Interview with Kimberly J. Brown
Greetings! I’m super excited to share this exclusive post with all of you today! Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Kimberly J. Brown a.k.a. Marnie Piper from Halloweentown. We discussed what she’s been up to recently, she answered questions from fans, and of course, we covered Halloweentown!
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Kimberly J. Brown starred in the first three Halloweentown films, which were all produced by Disney. The movies follow the life of Marnie Piper, who goes from your average thirteen-year-old girl to a witch who manages to save both the mortal world and Halloweentown with the help of her magical family.
Halloweentown, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, and Halloweentown High have become must haves for the fall season and have a built a cult-like following over the past decade and a half. Fans of all ages have enjoyed these films, which are available on iTunes all year long and can often be watched on the Disney channel, especially around Halloween.
At any given time, if you search for the Halloweentown hashtag on Twitter, you’ll see hundreds if not thousands of fans watching or discussing the films. It’s truly amazing to see so many people and different generations all coming together around these films.
Kimberly J. Brown as well as the other actresses and actors in the Halloweentown films have created a must-experience legacy for every generation!
If you’re already a fan, be prepared to fall in love with the series and Kimberly J. Brown even more after reading this interview and if you haven’t watched the Halloweentown films yet (Seriously, is that even possible?), get on it! Wait, get on it after you read this interview!
To get things started, I thought we would start with what is currently going on in your life. I see that you are hosting several activities in St. Helens, Oregon next month for the “Spirit of Halloweentown” celebration. What do you all have planned and what can you tell us about the GO GLOWIN?
Kimberly: We’re doing two days of events in St. Helens. There’s going to be a pumpkin lighting and photo ops (for fans). I have Marnie’s costume from the first and second movies, so I plan to wear that during the event. We’re going to do some photos in front of the haunted cab and there’s also a costume contest where I’ll get to be one of the judges, so that will be fun!
I partnered with GO GLOWIN to bring awareness to nighttime safety. We’re trying to remind people to be more conscious of their surroundings, especially on Halloween, and to help people be more aware of each other. There’s a lot of excitement and energy (on Halloween) and often the focus is elsewhere, but I think it’s important to bring awareness back to safety. I love their (GO GLOWIN) products and I think it’s going to be really fun to bring another kind of awareness to St. Helen’s on Halloween this year. It will be a unique form of magic this year and it will really help kick off the festivities in St. Helen’s.
Brief interruption, picture this Kimberly’s answers in Marnie Piper’s voice. I seriously had to reign in my inner fangirl in order to ask my questions without squealing or freaking out. Okay, my public service announcement is over!
Can you tell me about the films you are developing? What are the genres? Where are the in production and when are they due out?
Kimberly: I have my hands in a couple of different projects right now. I am in the midst of shooting several original comedy skits for my YouTube channel. We have a couple that are sort of in various stages of being written and others that are being filmed.
I have a bunch of friends from Second City, where I took improve and UCB, where I have been performing, and we’ve been writing sketches together. They are being shot or we are preforming them on stage, so that is always a continual thing that I’ve been working on and that I really enjoy.
Then there are a couple of scripts that I have been working on in various stages of development. Some of them are written, while others are in the concept stage still. They fall into the suspense and horror/thriller genres with a little bit of a Sci-Fi twist on it. I’m a fan of those kinds of movies. I like the extra thrill in those genres.
It’s something different, as I enjoy learning about the production side of things. I took a break a few years ago and went to college and earned a business degree. I’ve loved learning about the behind the scenes aspect of the business that I have been a part of ever since I was a kid.
I’ve done a bit of line producing and learned about the hands-on production side of film production. I’ve been working on a couple of different tools in that aspect and I’ve been working on the creative side of film production too, which I enjoy. I’ve also continued to go out for things as an actress, so it all keeps to keep things flowing, and I do enjoy all aspects of the entertainment industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about your project Slot King?
Kimberly: Yeah, Slot King is a project that is one that I really love. It’s an adventure-suspense script that has been in development and it’s such a great story. It’s one of those (projects) that I love and hope gets made very soon.
I’ve read that you enjoy writing. Do you primarily stick to comedy sketches or do you lend your hand to film scripts? Do you do any other kind of writing?
Kimberly: I’m a big reader and I love to read. There’s nothing quite like sitting down with a good book. I don’t know if I could ever write one. I journaled a lot as a teenager and wrote a lot of poetry. Over the years, I’ve given ideas to certain projects I’ve been involved with along the way. I’ve written some music (lyrically). I don’t think I’ll ever write a full script on my own, in the sense that I haven’t had a hankering to do so, but that could always change. I’ve always really enjoyed speaking and acting other people’s brilliant words.
You are pretty hilarious! What has been one of your favorite sketches and where can we view it?
Kimberly: With my sketches I’ve been trying to take things that happen to me in everyday life that I think are common and I amplify them to a degree that is some-what relatable, yet shows the hilarious things that we as human beings put up with or tell ourselves that are okay.
My two favorites on my YouTube channel are On Hold, which shows what happens when you have to call a major company and you are on hold for hours. The other one is How to Be a Better Drive, which amplifies the things that we probably shouldn’t do as drivers, but that we get away with. It’s sort of tongue in cheek. It’s kind of more ironic then anything.
We’re working on another one now, it’s a play on dating and the various things that people go through who are in the process of dating. We’re also working on one other thing, but that’s secret for now.
You’ve been involved in theater, film, commercials, soap operas and other TV work, and animated work. What projects have been some of your favorite and why?
Kimberly: Ooh, that’s a great question! I’ve been really blessed to be in various types of projects along the way. Theatre was amazing, being on Broadway when I was young and growing up in New York City was amazing. I’ve met some of my best friends as a kid in theatre an we’re still friends now, which I’m really grateful for. I’m a huge musical theatre nerd. I’d spend every day going to musical theatre if I could, I just love it!
Acting on the soap was great training ground as an actress. Memorizing dialogue and getting to work on different story lines that were always changing and even a little bit out there, was really fun. The people were amazing!
I’ve also had a blast doing comedy and drama. I’m not sure I could pick out just one (favorite project), but there are a few that are special to me for various reasons, like who I worked with or if the character was very near and dear to me. I really enjoyed being able to explore different aspects of myself along the way as well as having feedback from fans, it’s been really amazing.
One of the roles you are best known for is Marnie Piper in the Halloweentown series. Lay it on me, what was it like playing this iconic character in the Halloweentown, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, and Halloweentown High films?
Kimberly: Marnie is such a cool character. I’ve always admired her determination and her spunk, as well as her rock solid believe in herself, even at a young age. For me to be able to play that was such a special fun dream role. I’m so honored and touched that people have no only enjoyed the movies, but that they continue to enjoy them, so much so that they continue to talk to me about them and want to continue to hear about them. It’s such an honor as an actor, not only to have interest and feedback from fans, but to have it continue for all of these years.
What is it like working with Debbie Reynolds?
Kimberly: Working with Debbie Reynolds was one of my favorite things ever that I’ll always treasure. She’s an amazing woman. She’s hilarious, wise, and she’s a really special lady.
We bonded immediately! She has an amazing sense of humor and she is so humble. She’s also a big team player on set and she still loves what she does after all of these years. She enjoys making people happy in that sense and I just adore her.
What were your favorite and least favorite parts of working on the Halloweentown films?
Kimberly: I loved having powers and working with Debbie. The costumes and the creatures made Halloweentown what it is, a place where everybody is accepted and loved for who they are, which is the best message that a movie could share. I also loved the costumes. They were amazing and really helped make Halloweentown special.
The only uncomfortable parts were the scenes were I had to fly on a broom. It looked so amazing on screen thanks to the incredible special effects, but it wasn’t very comfortable in real life.
Are you still in contact with any of your co-stars?
Kimberly: I am! I am in contact with a lot of them. I haven’t seen Debbie recently, but we’ve hung out socially a lot since the end of Halloweentown High. I’ve been to a couple of her variety shows in LA and Vegas. We’ve gone out to dinner a few times and I’ve been to her house. She’s such a gracious kind lady.
I do keep in touch with a lot of the other cast members as well. I was actually just texting with Judith Hoag tonight. We’re trying to get together and go for a hike, to catch up.
It’s been really nice with social media over the years, as a bunch of us have been able to keep in touch. I may not see them all of the time, but we keep in touch on social media.
Over the years, social media has been great with helping us keep in touch and we try to see each other when we can. It’s awesome being able to keep in touch!
Who was your favorite love interest? Luke or Finn?
Kimberly: I don’t know if you could really compare them. Finn is so sweet and so talented. I loved that Marnie had that moment of being honest with a human, it was very reflective of her mother’s relationship with her father when they were younger. I liked to explore that aspect in the third Halloweentown (film).
I also do love Marnie’s relationship with Luke. He’s really fun to work with as well. There were always a bunch of fans that wanted to know if they would ever get together. I don’t know, that would have been something interesting to explore. I don’t know Marnie would have felt about that? I think Marnie always felt a close friendship with him. I think he perhaps a little bit more interested in her. I always thought it was interesting that the fans picked up on that and wanted to know more.
Who would Marnie end up with?
Kimberly: I feel like there could be a couple of different scenarios. I feel like she would likely be doing something in Halloweentown, like running for Mayor… or something being on the consul. She was always that type, she had so many goals and she wanted to push Halloweentown forward to being a more progressive and moral. She wanted mortals and the residents of Halloweentown to be able to live together, that was always her dream.
I feel like she would still be working on that in some aspects. I don’t know if she’d be completely settled down with kids yet. I feel like we could pick up, a few years post college, to see what she was going to do with her life outside of a witch and then she would move in to what kind of family or whatever she wanted to have. She always had that independent streak in her. I feel like she would have a checklist of goals and dreams that she would want to achieve before having a family.
Favorite creature in Halloweentown?
Kimberly: Ooh, Benny is definitely up there! Hmmm… I always loved Natalie the pink troll in the third one. I loved trolls as a kid, so that was really cool. They were always so good with those characters, so unique.
Would you be open to starring another Halloweentown movie?
Kimberly: I’m open to anything! I’ve always been supportive of the channel and grateful for them to being part of the D COM club. I recently attended the 100th movie celebration and walking in and seeing four movies on the wall that I was in, was really neat. They do great stuff and I’m always grateful to be a part of that family.
Your fans had several questions for you, would you mind answering a few of them? They were gathered on Wattpad, Facebook, and Twitter.
Kimberly: Of course!
Gavin Hetherington asks, “Would you be up for a 5th film or a reunion special?”
Kimberly: Yeah, I’m open to anything! I love Marnie and all of her stories. I appreciate that people are still asking all of these years later.
AriHawks asks, “What was Kimberly’s favorite movie and line?”
Kimberly: I don’t know that I have one favorite. Marnie had some great lines in the Halloweentown films. When I’m out, people always try to get me to say, “Halloween is cool.”
I did another film called Tumbleweeds years ago and my character was a character coming into her own. She always had some good lines. I appreciate characters who say how they feel. You can say stuff and don’t get in trouble, because it’s not really you saying it.
I did another film called Big Bad Wolf, where I played a tomboy. It was really fun because I got to do a lot of improve and shoot from the hip with a lot of that dialogue. It was fun to be given that freedom. That’s why I enjoy acting!
Especially_You_2 asks, “Okay, what is your favorite memory from filming the Halloweentown movies?”
Kimberly: Ooh! I don’t know if I could narrow that down. Um… Oh boy! A lot of the scenes where I got to do a lot of one-on-one stuff with Debbie was always a highlight. We would always try little things in the scene to mess with each other to show just how special that relationship that Marnie and Aggie had. Those days were always super fun for me. Being able to spend time with her and hear her stories… the time that I got to spend with her in that sense, those were always really special.
I also really enjoyed my time with J Paul (Joey Zimmerman a.k.a. Dylan Piper, Marnie’s older brother). Marnie and Dylan’s relationship was always fun. We had fun giving each other hell in scenes and showing that aspect of the brother sister relationship.
Tamoja asks, “How do you feel about magic now?”
Kimberly: I believe in magic. I believe there’s magic everywhere. I have an Etsy store where I craft with one of my friends and she is one of those people who can craft something out of nothing, so we kind of turned our Saturday weekend hobbies into projects for the Etsy store.
I have a design idea for a shirt and it’s probably going to say, “I Believe in Magic,” because I really do and I want other people to believe that everybody has magic within themselves and you really need to look for it. Magic can mean so many different things to different people. I’ve been working on it so I can add it to the Etsy store, because I’d want to wear a shirt like that and I think other people would want to as well.
MommaLisa Van Slate asks, “Is there going to be a wedding in Halloweentown?
Kimberly: That’s an interesting question! I think there are a ton of possibilities. I think any of the characters, even including Gwen could have found love again. Gosh, there’s so many possibilities! It kind of depends on how far the last movie things pick up, but I think there could be romance in the air for anyone of the Cromwell clan and for any of the other creatures that people have gotten to know and love over the years.
Emily Wittig asks, “If you could play any other character (in any movie), who would you play?”
Kimberly: It’s kind of hard because some of the films I love, I can’t imagine anyone else playing those parts then the person playing it. There was one book growing up that comes to mind. I was approached briefly years ago when they were thinking about making called The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I loved that book and I read it because they were thinking about making it a movie and it became one of my favorite books. I loved that book! I loved how strong the character was and that would have been so cool. That’s a movie that I think should be made as a film.
Chris Buono asks, “What was it about Halloweentown that interested you in wanting to be a part of it?”
Kimberly: Oh, I think Marnie really! Other than that, the idea overall of there being a place like Halloweentown and Halloween is obviously one of the best holidays. I really fell in love with Marnie and being able to play such a fun teenager who had magic powers and was so determined, she was just such a blast to play, so definitely her. Basically, personally wanting to watch Halloweentown come to life after reading about it and knowing about it, it was just so much fun! I was my own little fan of the story. Getting to watch them put together the town and the sets, that part equally as interesting. It was just as great being able to watch the story come to life as it was getting to be an actor in the films.
What was it like being on Guiding Light? What did you learn from (being on) the soap (and) from Newman and Kim Zimmer?
Kimberly: Guiding Light was one of my favorite memories and jobs overall. Kim Zimmer and Robert were my parents (on the show) and they were like second parents in real life. They taught me so much as actors and as people. It was just so much fun to be able to play these different story lines and getting to explore some of those emotions as a kid, especially the ones that wouldn’t really happen in real life.
It was a training ground for me as an actor because you would shoot one episode a day, which is unheard of with any other type of project, as far as film and television. I’m still in touch with several of the cast members and crew from the show and we are definitely like a family. I sometimes miss that the show isn’t on the air anymore, because it was just such a big part of my career and my life.
A huge thank you to Kimberly J. Brown for her time and sharing such amazing responses to both my questions as well as questions from her fans.
Kimberly is very active on social media, so check her out on all of the links below!
Etsy Store: www.CraftilyCreative.Etsy.com
Also, if you’re interested in checking out a short fan fiction Halloweentown story written by yours truly, click on the link below.
Halloweentown: The Lost Witch: https://www.wattpad.com/story/80358827-halloweentown-the-lost-witch-fan-fiction
Oh! One more thing! If you’d like to help bring a fifth Halloweentown film back, click on the link below, which is a petition asking Disney to bring back this epic film series!
Thank you again, to Kimberly J. Brown for gracing us with her magical presence!
Kelly Anne Blount
USA TODAY Bestselling Author