You probably know her as Katara from “Avatar: The Last Airbender” or as Ann from “Arrested Development” (Wait, who was she again?), but Mae Whitman is now starring in the newest teen comedy movie, “The DUFF,” about a girl who tries to save her image after being branded as her friends’ Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Whitman’s costars include Robbie Amell, who currently acts in “The Flash,” and Bella Thorne, who is best known for starring in Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up.” Here are their takes on “The DUFF.”
UCSD Guardian: Mae and Robbie, did any of you experience this kind of social phenomena when you were in high school?
Mae Whitman: I did. I definitely was bullied and called weird names, and that’s a big reason why I was drawn to doing this movie: to communicate that. A lot of people go through this and that I certainly had. So I wanted to use my experience to make people feel less alone or like you know this is a real infrastructure at all because it’s definitely not. It gets better after school. It definitely gets better.
Robbie Amell: I grew up in Toronto where everybody is polite and apologizes for everything. So I had a very tame high school experience, but you know I always would have stood up and would stand up for anybody that was getting bullied or that I saw get bullied just because it’s such a silly and stupid thing to do.
G: Bella, how did it feel playing a mean girl in the movie compared to most of your other preppy roles?
Bella Thorne: It was very interesting. The hardest part was having to be mean to Mae because number one, she’s 5 foot; she is so cute and mini-sized and I’m 5 foot 8 inches, and I had to be towering over [her], and I just felt like I was digesting her the whole movie.
G: Robbie and Mae, do you believe that “The DUFF” depicts what high school is really like today?
RA: I have a weird answer for this, so take it as you will. Either everybody is a DUFF or there’s no such things as DUFFs.
MW: Yes, I mean, I think that’s what we really wanted to convey with this movie was how silly it is to think that anyone deserves to be put in a box that some other [person] makes up for their own weird, sad reasons. I mean, it just doesn’t — none of that stuff exists. None of the mean, crazy stuff that people get called or the labels or the boxes that people get put in exists. Like, you’re the only one who can say who you are and be who you are. Nobody else knows what they’re talking about.