"If you don't come back tomorrow doing this entirely differently, you are also not going to be here."
Danielle Fishel recalls her tough first day as Topanga Lawrence on the set of "Boy Meets World."
In a recent episode of the Pod Meets World podcast, series director David Trainer joined hosts Fishel, Rider Strong and Will Friedle to look back on their time creating the hit ABC sitcom -- and how tough things could get on set from the jump.
Fishel revealed she didn't receive a callback for her now-infamous role until the original actor cast in the part was dropped from the series. She said she found out she'd be the replacement on a Friday night -- and would have to be ready for rehearsals the following Monday. When it came time for run-throughs and rehearsals, however, she felt like she had a target on her back from series creator Michael Jacobs.
"It was hard for me. I was a bubbly, fast-talking, spunky ... I was 12 and it was very hard to speak slowly. It's still hard for me to talk slowly," she recalled.
"I had never been a part of his marathon note session. This was my first one because it was my very first week," Fishel shared. "Michael starts off the notes by saying, 'Danielle, I'm going to give you your notes all In 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 have 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.'"
"From that moment on, my eyes welled up because you know, 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 continued. "For the next hour ... I have tears in my eyes, like, 'Okay, I don't know what's coming for me, but it's not going to be good.'"
Just as he said, he then went over all his notes for Fishel with the young actress and her mother after giving them out for the rest of the cast.
"He went through every single one of my lines and what he wanted and what I wasn't doing right and how slow I needed to talk," she said, as Friedle said he could see the story still affects her. Fishel. "Oh yeah, I'm sweating profusely right now as we talk about it," she added, nearly 30 years later.
"What I know specifically was said is, '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," she continued, as Trainer called Jacobs' alleged behavior "hateful" and "disgusting."
Fishel said she and her mother took clearly took his words very seriously and ran lines together all night. She said that the next day, after more run-throughs, Jacobs announced, "Let's give Danielle a round of applause, you did exactly what I asked of you. Thank you, thank you. Congratulations, it was wonderful."
"He gave me some praise about specific things and then, he just started notes. I sat in on a normal note session. There were more notes for me, but there were no more threats of being fired, I had done the work and I had shown him that I was worthy," she recalled. "You're chasing the dragon of Michael's approval."
The now 41-year-old actress revealed that although she wanted to "get it right," her main priority became making Jacobs happy instead of perfecting the role. "That's the problem for me, that's what I remember feeling and that's what I don't think is healthy," added Strong, with which Friedle agreed.
TooFab has reached out to Jacobs' attorney for comment.