Lifetime's Army Wives has added plenty of new characters recently, and one of them is Caroline Hall, the daughter of Sergeant Eddie Hall, who doesn't get along with stepmom Maggie. Caroline is played by actress Ella Wahlestedt, who joined BFTV recently to talk about coming onto the show in its seventh season and what ambitions she has for the rest of her career.
"There's a lot of drama!" she said of the remaining episodes of Army Wives this season, though she couldn't tell us specifics about what or who's involved. There are three installments left in season seven, which has already involved the death of former main character Claudia Joy Holden and the introduction of several new faces, including Brooke Shields as an Air Force officer who arrives following the Army-Air Force merger at Fort Marshall.
Given all the history that comes with a TV show being on the air for several years, Ella explained that she did her homework before signing on to the series. "My mom actually watched the show for a long period of time," she said. "I wanted to get a feel [for the] tone of the show, so I watched the sixth season all the way through, and I actually really liked it."
Now she's finding her place amongst the Army Wives cast. "I know when I do well and when I completely bomb it, which doesn't happen too often," Ella continued. "I had to cry in a scene, and I felt really good about it."
The show is a big opportunity for the 14-year-old actress, who was born in Stockholm, Sweden and moved to the United States at age seven. Her background includes competitive gymnastics, soccer, and modeling campaigns for various clothing stores and fashion lines. Yet it's acting that's her biggest passion, and her career is picking up steam.
Aside from playing Caroline, Ella recently filmed a guest appearance for the upcoming fourth season of A&E's Florida-set cop drama The Glades. Season four begins airing next Monday, May 27 on the cable channel, and Ella will be seen in the fifth episode, "Apocalypse Now." That installment is scheduled to air on June 24.
She's also moving to the big screen with the Disney film Echo, which she calls "a little edgier for Disney. It's a big adventure film." Echo focuses on a group of teenagers investigating a series of neighborhood disturbances, and also stars Jason Gray-Stanford (Monk, Monday Mornings). The film's release date has yet to be announced.
Adventure is definitely a word in Ella's vocabulary; she enjoys "anything active," including hiking, Krav Maga and Crossfit. That term even applies to her taste in entertainment. "I would love to be on The Walking Dead. Even if it was just as a zombie, that would be pretty cool!" she said. When it comes to movies, she's "really into the mindbenders" like The Butterfly Effect, although her all-time favorite flick is Forrest Gump.
Her preferences for her career are much broader. When it comes to the projects she'd like to see herself in, "Versatility is really important. I want to play a bunch of different kinds of characters," Ella told us, adding that she's got a short list of dream co-stars, too. "George Clooney is really nice and Jodie Foster has been in the business awhile. I'd kind of like to work with them and see what their method is."
Yet the charming young actress isn't expecting to jump straight to working with Hollywood's A-list. She's enjoying the climb as much as she looks forward to the destination. "The whole process is so much fun," she enthused. "I enjoy every single second of it."
Army Wives continues tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on Lifetime. You can also follow Ella on Twitter (@EllaWahlestedt).