It was only appropriate that "Victorious" star Victoria Justice traveled to the Mall of America in Minneapolis recently to celebrate her new film.
Saying goodbye to Nickelodeon television, she's now entered the world of Nickelodeon films with the new comedy "Fun Size," and there was no better place to mark the occasion than the mall's giant indoor Nickelodeon Universe theme park.
A star of Nickelodeon television's "Victorious" since 2010 and a guest star on the network's "Zoey 101" and "iCarly" prior to that, the actress-singer is expanding her career as she approaches her 20th birthday with a PG-13 film.
"This is my first big role for a studio film and my first foot out the door from 'Victorious' now that the show's over, so this is the perfect transition movie for me," Justice told me. "The thing I like about 'Fun Size' is that it's not a chick flick. I think guys will find it as funny as girls."
Opening in theaters Friday, "Fun Size" stars Justice as Wren, a responsible teenage daughter of a single mom (Chelsea Handler) who picks up the slack in the family by watching over her mischievous little brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll).
Wren sees an opportunity to be a normal girl for a night, however, when the cool, popular guy in school, Aaron (Thomas Riley) invites her to his big Halloween bash. But Wren's plans are immediately dashed when her mom puts her in charge of Albert to go trick-or-treating -- a task that spins out of control very quickly leading to one very crazy night about town.
"She's a really relatable teenage girl. She has some teen angst since she lives at home with her single mom and annoying little brother, and they don't understand each other," Justice said. "She just wants to get away from it all. All the characters are really relatable. They're flawed. They're not perfect."
Justice was joined on the trip to the Mall of America by "Fun Size" co-star Thomas Mann, who plays Roosevelt -- a casual acquaintance of Wren's who volunteers the use of a car to help her find Albert after he goes missing among the hordes of trick-or-treaters.
"Roosevelt is somewhere in-between an admirer and an actual friend -- he straddled that line until Halloween and they keep running into each other," Mann told me. "Plus, she's in need of a car so he figures it's his opportunity so he takes it. So, he throws caution to the wind and finds out sometimes the juice is worth the squeeze."
While the film has plenty of laughs, Mann said he likes the fact that there's some substance to "Fun Size," too.
"Through the course of one crazy night they all learn a lesson," Mann said. "My character is a sweet, sensitive guy who plays it safe a lot of the time, but he learns to come out of his shell and take risks once in a while … It's a great ensemble comedy with so many different stories and characters that you can latch onto. There's something for everyone."
As for her character, Justice said, "Wren also learns, 'Don't judge a book by its cover' and you might find that you might find something in common with a person you don't expect to."
Justice said her career is an open book from here on out, and she's not limiting her career to either acting or music.
"I'd like to be able to do both. I love making movies and hope to write my own screenplay someday and do some producing and be behind-the-scenes as well. For now, I'm super-passionate about writing my own music since I'm going to release my first album outside of 'Victorious' and Nickelodeon next year. So I'm excited for that to happen and tour again."
As for Mann, fans will next be able to see him as sidekick of sorts to Jeremy Renner's and Gemma Arterton's title characters in "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," a new fantasy action adventure set for a January release.