On the Set of ABC’s SPEECHLESS

Disclosure: Disney sponsored travel, accommodations, and activities during my stay in Los Angeles.

I am back with another fun MOANA experience from my time in Los Angeles!

So far, I have shared my experience on the red carpet3 excellent reasons why you should see the movie, my interview with Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonLin-Manuel Miranda, Auli’i Cravalhofavorite MOANA products and THE BFG DVD/Blu-ray release.

Today, I’m sharing my set visit to ABC’s SPEECHLESS!

On the Set of ABC's SPEECHLESS


Maya DiMeo is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband, Jimmy, and kids Ray, Dylan, and J.J., her eldest son with cerebral palsy. As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves and searches for just the right person to help give J.J. his “voice.”

On the Set of ABC's SPEECHLESS


On the Set of ABC's SPEECHLESS

How did your family react knowing you were gonna write a show that’s based on your experience?

They were really incredibly supportive about it. I made it clear from the beginning to them, as I try to make clear to anybody else, this is not their story.  This is not my story or my brother’s sister.  What’s important to me is to capture a couple of elements about the time we had growing up. They were very, very supportive about that. The things that I wanted to play to was the choice in how you live your life.

I feel like you can take whatever challenge is thrown your way and wallow in it or turn to something that makes you a better person or more fun person or more interesting person. You can curse the heavens or you can band together and make it work. That’s what my mom did. That’s what my dad did. And I wanted to celebrate that at every turn.

Did you have to make any changes to make the story more network ready?

No, the, the network was pretty open to this. There’s a difference between Micah’s character, JJ, and my brother in real life because my brother’s condition is a little more.  

I wanted the character to be a little more back and forth. That was my choice. That wasn’t them laying the hammer down and saying, make it lighter or make it funnier or make it anything different. I just thought in a world where you have six characters in a family, you want a lot more give and take between them. I never wanted that character to seem like a prop. I wanted him to be active and this made it easier to be active.

When did you know that Micah Fowler was the perfect actor for this?

The second I saw the tape. We did a wide search. We took tapes in from all over the country. There was a funny thing that happened with the casting director, Susie Farris. Normally she knows to play the game, not just with me, with any producer. She doesn’t sell it too hard.

With Micah she said this is the one. We’re done. I’m sending you a tape. You’re gonna like it or I’m gonna quit.

On the Set of ABC's SPEECHLESS


Maya enlists the family to assist JJ in romancing a girl at school, but it backfires when JJ expresses his feelings to Claire, and they are not reciprocated. Meanwhile, as the DiMeos are always late, Ray has the family practice to get to school in time for his upcoming weekend field trip. Read more.

On the Set of ABC's SPEECHLESS


And guess what? MOANA IS IN THEATERS NOW!!!

Disclosure: Disney sponsored travel, accommodations, and activities during my stay in Los Angeles.