Since it premiered on Amazon in 2014, my children and I have been big fans of Annedroids. The whimsical kids series has introduced viewers to the wonderful world of Anne, a charming and gifted young inventor. She and the annedroids that she’s created live in a fantastic junkyard where they use principles of math and science to solve their problems. In season 1, Anne met two new friends, Nick (Jadiel Dowlin) and Shania (Adrianna Di Liello) who shared Anne’s curiosity and became her willing co-adventurers. With the release of the series’ third season, I chatted with series star, Addison Holley about the series, and what it means to be a part of a series that educates and entertains.
Holley credits her role as a teen inventor for fueling her interest in science. She says, “When I was younger, in elementary school, science wasn’t my favorite subject. I didn’t mind it, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. But once I started Annedroids and I learned more about science, I learned all these cool new things! When I was at school, I actually started to have an interest and love for science — especially Biology.”
Holley reveals that “every new episode I learn something new,” and says in addition to discovering new scientific principals, one the best parts of getting a new script was getting to see what — or who — was coming to the junk yard. She explains, “When I’d get a script and read it, I’d say, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a new android in the junk yard!’ That was always fun to see because that’s like a new character or a new friend coming onto the show and a new personality that you get to act with.”
And in Season 3, Holley added that the addition of characters Zack (Jonny Gray) and Charlie (Devyn Nekoda) really stirred up the group dynamic between Anne, Nick and Shania. “I think that since it was always just the 3 of us, the first big change is, there’s a new boy! It’s usually just Nick, Anne and Shania, and Nick’s the only guy surrounded by girls. I think Zack brings on a whole new relationship between the 4 of them. Anne ends up being close with Zack because they share the bond of creating things together, and there’s jealousy that Nick feels for Zack because he’s hanging out with Anne.”
She adds, “And then there’s Charlie and it’s almost the opposite — Anne feels a little jealous because Nick and Shania get to hang out with her while they’re at school. But then we all are friends, so it’s adding more relationships to the whole story.”
Check out some of the fun of Annedroids Season 3
The actor reveals that one of the challenges of shooting a series that has a combination of animation and live-action was learning where to look. The computer-animated androids are created after her scenes are shot, so Holley reveals, “We would basically be talking to air! At the beginning of the process there would be stand-ins, so we would know where to be looking for each android. But after the first season, or even after the first couple months of shooting, I knew exactly where to look for Pal or for Hand. You just started getting used to it and it was like they were really there.
Holley points to the Season 3 finale — “Friendaversary” — as a favorite episode. “I won’t give any spoilers just in case no one has watched it, but it was a lot of fun because it was a big celebration and from the title, “Friendiversary”, it’s our friendiversary, and there was a whole party and it was at night and it was just a nice. Although it was for Annedroids and it was for Nick, Anne and Shania, it was almost like a party for me, Adrianna and Jadiel because we really did become life-long friends throughout the show and the crew and everyone too, we were all just a big family.
The Annedroids set became both Holley’s workplace and her playground. She tells us, “The whole junkyard is so cool, but my favorite parts … I think I have to say the engineering bay. There are just so many cool things to find in there with all these props. You go on the set and you look over and there’ll be pieces of junk and pieces of random things that are so cool and a lot of things that you could play with or learn about.”
In between takes, Holley and her costars spend a lot of time laughing. She reveals, “We would make up dances, we had songs that we would sing. We would always be cracking jokes, making each other laugh. We were really close and we are really close, so it’s like having your best friends with you all the time.”
Addison shares one way she likes her character, and one major difference. “Anne is a very curious girl and that’s something that I am — I’m always interested in and willing to learn new things. That really is who Anne is. She’s just a curious young girl who loves learning and I would say I am too. But I would say I like to dress up, and I love fashion, and I like to sometimes put on some makeup or do my hair, and that’s something that Anne does not like.”
Annedroids earned itself legions of young fans, and has been recognized with awards and nominations for its production excellence. The accomplishment is not lost on Holley, who has earned her own awards and nominations — including a Daytime Emmy nod for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s or Pre-School Children’s Series for playing Anne. She gushes, “The show is not only entertaining — because it is — it has all the funny, dramatic, and serious qualities about life, but then there’s also this educational side to it. The show teaches kids about scientific things, but what I also love about Annedroids, is we show real life. We have single parents, we have same-sex parents, there’s so much that is relatable and I feel like it’s such a great thing for children to be watching. And to be nominated for awards for something that isn’t typically seen in a kid’s show is so amazing.”
Holley has been acting since she was very young, but knows that Anne will always hold a special place in her heart. “Anne and Annedroids have such a big place in my heart. I’m so happy that I was able to be a part of it and to portray Anne. I feel like she’s always going to be there for children to relate to.” And the actor admits that she takes her job as a role model seriously. “I’d like to think that I play a good role model for little kids. Whether it’s through social media or I’ve gotten a few pieces of fan mail which have been so amazing. I’ve gotten a few handwritten letters from kids from all over the world and I love getting those. It’s such a nice feeling. Usually they’re made out to ‘Anne,’ but you know …” [laughs]
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