Danielle Fishel revealed on the latest edition of the “Pod Meets World” podcast that “Boy Meets World” series creator Michael Jacobs threatened to fire her during after her first-ever rehearsal.
Instead of taking the then 12-year-old actress aside and privately telling her what he wanted, Jacobs chose to dress her down in front of her Mom and the entire cast, she said on the podcast dedicated to the ’90s sitcom.
“Michael starts off the notes by saying, ‘Danielle, I’m going to give you your notes all at one time, at the end and I’m going to give everyone else their notes now, because if I made everyone sit here through all of the notes I had for you, we would all be here for hours and no one would ever get to go home. So you’re just going to wait for the end,'” Fishel recalled, sharing that even talking about it made her sweat all this years later.
She was well aware that the first actress cast in the part of Topanga Lawrence had already been fired, and that, as her replacement, she would easily be cut as well. “From that moment on, my eyes welled up because I’m now in front of everybody. All the producers, all the writers, all the cast and all eyes are on me for a second,” she said.
Fishel said she had a habit of speaking too quickly at the time and that Jacobs told her, “All I know is, if you don’t come back tomorrow doing this entirely differently, you are also not going to be here,’ referencing the girl I had replaced.”
Fortunately, when she returned to the set the next day, Jacobs was satisfied with her work. “There were no more threats of being fired, I had done the work and I had shown him that I was worthy,” she said. “It totally sets up that you go after that every week. You’re chasing the dragon of Michael approval.”
Will Friedle, who played Eric Matthews, also remembered Jacobs being stingy with his praise. “He set it up in such a way that when he gives you the standing ovation, it’s like the sun is shining on you. It had nothing to do with your acting. It was just, make Michael feel good,'” he said.
David Trainer, who directed the first two seasons of the ABC series and was a guest on the podcast episode, said hearing about the incident made him “really pissed, adding, “It’s enough to make me want to sign off of this podcast. I don’t want to be associated with anything that guy is associated with. This is just not how you do things. I’m glad it became a hit, but this is disgusting.”