Mamie Laverock is a pretty normal, nine-year-old Richmond kid.
She goes to school locally, swims for a local club, and likes to ride horses.
Where things tend to change is in the spare time department since she is getting less and less of it these days. That's because the cute-as-a-button dynamo with a shock of red hair is part of the cast of When Calls The Heart, a new family-focused series being shot in Langley and broadcast on the Hallmark Channel in the U.S. Mamie rose to prominence a couple of years ago after being cast in the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy feature film This Means War.
Unfortunately, much of her work ended up on the cutting room floor.
But now she is playing a recurring role as Rosaleen Sullivan, one of the children living in the fictitious, 1910 era town of Coal Valley.
The show, directed by Michael Landon Jr., son of the star of the long-running western series Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie, is based on the best-selling book series by Janette Oke. It follows a young teacher who is accustomed to high society life in the big city, but chooses to teach in a poor coal mining town, shunning her privileged life in the hope she can make an impact on the community.
For Laverock, it means long days
on set up to three days a week.
Laverock's mom, Nicole Rockmann, said the demands on the young cast members are considerable since they not only act during their work day, but do school work when not on set.
"It's a full day of school and a full day participating in the show," Rockmann said.
But the experience has been rewarding for Mamie, especially when she can come back and fill in her classmates and teacher on what she's been up to.
"It's cool," Mamie says, her eyes lighting up. "It's like getting in a time machine and going from 1910 to 2014.
"My friends, they think it's pretty neat. My teacher also loves to hear the stories," Mamie says, adding
Karen Caley, who teaches the Grade 3/4 split class at Anderson Elementary, gave her the complete book series of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - which follows a similar, family-based story theme as When Calls The Heart - and spawned the TV series which ran on NBC from 1974 to 1982.
"She (Caley) gave those to Mamie because she was so proud of her," Rockmann says. "She's been so supportive because Mamie has missed a lot of school and she works hard with her to get her all caught up."
Filming of the series started last September and is scheduled to wrap up its first season Feb. 21.
Hopes are it will be picked up for a second season and can act as a springboard for young actors such as Mamie and fellow cast mate, Winnipeg native Mitchell Kummen, 14, who, along with his mother, have linked up with Mamie and Rockmann to form an impromptu support group.
"In this business you get
so much help from people, people like Nicole and Mamie," Kummen says. "It's really appreciated. And when you can, it makes you want to give back. And that's really important.
"I can be satisfied with doing things for myself, but I am more satisfied with doing things for others."
That's why Kummen has been active with World Vision, supporting a family overseas.
For Mamie, the focus was more local.
"When Mamie got her first
cheque from this production, we went down to Main and Hastings and had her hand out coffee, sandwiches and juice to the people who had no homes of their own," Rockmann says. "That was quite an experience."
"That made me feel good to be able to help other people out who have not been as fortunate as me to have a home and a family," Mamie says. "It was kinda scary at first, but when I got to meet the people I realized they are really no different than me."