GirlPower Interview

For your watchlist: Jersey girl to appear in Netflix show with Emma Stone

By Joe Brandt | For
originally published Dec 23, 2017. ref.

When Netflix’s dark comedy Maniac releases next year, look out for a Jersey girl who’s got a big role on the screen.

That girl is Aaralyn Anderson, 8, of Clayton, in Gloucester County. She’s part of the principal cast in the series, based on a Norwegian series of the same name.

The Norwegian series follows the life of Espen, a patient in a psychiatric ward who has delusions that he is living a lavish life, when in reality he is stuck in the hospital. Or, as the IMDB page for the show puts it, “everything is amazing and whatever happens, Espen knows how to handle it. It is simply too good to be true.”

(The trailer below is in Norwegian.)

Emma Stone and Jonah Hill are in the series, with Stone playing a patient in the psych ward, according to

Due to an agreement to keep details of the series hush-hush until its release, Anderson and her mom Heather can’t say more about her role yet. But they spoke to NJ Advance Media about auditioning for the series and working with the stars.

Getting the part

They drove up to New York City for an audition in August. “It was really fun, I did my best,” Aaralyn said. “Then we hoped for the best.”

They made it as far as the highway before receiving a call asking them to come back the next day.

Aaralyn Anderson (left) meeting Emma Stone after appearing on Good Morning America in 2016.

“What we didn’t know is that she was walking right into a director’s session,” Heather said. “They were seeing who had chemistry with who, bringing in other kids to work with her.”

“Next thing we know we were talking about the schedule for the show,” Heather said.

“It was like, did I get the job? What’s going on?” Aaralyn said.

Aaralyn Anderson (left) meeting Emma Stone after appearing on “Good Morning America” in 2016.
Courtesy of Heather Anderson
Meeting Emma Stone, but not for the first time

Aaralyn actually met Stone the previous year on Good Morning America, when Stone was there to promote La La Land and Aaralyn was testing out a drum kit that was up for a Cyber Monday deal.

Before that, in January 2015, Aaralyn took part in “Toddlewood,” where child models dress up like Hollywood stars. Aaralyn dressed up as Emma Stone and got a makeover to produce a spitting image.

Aaralyn Anderson poses with Patrick Somerville, writer of the Netflix series Maniac, on the show's set earlier this year.

On working with Jonah Hill

Hill, whose first leading role was in Superbad, looks very different now. And an 8-year-old, assuming they’re only watching movies suitable for their age, might not recognize his appearance.

“He doesn’t exactly make kids movies,” Heather Anderson said. “And he didn’t look how he did in Night at the Museum,” so Aaralyn didn’t recognize him at first.

Aaralyn Anderson poses with Patrick Somerville, writer of the Netflix series “Maniac,” on the show’s set earlier this year.
Courtesy of Heather Anderson

Meeting writer/producer Patrick Somerville

“Aaralyn would sit with him, they have this area where they put all the producers and the writers and can listen with the headphones to what’s going on set,” Heather said of Somerville, who was a producer and a writer on HBO’s “The Leftovers” series.
How did filming work out?

“We were very lucky because she shot in and around New York, so we could come down when she had breaks.” They would only be in Clayton a few days at a time during the filming, which wrapped up in October.

A few days after filming, they went to Disney World before Aaralyn’s 8th birthday on Nov. 5.

Getting started as a child actress

When Aaralyn was a baby and Heather took her out in public, she would be approached by lots of people coming to admire her baby.

“One day I was in Target with her…everyone was coming to see her. It took me hours to get out of there.”

At 10 months old, Aaralyn did a Huggies commercial. She was in other commercials including one for Nickelodeon when was 2 and a half.

And when she was four, Aaralyn appeared in a courtroom scene of “The Good Wife” on CBS.

photos for the interview by :