The Fosters’ Maia Mitchell: Callie’s Still Figuring Things Out

In last week’s episode of The Fosters, Callie did a backslide into some old habits, got in trouble, and met a handsome stranger. Maia Mitchell chatted with us about the recent turn of events, and what’s coming up for Callie in Season 4.

Callie’s always been an emotionally taxing role, but in the last episode, it got physically taxing as well. Can you tell us a bit about filming that punch, and what you had to do to prepare for it?

I was really nervous about that because I’ve never been in a fight, or had to do anything like that before. I worked with a couple of stunt people. They had to explain it to me more like a choreographed dance, and that’s what helped me. It was super easy at the end. We prepared a lot and it was very much fake.

It looked great on screen.

I am nowhere near as tough as Callie. I wish I was. Sometimes I have to step out of myself and be like, “I’m Callie. I’m tough. I’ve hit a few people before.”

As tough as Callie is at times, when things get bad and she feels like her stability is threatened, she goes into self-destruct mode. Do you think that Callie can ever get to a point where she doesn’t immediately want to blow everything up when things go wrong?

It’s an interesting journey for her, and it’s something that I talk about with the writers. It’s a constant conversation and evolution to her character. I think she’s on her way to figuring it out, and now she’s aware of it. Rita really helped her become aware of it. She was doing so well and then this thing with Brandon blew up.

Callie’s ultimate fear is always abandonment. That’s why she has all these trust issues and problems. When she feels like something is being taken away from her, or something is not within her own means and power, she takes back control of the situation even if that means blowing it up and making it worse for herself. The biggest risk or catastrophe for her would be for her parents to abandon her, and she really does think that’s what is going on. The stakes are so high for her that she kind of loses sight of all the progress she’s made and taps back into her old ways. At the end of the last episode, the moms reassure Callie that even though she has done what’s considered the worst thing she could do, they still love her and want to be her parents — and that’s unconditional. I think this might be a turning point for Callie.

It really looks like Callie is having trouble with feeling grounded or confident. She’s constantly on guard and preparing for the worst.

Yeah, and I don’t see that changing any time soon for her because she grew up in really trying circumstances where she needed to be a parent to her brother. She could have potentially been optimistic, and was let down by the system, by the people around her. Someone who’s been through something like Callie — had the childhood that she had, and had to deal with the adversity that she’s been through — I think it’s honestly a lifelong journey that she’ll have. I don’t see that changing. It’s meditative flashes in your thirties and therapy twice a week kind of thing for her. You can’t change the foundation of someone’s makeup. That’s how she was raised. Obviously the parents are going to help her as much as they can, but it’s going to be on her time.

There’s been this rift between Callie and Jude that keeps recurring, especially since he’s the first one to call her out when she is doing things not in her best interest. We haven’t seen that yet this season, so is their relationship more intact, or are there still bridges that need to be rebuilt between them?

The dynamic between Callie and Jude is interesting. Before the parents came into play, she was the more maternal figure for him, and she had the power and the control in that relationship. Now that the moms have come into play, she is stepping back a little bit and that relationship is changing and evolving. He’s also growing up. When we filmed the pilot, he was up to my belly button and now he’s taller than me. Their relationship is totally evolving as it does between siblings when they’re growing. I have a brother a little younger than Jude, and our relationship has been evolving. I’ve been letting him have [a more mature role] in the relationship and it becomes a little more equal. There’s a little bit of push and pull that happens, and that is happening with Callie and Jude. She’s having to find the balance between being there for him and being in his life, but also letting him be a teenager. You’re definitely going see more of that later in the season. He starts to do his own thing, and Callie is struggling with that. I don’t think their relationship is settled yet. There’s still a lot of push and pull, and they’re still trying to figure out what that relationship is.

The relationship between Callie and Brandon is always on everyone’s mind, especially the question of whether or not they’ve really moved past everything that happened. I tried to look at it as something that they needed to get out of their systems so they could move on, but a lot of fans are hoping that chapter isn’t closed despite what it could mean to the Adams-Foster family. What are your thoughts on that relationship? Can Callie and Brandon move on from something like that? And how will their actions continue to affect them?

My thoughts and feelings about it are changing all the time. Honestly, at the end of the day, I’m a hopeless romantic. I play Callie, so I’ve had those feelings and really invested in that relationship between her and Brandon. There’s a really big part of me that does love them together and I have a total soft spot for them. On the other hand. I just want the characters to be happy.

Obviously, right now they can’t be together. It took me a couple of seasons to accept that. Maybe it took that finale when they were in the cabin at Idyllwild, maybe it took that whole thing blowing up for me as a viewer to accept it. I think they just need to not be together and I’m at peace with that for now.

In an overall sense, I honestly don’t see how they can’t be together. He’s 18, she’s almost 18, they’re going to be in college anyway, and our show has proven that there’s no archetype for what a family looks like. They’ve known each other for a few years and they’re not blood related. They’re never going to see each other in a deep sense as siblings. I’m kind of more open to it in the long term, but right now, it’s not possible. Also, Brandon’s been kind of bugging me lately. Brandon’s got some stuff to sort through.

He’s busy playing stepdaddy right now.

Yeah, he’s got his own thing going on. I think it’s good for Callie to be well out of that.

We met a new character in the last episode, Aaron. Will we be seeing more of him in future episodes?

Yes, he’s going to be a very prominent person in Callie’s life in the upcoming episodes. [In tonight’s episode], she finds out that one of her past foster brothers is in prison for a murder she believes he didn’t commit. Callie reaches out to Aaron, who works for the Juvenile Justice Center, to basically try and get him to help her come up with a fair trial for Kyle, her former foster brother. You’re going to see them together sharing a sense of social justice and really working together to fight for this kid that she thinks is innocent. You’re definitely going to see that relationship evolve in certain ways. Aaron’s great and I love working with Elliot Fletcher. I’m interested to see how people react to that relationship.

Photo Courtesy of Freeform

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