Peyton List knows she’s in a pivotal moment of her career. The final episode of the Disney show that she appeared in, Bunk’d, aired in September, and now the 20-year-old actress’ branching out.
List is starring in a new movie, Anthem of a Teenage Prophet, which features one of her just-released songs, “Dance Til We Die,” and she will also appear in the upcoming season of The Karate Kid reboot Cobra Kai.
But before you even bring it up, List is not making a big deal of leaving behind her days with Disney, where she also starred in four seasons of the sitcom Jessie, the origin of her Bunk’d character, and appeared on several other shows. There’s no talk about a curse on former Disney child stars here. However, List is excited about her first year of “being off of Disney completely.”
“I’m just trying to read a ton of scripts to see what really resonates with me, because right now, I kind of don’t really care what the genre is, per se. I’m kind of down for anything, as long as it’s an amazing script that speaks to me, so I’m just constantly reading and constantly looking,” List tells Yahoo Entertainment. “But I also don’t feel like I need to make such a drastic change or jump to break out of the whole Disney mold. I feel like that’s such a cliché thing to do, so I’m just looking for the thing that speaks to me most.”
List’s new movie Anthem resonated with her because it felt “more real” than a typical teen movie. It’s the story of a high school student named Luke (played by Gotham‘s Cameron Monaghan) who mysteriously foresees his best friend’s death, then has to deal with the aftermath, including falling in love with the friend’s girlfriend, portrayed by List.
“It’s a whole movie about dealing with loss and kind of finding the light in life, even when you know death is moving over your head,” List explains.
She contributed a song, “Dance Til We Die,” to the movie, after some coaxing. It was only two months ago that she released her debut single.
“[The filmmakers] just said, ‘OK, well, we know you sing, so why don’t you send a couple songs to us and we’ll potentially put them in the movie, and I was like, ‘No, no, we’re good,'” List says. “They reached out to my producer, so my producer sent a couple of the songs. And I had already recorded ‘Dance Til We Die.’ But they were right, it actually did fit the feeling of the movie.”
Still, List, recalls being so nervous before sharing the video for “Die” on social media that she was shaking, like she was about to jump out of a plane. It’s her second official single, but she has more music planned.
“It’s funny,” she says, “with acting, I feel like I’m so confident and down for anything, but with music, I’m still so hesitant. I feel so vulnerable…”
Audiences will next see List in Cobra Kai, when its second season premieres this spring. She remembers liking the Karate Kid when her mom sat her down to show her the essential ’80s movies (Dirty Dancing was required viewing too), and she was thrilled to be hired for the update.
“The character is so cool. I mean, I want to be sort of like her,” List says. “She speaks her mind and she’ll fight anyone that gets in her way, like her path, and she’s a complete badass. It was so fun to play, because I am so not that person who does confrontation or who fights. And so I had to train and fight people, pull hair. I was just having the time of my life.”
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