actress Dianna M. Cruz
These days we’re all longing for the fun times of another era.
Well, David Henrie, best known for starring alongside Selena Gomez in “Wizards of Waverly Place,” wants to satisfy that nostalgic feeling with his directorial debut, the new teen comedy film, “This Is The Year.”
Executive produced by Gomez, this contemporary spin on classic 80’s coming-of-age movies, follows a nerdy boy chasing after the girl of his dreams, only to discover his real true love in the most unexpected place.
Rising actress Dianna M. Cruz
joins the adventure as Liz, the party girl and ‘bestie’ to Zoey (Alyssa Jirrels). The role is just the latest for Dianna, who notably appeared on Disney XD’s popular "Kickin’ It" and in comedy sketches on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" as late-night sidekick Guillermo’s Daughter.
Ahead of its official release, movie-goers can watch “This Is The Year” during a special live Virtual Premiere on August 28th benefitting the Plus1 COVID-19 Relief Fund. (Visit link
Dianna M. Cruz recently answered some questions about “This Is The Year” and more:
Tell us about your role in “This Is The Year.”
DIANNA: I play Zoey’s best friend Liz. She’s a huge party girl, loves alternative rock bands, and is always down to have a good time! She’s also a big fan of “Lovelytheband,” which is so funny because so am I.
What would you consider Liz’s ‘best’ quality? And her ‘worst’?
DIANNA: Liz’s best quality is her taste in music. Worst quality? She’s been known to ruin some moments with her party girl vibe.
How was it to work with actor David Henrie as the director?
DIANNA: Incredible! I was a huge fan of “Wizards of Waverly Place” growing up, and being able to work on a project with David was such an inspiring experience. This was his directorial debut, but you would have never known it — there was always this professional, hardworking, positive feeling on set. David really made us feel like we were all one big family.
The film feels like a party atmosphere, so are there any fun stories from the set you can share with us?
DIANNA: We filmed at a pretty run-down motel in the middle of Mobile, Alabama, and one of our night shoots was on the eve of Halloween, so it felt like an actual party! Another fun thing that happened: on one of my days off, I ran into a few producers of our film in the hotel lobby. They invited me to check out the set of another film they were working on nearby, “Arkansas”. I went from grabbing blueberries at the breakfast buffet, to spontaneously meeting Liam Hemsworth. It was quite the morning!
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from working on this project?
DIANNA: As an actor, I think there is this false misconception we have that one day you become this ideal version of yourself, perfect your craft, and become a part of all the projects that you dream of. But that’s not true. The way you get there is by continuing to struggle and grow; whilst never being perfect. So much growth comes in the actual “doing” — when you’ve been working a 13-hour day and need to get that last take before the director calls cut and the sun rises. Those are moments that make you better. No matter how successful you are, we are all just learning how to create the best art we can, and that is very inspiring to see.
And, now just for fun:
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
DIANNA: I’m obsessed with Dan Levy! “Schitt’s Creek” is my favorite comedy of all time. Dan Levy is not only an actor, but a creator, producer, writer, and killer comedian. He put his heart and soul into the development of that show and you can see it. Every joke is incredibly executed and the entire show makes me belly laugh. I also love Reese Witherspoon in “Little Fires Everywhere”. I find myself drawn to actors who are not only artists, but have an entrepreneurial spirit and take projects into their own hands!
What role from the past do you wish you could have played?
DIANNA: It would be a dream to play a role like Rue in HBO’s “Euphoria,” or even a bad ass super hero in a Marvel series, like “Jessica Jones.”
Favorite movie or TV show from your childhood.
DIANNA: Growing up, I was definitely a Disney Channel girl. I would say Miley Cyrus in “Hannah Montana” and Selena Gomez in “Wizards of Waverly Place” (our executive producer!) played such pivotal roles in why I am an actor today. The idea that you could wake up every morning, play pretend on a sound stage, and make people laugh sounded like an absolute dream.
Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
DIANNA: When I’m not acting, I’m also a fashion/lifestyle blogger and content creator! I love to share my personal tips on style and also my journey as an actress living in Los Angeles.
How can fans keep up with you?
DIANNA: Fans can follow me on my Instagram at @diannamcruz link
I love to share my journey as an actor, my love of fashion, inspirational quotes, and photos of my three hundred vanilla scented candles that I light daily ;)
Thanks, Dianna – it sounds like this is becoming YOUR year!
Alyssa Jirrels and Dianna M. Cruz in "This Is The Year"
Dianna M. Cruz