Is anyone having a better July than Meg Donnelly? It’s hard to say. On July 15, you can see her reprise her role as Addison in Disney Channel's Zombies 3, for which she stars and produces, and then later in the month, she’ll be in the new season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series as psychology college student and camp counselor Val.
In addition to her Disney reign, Donnelly has been filming for the Supernatural prequel series, The Winchesters, which tells the love story of Sam and Dean Winchester’s parents and how they saved the world. Before we meet Mary Campbell (Sam and Dean’s mom, played by Donnelly), we caught up with the actress-singer to learn more about Zombies 3, The Winchesters and the possibility of new music.
For Zombies 3, you are a star and producer. What was it like balancing these roles?
It was amazing. For Milo and I to be so creatively involved and see things from the other side is really, really cool. It was definitely a very unique experience that I haven't had before. And I feel like Milo and I added so much to the movie.
Milo and I expressed our interest in it because we are so involved and we love these movies so much and we were huge fans of Disney Channel too, growing up as kids. We also know what we would want to see if we were young kids, as well. So keeping that in mind, I thought it was really important that we're involved that way and it just like happened so seamlessly.
What do you hope fans to take away from watching Zombies 3?
There's so much to look forward to. The new songs are just absolutely incredible. I feel like they’re songs that could just be on the radio, and I feel like the movie has matured so much with the audience as they've gotten older.
Every Zombie movie has the message of acceptance and accepting people because they're different. Being different makes them beautiful, but in this one, it's really pushing the message that we're not going to be able to have any solutions or a utopia if we can't have conversations. There has to be conflict for change to happen. And I think that's really important, especially now, for young kids to understand, just to have conversations about it.
What did you enjoy about diving back into Addison and what has it been like for you to play somebody over the course of three different movies?
Getting back into Addison is always such an emotional, surreal experience because just thinking about her from the first movie to now is just so wild. I guess she's grown with me as well. She’s just a fun character to play, truly. She's such an amazing role model and the lessons she teaches and how she's so accepting and so giving all the time— I look up to her and it's really an honor to play her. Especially all the Zed and Addison stuff, l it's really, really fun and it's so easy to just work with Milo because we are just so close.
And to play her through all of these years is really surreal because when I started I was 16 and now I'm turning 22, so it's just been a crazy ride.
You’ve made quite a mark on Disney Channel. How does it feel to already have a career where you’re part of the Disney legacy?
It's so hard to wrap my head around. I don't think it's still settled in because growing up as a kid, Disney Channel was just everything to me. I never thought in a million years it was even possible, like that was even a possibility to be on Disney Channel. Being under anything Disney for that matter, I'm just such a Disney fan of, the parks and all the movies and just to be a part of this franchise is just really, really surreal. I'm so grateful for it.
Speaking of crazy pop culture legacies, you're part of the Supernatural prequel. How does it feel to pivot into your first dramatic role?
Oh, it is wild. I am so excited to start filming. It's been amazing. Supernatural is such an incredible show, and then the fans are just so dedicated and so loyal. It's such an amazing, big fan base, so I am so honored to step into the role of Mary Campbell. We as a cast definitely feel not a bad pressure, but definitely an exciting type of pressure to step into the universe and hopefully make the fans happy. Working with Jensen Ackles and then also talking so much with Jared Padalecki because he's been incredibly supportive as well. They're just the nicest, most down-to-earth people, and I don't know how I keep getting so lucky between Zombies and High School Musical and now Winchesters. Everyone is just so nice, and it's really rare. So I'm so grateful.
It's very interesting stepping into a dramatic role because I've auditioned so many times for dramatic roles, but I've never actually been a part of a project. So it's been wild, especially at first. She's so unlike me. All the characters that I played before have some type of connection to me. With Mary, I definitely feel so connected with her now after doing so much work, but at first I was like, ‘Wow, like she's so unlike me like I like need to find some connection. like This is wild.’ But everyone's been so supportive and so nice and and playing her is such an honor.
We hear you are making new music. Do you have plans to release a new song anytime soon?
I've been planning on coming out with music for so long. I've just been experimenting so much and I've been working with incredible people. I'm really, really excited for music to come out. I'm hoping that it comes out by the end of this year, but I'm really excited for people to hear it.
I've been in the studio just writing music for fun and for therapy almost, and some amazing stuff has come of it. What I like to write about is very dark and is more therapeutic, but then I also love to dance as well. Trying to find a balance of all of that is challenging, but a good challenging because it's really fun to figure out what sounds like me and what feels authentic to me.
Do you have a preference for music or acting?
They're both so fulfilling in their own ways. There's nothing like being on a set with people. It almost feels like summer camp and doing scenes together is just so much fun. After you get done with a really good scene that you're excited for, that feeling is incredible. But performing is just something that has always really, truly been a part of me, especially doing theater growing up. Being on stage and that adrenaline of being in front of people and and performing your heart out— that is something that I really, really really want to do. And it's been a long time since I've done it since before COVID, so I really am looking forward to doing that again.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: The Riker Bros.