Newsday - Kids Corner

-- Danielle Rivellese, Samantha Stark and Samantha Wolcott

We recently interviewed "Animorphs" TV stars Shawn Ashmore (Jake) and Brooke Nevin (Rachel). The science-fiction TV show, based on the Scholastic book series by K.A. Applegate, is about five teens who can change into any animal they touch.

Q: How do you morph into animals?

Brooke: We have four steps: touch, acquire, concentrate and change. To morph into an animal, we must touch it and acquire its DNA inside our body. Then we concentrate on turning into this animal and the morph happens.

Shawn: That is the fun way, but do you want to know the technical way? We have a green screen, and we film the animal in front of it. Then we must copy the movements of the animal so that when they put the animal and us on a computer screen, they can match up the images.

Q: Do you always have live animals on the show?

Shawn: Yes. There are cockroaches, lizards, everything.

Q: Do you ever actually touch a live animal for a morphing scene?

Shawn: Oh, yes. Once I put my fingers up a tiger's nose by mistake. The trainer had said not to make any sudden moves. I touched the tiger on the head, but something distracted it; it turned its head, and my fingers went up its nose. The trainer told me to slowly back away, and I did. I didn't realize how scared I was until it was over.

Q: If you really could change into any animal, which would you choose?

Shawn: I'd definitely become a bird because I would like to fly.

Brooke: Me, too.

Q: Are you similar to your characters?

Shawn: I think my personality is like Jake; he is serious and responsible, and I am, too.

Brooke: Rachel and I have some differences. Rachel is fierce and fearless; I think twice about what I am going to do, and I show my sensitive side more than Rachel. I like to shop, but you won't find me tearing through the mall like Rachel.

Q: What would you like to be doing 20 years from now?

Shawn: I'd like to be starring in movies or be a director.

Brooke: I hope I have graduated from a university, and hopefully I will be starring in films.

Newsday / Transcript by Pam