‘The Fosters’: Maia Mitchell and David Lambert Talk New Season, Jake T. Austin’s Departure, Brallie Duet

Season 3B will feature musical 'Romeo and Juliet' episode

Photo: 'The Fosters' Cast 2016

Noah Centineo

Noah Centineo as Jesus Foster

Give the new guy a chance!

Two stars of THE FOSTERS believe fans will “fall in love” with new cast member Noah Centineo when he takes over the role of Jesus during the upcoming season 3B.

“I know it’s controversial and people are for the most part feeling quite strange about it,” star Maia Mitchell (Callie) admits.

“It is quite a jarring change.  But I know that when the show starts airing people are just going to fall in love with him.”

Centineo, 19, is best known for his appearances on Disney Channel’s AUSTIN & ALLY and SHAKE IT UP.

He was tapped by producers when fan favorite Jake T. Austin abruptly quit the groundbreaking ABC Family/FreeForm series in March 2015.

“It wasn’t the right fit,” Mitchell tells TheTVPage.com in an exclusive interview.

“He wasn’t interested in doing the show anymore so he left.”

“I think it was a classic case of he didn’t see eye to eye,” co-star David Lambert (Brandon) adds.

The show’s first major casting change has led to widespread concern among fans of the show.

“Obviously people are wondering and if we could address those (concerns) it would be, be patient and wait and give this guy a chance,” Lambert says.

“I really think that Noah has done a great job with this character.  Not specifically changing the character, but really adding on to it.”

Here’s more of what the two actors told me when we caught up last weekend in Los Angeles.

Were you surprised by Jake’s decision to leave the show?
MM:  No.

Were you disappointed?
MM:  No.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season?
MM:  Our season 3A wrapped up with Callie being adopted, so Brandon and Callie have to kind of put their relationship on hold.  So I think it is about getting a fresh start.  She is part of the family now, so she is just doing her own thing.  I think all of the characters are just experiencing a lot of new things.  There is a lot of growth and new beginnings.

How long is this “will they or won’t they” thing going to go on?
DL:  That is the big question!

MM:  This season they have really been disciplined.  They have really been doing their own thing.  Brandon has got his own kind of interests.  He is exploring his music really intensely.

DL:  Brandon is doing a musical adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” for a senior project in high school.  So he enlists the help of a few familiar faces.  You will see his friend Matt (Jordan Rodrigues) help him out with the music.  Ashley Argota who played Lou will be back to play a part in it.  We have Garret Clayton who made an appearance recurring in season one.  Then we have new faces.  Corbin Bleu will be joining us for the musical.

MM:  We all get to have a little sing.  I am not in the musical, but I got to sing a little bit. Callie plays guitar.  We have never established her as a singer, but she kind of helps Brandon out in rehearsals a bit.  They have a little bit of a duet — a Brandon-Callie duet, which is a long time coming…

But don’t you feel like before this show eventually ends one day, there will be a storyline about whether Callie and Brandon will end up together?
MM:  I used to feel a little more like that.  Like they will get married and she will never get adopted.  But now that my character has been adopted I can’t see a way in which it would work.  But you never know.

Does their relationship feel less dirty now?
MM:  No.  It actually doesn’t.  It actually feels a little more secretive because especially this season they have this giant season they are holding on to.

DL:  It is definitely a skeleton in the closet.

But as actors, does it seem less weird?
MM:  It has always been a little weird.

DL:  I think it is cleaner now.  Because now it is legitimate.  Because she is adopted, obviously nothing can happen.

MM:  There are no shades of gray.

Where does Jude’s story go from here?
MM:  The producers want to be really true to that story and to the character and what it means to be a young gay boy…

So they won’t be making out in every episode?
MM:  Absolutely not.  That relationship is so gentle and sweet and innocent.  They are still young.  There is nothing overly sexual.    They are handling as they would if it were a young straight couple.

Can you share something that nobody knows about Callie?
MM:  I know that my character was supposed to be blonde.  So they never let me get a tan because our cast is predominantly dark eyes and dark features.  Terri is our only real blonde.  So they really wanted Callie to be blonde.

Did they want to color your hair?
MM:  No.  I just kept going in to auditions and they kept calling me back in to test and every time I would go in to test it would be me and blonde girls.

You have had a nose ring for about a year.  Did you ask if you could wear it on the show?
MM:   No.  For me it was like… I don’t have any control over my [appearance].  I want to shave my head.  There are all these things I want to do.  I want to get tattoos all over my body, but I can’t.  The only thing I could really do is get an invisible nose piercing.

What kind of tattoos do you want to get?
MM:  I don’t know exactly.  But I want to have the freedom to.  That is just the sacrifice you make.  It is not just for the show.  It is part of being an actor.

Is the show constraining you?
MM:  It is not.  It is liberating me.

Where are you at with filming right now?
DL:  We are actually finishing up 3B right now.  We are still kind of in the grinder.  Working long hours.  We literally just wrapped the musical episode and are going into the finale.  Then we will have a nice two month break and we will be back for season four.

The musical episode is just one episode.
DL:  It culminates in one episode.  It ramps up to it with rehearsals and that kind of thing.  But the actual musical will be about half the episode.  There are 12 original songs and it is a pretty full on kind of production that you get pulled out.

Is Rosie O’Donnell coming back?
MM:  Yes.  She is in this season.  She is quite heavily featured.  You get a bit more of a look into her relationship with her daughter and her struggle.

THE FOSTERS returns January 25 on Freeform (formerly ABC Family).

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly