Interview With Actress Imogen Tear, “When Calls the Heart”

By Ruth on December 22, 2016 in Christmas, Holidays, Interview, movie, television
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If you are a devoted Heartie like I am, you will probably remember season three of When Calls the Heart when the character Hattie made her inaugural appearance, and you might even remember your initial reactions to both the character and the actress who portrayed her. Imogen Tear, whom I had the opportunity to meet last month (November 2016) at the Joey Awards, is the incredible actress who has given life to Hattie as well as a few other well-known characters on Hallmark and Lifetime networks. In anticipation of the When Calls the Heart Christmas special that arrives on December 25, I was able to chat for awhile with Imogen (and her fantastic, supportive mother) about how Imogen got started in acting, what her journey has been within the acting universe so far, and even a little about Imogen’s outside interests.

RH: Imogen, it’s so good to talk with you today. How old are you?

IT: I turned thirteen in October.

That’s great! That means you’re about the same age as my daughter who turned thirteen this summer. {pause} So, Imogen, first of all, why did you decide to become an actress?

When I was little, I liked to pretend a lot. Even if I was all by myself and just playing, I might pretend to be a mermaid or something like that. When I was five or six, the idea came to me about being an actor. My brother had a friend who was acting around that same time and he was in a commercial. I was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s so cool!” I asked my mom, “Can I do acting?” and she said “No”.  For two years or more I kept asking and begging my mom to put me in acting classes but she wouldn’t let me. She says I asked her every couple of weeks, then every week, and then every day. Then finally one day she said, “Okay, we’ll try it.”   I had worn her down so much that she finally gave in! My mom began to think that maybe she was stopping me from doing something that I was meant to do. I had proven to her that acting was something I really wanted to do, so she finally let me try it. I’m so glad she did; I really enjoy it!

Well, you have a wise mother. Sometimes kids get ideas that they aren’t serious about. So even if you might not agree, Imogen, it was good that she made you wait because she wanted to make sure that you really wanted to do this and it wasn’t just a passing fancy. Some parents make their kids wait a lot longer to pursue becoming an actor. {pause} What was your first professional job in acting? 

To start, I did a lot of student movies.  My first one was a short film called Butterfly. I had a lead role in it. It got selected into the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Short Corner Awards. Not everybody saw it. I did have the chance to go to the Cannes Festival, but my mom said “no.” I honestly didn’t remember my mom telling me that we were invited to go to France. A couple months later I asked her why we didn’t go and she said because it was too far away and I was like, “What?!” But in the end, I was okay that we didn’t go.

But my first really big professional job was My Sweet Audrina, and it’s pretty cool that I won a Joey Award for it this year! I was so excited!

As was I! I got to see you win that award, and you so deserved it, Imogen! I did actually see that film, and although it was a small role, I remember you. But I didn’t even make the connection that was you when I saw you in When Calls the Heart. And of course, you not only won for that film, but you won a group Joey Award with the other kids for When Calls the Heart too! I yelled so loudly for you guys! I was so proud!

My Sweet Audrina was the reason I dyed my hair. In real life, I was more of a sandy blonde before that role. They wanted me for the role, but said I needed to dye my hair. I got used to it quickly though it was a bit strange at first.

 Now, speaking from a mother’s perspective, while I’m sure everyone was nice on the set of My Sweet Audrina, I wouldn’t have wanted my daughter watching that movie. 

Yes, my mom was very worried too, and didn’t want me to know what the movie was about. Everyone on set was truly amazing and even though I’m finished filming My Sweet Audrina, I still have no idea what it’s about. My mom will tell you, the crew did an incredible job of protecting me from the story. When I had to look scared or cry in a scene, everyone was amazed since I didn’t really know what was going on. That was the challenging part, playing an emotional role when you don’t know what’s going on and what to draw from. I’m glad I don’t know. And I still don’t want to know today. It wasn’t scary for me at all. It was just amazing. I had so much fun filming it.  The director, Mike Rohl, is so nice and was just incredible at letting everyone know about me and to make me feel very welcome and safe during every scene.  When we drove away from the set, I said to my mom, “I can’t believe that was so much fun and such an incredible experience!”  Since that was my first big movie, if it had been a negative experience, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do acting any more. But it was amazing. I had so much fun with everyone on set. And I guess the Joey Award says I did a really great job acting in that movie.

Yes, you did, Imogen. And I’m so glad you told me about this story because it makes me feel good that they were willing to protect you like that on set from the storyline. {pause} Jumping back over to Hallmark, with them, you have done three projects, right? When Calls the HeartThe Magic Stocking, and ‘Tis the Season For Love.  Which of these three was your actual first Hallmark project?

It was ‘Tis the Season For Love. I played the head elf, a very important job, of course. Who’s going to get all the other elves to work? {laughs}

 Since you’ve had some experience working for Hallmark now, what do you like about working for them?

Everyone at Hallmark is so nice. I have been very fortunate as a matter of fact, because all of the sets I’ve ever been on, everyone has been super nice. And that’s really good.

 I think a lot of people first noticed you, like I did, in When Calls the Heart. And then we realized you were in The Magic Stocking and others, but When Calls the Heart was our introduction to Imogen. How did you get the role of Hattie?

I auditioned for the show before, but I was working on The Magic Stocking, so there was a conflict. But then the Hattie opportunity came up, I was like, “Yay! We get another chance!” I had some coaching and wore a nice dress to the audition. Hattie always wears dresses. We went to the hair salon and I got ringlets. I did my thing at the audition, and later found out I got the role. I was really excited! My mom used to watch Little House on the Prairie, so when she was helping me prepare for the role, she suggested I think about the mean, rich girl, Nellie Olson. I watched some videos of Nellie to help me prepare.

I hadn’t even thought about Nellie Olson, but now that you bring that up, it makes perfect sense. {pause} What I do know is that all the Hearties agree that you were so great on that first episode especially. You really got the chance to develop that character of Hattie. It was phenomenal. I don’t usually cry over When Calls the Heart, but your scene with Erin {Krakow} had me crying. You totally blew me away.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. 

The writers did a great job on that particular episode especially. When we were reading the script, it was a surprise. That twist, that secret that Hattie was holding. And for my personality, that episode was a perfect fit. Not that I’m mean {laughs}, but I was able to get into character really well.

 

What I remember is that everyone was trying to track down who you were. I saw the episode early, and no one seemed to know who you were. Finally, Hallmark had the information later, but we all were going to a lot of work trying to figure out who played Hattie. {pause} So what was it like on set filming When Calls the Heart?

It was super fun. And again, everyone was really nice. Unlike a lot of the other sets where I’ve filmed, there were a lot of other kids.  I got to make new friends on set so I wasn’t lonely. I had other people to play with. Erin was super nice. She’s really good with the kids in general. As we filmed season four, we’ve been getting together with Erin and making cool music and dance videos. All the kids love Erin. There were less trailer parties during the filming of season three, but so many more during season four. {laughs}

 

I remember when I interviewed Genea {Charpentier}, I know she mentioned how much she liked you and how cool it was when you joined the cast because there was someone else around her own age.

 Genea is amazing. All the kids are amazing. When Calls the Heart has been absolutely amazing! The cast and crew on the show have become a real extended family to me. I actually look forward to “going to work” and miss Hope Valley when I’ve been away too long. I feel very grateful and very lucky to be able to play Hattie in a show that means so much to so many people.

 How does school work for you when you’re filming?

I’ve had excellent tutors who have been very helpful. Sometimes in school I would goof off with my friends, but you can’t do that on set.  They have a trailer with tables and paper and all the supplies you need. It’s smaller, and you go there for your classes. Sometimes it’s easier to concentrate. The only problem that you might have is if you don’t understand something, then it can be harder. You might miss some of the explanation that your regular teacher might give you, and it can be hard when you’re away so much filming. But we have good tutors. And I know that I can always get everything done on set. It can take a lot of extra motivation to keep up with schooling sometimes. I’m very lucky my regular school teachers have been very supportive of me. I know they do a lot of extra work to help me, keep me organized and up to date. I really appreciate that.

 It’s going to be great to see you back this season in When Calls the Heart. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you. And I already got a sneak peek at the Christmas movie–I loved your part in it!

I’m so happy to be in the Christmas movie especially, since it’s my favorite time of year. It was so much fun to work on. I hope everyone likes it.

Well, then that’s great you were in a Christmas movie last year. I remember The Magic Stocking. I enjoyed that one. Again, you did a great job, I just didn’t make the connection till later. 

It was such a different part from Hattie. I looked and acted so differently. In The Magic Stocking, I had my hair down and was fashionably dressed. With Hattie, my hair and dress were old-fashioned. Actually, The Magic Stocking was a huge challenge for me because I was almost like the second lead in the movie and I was in virtually every scene. Schoolwork was a real challenge during that show. I had to get tutoring after the production was finished to get caught up. In fact, my tutor from the movie came to my house for a couple days to help me get caught up.

Come to think of it, you’re right. Your role in that film is essential. You need a child who believes that the stocking is magical, and if you hadn’t been believable, the movie would have fallen flat. But you did an exceptional job and were very believable.

Thank you. Well I love Christmas so that helps! The Magic Stocking was so fun! I started filming day one and wrapped with the crew on that last day. With so much time on-set, I got to know the crew members very well.  I also had my twelfth birthday on the set. Lead actor, Bridget Regan surprised me by buying me a huge birthday cake to share with all the cast and crew on set.  It was amazing! I couldn’t believe it! It was so nice of her to do that and everyone on set really appreciated it too since the cake was so yummy. I had such a great time and learned so much during filming that I literally cried all the way home because it was such a BIG full-on emotional experience.

So what would you say are your favorite things about being an actor?

Everything! I love the people, the cool sets, everything! I am fascinated with filming both in-front of the camera as well as behind the camera. On The Magic Stocking, because I was on set for so long, the crew got to know me VERY well. They were so great with me (the film guys especially). They were teaching me how to use the camera.

 

Are there any other upcoming works that you are able to mention?

I will be in another TV series that comes out in the Spring 2017. I can’t mention it right now. It’s pretty big. I’m excited. It was super fun.

 What do you like to do in your “free time”?

I love spending time with family and friends, watching movies, reading, playing video games, biking, swimming, playing soccer, field hockey and travelling. I absolutely love it all.  I really LOVE Winter and skiing.  We are very lucky we live so close to the mountains. I used to be a competitive ski racer (like my older brother), but I’ve had to “step aside” on ski racing for now because it’s too hard with acting and the time commitment that’s needed for both of those things. But I do not quit things! I have just “stepped aside”!

After chatting with Imogen (and meeting her), there is no doubt in my mind that this little beauty is an accomplished, diligent, and fun-loving actress who is willing to jump into almost any part (that is approved by her mother, of course). Furthermore, her talent is astronomical, even at her age. For her, acting is an adventure that she never wants to see end, and with her sunny disposition, her infectious joie de vivre, and her commitment to persevere in a profession that can sometimes squash the spirits of young people, Imogen is off to such a glowing start that I have no doubt her star is going to continue its steady ascent as the days, weeks, months, and years fly by. Imogen is ecstatic about the craft of acting, but she also does not forget the essential things in life–family, friends, fun, and sports (when she can fit those into her schedule). Her mother has sought to give her the best “normal” life she can in spite of the extraordinary gifts with which her daughter has been endowed. And the fact that her mother chose to give into Imogen’s pleas in the event she was keeping her daughter from her destiny speaks volumes about the phenomenal support her mother is to her. So be sure that you tune in on Sunday, December 25, to the Hallmark Channel to see Imogen yet again as Hattie in When Calls the Heart Christmas. Additionally, be sure that you follow Imogen at all the links below lest you miss any of her updates or important news as she is an actress that I am convinced is only beginning her journey in the fascinating world of show business.

FOLLOW IMOGEN

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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