Ella Anderson Reveals All the Behind-the-Scenes Secrets from The Glass Castle

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We have known and loved Ella Anderson as Piper Hart on Nickelodeon’s hit-show Henry Danger, but now the 12-year-old actress is breaking into bigger and more dramatic roles. Ella visited our NYC office this week and told us EVERYTHING about her new movie The Glass Castle that she stars in opposite Brie Larson and Naomi Watts. The movie is based on the auto-biographical book of the same name that tells the story of Jeannette Walls‘ childhood growing up in a poor, homeless family with an alcoholic father. Throughout the movie, there are three separate groups of kids playing the Walls children showing them grow up, and Ella played the middle Younger Jeannette. In order for all three actresses to play one character, there was a lot of off-camera work.

“Brie is incredible and being able to collaborate with her and Chandler Head (Youngest Jeannette) to build this seamless character as one person was so awesome,” Ella said. “We did a lot of rehearsal and each of us did our own research as well. Brie and I got to talk on the phone with Jeannette which was cool because i didn’t get to meet her until a few weeks ago. I didn’t even know her while we were shooting. We both got to ask her tons of questions about what she was feeling in those times. And as much as we worked, I think that once we showed up on set it was super simple to get into it.”

We knew that Brie would be incredible in the movie because of her Oscar-winning performance in Room, but we were shocked to learn that this was Ella’s first dramatic role. Young Jeannette had some of the most heart-breaking scenes that we may or may not have definitely cried during. In one scene, Young Jeannette confronts her father Rex, played by Woody, while he is detoxing from alcohol. Ella shared that the scene was just as hard to film as it was for us to watch.

“My hardest scene to film was probably the detox scene. Not just getting there emotionally but just seeing Woody like that was super difficult. It was a tough scene and I admire Woody so much for what he was able to accomplish. It broke my heart so much seeing him tied to the bed, I couldn’t even remember my lines. The emotions were super natural because just seeing him in that place and it hurt me so much inside, I don’t even know why it just did.”

The detox scene is just one of dozens that not only showcases Ella’s talents but shows how close the cast of the movie truly is.

“Not only was actually filming and getting into the sceneS really hard but getting out of it was difficult, which is why having Brie there was so great,” Ella said. “She’s been doing this for so long and she really helped me get out of whatever I was feeling in the moment and talked me through it.”

The Glass Castle cast had to endure long days of filming and rehearsals for some pretty intense scenes. In order to relax from their emotionally-charged characters, the group of 12 kids who portray the Wall kids had tons of fun both on and off set.

“We did a bunch of things, we did picnics and we did an escape room! I wish we did more it was so much fun,” Ella said. “We just did a lot of running around the meadows because we were so lucky to film in some of the most amazing places in Quebec. We were at an apple orchard and grape vines and incredible places that also really helped with creating memories as the kids, that was what they were doing, just running around.”

We are so excited to see what Ella does next, because we’re sure we’ll see her on the big-screen again soon. Be sure to check out The Glass Castle in theaters today. And don’t forget to pack your tissues!