The show focuses on the experiences of Maddie Graham (Jessica Sula) and the people she comes to meet in Springtime Meadows, a sober living house meant to help adults learn how to live substance free. Pratt plays Graham's roommate Trish, a spunky, upbeat young woman who fell into the tricky world of drug addiction.
We got the chance to speak with Kyla Pratt about her experiences on the show, the shift in her acting career from her earlier days on comedy shows, and what the Recovery Road showrunners have in store for Trish.
PopWrapped: Good morning! I've seen Doctor Doolittle and was a big follower of The Proud Family when it aired during my morning cartoons. Besides the major differences, how has this role challenged you compared to Penny Proud or a member of the Doolittle family?
Kyla Pratt: Playing Trish has completely challenged me. Growing up in this business, I've mainly done comedy, and I'm always the funny girl who makes you laugh or does the slapstick comedy jokes. I often felt like I hadn't gotten my chance to give the dramatic side of me – everybody sees me as the funny girl. So to be able to play a character like Trish was amazing for me. I auditioned for the show, and Trish started out as the same bubbly, quirky girl who was a little different because of the obvious reasons.
But knowing that we were going to be in a sober living house, I knew there was going to be twists and turns left and right. I just didn't know everything that was going to pop up. It's amazing for me to be challenged – I love being challenged and having acting homework. This is what I love to do and with something as serious as recovery, I wanted to make sure that people understand that drugs are not something to play with. A lot of people play with it and think, "Oh, we'll just do this for fun" and not know that it can affect your entire life.
I went with it. I have sisters; I have brothers, and I want them to see me doing all this research, and seeing that this is not something they should do as a thing to pass the time or make you feel better, because it can affect your entire life.
PW: Absolutely. It's a major topic. Even now, with shows like The Fosters and Recovery Road showing a different side to the family dynamic – what can make a family. Being in a family isn't just blood relations or even being taken in by an aunt or uncle anymore. It's completely different. It's a support system.
KP: Right, and that's what I love, because for so long we've had these families that are hunky dory, or maybe have one little issue here or there. But real life is what everyone is seeing on TV now, like in Recovery Road or The Fosters. We're seeing something similar – we know you're going through something similar. We know not everyone can relate to being raised in a house with a mom and dad together with no issues.
PW: As far as the dynamic between Trish and Maddie right now – you started out as roommates and now Maddie's starting to care for Trish and have that kind of sisterly bond. I can definitely feel them growing closer. So with Trish's own journey, and Maddie being so new to the sobriety program, how will that affect their relationship down the line?
KP: I think it's going to be amazing. I like that, because looking at it that way with Trish always being up in Maddie's face – someone who's really annoying, but you can't help but love them. Now I think we'll see the tables turn a little bit, and see Maddie look like she needs to be there for someone else – being there for Trish – and it turns the student into the teacher. I think their relationship is going to grow. It will show Maddie that she really cares about these people, and it's not, "I'm just staying here for a time and I'm gone." She's becoming a family with these people she never thought she would relate to.
PW: We only have five episodes right now, and in that short time we've been able to see everyone grow as people – it's been really amazing.
KP: Yeah, I enjoy that part. And I enjoy that we never know how things are going to go. You see in episode 5 how much these people have grown and you think, "Wait, but..." With the life of addiction, you never know if they're going to keep growing, or if they're going to go back down that path. You never know what's going to happen because it's real life.
PW: If you had the chance to rewrite Trish or tweak her character a little bit, would you take that chance or leaver her as she is?
KP: I don't think I would change Trish at all. Her personality, her journey – I love everywhere and every place they're taking her and everywhere they're saying she's been. I love the writing on this show, and I love writing as well, but I'm still learning and don't know if I could give Trish justice. I haven't really thought of where I would take her, and this show is amazing. I can't wait for you guys to see more.
So much has happened already on Recovery Road, we can't wait to see the rest of the season! Each character is so well developed already, and as we see each of their backstories, we fall in love with them so much more. It's amazing to see how these characters come alive and lead us through their stories.
Huge thanks to Kyla Pratt for taking the time to chat with us and for giving us some additional details about the show! Keep up to date with her projects by following her on Twitter.
And for a sneak peak at tonight's new episode, "Heaven Backwards," check out the clip below!
Be sure to catch Kyla Pratt in Recovery Road on Mondays at 9/8c on Freeform!