Reel Dad, Real Proud
Robert Carradine, who plays Sam McGuire on television, encourages fans of "‘The Lizzie McGuire" television show to see The Lizzie McGuire Movie. "Hilary Duff sings and dances in the film," he explained in a recent telephone interview. "I knew she did gymnastics but had no idea she could perform such wonderfully choreographed dance numbers. I feel like a proud father watching her."
Duff portrays Lizzie in the popular Disney Channel television series and upcoming movie, and Carradine is Lizzie’s dad in both. He may not be her real father, but he’s quite impressed with the youngster’s talent. "Hilary has star charisma, yet she’s as normal as can be," he said.
Carradine knows something about screen charisma. He’s the son of legendary character-actor John Carradine, and the brother of actors David Carradine and Keith Carradine. Although he’s appeared in over 70 movies (theatrical releases plus TV films), this versatile member of the Carradine clan is best known for portraying Louis Skolnick in the Revenge of the Nerds films. According to Carradine, Skolnick is one of his favorite roles. "That was a joyous cinematic experience," he stated enthusiastically.
And it was a joyous experience for audiences, too. I'm one of the many fans who loved Carradine as Skolnick, the hilarious Nerd. But I’m also intrigued with his work as the father of middle-school age children in TV’s popular "Lizzie McGuire" show. He’s completely convincing as the more lenient parent (in contrast to Hallie Todd's portrayal of Lizzie's "mom with a mission"). Because he’s the real-life father of a 10-year old son (Ian) and a 12-year old daughter (Marica), Carradine has personal experiences to draw from in playing Sam McGuire. "When I leave the set, I go back to the real world which mirrors eerily the trials and tribulations of the show," he declared.
Carradine admits to being the more lenient parent even in real life. "Women have a better understanding and better barometer about how to handle children. A smart man will defer to the woman," he stated. "So, as Sam McGuire, I’m not kidding."
Turning to the upcoming Lizzie McGuire Movie, Carradine said, "With a television show as popular and one that rings as true as "Lizzie McGuire," a movie version seemed the next logical step, and filming of the movie went off without a hitch – just like an extension of the TV series."
Like many veteran actors, Carradine harbors directing ambitions. "I finally got to direct a ‘Lizzie McGuire’ episode and would like to do more directing," he said. I asked why he enjoyed directing. After joking about not having to learn lines, he added, "I’m a mechanical and technical-like person. I’ve raced cars and love things mechanical. In directing, there are a lot of elements that require mechanical precision – such as moving the camera and editing. I also enjoy talking to the actors and coaxing them into their best performances."
The Lizzie McGuire Movie, from Walt Disney Pictures, opened nationwide on May 2, 2003.