Interview: Gabriella Uhl & Jonathan Lengel on 13: The message of the musical

ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke up 13: The musical Stars Gabriella Uhl and Jonathan Lengel on their real-life friendship and the messages the adaptation conveys. 13: The musical will be available to stream on Netflix on August 12th.

“After moving to Indiana from New York City, a 12-year-old navigates his parents’ divorce, his upcoming bar mitzvah, and the social circles of his new school,” reads the film’s synopsis.

Spencer Legacy: Gabriella, you two were convincing friends in the film. How quickly did you guys become friends during production?

Gabriella Uhl: In the first few chemistry readings I read with Jonathan, I felt like we had an immediate connection. He and I are close friends in real life. We talk almost every day, even now. I feel like being best friends with him on screen was really easy because we were best friends in real life.

Jonathan Lengel: I agree 100%. I mean, we really have become such good friends and, as she said, we basically talk every day. It was great meeting you.

Jonathan, you have a great scene where you get frustrated that everyone assumes you need help when everyone else needs a lot more help. What were your first thoughts when you read this?

Jonathan Lengel: It hits me hard, because something like this happens to me almost every day. When I was doing that scene with Patrice and Evan, I felt like a little bit of Jonathan came out and I was really like, ‘Why does everyone think I need help?’ Because it’s an honest question, you know? Everyone always asks me that. So yes. I feel like I integrated Jonathan and Archie into one person in this scene.

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Gabriella, what was it about Patrice’s character that first attracted you?

Gabriella Uhl: Well I was a fan of 13: The musical before I even auditioned, I was obsessed with the musical. I feel like [with] Patrice, the first thing that really drew me to this character was probably her songs. I love singing her songs and I’m so honored to be the new voice of Patrice for a whole new generation of kids.

Jonathan, you have some really funny moments in the film. Was any of this improvised or was it all scripted?

Jonathan Lengel: I would say some of that was written in the script and some of it was a little bit of me coming out of it.

Do you have a particular favorite joke?

Jonathan Lengel: When you first meet Archie, I’ll say, “Welcome to Walkerton. If someone offers to pray for you, let them!”

Gabriella Uhl: This is definitely my favorite Archie line.

Jonathan Lengel: Yes, and it was funny to me because people actually told me that.

Gabriella, which of the dances was the hardest to learn?

Gabriella Uhl: Patrice in particular doesn’t appear in that many dance numbers but I mean applause for Jamal Sims who was the choreographer. The choreographer is absolutely amazing and the dancers who did it – amazing. Can’t give them enough. I don’t know if I could say I was the most challenging because I wasn’t in that many, but I’m sure Jonathan would say the same, I loved filming Brand New You, the big one number at the end of the movie movie. We all gotta jam out a little bit out there, so have fun.

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Jonathan Lengel: I totally agree with you Gabriella. I feel like the Brand New You bar mitzvah scene was my absolute favorite. The dancers were fabulous. It was so intense you could feel the ground shaking and I was actually right up front with Lucy [Frankie McNellis[ and Kendra [Lindsey Blackwell] towards the end. I felt like it was really important for me to show people because I didn’t really see it as a kid. So it felt really good to represent that.

Spencer Legacy: Jonathan, what is one message that you think people will take away from this film?

Jonathan Lengel: I truly hope that whatever your limitations or if you are just different, you are not afraid to do what you love and if you can dream it, you can do it. I feel like every actor in this film is able to see a little bit of themselves with the extremely diverse and talented cast that we have.

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