Taegen Burns has accomplished a lot in her short career. Since making her debut in the Lifetime TV movie Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland in 2017, she's also had roles in Lionsgate's I Can Only Imagine (2018), Netflix's Dumplin' (2018), and the indie film Blue Ridge (2020) for Imagicomm Entertainment. The actress is starring in her second Disney+ series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, after the astronaut series The Right Stuff. I spoke to Burns about her latest film, the Lionsgate crime thriller The Gateway. The film follows a social worker (Shea Whigham) assigned to the care of the daughter of a single mother intervening when the dad returns from prison and lures them into a life of crime.
How Taegen Burns Landed The Gateway
"[The Gateway] is a great movie," Burns said. "I started acting when I was younger, and this was my first time in a film with such crazy characters. I'm really excited to be a part of it. It is a crime thriller, and the people in it are amazing actors. I was so excited to be a part of it." The actress plays Ashley, daughter of Dahlia (Olivia Munn). She broke down how the director (Michele Civetta) ran a smooth set, and co-stars Munn and Whigham became fantastic scene partners. "It was a great environment for me to be working in and I felt very welcomed on set every morning," Burns said. "Michele is a great director to be around. He was great for welcoming ideas, and he's like, 'OK, Well, if you have any ideas for your character, for how you want to play a teen or whatever, let me know.' I felt that helped me and the environment on set with everyone. Olivia and Shea, working with them really helped me as we rehearsed lines. We would kind of prepare together and really talked about scenes."
Burns credited Civatta for allowing her and her co-stars to play in the space they're given, and an opportunity like The Gateway provided her an original character she thrived in. "I think it was everything was kind of fresh, because the movies I did prior, they were all always like either flashback scenes or playing a younger version, someone else, or portraying a character that already existed in the world," she said. "So this is the first role that I got to play my own character, explore my character on my own, and I didn't have to portray someone else's [character as a younger version]. It was definitely easier for me. I think this was the first kind of gritty crime thriller movie that I've done."
On Joining Disney+'s Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
As far as participating in the TV reboot of the Mighty Ducks film franchise, Burns was honored to become a part of it. "The movies were kind of before my time, so I didn't watch them until I was like in the auditioning process," she said. "It was crazy going into that franchise and being a part of this newer version and seeing how people will react to it and just being a part of it and being able to kind of relive for a newer time." The Gateway, which was written by Civatta, Alex Felix Bendaña, and Andrew Levitas, also stars Frank Grillo, Taryn Manning, Mark Boone Junior, and Bruce Dern. The film is currently in select theaters, Apple TV+, and anywhere you can rent movies. It's available on Blu-ray and DVD on September 7th. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is available to stream on Disney+.