Candace Cameron then and now (Photo: Everett Collection/ Courtesy of Candace Cameron Bure)
For those of you who caught the recent "Full House" reunion, you know that the show's former star, who played D.J. Tanner, has indeed grown into a gorgeous woman. But you may be surprised the extent to which Candace Cameron Bure (yes, she has tacked on her married name) has truly become an adult. Now 36 years old and the mother of three, her oldest, daughter Natasha, is three years older than Candace was when she first appeared on the popular family sitcom 25 years ago. Natasha is now also taller than her famous mom.
I caught up with Candace recently as she was promoting the drama "The Heart of Christmas," available now on DVD. The film is both heart wrenching and uplifting, based on the true story of a community that rallies around a young boy who is diagnosed with cancer. Candace spoke with me about how she prepares for emotional scenes. She also opened up about her brother Kirk Cameron (of former "Growing Pains" fame), her thoughts on why the Olsen twins didn't make it to the "Full House" reunion, and why she has turned down roles on successful sitcoms that are on the air today.
And, oh yeah, she's still pretty tight with Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber).
Meriah Doty: I grew up watching "Full House" and you and I are around the same age -- so I always identified with D.J. Tanner. Everyone was really excited about the reunion. We did a story here on Yahoo! that got a lot of attention, but a lot of people were wondering: Where were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? Do you keep in touch with them?
Candace Cameron Bure: I didn't know where they were. I really had no idea if they were in L.A. or New York or anything. I know they got the invite but they must have had other things going on. I haven't kept in touch with them in a long time. It's been a few years since I've seen them. But I keep in touch with everyone else. That's kind of it. Everyone who I'm close to -- they were all there. But we were bummed that Mary-Kate and Ashley weren't there. But I don't know the reason so they might have had some major stuff going on and it wasn't a blow off.
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MD: In terms of the ones you do keep in touch with -- I saw some fun pics on Twitter of you and the actress who played Kimmy Gibbler, Andrea Barber. Are you two still best friends?
CCB: [Laughs] We're still good friends and we're total goofball 30-year-old moms trying to relive our childhood, rock out to New Kids on the Block. That was us at the reunion. Yeah, we're still close friends.
MD: That's awesome.
CCB: We'll still do stuff together and she's a marathon runner now. She's got me into stuff -- we've done a couple of races together. And we have another one coming up that we're doing. So we encourage and inspire each other fitness-wise and then through our mutual New Kids on the Block love.
Candace, left, and her daughter Natasha (Photo from Twitter)MD: I noticed during your recent appearance at the Emmys that your daughter is as tall as you. How is family life? It seems like they're growing up really quickly.
CCB: They are. My kids are great. Natasha is taller than me -- I had higher heels on than she did. Yeah, it's great. Family is great. It just goes fast. I can't believe she's in high school. One of my boys is in middle school and my other one -- his last year of elementary school is this year. Just trying to balance it all and trying to do it all well. I think her going into high school really made me realize how little time I have left with my kids. It was kind of a big marker for me -- because you go through those earlier years like, "You're doing it you're doing it" -- when you're in the middle of it. Now I'm like, "Wait, whoa! High school!" That's four years and she's gone. It was a big deal for me this summer. I'm making sure I'm prioritizing right and I just have an even greater desire to spend more and more time with my kids and pour into them as much as possible while they're still home.
MD: You and your brother Kirk have taken similar paths, speaking publicly about your Christian beliefs and being politically active. Are there finer points where you two differ within that realm?
CCB: I think the things that he chooses to talk about and speak about and the things that I choose to talk about and speak about -- I think we just have a different style of saying some of those things. But he is much more in the world of ministry and does a lot of conferences speaking, and I do a lot of speaking at women's events too -- but that's really his main focus. Whereas I still do a lot of acting. Acting is my first passion -- and my faith is incredibly important, which flows into every aspect of my life which includes the decisions that I make on acting. But he has different opportunities and talks about things that I don't put myself in the position of wanting to talk about. Or not going on certain shows that are going to ask about things I don't want to focus on. I want to focus on great family programming and good movies and the charitable organizations that I'm involved with. I think Kirk does his stuff great and does his stuff really well and I think what I do I do well. And we're a great brother and sister.
(Photo: Image Entertainment)MD: What led you to do "The Heart of Christmas"?
CCB: "The Heart of Christmas" is one of those scripts that I got sent. They were like, "We have no money to do this movie but just read the script." And probably 10 or 15 pages into it I was like, "I'm sold, whatever, anything. I'll do whatever you guys want." -- Because it was such an inspiring and encouraging story even though it was a heartbreaking story all at the same time. This is the kind of stuff that I really love doing. I'm really the most proud of this film of all the stuff I've done -- I really really am proud of it. Having it be about Christmas and bringing it back to the heart of Christmas and what that means -- which is just spending those precious moments with your family. I loved that.
MD: I noticed in your body of work that you played a character who shared the same religious beliefs as you in "Make It Or Break It." Are there certain requirements for taking roles? Are there things that you just won't do?
CCB: There's lots of things I won't do. I end up turning down a lot of projects throughout the year and offers. But is playing a Christian a requirement? Absolutely not. That was just something that came about with "Make It Or Break It" when they originally asked me to be a part of the show. They had a character in mind and we agreed on the character and I went, "Yeah this sounds great." Then a month into it after they started writing for her they said, "You know, we decided to make some changes and we wanted to go this route and we actually want to bring in the Christian faith that you have." And I went, "Oh really? Ok, great." So that was just a bonus for me to be able to play someone that I shared the same faith with. It wasn't anything that I asked for and it certainly is not a requirement. What I look for in the projects that I do are family-friendly programming, something that's uplifting or has a redemptive value to it.
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MD: Can you share a project that you've turned down recently?
CCB: I'll just give you general descriptions. Over the years there are television shows that are on right now that I've been asked to do -- and just have turned down because I have some boundaries as to what I will and won't do with characters, even in just some moral choices that I don't necessarily want to push on every character. But I just have personal boundaries where I go, "Ah, I don't want to play someone that will do XYZ." There are those shows that I watch and I go, "Oh, that could have been me." But at the end of the day I made the choice to say no and I'm happy about that. I get a lot of TV movie scripts that I pass on just because of content. So I have pretty high standards as to what I'll do. But I also do fun things that are surprising for people as well. I did this little spoof on "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" just for their new season, and that was really fun. I'm not a part of that show, but it was fun just to do these little spoof promos for them. So I have a good sense of humor too.
MD: "The Heart of Christmas," as you said, is a very touching story, but it's also a real tear jerker. How do you prepare for crying scenes?
CCB: I don't think I do anything to prepare for a crying scene. You're just in the moment of it, what you have to do to perform. There was a different sensitivity on this particular movie because it was a true story and a very recent story. Julie and Austin Locke, the [real life] parents -- they were on the set every day of the film. That was a little different to be making their own story right in front of their eyes, and wanting to make that story with integrity for them, and to make sure they are the ones most satisfied with it at the end. This is their baby, you know. We had lots of laughs and lots of tears on that set.
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