When I ask Mexico-born Daniela Bobadilla if she had any concerns auditioning as a series regular on a sitcom starring Charlie Sheen (also a Latino), who has had a storied reputation for not always being in control of his emotions and his behavior, she offers a cheerful, “Interestingly, not at all. When I mentioned to a few friends that I was auditioning for the show, I got a few wide-eyed, ‘Really?’ looks. But I didn’t know much about Charlie before I was selected to play his daughter. I met him during the audition process. That’s the Charlie Sheen I know. He has been such a dear person to be with and to work with. My experience with him is not congruent with the image the media has projected.”
At this moment, Daniela is ten episodes into the FX series, Anger Management (airing Thursdays, 9pm) portraying the 13-year-old obsessive-compulsive daughter to Sheen’s not always in control, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants group therapist, Charlie Goodson. The series – loosely based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-starring film of the same name – began airing on June 28 and Daniela is now anticipating a series pickup of 90 more episodes. “I am just waiting and praying, “ she laughs. “I know the writers are planning on going back to work on July 9, so that is good.
“My character is named Sam Goodson, so I don’t think Charlie and I are playing Latinos. Sam is a nerdy teenager, who also has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This is established in the first episode. It comes out when she feels stressed and that can make her hard to comprehend. So, Charlie has to not only deal with her OCD episodes, he also can’t get away with much around her because Sam is nerdy smart. If anything, Sam tries to psychoanalyze him. That can be pretty funny. Sometimes, Sam is the parent, but when she needs it, Charlie is definitely the parent.”
Although Daniela’s career has been relatively brief, to date, she has jammed a lot of activity into a few short years. Born in Mexico City in 1993. She recalls, “I lived there until I was seven and then my parents decided to move to Vancouver, Canada. I lived there until I was sixteen and then I made the move down to LA.”
It was in film-and-TV active Vancouver that Daniela Bobadilla began her professional career, garnering small co-starring roles in Smallville and Supernatural, both CW series shot in Vancouver. She affirms, “Of course, I was delighted to actually get paid to perform, but my true love back then was doing musicals in community theatre. I began doing shows in Vancouver when I was eleven.”
The aspiring musical theater star racked up 17 productions, including Fiddler on the Roof (Chava), High School Musical (Gabriella Montez) and Wizard of Oz (Dorothy). Along the way, Daniela actively trained in singing, acting and dancing. All this activity eventually led to her signing with a Canadian talent agent, who jumped her right into auditioning for TV and film.
“My big break came in 2008 when I was cast as George Lopez’s daughter, Naomi, in the TV movie, Mr. Troop. Now that was definitely a Latina role. It was such a blessing. It also gave me the courage to make the move to Los Angeles. My parents were at first doubtful, but George and Ann Lopez were so supportive and helpful that my parents agreed to let me do it. It was here that I went into an accelerated academic program to get my California high school diploma.”
She also began playing Latinas in earnest. Her first lead role was the 13-year-old younger self of actress Martha Higareda in the Lifetime movie, Lies in Plain Sight, starring Rosie Perez. . Daniela admits, “I felt so intimidated when I knew I was going to work with Rosie, but she was so nice and professional and amazing to work with. I also was privileged to come into the final season of Desperate Housewives, playing Eva Longoria’s long-lost half sister. I had so much fun being around all that great talent.
“Right now, I am definitely on hold for future work. Obviously, I can’t do another pilot. And I can’t really accept guest roles until I know what is happening with Anger Management. Also, I don’t want to do anything else because I am so emotionally attached to this show. Of course, my first true love is musical theater. And someday, I really want to get back to it on some basis, especially if I had the opportunity to do (2008 Tony-winner) In The Heights. You know, it was seeing that musical that gave my parents and I the courage to make the move to Los Angeles. And since coming here, I have been so blessed.”
Anger Management also stars Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Michael Arden, Noureen DeWulf and Derek Richardson. Aldo Gonzalez recurs as a therapy patient in Charlie’s prison group. The series, developed by Bruce Helford, is exec produced by Sheen, Helford, Ramon Estevez, Mark Burg, Sandra Stern, Joe Roth, Kevin Beggs and Vince Totino.