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'Goldbergs' Star Hayley Orrantia on Her Country Music Career, Challenging Herself + New Film 'Christmas is Cancelled'


Hayley Orrantia is a woman of many trades; she's a singer, actress, interior decorator, and writer. Since 2013, she's been telling the story of Erica Golberg in The Goldbergs, which premiered in 2013. The show follows a hilarious and quirky suburban family in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania in the 1980s and also stars George Segal and Wendi Mclendon-Covey. The show is currently in production for its ninth season.

Much like Orrantia's character, Erica, the actress showcases her ability to portray every character she sets her mind to perfectly. Speaking with Wide Open Country, Orrantia revealed she has been more than proud to play Erica for nine seasons.

"I feel like people would expect me to say that I'm over it," she tells Wide Open Country. "But it's actually been a project that I've had so much love for. I look forward to every new season that we've been blessed to get. Every year it's more fun to come back with these people that I have a blast with and be able to just laugh on set and make this project that we all adore."

The actress is now set to star in the Lionsgate holiday film Christmas is Canceled, alongside Janel Parrish and Dermot Mulroney. The film follows Emma (Hayley), whose father (Mulroney) begins dating her high school frenemy, Brandy (Parrish), soon after her mother passes away. Chaos ensues when Emma's father insists that they all spend Christmas together.


After being with The Goldbergs for so long, the actress stated she was excited to step out of the sitcom world for a bit and dive into other projects that can challenge her.

"It was such a whirlwind of experiences because I haven't done an indie movie like this in a very long time," she said. "I have been very limited in what I have shot, so it was something that was intimidating to me, but it also reinvigorated my love of acting."

"After a while, you know, when I'm doing this character for nine years, everything kind of does get a little stale because you're sort of just going with the motions," she continued. "We created this well-oiled machine on The Goldbergs that when this other project was thrown at me it sort of challenged me and woke me up."


Orrantia stated one of the things that drew her to the script was the way each character had their own story arc.

"Honestly just the writing was what drew me to the movie originally," she says. "It was hilarious too, I laughed out loud multiple times while reading the scripts and I was like 'I just wanna be a part of this'. I love comedy, and the more I can challenge myself with physical comedy too the better. That's why I signed on."

This film means so much more to Orrantia after her new holiday single, "The Same Way" will be featured in the film. The actress revealed that she had asked director Prarthana Mohan to listen to a couple of her original songs to see if one could work for the holiday film.


"It's pretty wild, I'm not gonna lie. I feel like whenever it comes to music -- I just love doing it so," she continued, "[Prarthana Mohan] was very open to it and I guess she heard this one and she just thought there was a great place for it in the movie. I think that anytime that I'm able to sort of combine these two loves of mine it's just that more special."

This isn't the first time the actress has dived into music. She's actually been featured on several country music playlists, including Spotify's Wild Country and Nearly Nashville. She also conducted her first headlining tour, The Strong, Sweet and Southern tour, during which time she played in 22 cities across the US and performed on three main stages at the CMA Fest in Nashville. Orrantia has even started songwriting more.  She says it's rewarding to dive into it headfirst she's currently working hard to release new music soon.

"It's been really gratifying," she says. "I feel like I've been able to really work that songwriting muscle in a way that I don't feel like I need to depend on other people to shape it into a perfectly done-up pop song. So I've been able to do it on my own and I'm really looking forward to recording those songs soon and hopefully releasing an EP in 2022."


As far as what's next for the singer-songwriter, being a woman of several trades is definitely high up on the list. Orrantia hopes directing is in her future; she's even been shadowing directors on The Goldbergs and working with her boyfriend, Greg Furman,  a well-known actor, writer and composer.

"I have been sort of diving into more stuff behind the camera," Orrantia says. "My boyfriend [Greg Furman] is a phenomenal screenwriter and we've been developing some projects together that I would love to produce alongside him. I also have been shadowing directors on the set of The Goldbergs because I would love to position myself for a director role at some point if we do get picked up again. So I'm really like working on challenging myself and other creative outlets like that. I'm looking forward to what 2022 is gonna bring."

Christmas is Cancelled is set to be released on Dec. 17 on Amazon, HBO Max and theaters internationally.

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