in my opinion.
I loved watching this movie my daughter. It’s a family friendly movie that still manages to touches on some pretty tough topics, which will provide many great conversation starters for parents.
Tucked into this gem is some powerful messaging regarding friendships, problem solving, resilience and a very affecting reminder to all of us that it’s ok – and sometimes necessary – to let others help you.
On top of that, the casting for this film was brilliant. It’s a very diverse cast that feels very natural and unforced. Main character Amber is surrounded by some incredible people that stand beside her during her most difficult times.
It’s as if this role was created for Auli’i – she is the perfect fit for the role of Amber Appleton, an optimistic and motivated young lady.
The strength and determination of this character is one that I think young people will find very motivational and parents will find refreshing.
About ALL TOGETHER NOW – Premiering on Netflix August 28
Directed by Brett Haley (All The Bright Places, Hearts Beat Loud) and based on Matthew Quick’s novel Sorta Like a Rock Star, ALL TOGETHER NOW is on Netflix August 28.
Amber Appleton (Auli’i Cravalho) remains an optimist even when her personal life is far less stable than it appears on the surface. A musically gifted high school student with aspirations to attend Carnegie Mellon, Amber balances work, life, and some tough life secrets with a smile.
But when new obstacles present themselves that threaten her dreams, Amber must learn to lean on the strength of her chosen family to move forward.
Exclusive Auli’i Cravalho Interview about her role as Amber Appleton
We loved being able to connect with Auli’i via zoom to ask her a few questions about this film.
As you’ll see when you watch this movie, Amber is such a strong character, and this role comes with some heavy lifting – which Auli’i unboxes beautifully.
My daughter Lauren asked Auli’i to expand a bit on what this role meant to her and the lessons she took from her character:
I love Amber. I thought that she had a lot of hope and resilience, and I love that her story had hardships, it had difficulties, but her circumstances didn’t hold her back from her dreams and her aspirations so that is my I love the musical element in this.
I grew up singing as well, and it felt like it not only connected her to her dad but also to her future and wanting to pursue higher education and go to her dream college, so I definitely learned a lot from Amber for sure. She’s so passionate, and she’s such a great friend.
She also needs to learn a thing or two about being honest and open and connecting to her friends in a real way, so I definitely related to that.
I am 19 and I am in my own apartment like missing my mom.
So there were a lot of things to connect to and what I really, really grateful for especially right now is Amber’s hope and the understanding that when my hope starts to dwindle as Amber’s did that you can reach out to those closest to you, you are not meant to walk through life alone.
“… you are not meant to walk through life alone.” ~Auli’i Cravalho
The relationships that surround Amber all feel so genuine and I think that is one of the reasons that this film WILL resonate with resonate with all age groups.
I was especially impressed with her connections with older generations in the film.
Not only does she talk to them, she builds relationships – including a special one with legendary Carol Burnett that is the icing on the yummy cake that is this movie.
And of course, Auli’i touched on her transition from Disney to this very dramatic role where she is again the star of the show, but obviously in a very different format.
The two films are very, very different. I am so blessed that I got to start off with Disney.
I was 14 when I was cast and 16 when the film came out and it is all voice acting and then singing as well, and this Brett and I actually talked about it, it feels like a really great next step where I get to still sing my heart out and still connect to fans that way, but I also get to take a step in a more serious direction and continue my career with beautiful, strong leading heroes.
We love, love LOVE this movie and think she knocked it out of the park. I’m thrilled to see that while she’s growing up into such a beautiful young lady, she’s continued to stay grounded.
That part makes my mama heart extra happy and excited for her.
Diversity in ALL TOGETHER NOW
As I mentioned earlier, the diversity in this film is so well done that you don’t notice it, until you do. And when you do, it makes your heart swell.
We should all be so lucky as main character Amber Appleton, who has a Breakfast Club (except diverse-r) range of friends cheering her on.
I loved hearing that the powerful nature of a diverse cast wasn’t lost on Auli’i and in fact, I think it sounds like that helped to create a family type dynamic on the set.
It was awesome. Like it was really, really great to work in an environment where creative expression is just that, like it doesn’t matter who it’s coming from. Everyone’s ideas are heard. If it doesn’t feel true to your character, it’s always a discussion.
I am so proud of our cast. We all really connected as friends. We are differently-abled, and non-neurotypical and people of color. It felt real like that was actually diversity not like diverse like that was diversity, guys.
It was so fun, and it felt great. Like it felt like I was listened to.
Also, I have to mention for my fellow animal loving friends, they’ve got you covered too! Amber has a very special relationship with a senior pooch that is going to steal your heart. I’m telling you … this film has it ALL!
Interview with Director Brett Haley
Chatting with director Brett Haley was a real treat as well, and after speaking with him – we now know why this movie has so much heart. Not only that, but why this big hearted movie will speak to EVERYONE.
It was sort of a nice afterthought that this became sort of a family film in a way.
I wasn’t planning on making a family film, I was just making the film about this young woman who I thought was just an inspiration and her story was really important to me.
Auli’i hit upon it about hope, about loss of hope, about accepting love, about your dreams versus your reality. There were just themes in this that I thought were universal, and that could speak to everyone.
Director Brett Haley on Casting Carol Burnett in All Together Now
Well, Carol Burnett is–you would think she would be amazing to work with. She is even better than that. Auli’i and I were very intimidated and starstruck by Carol, the idea of Carol. I remember we went to her hotel to meet her and we were like giddy kids. She was so kind and warm and lovely. We had this lovely chat with her and we were just so overwhelmed by her spirit, her generosity and obviously her talent.
She is truly one of the kindest people I have ever worked with, and I have worked with really kind people, in fact, I make it a rule to only work with kind people and she is just wonderful, and she is such a talent, and it was such a dream.
Haley’s Messaging Goal for All Together Now
I come from a place of I make movies from my heart and from my gut.
I am never thinking like this will be great for X people. I try to make really universal films that I think all human beings, regardless of age, regardless of gender, regardless of background, will just enjoy because they are human stories.
That is the goal, and this was no different.
I like to remind people that the bad that happens in life we can make good out of it, the whole lemons into lemonade we can, we all have our own ability to turn a bad situation into a good one and that is the only thing we can do sometimes when we go through this thing called life and it’s difficult, and we are lacking.
It’s like we can turn it around, we can. We are resilient.
Honestly. We couldn’t love this movie any more than we do – it’s a must see for the entire family.
You’ll laugh, cry and also probably look for more genuine human connections in your own life.
Cast of Netflix’s ALL TOGETHER NOW Movie
As I mentioned above, the casting in this film is really what puts it over the top. Even more so, the diversity of the casting taking it one step further. As Haley shared, they didn’t hire an actor to play someone in a wheelchair, they actually hired an actor (Gerald Waters) who does use a wheelchair.
I don’t with my privilege say I’m going to go make a film about what it means to be something that I am not or could never relate to because I can’t put myself in the shoes but I can have empathy, I can make a diverse film, I can give voices to other artists within my story and all you have to do is listen to get it right.
All I had to do was say – you know there’s a character in this film who uses a wheelchair. We can take someone who does not use a wheelchair and have them pretend to use a wheelchair as is often done OR you can make the effort to say there’s a great actor out there who happens to use a wheelchair and he or she is just waiting for this opportunity let’s do that, and that is what we did.
It’s the same thing with a non-neurotypical actor it’s like they are out there they want to work they are great so go look for them, give them the opportunity rather than just doing things the way you think they should be done.
That truly is one of my very favorite things about this film, it feels so real because so much of it truly was/is.
Working along Auli’i Cravalho (Amber) in this film: Rhenzy Feliz (Ty), Judy Reyes (Donna), Justina Machado (Becky), Taylor Richardson (Jordan), C.S. Lee (Father Chee), Anthony Jacques (Ricky), Gerald Waters (Chad), Fred Armisen (Mr. Franks), Carol Burnett (Joan), and Ayanna Berkshire (Officer Garland).
Watch the ALL TOGETHER NOW Trailer
If you enjoyed our Auli’i Cravalho interview, we hope you’ll take the time to check out this trailer which will give you a peek at just why we think you need this movie in your life!