Original and unexpected with a mini-Broadway musical in every episode, “Up Here” follows a romantic couple as they date while always hearing negative, scolding, warning voices “up here” in their heads.
Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdez are Lindsay and Miguel in the 8-episode Hulu series beginning Friday who melodically soar to a score by the “Frozen” Oscar-winning songwriting couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
Being able to sing in an original musical, Whitman, 34, admitted while snacking on French fries in a Zoom interview, “was a big part of this. God help me I’ve been doing this since I was three and you get this illusion over the years that what you’re about is whatever comes along, just give me a job.
“But when something like this comes along — where all the pieces fit together, the people are all incredible and the script is unbelievable and you get to do something in it that terrifies you? All of those things triggers inspiration again.
“And,” she added, “I like this idea of trying to turn around and face what terrifies me. It’s so upsetting, but I’ve really been trying to do it.
“This was the one medium left that I haven’t really explored and I was, ‘If I can do this, I will have a confidence in myself that I will not be able to get any other way.’ And to be able to work with these people in this way that’s so original and unique, where there’s nothing really else like it – that’s really, really exciting.”
As a popular child actor Whitman was featured in a string of memorable hits, from being Meg Ryan’s daughter (“When a Man Loves a Woman”) to George Clooney’s (“One Fine Day”) and Sandra Bullock’s (“Hope Floats”).
She’s never stopped working or being responsible, which is why she’s frequently asked how she avoided the disasters that characterize so many post-spotlight kids.
“The only answer is: My parents. Where you really get into trouble is not having somebody who has your best interest at heart. They were so meticulous about what I was exposed to and about every single stone being laid properly and checking in with me. Like if I had a field trip, it was, ‘Sorry, she can’t do this movie because she wants to do the field trip.’
“It never felt like I was being put in a place that I didn’t want to be in. Luckily, by the grace of God, I had got parents who made sure my well-being was at the forefront of everything.”
“Up Here” streams all 8 episodes on Hulu March 24
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