Although she is very tiny, Arrietty (voice by Bridgit Mendler) is a dauntless teenager who, along with her equally diminutive family, resides peacefully under the floorboards of a country house and "borrows" whatever is required to get by in Studio Ghibli's feature animated adventure, "The Secret World of Arrietty."
Bridgit Mendler is a pop artist in the modern Disney mold. A fresh-faced 19, she has a recurring role in one hit Disney Channel series ("Wizards of Waverly Place") and a lead in another ("Good Luck Charlie"). Naturally, she also has a record deal.
She's the lead voice in the Disney-distributed Studio Ghibli anime film "The Secret World of Arrietty." She also sings the film's signature song over the closing credits.
Q Were you a fan of anime [Japanese-style animation] before taking this latest job?
A Oh, for years. I loved "Spirited Away" and "Kiki's Delivery Service." Studio Ghibli makes the most beautiful films. They give things these gorgeous colors, and their films don't feel like they're exclusively for children. There's always a lot of adventure in their stories, and they have this unique imagination about them.
Q You're used to spending time in a recording studio. How is voice acting like singing on a recording?
A You don't have to dress as the character. You sort of wander in there and do your thing. Singing and voice acting are both all about using your imagination.
Q How did you end up doing the song for the closing credits, "Summertime"?
A I was working on an album when they offered me the chance to put a song in the movie. So I took them up on that and got one of my own songs into the film.
Q Disney believes in giving its young stars a shot at different media -- TV, film, recording careers. Do you put more value on one or the other?
A I don't feel this multitasking that you end up doing is a tremendous drain. I want to get my album up on its feet, and "Good Luck Charlie"' is filming its third season. They're not conflicting, yet. I want to focus on getting the word out about my album at the end of this season. Maybe a tour. I still think you can do it all, so I haven't had to pick one over the other.
Maybe it's just the calm before the storm, but I haven't found the workload that bad. Yet.