Actress Danielle Chuchran may play an Amish character in the new movie “Love Finds You in Charm,” but her real-life LDS roots help her choose roles that reflect her wholesome family values.
“Every time I’m choosing a role, I think, ‘Could my dad watch this?’” Chuchran said in an interview with Deseret News. “‘Could my cousins watch this and be comfortable?’ That’s my test.”
A daughter of two converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Chuchran was born in California and moved to Utah when she was just 8 months old. She was raised in Utah until age 10, when she was noticed by an agent at her dance class and made the move to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
“I auditioned for my first role, it was the movie ‘Little Secrets,’ and I got the part,” she said. “I’ve been hooked ever since." In the movie, a neighborhood finds out what happens when their "professional" 14-year-old secret-keeper can't keep a secret any longer.
Chuchran has been in over two dozen films, television shows and made-for-TV movies. She is most widely recognized for her role as Thing 1 in "The Cat in the Hat."
Chuchran’s dedication to upholding her standards in the film industry is not without its struggles.
“It’s really, really tough," she said. "Sometimes there will be a role that is perfect, that has everything I could ever want, except for that one, small scene.”
Before accepting a role, Chuchran does her research.
“My biggest resources are my family,” she said. “I just really have to pray about it and talk to somebody that’s really close to me and follow my heart.”
In her latest movie, “Love Finds You in Charm,” Chuchran portrays Emma Miller, an Amish girl raised in a close-knit, strict community.
“It’s a story of self-discovery,” she said.
Chuchran, who had previous experience playing an Amish character in "Saving Sarah Cain," took the role as an opportunity to learn about a different faith and culture.
“We filmed the movie in an actual Amish community, so that made it easier,” Chuchran said. “It required a lot of research because you have to be able to say, ‘How would she say that?’ ‘How would she react to that?’”
Though Chuchran and her character Emma are both devout in their faiths, the similarities end there, she said.
“(My character) grew up in a really restrictive environment, and while you can draw the comparison between our faiths that they both have high expectations, my parents always raised me to make my own decisions and to not go along with the crowd,” she said.
In the movie, Emma leaves her Amish community for the first time to spend the summer in Charm, Ohio. There, she meets a variety of people — both Amish and otherwise — that pull her between two worlds, Chuchran said.
“It’s a movie you can watch with the whole family,” she said. “There’s really something for everyone.”
Email: [email protected]