At age 19, Daniela Bobadilla has her first major TV-series role as Sam Goodson, the teenage daughter of therapist Charlie Goodson (Charlie Sheen) on FX's Anger Management. Sam suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, but she's far more stable than Charlie or any of the patients in his anger management group. Here Bobadilla talks about her beginnings as an actress, her experience working with Sheen and her hopes for the future of the show.
How did you get started in acting?
I was actually born and raised in Mexico, and I actually moved to Canada with my parents when I was seven. And I was always super artistic, so my parents kind of tried to find a medium to put me in, and we actually thought it was going to be figure skating. I figure skated competitively for about four years, and then I actually got a little injury and wasn’t able to skate, and since I was skating for such a big amount of time during the week, I had to find a way to fill it. So I actually joined my school musical, and after that you never got me out of the theater. So that is how it started.
How did you get involved with Anger Management?
It was shortly after I did NBC’s Awake. It was actually during the last episode that my manager called with the audition. And I was super-excited, because there’s so much buzz around Charlie Sheen, and it was from a casting director that I really liked and I’d worked with before. So I read the script and completely fell in love. I was like, “I have to audition for this.” So I went in to the audition, and a few rounds later I was face to face with Charlie. We did the audition together, and immediately I could feel that it would be an absolute adventure to work with him. And thankfully I got blessed with the opportunity to do it.
Was it intimidating to meet Charlie and act with him for the first time?
You know, it definitely was, because I knew it was going to be during my audition, and they weren’t really sure if Charlie wanted to act with [me] at the audition, or if he was just going to sit and watch. So just from that comment alone, I was like, hmm, well, he’s such a professional, and he’s worked so much in the business, he has every right to be a little bit of a diva, I guess you could say. So I was prepared for it to go either way, but he shocked me by coming up and trying to see what he could do for me. He sat me down and he said, “What can I do for you? This is your audition. I want you to do your best.” And that really just floored me. If anything, I was more of a diva than he was at that moment. I was like, “No, there’s nothing. Thank you for talking with me.” We went in there, and we were just a team from then on.
You shot the first 10 episodes of the show in just five weeks, which is twice as fast as a typical sitcom. How was it working so quickly?
It was crazy. I had just gotten off Awake, which shot an episode in eight days, and already I thought that was pretty fast. It was a one-hour show, so you really had to move kind of fast for a drama. But to jump into this, it almost felt like theater again, but not really. In theater you at least get rehearsals, but here it was just like shoot it, and “Okay, moving on!” And you’re like, “Oh my God, I barely did my lines.” So it was a crazy process. Obviously Charlie was handling it like a pro, but we all just kind of got used to it. It definitely took everyone a few days just to settle into it, but it was almost better, because then our comedy wouldn’t be stale. For me, now I prefer it. I think I might get a little antsy when it’s time to do another longer show.
Definitely. For me, this being my first real sitcom, it was really hard to know. The thing is that, because we only did it once or twice, the crew had never heard it before, so they actually laughed for us, and that was the most perfect timing ever. And they were genuine laughs. And we didn’t have any laughers on set, so it was really just the crew that would crack up. At first I didn’t really know if they were supposed to, but after a while, they just did it and it was perfect. But I do know that in order to add the laugh track, they do show the episodes to a special audience, and they record the audience’s laughs.