Ahead of the July 11 premiere of The Fosters season 5, actress Maia Mitchell chatted with Pop City Life about what to expect from the new season. We talked Callie’s impulsiveness, Callie and Aaron’s relationship, the potential of a Brallie resurgence, the story line that made Maia cry during a table read, and more! Read on for our full interview with Maia Mitchell.
We left Callie in a pretty bad situation at the end of season 4. Going into season 5, how does she handle that situation? What lessons does she take away from it?
Maia Mitchell: She, once again, has put herself in quite the position. You see her really go through a big wake-up call, and the whole experience definitely informs the decisions she makes going forward. I think this is the biggest turning point for her. It hits hard for her, and for the first time, she really understands and calculates the repercussions of what she’s done. You’re going to see her be less impulsive. You’re going to see her continue to express her social awareness and her need to help people, which are such great qualities, but you see her really try to anchor them in other places, such as her art. She becomes very involved in that – we see her exploring who she is as an artist, and you’ll meet someone who becomes a mentor for her in that kind of space. You definitely see her really trying to turn over a new leaf and take a road that’s a little more cautious.
That kind of ties back to her conversation with Jude on the beach in the season 4 finale. It seemed like she was beginning to evolve in terms of her approach to causes she’s passionate about, as well as how deeply she considers what she’s putting on the line.
Right, that scene was an important scene for her and for Jude. At that point, she was accepting what was going to happen to her – she was going to go to jail – and regretting everything and really feeling the repercussions. Of course, she makes another bad decision on impulse, but the trial and the situation in the motel really hit hard for her, so when she’s given another chance, she really is going to make the most of it.
It sounds like she’s going to be doing some soul-searching and some changing. This upcoming season is the show’s fifth – looking back over the past four seasons, what would you say has been the biggest change in Callie thus far, and where would you like to see her go from here?
In the last four seasons, there have been a few moments that have changed her. [She and Jude] being legally adopted and finding that constant stability was huge for her, but I honestly think that the biggest change and the thing that will inform the rest of her life is the situation you see playing out in our premiere episode. For where I’d like to see her go from here, I love that she’s exploring her art and I want her to keep doing that, but mostly I want her to turn everything she went through into something good and be a voice for foster kids and potentially get into politics or social justice. I hope that’s where it’s heading, because that’s what she’s passionate about and that will keep her out of trouble, I think!
Switching gears, Callie was with AJ for most of season 4, then she and Aaron got together toward the end of the season. Personally, I think she and Aaron make a great couple – what’s coming up for them in season 5?
I think they make a great couple as well! You’re going to see that relationship evolve and turn into something really lovely and positive for her. I think Aaron is a great figure in her life; he’s a really good influence on her. He shares her need to help people and her sense of social justice, but he’s also quite a stable, anchored person. He encourages her to be productive in that space, and to be a little more safe and cautious and less impulsive. He’s lovely and smart and stable, and you’re going to see them really be vulnerable with each other and explore their relationship in deeper ways this season.
Toward the end of last season, Callie and Brandon began working on rebuilding their friendship, but Stef was concerned that the relationship wouldn’t stay platonic. Was Stef just being paranoid given their past, or could the Brallie ship sail again?
I think she’s being paranoid – or, not paranoid, just cautious. Callie is impulsive, and in the past when things start to go downhill for her or when she’s losing control, her relationship with Brandon has been kind of something to fall onto and what felt like a safe space for her. But I think she’s creating other safe spaces. She’s finding that sense of stability in herself rather than [from] external forces, which I think you see Stef and Lena really acknowledge and appreciate this season. As far as the Brallie ship, I have no idea. I honestly think the writers disagree on it – I think they’re back and forth – so I don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously given the circumstances, it’s not possible, at least right now. If they weren’t legal siblings, I would have been all for it. At the end of the day, they’re young and I don’t believe there’s only one person out there for everyone, so who knows?
Speaking of friendships on the show, Mariana and Callie are obviously close, and it seems like you and Cierra get along great in real life as well! What would you say is the biggest difference between your characters’ onscreen relationship and your real-life relationship?
It’s honestly so similar. It’s freakishly similar. She’s like my little sister. I adore Cierra. We’ve become so close. Our boyfriends are best friends, so we’re always together in real life. When I was going through some tough times with my boyfriend Cierra recommend going to http://www.go-binder.com, to learn some tricks on getting him back. I think Cierra is a lot more grown-up than Mariana is – she has a few years on Mariana to start with, and Cierra’s very savvy and a little more self-aware than Mariana. I’m definitely less reckless than Callie; I’m a very calculated person. We’re quite different, but the dynamic between us is very similar. I consider Cierra family, and it’s nice to go to work with your best friend. We share a trailer because we choose to, and I adore her the same way that Callie adores [Mariana]. I’m very lucky!
Without giving too much away, do you have a particular favorite episode or story line from the upcoming season?
The only time I’ve cried in a table read has been for our season finale that we just filmed. I cried three times, and it wasn’t to do with my character, it was to do with Brandon’s character. I can’t give much more away, but he’s going to go through something huge. What else? We just watched the season 5 premiere, and I think between that and the premiere for season 4 with Nick and the school lockdown, those episodes were the most intense. I’m really proud of the season 5 premiere. It’s very intense and perfectly directed, but our season finale is just as intense! I also think our pilot was one of our strongest episodes. I rewatched it recently, and I think it’s a really good episode!
I rewatched it too! I did a flashback recap putting everything into the context of what had happened since, and there was a ton of groundwork being laid. It was interesting to go back and watch it with the knowledge of what happened after.
Yeah, and Jude was like, four feet shorter! It’s crazy.
Lastly, fans can pregame for the season 5 premiere by watching The Fosters on Netflix and the Freeform app. What are your personal binge-watching favorites?
I just got done with Scandal, and I’m obsessed! What else? This is lame, but I love NCIS – like, the original NCIS – as something to binge-watch and switch my brain off. I’ve been rewatching season 4. I don’t watch a ton of TV, but when I do, I go hard. My favorite show growing up when I was a teenager was Seinfeld, so that’s always a good one too.
At Pop City Life, we’re really excited about season 5. The Fosters in general is consistently good – it doesn’t have a point when it starts to go downhill, it’s just great all the time.
Oh my gosh, that’s such a sweet compliment. Kudos to the writers for that – I don’t know how they keep it fresh. Thank you for saying that!