Former Disney Channel star turned horror movie scream queen, starring in films like Friday the 13th, Danielle Panabaker is one seriously talented lady. Did you know she’s also skilled in Star Wars-themed cardiovascular activities for a charitable cause too? Surprise! Ms. Panabaker was one of our delightful celebrity runners who lent some of their considerable star power to our intergalactically awesome relay. Danielle donned her Star Wars finest to help make our Pacific Palisades to Santa Monica leg a resounding success. She made us feel like one in a million, kid. To take you further behind the scenes, I caught up with Danielle to talk about her charitable endeavors, what Star Wars means to her and, of course, who she’d want to play most.
Nerdist: Tell us – how was your leg of the run?
Danielle Panabaker: It was great! Running down the PCH…I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done that. You know, that’s pretty cool.
N: Traffic can be so bad there sometimes you just want to get our of your car and run.
DP: [laughs] Exactly! I think I was moving faster than some of the other vehicles.
N: The other side was completely stopped…
N: And it wasn’t even the side with the giant Sail Barge!
DP: Right! So, it was an exciting day on the PCH.
N: How did you prepare for today’s race?
DP: You know, I got excited. I did my research. Got my Star Wars t-shirt…
N: That’s all we can ask for. How did you get involved in Course of the Force?
DP: When it comes to my volunteer work, I tend to lean towards foundations and non-profits specifically geared towards children since I sort of got my start as a child actor. Make-a-Wish Foundation is something that I’m very familiar with, so I was excited to be invited!
N: What is your earliest Star Wars memory?
DP: My earliest memory? Watching it with my dad. It was a movie my dad was really into, so I remember watching the first trilogy with him. I do remember going to see The Phantom Menace in theaters. It might have been the first time I ever saw something in IMAX. With the little racer?
N: The podracer!
DP: Yes! How cool was that?
N: Very. What does Star Wars mean to you? Why do you like it?
DP: It’s this incredible fantasy world with something for everyone. It’s so fun. Different creatures…it’s so original and creative.
N: One last question for you – if you could play any character in the Star Wars universe, who would it be and why?
DP: Maybe Jabba the Hutt? Wait, wait, no…
N: Don’t want to put on a fat suit?
DP: [laughs] No, I don’t. Who am I thinking of? C-3PO! That’s it! Jabba does get to lounge around a lot, but C-3PO is such a great, funny character that I’d have to go with him.
N: Plus, gold is a very flattering color. Thank you so much for your time, Danielle!
DP: Thank you!
Stay tuned for more interviews with our celebrity runners and be sure to download our Qualcomm-powered Course of the Force app for up-to-the-minute updates, photos and more! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (use #CourseoftheForce) to join the conversation. May the Force be with you always and I’ll see you on the Course!