At age 16, actress Kaitlyn Dever has already played an acclaimed recurring role on the FX drama Justified, plus appeared on shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family and Private Practice, and in movies including Bad Teacher and J. Edgar. She's in her second season as a regular on the ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, playing Eve Baxter, the tomboyish daughter of old-fashioned alpha male Mike Baxter (Tim Allen). Here she talks about the development of her career, her role on the show, and the other projects she has in the works.
How did you get started in acting?
I always wanted to do acting, and I kept asking my parents. When I was about eight or nine years old, my parents finally put me in an acting class after I’d been begging them for a really long time. I went to an acting school, and I did that for about a year, until three agents came out to Dallas, where I lived at the time, and one of the agents wanted to take me out to California and have me audition. The first audition I went out on was a Mattel Barbie commercial, and I booked it. It was the very first thing I went out on. My parents kind of brought me out here to show me how hard it was, but I proved them wrong. I booked the first thing I went out on, and then the ball kept rolling after that. I’ve been really lucky.
What appeals to you most about your character on the show?
I just love how my character Eve is just so sarcastic all the time. The writers always are writing amazing lines for me. They’re just constantly having these quick zingers. She’ll have these sarcastic, dry remarks against her sisters, especially her sister Mandy, who she’s constantly making fun of. I have some relation to her a little bit, because we both share that kind of dry sense of humor, but she’s very different, and I really, really love her character.
How has Eve evolved from the beginning of the first season to now?
She’s changed a lot in season two. Season one, she was best friends with her dad, and she was going to games with her dad all the time. She was really focused on soccer. She wasn’t all that into boys yet. But now in season two, she’s starting high school, and she’s a little more girly -- because in season one, she was a little more tomboyish. In season two, she’s had some crazy storylines. In later episodes that haven’t aired yet, she joins the junior ROTC at her high school, and she wants to join the Army. Her parents are really freaked out because they don’t want her joining the Army. Just a lot of crazy storylines for her coming up. I think she’s definitely evolved a lot from season one to season two.
Not having done a multi-camera sitcom before this show, how was the adjustment to working in front of a studio audience?
It’s a lot different from any other TV show. You have to have a lot of energy. It’s kind of like theater. You do each scene one or two takes. On other shows, you have different shots with different cameras. You basically do a lot of takes on just a regular show, but on a sitcom -- I wasn’t really that used to it -- you get the whole scene in like one or two takes, because it’s a multi-camera show. It’s just a lot of high energy, too. The show nights are really, really fun. They play music all the time. It’s a lot of fun.