Troop Zero is a new Amazon original movie, and it has already been a hit with families. I talked with some friends who saw the movie as soon as it came out this past weekend, and they said it was FABULOUS and very uplifting. So I had to see it and totally agree – it was so heartwarming, and had such good messages for all ages.
And the Twin Cities Frugal Mom team had the privilege of interviewing Milan Ray who plays Hell-No in the movie!
My contributor Cassie Davis got to sit with Milan and ask some questions about the film, which she shares with us below.
First, here’s a brief synopsis of the movie:
In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of making contact with outer space. When a national competition offers her a chance at her dream, to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime and beyond.
My Interview with Milan Ray, from Troop Zero
(by Cassie Davis)
I had the honor of interviewing the young actress, Milan Ray, who portrays Hell-No in the new movie Troop Zero. During this time, I got to talk with her one-on-one to discuss the movie and herself. Ray is a smart, charming, extraordinary actress who has the ability to find herself within her character and identifies the multitude of messages within the movie. She gracefully conversed with me about how this movie is a perfect fit for everyone of all ages, and how the audience can find themselves in the characters on screen. We discussed about childhood and how so many kids and teenagers experience the same things that this movie presented, then tend to build walls around ourselves to protect us from others. I’m very excited to see what she does next and I hope you all enjoy this non-spoiler interview.
Cassie: What are some characteristics that you think that make this movie so relatable to so many people?
Milan: There are so many different characters that have so many differences that everybody can find someone to relate to in some way
Cassie: What is the thing you admire or like most about your character?
Milan: I like that we’re similar as we don’t really like to open up to people unless we’re really close to them but once we are close to them and get to know them, we are the most loyal friend they can find
Cassie: I find that’s true with a lot of the friends that I have and it’s a good characteristic to look out for in others because you don’t want to let too many people in just because you don’t know what their intentions are
Milan: Right, because they can turn it against you and hurt you
Cassie: Exactly, How do you think this movie will affect the kids that are going through the same thing the characters have gone through? Such as figuring out their identity,losing a loved one, and so on.
Milan: I think the main message is that it’s okay to be weird, it’s okay to be yourself, because at the end of the day we’re all different in our own way. So if you think you’re weird or people make fun of you it’s fine because there are always going to be people that you can make your own troop with
Cassie: I know this would have been very influential when I was younger with that reminder that it’s okay to be yourself, and I have a younger sister that I watched this movie with and what she focused on was that message that if you find your troop everything will be okay. If you could be a different character who would you be and why?
Milan: I would probably be Ms. Rayleen because she was so strong and empowering, and in the movie someone says that she is a bad role model but with the way she acts and talks with the kids you know she isn’t.
Cassie: Is Ms. Rayleen like Viola Davis in person?
Milan: Viola Davis is so kind and makes you feel comfortable, like you would think that when you’re around a celebrity you would be starstruck but it’s not like that because she makes you feel comfortable
Cassie: It’s a reminder that celebrities are also human and even though we glorify them, deep down they also need 9 hours of sleep and a lot of coffee in the morning
Milan: I haven’t had 9 hours of sleep in so long
Cassie: I know me either; what is your favorite memory about working on this movie?
Milan: My favorite memory is probably the whole atmosphere, seeing the set, the equipment, and the behind the scenes, being with people that you could relate to, makes it all a great experience. My favorite shooting scene was definitely the food fight, the only downside about it was that because of the syrup, flour, and sprinkles, my hair was almost impossible to clean up.
Cassie: How long did it take to clean?
Cassie: Who do you think this movie could affect more? Adults or children, or both?
Milan: I think everybody can take something out of this movie that can help them in real life and that’s why I really hope everybody does enjoy the movie and gets the message to apply it to their own life
Cassie: It looks like this is my last question, is there a part of you that sees yourself in your character, as easy as it is to get into character, or did you find yourself stepping more out of your comfort zone to prepare for your character?
Milan: I think Hell-no is the meaner version of me, so if I was a bully, which I’m not, I feel like she and I would be very similar. The reason that she bully’s is not just to be mean, even though she does say that she’s lying, it’s because she needs food for her and Smash, you never see their parents or any role models for them so she needs food for the two of them
Cassie: Yeah, it’s survival
Milan: And she doesn’t want to get hurt herself so she closes herself off
Cassie: It’s the wall, it gets everyone every time
Troop Zero is out now on Amazon, go watch it and enjoy with your family, you’re going to want to sit down for this one!
Watch the trailer here:
More about the movie:
Directed by Bert & Bertie
Written by Lucy Alibar
Starring Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps and Allison Janney
In a tiny Georgia town in 1977, a motherless girl dreams of life beyond the confines of her trailer-park home in Troop Zero. When her quest for connection leads her to reach for the stars in a competition to be included on NASA’s landmark Golden Record, it becomes clear she will have to depend on some new friends to take her the last mile.
Every night, Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace) sits under a starry sky with a flashlight, signaling to extraterrestrial visitors that never arrive. Sensitive, imaginative and deeply lonely, Christmas and her equally eccentric best friend Joseph are the ultimate misfits in their rural hometown of Wiggly, Georgia. When Christmas learns that the winners of the annual Birdie Scout Jamboree talent contest will be included on a recording to be sent into space for posterity, her mission in life becomes to join the Scouts and win Jamboree.
When she is blackballed by the snobbish local Birdie Scout troop and their uptight leader Miss Massey (Allison Janney), Christmas rallies a group of elementary-school outliers to start their own chapter. With grudging help from her dad’s irascible office manager, Miss Rayleen (Viola Davis), Christmas and her crew have to bypass every roadblock Miss Massey can find in the fine print of the Birdie bylaws in order to reach the Jamboree and their chance at immortality.
From Christmas’ solitary late-night vigils to a final show-stopping musical performance, Troop Zero is an endearing and magical tale set against a backdrop of beloved hits of the ’70s, as Christmas forges friendships that will change her life and help her find a real family.
98 Minutes | Rated PG