Hayden Panettiere is taking a trip down memory lane!
ET sat down with the Scream VI actress for a little rETrospective, where Panettiere flashed through some of her most iconic career moments, from a Wendy’s commercial, to her role in Remember the Titans.
“Oh my gosh, my Wendy’s commercial,” Panettiere quipped, looking back at the old clip. “This one was when Dave Thomas was actually alive.”
She continued, “There he is, yes! There he is! Oh, Dave! Oh my gosh, I got to do two of those, two commercials — Wendy’s commercials with Dave Thomas when I was, gosh, I don’t even know, five? Six years old?”
While that commercial marked one of Panettiere’s most memorable spots, it was her introduction to acting, that came much earlier, when the now 33-year-old actress was just 11 months old.
“My introduction to acting was actually at 11 months old. Playskool Toy Train was my first commercial, but, I don’t know if that would really be an introduction to acting, because I don’t think acting was involved at that point. I didn’t have lines, I was just playing.”
Panettiere has gone on to star in countless films and television shows, including Guiding Light, Bring It On: All or Nothing, Heroes, Nashville and more, but her favorite movie to film, she told ET, has to be Remember the Titans.
“This movie was my favorite movie to film, what an incredible time in my life,” Panettiere, who played Sheryl Yoast in the film — daughter of Alexandria Virginia Titans High School football assistant coach Bill Yoast — gushed. “That’s just pure me that look. That is like from, oh my gosh — I mean, I was 10 years old. I had such cute boys around me, I was surrounded by the cutest boys. Kate Bosworth was like my big sister, was close to everyone.”
“I mean, you have no idea how many times in my life I have wished and prayed — if I had wished to go back to any time in my life, it would be going back to Remember the Titans,” she continued.
While the film featured a stacked cast, including Denzel Washington and a young Ryan Gosling, Panettiere said she had no idea she was working with some serious heavy hitters.
“At the time, I had no idea that I was working with Denzel Washington, one of the best actors of all time, that Ryan Gosling was going to become Ryan Gosling, that Ethan Suplee was going to become Ethan Suplee, that Donald Faison was going to be Donald Faison, that Kate Bosworth was going to become who she became. I mean, there were so many stars made. Made from this movie,” Panettiere explained.
She continued, “They went off and just had incredible, have incredible, careers that I see all the time, and I still, whenever I see them, I still expect them to treat me like I’m the 10-year-old, like, still love on me like they did when I was 10 years old.”
Admittedly, Panettiere, who was just a pre-teen at the time, said the reaction she got from her castmates following the film was a little different.
“And the first time I saw them after Remember the Titans, I had grown up a bit and the reaction was much different. And I was so confused and didn’t understand like, ‘Why aren’t you, like, picking me up and throwing me around like, oh my god, I love you?’ she said. “I had matured, and it would have been inappropriate, but what an incredible cast.”
From rocking her natural curls in the film to working alongside the cast and crew, Panettiere said she “loved every moment” about being on the Remember the Titans set.
“People ask me all the time. They never believe that my hair is actually curly. It’s naturally curly. And I’m like, go watch Remember the Titans,” she said while looking back at pics and clips of her as little Sheryl Yoast. “Every moment of that movie, every moment. I love Will Patton. Patton and I were so close — so close, all of those guys. I mean, there was not a second that I was unhappy and not excited to wake up and go to work on that movie.”
Another one of Panettiere’s favorites came much later, in Scream 4, where she played Kirby Reed — a role she would later reprise in the franchise’s sixth film.
“It was thrilling that people fell in love with Kirby. I loved playing Kirby, so I’m glad they love her as much as I did,” Panettiere said. “I don’t usually have a lot of expectations in life, in this industry, expectations lead to disappointment, so, I usually don’t have expectations. You’re never disappointed. You can always be pleasantly surprised and happy.”
From playing the cheerleader — twice — to a country singer and countless roles in between, Panettiere said she enjoyed looking back at her career thus far, and the “really fun” moments she’s had over the years.
“Going through all the moments of my career that I forgot was actually really fun,” she shared. “Really funny and nice to get a different perspective on myself at different ages in my life, ’cause you remember it differently than it happened. But they’re great memories, fond memories.”
As for what’s next for the actress, Panettiere said she has a few things in the works.
“Good things take time,” she noted. “So, you will know when it’s done.”
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