Melissa De Sousa
Q: What was your first impression when you read the script for THE RON CLARK STORY?
A: I thought it was an amazing story. Just knowing that it was Matthew Perry in the lead role, I could see the story coming to life. I liked the journey that Ron Clark went on, the journey that my character is going on when we meet. He inspires her to not give up on her dreams, and I see his energy toward these children and his love for teaching, and I think it's so important and made this an amazing story.
Q: There is a scene in the movie where Ron Clark wants to give up and quit teaching. Why won't Marissa let him quit?
A: She doesn't let him throw in the towel because he won't let her throw in the towel. She wants to quit acting, and he inspired her to get back into what she always wanted to do. So when she sees him wanting to quit, she tries to talk him out of it because she knows how good he is at teaching. She sees herself in these kids, and she doesn't want him to give up. He has such a passion for teaching that she couldn't let him leave.
Q: What do the kids see in Ron Clark?
A: The kids see that he's not giving up. He plays around with them and tries to approach them in a way that they understand. He jumps double-dutch with them, and no one had ever done that before, so they see his enthusiasm and how he treats them with respect. He is actually interested in them and makes an effort. He goes to their houses and gets to know all of them and their lives. They see that he actually cares about them and not just the schoolwork, and that makes them grab on.
Q: You mentioned that Matthew Perry was one of the reasons you really wanted to do the movie. What was it like working with him?
A: We had a connection from the moment he introduced himself. It was a joy working with him and just hanging out with him. He was very open and kind, and he is just the sweetest guy.
Q: What was Matthew Perry like trying to double-dutch?
A: He's great at double-dutch. He knew what he was doing. He learned it really fast, so he could jump for a good 10 minutes.
Q: What makes THE RON CLARK STORY a movie that families can sit down and watch together?
A: I can see myself watching this with my parents. It's a beautiful story, because everyone can relate. It takes you back to childhood, but it also brings you to think about where you are now. It's a movie you should watch, because every now and again, you need to be inspired by something, and I think that is what this can do. Good drama really makes people think and can change lives.
Q: Where does the drama come from in THE RON CLARK STORY?
A: The drama comes from this man who comes into these kids' lives and really turns their lives around. He comes into Marissa's life and changes her life too. This man really changed people's lives for the better, and that's an amazing thing. Marissa was in this monotonous schedule, and here Ron Clark comes and makes her dream again. He makes the kids dream again. I think that is drama in itself.