ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Miranda May is excited about getting to spend another summer at camp. The 23-year-old Ohio native isn't going to be making a leather wallet or learning to identify trees by their leaves in some rural location. Her camp days unfold as the fourth season of "Bunk'd" begins June 20 on the Disney Channel.
"Bunk'd" is a spinoff of "Jessie," the popular Disney Channel series where regulars on that series -- Emma (Payton List), Ravi (Karan Brar) and Zuri (Skai Jackson) – traveled from New York City to Moose Rump, Maine, to spend the summer at Camp Kikiwaka and eventually ended up owning it. At the close of the third season, the trio agreed agree to sell the camp to former camp counselor Lou Hockhauser (May) who becomes the camp director.
Her camp activities take place on a Southern California soundstage but May has found being part of the series exciting and fun.
"We had a lake that we built in the middle of a soundstage and I was in that lake," May says during an interview at the recent Disney Channel Fan fest held at Disney's California Adventure Park. "That's crazy to me.
"I have also been rigged up in a harness and thrown across a soundstage. I have done some crazy things on this show that I would otherwise never have done – like dress up like a tree. Lou is funny and goofy but also a real person."
May has been acting in front of TV and film cameras since she was 11 with roles in "ER," "Liv and Maddie," "Samantha Who?" and "Disney Monstober" plus she took a load of acting classes. As she sits talking about her series, May comes clean on how all of those hours spent being shown the ins and outs of being a performer didn't completely prepare her for the kind of silliness she's called on for the cable series.
She laughs and explains the classes helped her in how she delivers comedy and drama and how to work with actors in a scene. But she can't recall a single class that gave her the needed skills to play a scene on "Bunk'd" where she had to stomp cranberries. It was cranberries and not grapes but that episode of "Bunk'd" was an homage to one of the most famous moments by Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy."
The closest May got to training to help with that kind of strange acting situation came through her hours of watching Ball be funny and her own passion for standup comedy. May stepped on a comedy stage when she was 10 as part of a comedy troupe and has been showcased at The Hollywood Improv, Brea Improv and Harrah's Hotel in Las Vegas.
It was good the inspiration from Ball came very early because May says that while her father is funny, his comedy is more "dad joke funny."
No matter the inspiration, May has been on a one-track mission for most of her life. When she was 8, she and her family went on a trip to Florida. That's where she made them buy her an expensive pink T-shirt with the big red words "Lead Actress in a Comedy Series" across the front.
"That was all I ever wanted to be. If that little girl had only known what was going to happen," May says.
What she would have told that youngster self is that the work done on "Bunk'd" would be an inspiration to a lot of young girls. May also gets told that a big reason the show has built such a following is that there are some many different types of people in the cast. That has made it easier for the viewers to relate to both the campers and those in charge.
The fourth season gives viewers three new Camp Kikiwaka members -- Noah (an upbeat actor from Hollywood), Ava (a tenacious counselor from the big city) and Gwen (who has spent her entire life living off the grid). Along with May, the cast of "Bunk'd" includes Raphael Alejandro, Will Buie Jr., Mallory James Mahoney, Shelby Simmons, Scarlett Estevez and Israel Johnson.
Look for the new episodes of "Bunk'd" to begin airing at 8 p.m. June 20 on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW.
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