Michelle Trachtenberg, co-star of the "Ice Princess" Movie!
Cutie -pie Actress Michelle Trachtenberg was born on October 11, 1985, in New York City, NY and made a recognized splash into the Hollywood scene only 11 years later when she starred with Rosie O'Donnell in Harriet the Spy. Before the film, she had commercial and television acting experience, most notably with future Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar on the soap opera All My Children. After Harriet, Trachtenberg made smaller film appearances, along with additional television roles. In 1999, she co-starred as Penny in Inspector Gadget with Matthew Broderick. She took on the role of Gellar's younger sister on the WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2001, and a recurring turn as pop star Celeste on Six Feet Under in 2004.
Michelle Christine Trachtenberg started acting at age 3, after telling her mother Lana, a former actress and puppeteer, that she wanted to be on TV. Michelle's first job came in a commercial for Wisk: "I was a daughter who had to throw fake cranberry juice on my father," Michelle later explained. In the years that followed, she appeared in over 100 commercials. Michelle made an early appearance on a 1991 episode of Law & Order. Then, from 1994 to 1996, Michelle had her first major dramatic role, playing an autistic child, Lilly Benton Montgomery, on the long-running soap All My Children. One of her All My Children co-stars was Sarah Michelle Gellar, who would go on to star in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the meantime, however, Michelle was cast in the title role in Harriet the Spy (1996), based on the beloved children's book by Louise Fitzhugh.
Following a few more television appearances, including the award-winning children's show Reading Rainbow, Michelle was seen on the big screen again, this time as precocious Penny in the live-action film version of Inspector Gadget (1999). Some could say that karma played a part in her landing the role: It's rumored that Michelle had been considered for the lead in a remake of The Parent Trap, but passed so that her friend, Lindsay Lohan, could have the part. In return, Lohan offered her the role of Penny in Inspector Gadget.
Trachtenberg's career took a darker turn when she moved to Los Angeles to join the cast of the cult favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in 2000. Michelle played Dawn, the sister of the eponymous Buffy -- it was Sarah Michelle Gellar, her former co-star, who had recommended Michelle for the part. Trachtenberg remained on Buffy until the show came to an end in 2003. Michelle's next project was the teen comedy Eurotrip (2004), in which, as the bikini-clad Jenny, she put to rest any doubts that she, now 18, had grown up. She also has parts in the upcoming movies Mysterious Skin (2004), Odd Girl Out (2005) and Ice Princess (2005).
In between roles, Trachtenberg does charity work and pursues her hobbies, which include swimming, rollerblading, ice skating, bicycling, and writing short stories.
In spite of her busy work schedule, Michelle still makes education a top priority. While filming, she was always tutored on the set. When not working, she attended regular school, whether it was elementary school in Brooklyn, New York, or high school in Sherman Oaks, California. Her older sister Irene is a recent college graduate, and Michelle plans to follow in her footsteps. Her plan is to go to school, but still do movies in the summer. One thing is certain, though -- she's not keen on math. "What do you use it for?" Michelle jokes. "'I'll have eggs and a Pythagorean theorem, please.'"
More fun facts about Michelle Trachtenberg
Height 5' 7" (1.70 m)
Eyes color: Blue
Hair color: Brown
Hobbies: Swimming, rollerblading, ice-skating, bicycling, creating beaded jewelry and writing short stories
Best friend: Lindsay Lohan
Pets: 1 Cat (Casey)
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Sandwich: Tomato
She worked with Sarah Michelle Gellar on "All My Children" (1970) before "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) and they were good friends. Sarah was the one who recommended Michelle for the part of Dawn.
She grew up in New York but moved to LA three years ago with her mom. Her dad still lives in New York.
Appeared at the Xcel Center at a Sci-fi expo alongside Kristine Sutherland (May 2002)
Said the last line ever in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) series.
Dating X-Men actor Shawn Ashmore (2004-)
She loves to play tennis.
She helped then President Bill Clinton launch The Coalition for a Drug Free America campaign.
Attended Notre Dame High School. She graduated with awards in Social Studies and Religion and was also named under the California Scholarship Federation.
Shares a birthday with Joan Cusack and Luke Perry.
Attended Bay Academy Junior High School in Brooklyn, New York
Her birthday is also the wedding anniversary of her "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) cast mate Alyson Hannigan (Willow) and "Angel" (1999/I)'s Alexis Denisof (Wesley).
Was able to sneak a souvenir from the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" set when the show ended, a wooden stake.
Studied ballet as a child, which helped her perfect her skating abilities for "The Ice Princess."
Is of Russian and German decent
Participated in the golf tournament in Jamaica hosted by Carmen Electra.
Hobbies: Swimming, ice skating, writing poems
"I love gardening. I think it's very therapeutic when you're having a bad day."
[On being involved in a Buffy spin-off] "I didn't see myself continuing as Dawn because I like to have diversity in my roles. A lot of people are like: "Oh my God! Little Dawn grew up!" And as much as I love you guys, suck it up."
[On why she chose not to continue her role as Dawn Summers] "I felt like every year, my character got younger as I got older. The scripts even had me speaking grammatically incorrectly. So I had to do something else. Besides, the show is over. If you miss it, get the DVDs."
[on the future of Buffy] I'm sure that in some way, shape or form "Buffy" will be continued or the story, through the fans, because we do have such devoted fans and that's always been very sweet.
"One day I'd like to win an Oscar. But, I tell my mom if I ever get to be rude and demanding to let me know and I'll stop it. I don't want to be an actor like that."
"My confidence comes from me, Michelle, as a person. I don't necessarily believe that I will act and be a lead forever, but I want to continue to act for a long time. I love to do what I do."
"A fashion editor at Vogue, that would be awesome." (On her dream job)
"Anything you throw at me, I'll try to tackle."
"I adore London and Paris, and I hope to live in London for a period of time when I'm older."
"I love tennis. I tried gymnastics at one point, but my tush got a whole lot of black and blue so that wasn't fun."
'Buffy' Vet Trachtenberg Takes a 'Dive'
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" co-star Michelle Trachtenberg will play the lead role in "The Dive From Clausen's Pier," Lifetime's adaptation of Ann Packer's novel.
John Wierick adapted Packer's book, which focuses on Carrie Bell (Trachtenberg), a young woman who is having doubts about marrying her high school sweetheart. After he's paralyzed in a diving accident, she's forced to reexamine her life and flees to New York. Once she finds professional success and new love in the Big Apple, she gets to reexamine her life again.
Harry Winer ("Alias," "Veronica Mars") is adapting the production, which comes from Con Artists, the television arm of Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, and Fox Television Studios.
Trachtenberg's new feature film "Ice Princess" opened over the weekend and made roughly $7 million. The star of "Harriet the Spy" and Eurotrip" is still best know as Dawn Summers on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
"We are thrilled that Michelle is joining us to bring Ann Packer's celebrated novel to life," Trevor Walton, Lifetime's senior vice president of original movies. "It's an absorbing, suspenseful and sexy story that explores the dilemma of choosing between what you feel you owe to the people who love you and what you owe yourself. We are also delighted that this movie marks our first foray into partnership with Icon Productions and Fox Television Studios."
Michelle Trachtenberg: On Ice
Buffy’s little sis may have fought demons in the fires of hell but she’s also at home on an icy pond; at least she is in her new Disney film Ice Princess.
If you’ve ever seen Harriet the Spy, Michelle Trachtenberg’s first big feature film, or followed her through several “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” seasons and a teen Eurotrip, you’ve watched the actress grow and blossom into a gorgeous young woman, never more so than as a graceful figure skater.
Michelle knew how to skate but admits that she had to go through some rough training and torn ligaments to achieve at least the look of competitive skater status. When we spoke with the actress in L.A.’s Century City, she breezed into the room looking more like a breath of Spring than a ski or skate bunny. Her black tank top over a long peasant skirt and sandal heels, gave Michelle an elegant bohemian look. The first thing she uttered upon seeing a giant poster from the film with not one but two Michelles prominently displayed was “Whoa, Wow, that’s big!” It went on from there. Michelle is funny, far from shy, loves to chat and will dish on anything from her cool boyfriend actor Shawn Ashmore to falling on her fanny and her upcoming project Mysterious Skin, a much more “adult” role for her.
Get some hot cocoa and curl up in front of your computer screen while we transport you into the world of an Ice Princess…
TeenHollywood: So is this your Million Dollar Baby?; a big sports movie for you?
Michelle: Yes. I really struggled with the lack of makeup in this role and just being — no, I’m kidding. In the physical sense, it is. I trained extremely hard for the movie. When we weren’t shooting, I was working, training five hours a day, five days a week, and I had ballet every other day. I was constantly on the ice. And then when we were shooting, I was working seven days a week, 20-22 hour days. Everyone else was pretty much a minor, (Michelle is 19) so after 10 hours, they went home and I was still there on ice skates, working my way around.
TeenHollywood: Did you hurt yourself at all?
Michelle: I did. I tore a couple of ligaments, dislocated a knee. It sounds really bad, but those are all things that happen to athletes. I’m very lucky because I didn’t get any stress fractures. When I was 8 or 9, I was like ‘oh, I want to be an ice skater’. And I took one lesson and it was like ‘heh, heh,. no. I’ll stick to acting, thank you’. But, I was obsessed with Michelle Kwan and Oksana Baiul, they were just perfect. When Disney came to me with this movie, I was like ‘okay! I can ice skate. No problem. I did it at a party once’. They were like, ‘yeah, right’. But it’s really cool because one day my coach came up to me and she said, ‘If you had started this when you were five years old, you'd be able to do those double axles and everything.’ So I was sort of natural at it, which was kind of fun.
TeenHollywood: How many falls did you take?
Michelle: A few. That’s probably why my knee cap’s off kilter because when you’re doing a spiral, you put all your weight on the knees. But, unless you’re doing crazy jumps, you can sort of prevent yourself from falling. You can see the distance and feel yourself on the ice, but I fell on my butt a couple of times in front of a couple of thousand extras. That was awesome. They’re like, ‘Yeah, Dawn fell on her ass!’ But for the most part, they were all very nice, so I laughed. When you laugh, it all goes away.
TeenHollywood: What moves were you able to do at the end of training?
I do waltz jumps and I can land a single toe loop which was the day I think literally the entire ice rink started cheering. It wasn’t like the most perfect form but my toe pick stuck in the ice which was all I wanted. I do a lot of the party tricks like the spirals and crossovers, but my big thing, which none of my doubles could do is an outside edge spreadeagle which is basically your feet in one line and you’re leaning back on the outside edge and going around on a curve, and not even a lot of skaters who are Olympic levels can do that because it depends on how your body’s set up. There’s one shot in the movie where it starts out on my feet and just moves up and it’s just across the entire rink. I’m very proud of that shot.
TeenHollywood: Do you think you’ll ever just go out and skate again?
Michelle: You never know. I’m honestly very busy right now with acting stuff because that is my first and foremost. To be an athlete takes a grueling amount of discipline. I don’t know that I have that focus right now because it’s all about acting. I think in a couple of years my friend’s going to have an ice skating party, and I’m going to be like ‘watch what I can do. Who thinks they’re cool now?’
TeenHollywood: You say you admired Michelle Kwan. What was it like meeting her?
Amazing. It was so cool. I was just like the biggest nerd. It was like ‘you’re Michelle Kwan’. That was literally the first thing I said. It was like ‘really?’ ‘cause she didn’t know she was Michelle Kwan. I had to tell her. She was so cool and so nice, and she was just supposed to do a cameo in the movie.
TeenHollywood: Then she ends up a commentator. Did you ever get on the ice with her?
Michelle: Someone asked her if she would get on the ice with me, so we all expected Michelle Kwan to be like ‘well, no, I’m sorry’ but she got on the ice with me, skated around. First of all, to see her on the ice is like I would imagine watching Sean Penn or Dustin Hoffman work. It’s just so effortless and brilliant. And she turned around to me and said ‘you’re good. You’re a natural for what time you’ve had and what you’ve accomplished. I’m impressed’. So that to me that was the utmost compliment. She’s a really cool girl.
TeenHollywood: Your character Casey is a Math whiz. How about you?
It’s funny. I hate Math. I’m just going to get it out there. When I was in school I always thought Math was stupid and pointless until one day my teacher came up to me and he was like ‘yeah. It’s pointless. You won’t ever use Pythagorean theorems, you won’t ever apply any of these formulas, but you can solve problems. Math teaches you logic’, so that was one way I was able to accept Math for getting to points a, b and c. That’s how I connected.
TeenHollywood: So was physics even harder? Casey is a whiz at that too.
Michelle: I actually understood the physics. I was really proud of myself. I was like writing things out. I’m like ‘oh, I’m so smart, I remember these things!’ And I was able to write it out and then it was checked by a physics person, and they’re like, ‘yeah, that’s great, she’s good’. Every theory that I say in the movie, every physic ‘shout out’ is all correct. We didn’t want to teach any kids wrong.
TeenHollywood: This movie is about moms and daughters. Is your own mom more like Kim Cattrall’s character or your movie mom Joan Cusack?
Michelle: Actually not like either mom. She is really proud of me, and is really happy that I’m doing something that I love and am most passionate about, but when I started acting, the first thing she said was, ‘Great. If you want to be an actress, that’s awesome (but) you have to go to school. You have to have your education, that’s first and foremost, and everything else comes separate’. She’s never a stage mom. So she never pushed any of her particular ideals or opinions on me.
TeenHollywood: So is she glad now that you picked acting?
She’s very supportive and of course now she’s like ‘oh, I’m happy that you stuck with the acting thing. You’re so pretty out there honey’. She gets so excited. Like we just got Tivo and she put my name in and now she watches every single thing. I’m like, ‘Mom, no, just don’t.’ She’s like, ‘But look, that episode from when you were five is on.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I can’t watch it.’ She gets really excited.
TeenHollywood: Casey has to work in a burger stand. Ever have any bad high school jobs?
Michelle: No, I’ve been acting since I was three, so I’ve never known any other job. One day I worked at a friend’s store and (laughs) I’m so good at sales. It was a baby store and I sold like $5,000 worth of baby stuff in one day. I was literally pulling people off the street. It was like ‘You need to buy this for the baby. This is perfect and it’s so pretty’ or ‘you’re going to have babies (some day) so you should be prepared’. That was really fun because I actually got to see and talk to people. The one thing that you don’t get with movies is that you don’t actually get to experience the people that you’re putting these things out for. With sitcoms, the audience is right there. You can hear them laugh immediately. TV it’s right away.
TeenHollywood: Was it fun shooting in Toronto?
Michelle: Toronto was great. My first movie was in Toronto 10 years ago, which was Harriet The Spy. Driving by the Sutton Place (Hotel) which was where I stayed when I was 10, I was like (gasp) I remember what that feeling was that first day walking into the big hotel. It was really cool. My boyfriend’s from Toronto. Well, he’s from B.C. but has a place in Toronto.
TeenHollywood: And that would be cool X-Man Shawn Ashmore. How did you ever meet an X-Man?
Michelle: Well, I put out an add in the classifieds: ‘Wanted, superhero. I’m a damsel in distress’.No, we just met, which is funny, knowing Shawn, he hates anything about publicity. He‘s so not into that world. We met at an Oscar party and he was just like Mr. Grumpy unhappy to be out in public and I totally approached him. I was the forward one, I take full credit and actually, we’ve been together a year. (We chat on how weird it is that his X-Men character is “Iceman”).
TeenHollywood: Someone tells Casey that the real her only comes out in her skating. So you feel that way about your acting?
Michelle: Every character that I play is like a tiny per cent of my personality sort of heightened. So I’m also very adamant about never really playing the same character again. That’s sort of a struggle and I guess my personality comes through in the skating in terms of Casey because that’s like the stronger and powerful side. I think in acting not necessarily the real me comes out but just parts. The real me is sitting at home, no makeup, in my old sweatpants, watching DVDs. And no makeup is a big thing because I love makeup. So that’s me. I’m there clicking on my Tivo watching ‘Law And Order’ with my sister because I’m obsessed.
TeenHollywood: We hear you’ve already done a DVD commentary on this film.
Michelle: Yes. Actually, Trevor (Blumas) and I and Kirsten Olson did it together. It was weird because I so am not a fan of watching my own work. I’m the most critical person. We’re talking about ‘oh my god, bad hair day! Really bad hair day’! Like you could sort of fix everything that you wanted to when you were shooting.
TeenHollywood: Do you have a favorite deleted or added scene?
Michelle: Well, there was one thing missing when we were filming. I wanted a scene in there for my character to come right out and say, ‘I want to ice skate, this is my passion, this is what I want most in the world’ and it wasn’t there. That was something that I felt little girls and their moms can connect to more than anything because how can you deny anyone their passion? I mean, my mom didn’t deny it for me and that’s been an awesome thing. So when we did reshoots, they wrote that scene. I was doing the DVD commentary and I was just like ‘this is the scene that I wanted more than anything, and I hope everyone loves it because I think it’s one of the best scenes in the movie’.
TeenHollywood: But you didn’t let them film you while you were commenting on the DVD?
Michelle: No, no. Because I’m just a spaz. That’s what Casey and I relate to. I’ll be just like walking and I can trip over my own feet. I’ve actually tripped standing, which I don’t understand. It’s weird. My boyfriend thinks it’s cute.
TeenHollywood: Is there any talk of someday doing a “Buffy” movie?
Michelle: I’m sure that there was tons of talk. ‘Buffy’ was my all-time favorite show before I was on it. So I loved Dawn. She was an awesome character and that was where I was at that point in my life. I was, you know, 14-17, which is hugely different. I’ll be 20 in October, so reprising a character is hard but never say never. I’d have to see the material and also I have so many projects that I want to do right now after Ice Princess. I believe every actor’s path is sort of set and you don’t want to veer too much away from moving on and growing as an actor.
TeenHollywood: Skaters have to go into it with their whole heart to succeed. Do you feel that way about acting? Don’t do it if you can’t do it full force?
Michelle: I think definitely. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have found my passion early in life, and the second that I say this sucks or it’s too hard, then I’m done. Because my heart and soul are not going into my projects any more. But I think that in order to really give respect to your audience, you have to be there full force. And there are so many girls out there that are actors that are just about the hype. That’s fine, you’ll have your time, that’s cool, I respect you for your work. But what I want more than anything is longevity. Passion leads to longevity.
TeenHollywood: After Ice Princess, fans can see you in Mysterious Skin, a totally different, more adult-style film.
Michelle: Yeah. Mysterious Skin was actually filmed before Ice Princess. I was actually 17 when I filmed it. There are no words to describe how insanely different these two movies are, and that’s awesome for me as an actress because it shows complete range. I never want to be pegged into something. It’s about two boys who experience something traumatic in their lives and how they each grow up to deal with it. And I play Joe Gordon-Levitt’s best friend. He’s the wild child boy and it’s very dark and very poignant and beautiful and moving and everything, and unlike anything anyone’s seen me in, and I’m very proud of it.
TeenHollywood: The last skater costume you wear in Ice Princess is absolutely gorgeous. Did you have any input into how it would look?
Michelle: I did. It was all hand done to me and each rhinestone was particularly placed, but I specifically was there (for fittings) because I wanted that moment to just be her crowning glory. It sort of feels like water. It just flows. And it felt so pretty.
Putting A Brain On Ice
In "Ice Princess," Michelle Trachtenberg plays brainy high school student Casey Carlyle, who dreams of being a professional ice skater but whose mom (Joan Cusack) is steering her toward an Ivy League education instead. When Casey gets a chance to train with a disgraced former skating champ (Kim Cattrall), she goes against her mother's wishes and uses her math skills to plot out a perfect performance. MTV sat down with Trachtenberg to find out what she thought about working with one of her "Sex and the City" idols and whether she'd ever faced the sort of dilemma that had Casey so torn.
MTV: What kind of training did you do for this movie?
Michelle Trachtenberg: It was constant. I trained for eight months, including the time we were shooting. When we weren't filming, it was like five days a week, five hours a day. I had ballet every other day, mixed into that. And then when we were filming it was seven days a week of work. On the weekends I was doing choreography. And then during the week it was 20-hour days, just constantly on the ice from morning to night. I worked really, really hard. I bumped and jumped and fell along the way and did all that, but I guess it's all part of being an athlete.
MTV: Is this something you might continue to do on the side since you trained so much and got so familiar with the sport?
Trachtenberg: Well, for me this was a character, you know, that I specifically trained and wanted to have in that respect. But acting is my love, it's my joy, and what I really just have fun doing. So that's what I'm sticking to.
MTV: In the movie, your character is torn between what she wants to do and what her mother wants her to do. Growing up and wanting to be in this business, were you ever torn? Or was it something your parents supported you on?
Trachtenberg: I started acting when I was 3 years old, and I was never pushed into it. In fact, my mom has been just amazingly supportive and has always said, "The second you stop having fun, the second you stop enjoying it, just get out. It's not worth it." So I've always had a really great support from her, which was interesting, because in "Ice Princess," my character, Casey, and her mom, Joan [Cusack's character], they don't have the same opinion on what Casey should be doing. Joan wants her to go to Harvard, and Casey wants to be an ice skater. So that was an interesting struggle for me to kind of think, "What would that be like — not having the full support of my mom?" And I'm glad that Casey went after her dream.
MTV: What advice do you have for kids who are stuck in your character's position, where they are torn between their dream and what their parents want them to do?
Trachtenberg: Well, there's a particular scene in the movie where I tell my mom, "This is what I love, and this is how I feel best." And I don't think if you have an open communication with your parents, I don't think they can deny you your dream. I mean, there's a compromise at hand. I won't tell you the end of the movie, but there's always a compromise. You mix a little bit of both worlds. Like I said, I wanted to be an actress and my mom said, "You have to always go to school. You have to have your education." So I had to mix in both worlds, and it was hard but I did it.
MTV: What was it like working with Joan Cusack and Kim Cattrall?
Trachtenberg: They were great. Joan is a wonderful woman. She's a great actress. It was a really great match for us to play mother and daughter, I think. We really loved each other off-set, and I hope that it comes across on camera because she's just a pleasure to act against. And Kim's great. Kim's just a fun, awesome woman. I was a huge "Sex and the City" fan. She's a cool lady. I think people will be really surprised at her role in this movie, and I'm happy for her.
MTV: What kind of projects do you have coming up?
Trachtenberg: I can't really say the names yet, 'cause I'm in a bunch of final negotiations now, but I never really stop working. I have a movie that's actually awesome, and I think MTV will really respond to it. It's called "Mysterious Skin." And that's a much darker, independent film, completely different from "Ice Princess," and it's directed by Gregg Araki [and it co-stars] Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elisabeth Shue.
The worlds of math and figure skating collide in 'Ice Princess'
Little did anyone know that when the two mother/daughter teams were cast for the ice skating film "Ice Princess," both mothers and daughters shared the same birth dates. Kim Cattrall and her on-screen daughter Hayden Panettiere were born on Aug. 21, and Joan Cusack and Michelle Trachtenberg were born on Oct. 11.
"Isn't that funny?" says Cusack in an interview with Zap2it.com. "I think that's part of your job as an actor, having some sense of intimacy, and then we had the same birthdays. That's a great conversation starter, you know?"
Panettiere says she totally forgot about Cattrall's "Sex and the City" character, Samantha, and they connected quickly. "She's such a sweet person and she's really good in this film, it's crazy that we have the same birthday," says Panettiere.
"Ice Princess" explores the world of competitive figure skating. Trachtenberg, known as Dawn on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," plays a bookworm who concocts mathematical formulas to improve on ice skating techniques. Her serious mother, played by Cusack, sees her daughter on the fast track to Harvard.
Cattrall plays a disgraced skater with a devious past who is now running her own skating rink and is grooming her daughter (Panettiere) for championship competition. Problems arise when Trachtenberg's character decides she wants to compete, too, and wants Cattrall's character to help her without her mom (Cusack) knowing.
She worked as hard for the role as her character did in the film, Trachtenberg says. "I was training five hours a day, five days a week, and I had ballet every other day. We were shooting seven days a week and after 10 hours they went home and I was still there on ice skates, I was working 20-22 hour days."
That resulted in a few torn ligaments and a dislocated knee for the actress. For Panettiere - who rode a zebra recently for "Racing Stripes" - even her training as a gymnast didn't prevent a few minor injuries.
"I definitely went through many more bumps and bruises on my legs and my rear end went through a beating," she says about skating. "But I'm proud that I learned most of my tricks and they used them in the film."
Real-life champions Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano made cameos in the film and watched the actresses on the set.
"I was the biggest nerd," Trachtenberg says of her first meeting with Kwan. "To see her on the ice is like I would imagine watching Sean Penn or Dustin Hoffman work. It's just so effortless and brilliant. And she turned around to me and she's like, 'You're good, you're a natural for what time you've had and what you've accomplished. I'm impressed.' So that to me that was the utmost compliment."
Actual skating competitors were used in the film, and they razzed the actress. "I fell on my butt a couple of times in front of a couple of thousand extras, but for the most part, they were all very nice, so I laughed," Trachtenberg says.
And unlike her character, she hates math. "I always thought it was pointless, but one day my teacher explained how it teaches you logic, so that was one way I was able to accept math, that's how I connected," Trachtenberg says. "And I actually understood the physics. I was really proud of myself."
Cusack's mother is a math teacher, and she says she loves math and emphasizes the importance to her sons. "I think with kids, trying to find the right balance with social life, academics, sports and arts is a big thing," says Cusack, and pointing to the moms in the movie, she adds, "We're both kind of pushing what we think our kids should be like. It's sort of crossing that line where you want to shape your kid, but you don't want to shape them into you."
Trachtenberg's real-life mom isn't like either of the mothers in "Ice Princess," she says, "She is really proud of me, and said, 'If you want to be an actress, that's awesome but you have to go to school. You have to have your education, that's first and foremost.' She's never a stage mom. She's just always been there for me, and that's really important."
Trachtenberg says she isn't at all like the glamorous girl she becomes in the film with the jeweled tiara and skimpy skirt. At 19, and dating actor Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from the "X-Men" movies), she admits, "The real me is sitting at home, no makeup, in my old sweatpants, watching DVDs."
"Ice Princess" opens nationwide Friday.
Michelle Trachtenberg: Transition to Hottie
Hey, she’s been acting all her life. It doesn’t seem that long ago that cutie Michelle Trachtenberg was in grade school snooping around as Harriet the Spy. Then, the actress popped up as “Buffy’s” weird little sis but, have you seen her lately? Little Michelle has turned into a major hottie and she’s anxious to show the world that she’s a young woman now at age 18. In the teen sex comedy EuroTrip, it’s true, she’s the only girl who doesn’t take her clothes off (the film is rated “R” for good reason) but she is seen in tight, low-cut tank tops and a bikini. In “Trip”, Michelle is off to Europe with a group of pals who hope to hook a friend up with his computer penpal.
We sat down to dish with Michelle in the posh Renaissance Hotel in L.A.’s Hollywood and Highland complex recently (Ryan Seacrest was doing his TRL-style show right below us). In feminine pink angora hoodie, jeans and white super-high heels, this popular young woman told us about her EuroTrip adventures, future projects, rigorous workout schedule and musical tastes all while munching on some tasty pastries. And, yes, she talks a bit about “Buffy” and the cancellation of “Angel”. Check it out….
TeenHollywood: What made you want to take on a sexy comedy like EuroTrip?
Michelle: I was coming directly off ''Buffy'' and the
challenging part was getting people to see that I am eighteen years old and that I am a young woman and I am maturing. So that was something to specifically focus on and I did. I had a blast making this movie and it’s really funny.
TeenHollywood: Have you ever had a computer date or cyber-penpal?
Michelle: No, I’ve never had a pen pal, but my friends and I do talk online all the time. I love instant messenger. It’s great it’s so quick. We email all the time but I’ve never had an Internet date. I don’t think I’ll ever partake in that. It’s scary.
TeenHollywood: Have you ever gone on a European road trip?
Michelle: No, not like this one. I’ve been to Europe many times. I love Paris and London and Germany. It’s just wonderful that the cultures there are so different from ours. It lets you appreciate so much more what we have here in America. But also just to diversify yourself and learn more about different people. I love London. I want to live there eventually.
TeenHollywood: Okay, on to the juicy stuff. Everybody wears very little or nothing in this movie. Why not you?
Michelle: Actually, my character originally had a flashing scene on the side of the highway. I had to sit
down and talk about it with the boys (the co-directors of the film). Basically I said I’m not comfortable being nude. Being nude for an actress is not something that should be done prematurely and it’s not something that should be done in a frivolous way. I respect actresses like Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow who’ve chosen specific roles to show themselves. In a teen comedy I don’t think it’s necessary to go out and bare your boobs-to be blunt. And I will not have someone doubling me- because that was also a suggestion (that it’s me). There was a sexy bikini and we shot a flashing scene of my naked back and I had material upfront and tape and everything and I was all strapped in.
TeenHollywood: Prague is the new Hollywood. Did you get to see any of it while shooting there?
Michelle: Yes and no, I did get to see Prague some weekends but it was mostly just shooting, shooting, shooting. During weeks of rehearsals it was a little bit easier to see around town. It’s stunning, Prague is absolutely gorgeous.
TeenHollywood: We hear that you had some serious weather problems.
Michelle: It was ridiculous. It was only me and it was to the point where we’d be setting up my shot and it would be nice and beautiful and sunny. They’d call ‘action’ and it would start drizzling and raining, raining, raining all throughout my close up. You think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. It would be action-cut, action-cut. Just for me, nobody else. We’d move on to Scott’s close up and it would be sun shining. It was also freezing cold during my flashing scene, it was hailing and freezing and [I] was sweating hot but freezing cold. It was an interesting experience.
TeenHollywood: What was it like running around with an all-boy cast?
Michelle: It’s very interesting because even with those three boys I was the one with the most experience because I had been acting for fifteen years and I’d done many other films and I was also the youngest. I
was seventeen during filming, I’m eighteen now and Scott’s twenty-two and Travis is twenty-six and Jacob is twenty –three. There was a fluctuation of ages but I was certainly the most mature.
TeenHollywood: Did they treat you like one of the boys?
Michelle: They gave me respect as a girl. I think it’s because I wore my stilettos to rehearsal and said that they were my casual shoes and they were like ‘whoa’. Come on now, you have to give it up for the shoes! [She casually hoists her stiletto-clad foot up above our table so I can get a good look at her killer pumps!].
TeenHollywood: Were you a tomboy at all when you were growing up?
Michelle: During my Harriet the Spy years I went through a huge tomboy stage and I would only wear horizontal stripes and overalls. I’ll be scarred from horizontal stripes for the rest of my life. But there was a time of my life that I rebelled against it by making all of my jeans tighter and lower.
TeenHollywood: You’re in a music video. Are you a friend of the band?
Michelle: I’m a huge music fan in general and I’ve always looked forward to doing a video. Trapt is the band and the song’s called “Echo”. They called me in and said ‘Hey, we have this new video called “Echo” and we think you would be great for the girl’ and I met the whole band and I just clicked. It’s kind of funny because all the projects that I’ve been doing recently have tried to get me into various states of undress. I’m in a bikini and a little mini skirt and it was 50 F at Malibu beach. The lead singer and I are in the waves and we’re freezing cold and I totally got bronchitis. But I don’t want to be a singer. I don’t mind singing for projects that I’m doing like episodes of “Six Feet Under” where I play a pop-singer so that’s kind of fun.
TeenHollywood: Who do you like to listen to?
Michelle: I range. I’ll go from like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, John Mayer, Britney, Christina to 50 Cent and Maroon 5 and Black Eyed Peas to AFI and Linkin Park and Trapt. I love 3 Days Grace; all these bands; such a great variation of music. I also have on my i-pod the soundtrack to “Moulin Rouge” and “Chicago” and “Cabaret”. I just love music…I’m not a fan of country though.
TeenHollywood: Do you have any other projects going on now?
Michelle: Yes, I have many projects going on right now. After EuroTrip, I went to into Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin which is a dark and opinionated movie. It's based on a true story about two boys who
were sexually molested when they were younger. I play Joseph Gordon Levitt’s best friend who’s the only person that he’s ever been able to confide in and I help his character discover the importance of embracing and understanding what happened to him when he was younger.
TeenHollywood: Wow, that’s new for you.
Michelle: I’m so honored that he called me. I had coffee with Greg and he said “I think you would be wonderful for this role” and I understand what a risk it was for a director to take a chance on an actress who has not really done as much of that dark, edgy stuff. and I really wanted to break into it. I am in ice skating training for my next movie. I skate 5 days a week , 3 hours a day, I have ballet every other day for a couple hours and on top of that, “Six Feet Under” had me doing choreography practice 4 hours a day.
TeenHollywood: What is the ice skating movie?
Michelle: It’s Disney’s Ice Princess and I am the ice princess and it’s basically a story about a girl who has always dreamed of being a figure skater but her family is very intent on getting her into Harvard. So she devises a plan to use her knowledge of physics and talk to the three main figure skaters in her town. She’s like ‘okay I’ll teach you how to be a better figure skater through physics if you let me work with your coach, if you let me work with you choreographer’. And she trains to become a wonderful figure skater and there’s a love story involved so it’s a really sweet story. I’m doing a lot of my own figure skating. Triple axels I’m obviously not going to be required to make because that takes years of training.
TeenHollywood: What are your thoughts about the end of “Buffy”?.
Michelle:I’m sure that in some way, shape or form “Buffy” will be continued or the story, through the fans, because we do have such devoted fans and that’s always been very sweet. The great thing about ending “Buffy” was that we chose to go out and end on a high note. “Buffy” was a wonderful experience in my career because it introduced me to a whole European fan base which I love and cherish. It was my favorite show when I was growing up and actually to be on it was quite surreal for me. I loved it and I always wanted to be a part of it. To be such a big part of it was really cool but towards the end of the show it got very creatively stifling because they didn’t expand my character to where I thought I could be.
TeenHollywood: Were you surprised that they cancelled “Angel”? Wasn’t it doing better with James Marsters on it?
Michelle: Yeah, I love James. He’s a sweetheart. I actually was surprised when I heard about “Angel” but I’m sure there were certain political aspects involved in that decision. When “Buffy” moved to UPN there were a lot of hurt people, not in the sense that ‘you burned us on a business deal’ but just like the WB was “Buffy’s” home for so long that I’m sure they felt a loss. But from an actress perspective, I understand when someone doesn’t want to get pegged into that role forever or when it’s time to end on a high note. You don’t want to go on for how many years. I credit “Friends”. Ten years is an amazing time and they’ve constantly kept fresh but there are few people who can do that. So end on a high note and leave everyone happy.
TeenHollywood: If they ever came out with a “Buffy” movie would you ever consider it?
Michelle: Never say never, right now I'm much more
focused on new aspects of my career and I’m not really wanting to go back and repeat characters because I think that just isn’t as exciting as doing new things.
TeenHollywood: Aren’t you also in a film called Odd Girl Out?
Michelle: Odd Girl Out is another independent film that I am doing with Bijou Phillips about two girls in a private school and one is the rebellious wild child and one is the perfect bitch. I’m the perfect bitch. I’m the queen of the private school and it’s a dark little rivalry that we have. Of course there’s much more emotional problems involved and it’s an independent movie so it’s actually a cool little fun story.
TeenHollywood: Is there an actor in Hollywood that you would just love to do movies with?
Michelle: Al Pacino I think is just brilliant, or Dustin Hoffman or Robert DeNiro that would be my dream team of actors to work with. Crush-wise, Orlando Bloom, you could throw in a little Colin Farrell in there and Johnny Depp.
TeenHollywood: You could be in the next “Pirates” movie.
Michelle: [all excited] I wish, are you kidding! I could totally be Keira Knightly’s long lost sister which people say we look alike but I don’t see it.
TeenHollywood: You were named one of the top twenty teens who will change the world. How cool is that?
Michelle: It’s a huge compliment.I’m very much a supporter of charities that tell kids that it’s not important to do drugs to be successful. I’m very much against under age drinking and drugs of any sort and drinking and driving. I have never done any drugs whatsoever in my life and I don’t plan to. It’s not something that you need.
TeenHollywood: But in the movie you eat those brownies….
Michelle: [grinning] But they have no drugs in them so it’s all fine. Hey, It’s a movie, it’s the character, [not me].
The End For Buffy?
Sexy actress Sarah Michelle Gellar plans to give up Buffy The Vampire Slayer following the success of her latest movie Scooby-Doo. The 25-year-old star has played high-kicking evil-conquering lead character Buffy Summers for the past five years since the hit TV show began. But she now sees her future on the big screen following the box-office success of Scooby-Doo, in which she played Daphne Blake. She says, "It's important for me to go out on top. I don't want to be part of a show that runs eight years only to have people say of it, 'That should have ended years ago'." The producers of the show are now working on ways to continue the series, which will otherwise end after its seventh run. The most likely possibility would see Buffy's role taken by her teenage sister Dawn, played by Michelle Trachtenberg. There is also a chance that Sarah may be persuaded to make regular cameos. Buffy executive producer Marti Noxon says, "I'm not sure that Sarah will come back. It would be very hard to continue without her, although program makers 20th Century Fox might try." Sarah has been forced to miss out on a string of top movie roles due to the time- consuming constraints of the Buffy schedule and has also complained about the toll the show's stunts take on her body. However in addition to Scooby-Doo she did star in 1999's acclaimed Cruel Intentions and in 2001 flick Harvard Man.
From out of the Ether Comes a New Dawn
When Buffy the Vampire Slayer returns this season, the mysterious arrival of her younger sister, Dawn, may leave you scratching your head--and wondering if series creator Joss Whedon has lost his own. With the same mom, house and last name as Buffy, it's as if Dawn has always been part of the family--and the Scooby Gang.
Sounds goofy, right? Well, not to Michelle Trachtenberg, the 14-year-old firecracker who scored the much-coveted role of Dawn on the WB vamp hit. As Buffy's psychic sidekick, Trachtenberg will be sniffing out evil; she's had plenty of practice in Harriet the Spy and Inspector Gadget. She's also a longtime Buffy buff and pal of Sarah Michelle Gellar (they were costars on All My Children), so she's not just excited about her new role, she's bursting at the seams.
It sounds like getting the Buffy role was a dream come true.
Oh my gosh, yes! I've been a big fan of Buffy for a long time. The show has such a great cast and crew. And I love Joss, he's really fun. When they called up to ask me if I wanted the part, it was like, of course! It was a no-brainer.
Have you been watching the show since the first episode?
Yes. Totally. On my first day on the set, I was saying to myself, Oh, right, this is the Initiative. I knew every set, where everything is, where it goes. It was like, I know what's behind this door. I knew the whole thing. And, like, if you ask me a Buffy trivia question, I'll not only give you an answer, I'll give you some of the history.
Can you tell us anything juicy about your role?
I develop a sisterly relationship with Buffy.
So we've heard. How do you show up?
I develop a sisterly relationship with Buffy.
C'mon, we won't tell anyone. What happens?
I develop a sisterly relationship with Buffy.
Okay, change the subject. Did knowing Sarah help you get the part?
She was very supportive. I'd been on the set a few times to visit her--and I met Joss and everything. So, when I heard about the part, I jumped on it. Sarah was definitely helpful.
Sounds like you guys have stayed close.
Yes, we're good friends. We like a lot of the same things, like Harry Potter books. Sarah turned me on to them.
Speaking of turn-ons, we hear you've got a crush on Nicholas Brendon, who plays Xander.
I develop a sisterly relationship with Buffy.
Right. But what do you think about Nicholas in real life?
Oh my gosh! He's a cutie pie. He's just so cute. I met him on the set, and he was like, "Hi, how ya doing?" And I was, like, dying. He's really tall. And did I mention he's a cutie?
Now that you're being tutored instead of going to school, do you feel like you're missing out on the high school experience?
Definitely not. I still see my friends. We go to the mall, the movies, we do the email thing, listen to music. I'm just like any other 14-year-old.
Last question. If Buffy and Inspector Gadget got into a fight, who would win?
Inspector Gadget has all kinds of cool doodads and stuff, but Buffy's got her strong sidekicks. She'd beat his butt any day.
Michelle Trachtenberg all grown up
Michelle Trachtenberg has managed the often hazardous transition from cute child star to fetching actress with admirable aplomb. But however fast this teen's film career blossoms, she's determined to better herself in the meantime, through public service and higher education.
After enjoying a successful career as a child star in movies like Harriet the Spy (1996) and Inspector Gadget (1999), Michelle Trachtenberg starred as Buffy's younger sister Dawn on the later seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now she's all grown up in the teen comedy, Eurotrip (2004).
New York native Michelle Trachtenberg did her first commercial at age 3, and would add more than 100 more to her resume. Soon she became a child star, taking on the title role in Harriet the Spy (1996) and portraying Penny in the live-action film version of Inspector Gadget (1999). In 2000, Trachtenberg moved to Los Angeles for a three-season stint on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing Buffy's kid sister, Dawn. Most recently, she starred in Eurotrip (2004), proving that her cute days are now behind her -- she's just plain sexy now. But through it all, the amiable Michelle has made sure to stay in school, and plans to juggle her higher education along with a burgeoning movie career; she even generously gives back by helping out a number of worthy causes.
Michelle Trachtenberg certainly has a winning personality. She's a good friend to many --- and this even helped her land roles in Inspector Gadget and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's also keen on getting a good education, an attitude that belies her years. Furthermore, Michelle has donated her time to such worthy charities as DARE, RADD, Youth of America, and the Starlight Children's Foundation.
As for her acting skills, Michelle is talented, but her focus on others and on school have perhaps kept her from really devoting herself to the craft. While she's proven herself in light comedy -- starting with her first commercial at age 3 -- she has yet to tackle any serious roles that would give her an added challenge. Having turned 18 not too long ago, Michelle has passed the jailbait phase, so we can thankfully evaluate her sex appeal without any moral qualms. And the sex appeal is there, all right: anyone who saw her in a skimpy bikini in Eurotrip knows what we're talking about.
Michelle Trachtenberg's sunny look and youthful verve are now gelling with her blooming womanhood, and her sexiness continues to develop as a result. But even though she's already thoughtful and mature, some may still think that Michelle needs a few more years to become a really sexy young woman.
Going from adolescence to adulthood is hard enough, but doing so in the middle of an acting career is even harder. Michelle Trachtenberg has successfully spanned child stardom and is still in demand. Trachtenberg even won two Young Artist Awards along the way, one for her starring role in Harriet the Spy, and another for her work on the television show Meego.
Michelle is still best known for her work as a child star in Harriet the Spy and Inspector Gadget, as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has given her a cult following, as well as a third Young Artist Award.
With Eurotrip and future projects like Mysterious Skin and Odd Girl Out, Michelle is sure to reach a broader audience and establish herself as an adult.
Though she was, understandably, a little awkward-looking in her younger years, Michelle Trachtenberg has undeniably come into her own. A brunette with dazzling blue eyes, she's also got a great set of lips, which wrap around the kind of smile that could light up the dark side of the moon. Standing 5'7" tall, Michelle's lithe body is starting to put on the graceful curves of maturity -- but it's an ongoing process. With a little more time, we're sure that Michelle's beauty will only deepen.
As a still-precocious 18-year-old, Michelle Trachtenberg is well-versed in the unpredictable and amorphous world of teen fashion. Jeans are certainly a good bet, but Michelle might otherwise wear stylish cargo pants or a pleated skirt reminiscent of the schoolgirl look. She often matches these with a simple wide-necked, long-sleeved T-shirt, or a skimpier, more adventurous top, accented with a beaded necklace. Out on the town or at a premiere, Michelle can be seen in a long floral or patterned gown. Alternately, she might wear a simple black pantsuit or a similar outfit, when comfort is as important as looking her best.