It’s double-trouble time in Disney’s new comedy Liv and Maddie. Identical twins Liv and Maddie, 15, are together again after living apart for four years. Liv is a popular Hollywood television star who returns home to Wisconsin after her hit show finishes its run. Her twin sister Maddie, a top student and basketball player in their hometown, is a star in her own right. When they have to share a bedroom again, the pair runs into teenage drama. To make things even more challenging, the girls’ parents have jobs at their high school.
Dove Cameron, 17, plays both Liv and Maddie. Though the twins have wildly different personalities, Cameron says switching between characters—and costumes—has become second nature to her. “I can change faster than the speed of light!” she told TFK.
Liv and Maddie learn to lean on their family as they battle the chaotic world of high school. Cameron says viewers can expect lots of laughs in the first season. “I’m very proud of the show,” she says. “I can’t wait for everyone to start seeing what we’ve been up to!”
Liv and Maddie premieres September 15, 8 pm/ET on the Disney Channel.
TFK: Did you ever think you would get a chance to play twins?
DOVE CAMERON: Never in my life. I grew up watching The Parent Trap. It’s a dream, I think, of any young girl or boy, that they secretly have a twin somewhere. There was one point, [when] I was pretty young that I was absolutely convinced that I had twin. That went on for a few years.
TFK: Is it difficult to jump between the two characters?
CAMERON: It’s a challenge every day, even though I’ve gotten these characters pretty much down pat. These characters really didn’t come with a description except that one was sporty and academic and one was a celebrity. I had the freedom to fill in endless concrete details. I’ve learned so much about myself through this process. Switching back and forth between the characters has become so second nature to me that it’s really lost its terror. We got it down so quickly. It’s amazing how hair, makeup, and wardrobe have gotten it down.
TFK: Which of the characters are you more similar to in real life?
CAMERON: Like Maddie, I’m very shy and I’m definitely a little awkward around boys. I’m very competitive and academic. But then I’m also like Liv, where I have lots of energy and I’m like a puppy sometimes because I’m very affectionate. Both characters are really both sides of me.
TFK: How do you film the scenes in which Liv and Maddie interact?
CAMERON: It’s very technical and complicated. Depending on the scene, I’ll shoot an entire scene first as Liv or Maddie. Then one of my acting body doubles—Emmy Buckner or Shelby Wulfert—will come in. They’ll watch what I do and they’ll mimic it back to me during a scene so I can react to it. If you see the back of my head, it’s most likely theirs.
TFK: On the show, you have two younger brothers, Joey and Parker. What’s it like to play an older sister?
CAMERON: Joey and I are like real life siblings. We fight, we make up, and we wrestle. I was just shooting with Joey yesterday and I asked if I had anything in my teeth and he picked my teeth for me. That’s gross, but we’re siblings. Tenzing feels like my younger brother. I’m watching him grow up in front of my eyes. I started crying on set the other day because he’s grown 6 inches.
TFK: Since there are so many kids on the show, is there a lot of joking on set?
CAMERON: Yes. It’s definitely a prank set. Some of my favorite scenes have been the ones where we’ve been able to improv. We’re given so much room to play around.
TFK: I read that the writers like to work personal details from your life into the show. Is that true?
CAMERON: Very true. They always pretend that they don’t. They say, “We don’t do that. You’re crazy.” Almost every episode has a Dove-related thing in it. I find it very amusing. That’s our lovely writers at work.
TFK: On Liv and Maddie, Maddie plays basketball. Do you play any sports in real life?
CAMERON: I’ve been snowboarding since I was 8 or 9. I’m athletic but I’m not on any teams. I work out almost every day and I love to run and play basketball. But if I’m going to be on a team, it’s going to be a show choir team.
TFK: What can viewers expect for the first season of Liv and Maddie?
CAMERON: Craziness. Liv and Maddie is a circus. Every single episode is a spectacle. There’s never a dull moment.