On the day I met actress Emily Peachey at a coffee shop in Market Square, it was bright and warm -- just like her.
"I just came from a commercial audition," she said smiling. "It's weird because now that I've caught this acting bug, it's just all I think about."
Ms. Peachey, 23, appears briefly in the Pittsburgh-filmed "The Fault in Our Stars," a movie based on John Green's book of the same name that opened June 6. She had her first speaking role in the 2011 movie "Abduction," starring Taylor Lautner, which also was shot in Pittsburgh.
Acting wasn't her first career choice. Both of her parents are lawyers living outside Washington, D.C., where she grew up. She moved to Pittsburgh five years ago to pursue a communications degree at Duquesne University. Then she applied to law school.
"I've always gone on auditions for things since I was 12. The idea of being able to play make-believe and get paid for it has always enticed me," she said.
On her first day of law school at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013, she learned she had won the role of Monica in "Fault."
"I called my parents immediately to tell them that law school was on hold. "My mom was excited for me, but it took a little while for my dad to warm up to the idea. ... After realizing how successful and big the movie was, he's now my biggest fan." she said.
"The Fault in Our Stars" tells the story of two teenagers with cancer. Shailene Woodley's Hazel has thyroid cancer, and Ansel Elgort's Gus had bone cancer. Ms Peachey plays the girlfriend of Gus' best friend, Isaac. I asked about her experiences in the film.
What was it like dealing with such intense subject matter?
Everyone was so kind to me on set. Shailene is a brilliant actor, and I would just stand and observe her while she was doing her scenes. They all knew I was the least experienced of everyone and took me under their wing.
How did you prepare for the role of Monica?
Monica is Isaac's girlfriend in the film. Isaac (played by Nat Wolff) has cancer, and she decides to break up with him. One night, Nat and I went out to BRGR [in East Liberty] ... in character. That helped take my character to another level of development.
How much ad-libbing do you do in front of the camera?
A lot of it was just in the moment. We would do take after take, trying it different ways, experimenting with different emotional responses. We were told by Josh [Boone, director] to just behave like obnoxious teenagers in love, which wasn't hard to do.
What's it like on a film set?
You work really early mornings ... so early Starbucks is still closed. It's fun, and it's a lot of just hanging out and waiting.
What reaction have you gotten here in Pittsburgh?
It's amazing how sweet and supportive everyone in Pittsburgh has been. The fact that so many young girls come up to me and [say they] love the film. ... It's overwhelming!
What is it about Pittsburgh that you love so much?
Pittsburgh is such an easy place to live and to work. I love the passion people have for this city and its homey, cozy feel. Everyone is rooting for me to succeed, and there is just so much to do and see. I could really put roots down here, for sure.