Mallory James Mahoney, left, and Sofia Carson star in Adventures in Babysitting. Ed Araquel Disney Channel
Mallory James Mahoney, left, and Sofia Carson star in Adventures in Babysitting. Ed Araquel Disney Channel

TV

Sofia Carson has adventure of a lifetime in ‘Babysitting’ remake

By David Martindale

Special to the Star-Telegram

June 17, 2016 02:22 PM

All of you who fondly remember the movie Adventures in Babysitting: Are you ready to feel old?

Sofia Carson, the latest up-and-coming star to make a name for herself on Disney Channel, knew next to nothing about the wacky family-friendly comedy when she landed an audition for the remake.

She wasn’t even born when the original, starring Elisabeth Shue, hit theaters in 1987.

Then Carson, a 23-year-old actress and singer, learned that her parents were “huge, huge fans” of the movie. Her parents!

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“I love the idea of being part of a project that is already adored by a whole generation,” she says. “To get the chance to share it now with a new generation is really special.”

Carson — whose breakthrough performance was in last summer’s Descendants, a Disney Channel movie musical seen by more than 12 million viewers — co-stars with Sabrina Carpenter (of Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World) in the new Adventures in Babysitting, which premieres at 7 p.m. Friday.

It’s Disney Channel’s 100th original movie, and it’s one of the network’s best offerings.

The story involves two rivals, free-spirited Lola (Carson) and tightly wound Jenny (Carpenter), who are thrown together in a series of misadventures after a routine babysitting job goes horribly awry.

Before the night is over, the girls (and the kids they’re watching) will have to put out a small fire, will be stranded in the city after their car is impounded, will get arrested (well, just Lola), will be chased through the streets by nasty criminals and will take the stage in a memorable freestyle rap battle.

“It’s an incredible adventure,” Carson says. “Most of the movie, we’re running from place to place, running from bad guys, running into a new problem. It was high energy and a lot of fun.

“But I think my personal favorite part was the rap battle. It was a fun scene. The rhythm was great, so infectious. And we loved the line, ‘We ain’t no quitters — we’re the babysitters,’ which almost became the theme of the movie.”

The plot is new yet familiar thanks to moments that pay homage to the original, of which Carson now can also claim to be a huge, huge fan.

“After I got the call that I was going to audition for Lola, my sister and I watched the movie that weekend and we were hooked,” she says. “We watched it over and over, all weekend long.”

Carson was in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, making a stop on a multicity radio tour to promote the debut single, Love Is the Name, from her in-the-works album.

She also just finished filming A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits, which will air on Freeform. She’ll be the new Cinderella.

And this summer she’ll start working on Descendants 2, in which she’ll reprise her role as Evie, a fierce blue-haired fairytale princess (and daughter of Snow White’s Evil Queen).

Meanwhile, as if Carson’s plate weren’t full enough, she’s a communications major at UCLA. “I have nine classes left to graduate,” she says.

Although their characters bicker throughout the movie, the two leading ladies of Adventures in Babysitting were BFFs from the start.

“When I did my chemistry read with Sabrina, we clicked immediately and we had the greatest time,” Carson says. “As a matter of fact, I happened to be FaceTiming with Sabrina when we got the news that we were cast in the roles.

“We were both screaming over the phone because we were so excited.”

A curious twist about the casting is that Carson and Carpenter in real life are more like the character the other is playing.

“Lola is free-spirited and a slightly rebellious artist who lives life to her own rhythm,” Carson says. “I personally tend to be more like Jenny. I was always very studious, very responsible, borderline boring.

“Whereas Sabrina is more like Lola in real life: Not tightly wound at all, much more of a free spirit. So it was funny. We switched places. But it was very cool to step out of my comfort zone and be someone complete different for a change.”

Carson is proud of the movie and hopes viewers have as much fun watching it as she had making it.

“What’s so beautiful about this film, apart from the comedic elements, the high energy and the adventures, is the story about a friendship between these two girls who are at first polar opposites and can find no common ground,” Carson says.

“In the end, they have this beautiful friendship where each one learns from the other. Lola learns from Jenny that, as much as life is an adventure, you have to be responsible,” she says.

And Jenny learns from Lola that, as much as being responsible is important, you have to be brave and take risks.”

Adventures in Babysitting

  • 7 p.m. Friday
  • Disney Channel