Exclusive

We were lucky enough to sit down with Mary Kate Wiles, star of hit web shows The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Squaresville. Check out part 1 of our extensive and exclusive interview now.

The bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice may have come and gone, but here at Hypable we are still celebrating Jane Austen through out love of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Hypable writer Marama Whyte recently spoke with Mary Kate Wiles, who stars in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (and spin-off The Lydia Bennet) as Lydia Bennet, to discuss her thoughts on Lydia’s journey, her experiences in the intense Lizzie Bennet Diaries fandom, and much more.

Following on from controversial episode 87, we can now present the unabridged transcript of our interview with Mary Kate in two parts.

Hypable’s exclusive interview with Mary Kate Wiles

Hypable: How would you describe your version of Lydia?

Mary Kate Wiles: My Lydia is very different from the Lydia of the book. I think my Lydia is very loyal to her sisters and loves her family. I think Lydia loves fiercely, as [Lizzie] says in the show, she doesn’t do “anything by halfsies.” She’s very energetic and sometimes loud, but everything she does comes from a desire to be valued by her sisters and her family.

What’s different about Lizzie Bennet is that there’s only three sisters, instead of five in the book, which just creates an entirely different dynamic. Because in the book, Lydia has Kitty following her around and letting her be the leader in that dynamic, and in our show Lydia doesn’t have that. She feels like the annoying younger sister. Obviously Lizzie and Jane love her but I think it’s been clear as the show has gone on that there’s this kind of dynamic where Lydia feels left out and not really understood by her sisters.

Did you imagine when you were cast that Lydia would become the breakout character that she has?

No. I never had any inkling. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing for a while, I was just like “This Lydia is a party girl, so I guess that means I talk like this and I have this crazy energy, and I hope this is funny.” Obviously as time went on, and even from the first rehearsal, Bernie was like “We need to always have a reason that Lydia acts the way she does, or she’s not going to make any sense”, so that was always clear to me.

But I didn’t ever imagine that we would get to delve into it as deeply as we have. Especially with her own vlogs, I never knew that that was going to be a thing, and I cannot tell you how glad I am. I never thought that Lydia Bennet would be a character that, as it turns out, I’m so proud of and so happy to play. I feel like we’ve been able to collectively make a Lydia that a lot of people are able to relate to, and respond to in ways that they never expected. And me too – I’m one of those people.

I never thought that her story would mean as much to me as it does, but I’m finding as time has gone on that I have found a lot of myself in her, when originally I thought that me and her were nothing alike. So it’s been really cool, and something that I think I’ll always remember as this amazing thing that I got to do.

When did you find out that Lydia would be having a spin-off series of vlogs?

I can’t remember exactly when it was. Bernie [Su, head writer, executive producer, director and co-creator] had mentioned off-the-cuff pretty early on that if we had other characters vlogging Lydia would obviously be the main proponent to do that, just because of her personality. As we got closer to Lizzie and Jane leaving for Netherfield Bernie was like “We’re going to do this and see how it goes” and I checked yesterday and Lydia has 72,000 subscribers, which is not as many as Lizzie, but that’s awesome.

It’s interesting that you’ve mentioned that. Obviously not everyone who subscribed to Lizzie subscribes to Lydia, and then those people don’t necessarily follow Lydia on twitter. How do you think their perception of Lydia would be different if they have only seen her pop up in Lizzie’s videos, rather than following this separate character trajectory that people who have been watching her vlogs have experienced?

Well you don’t have to watch them. You’ll still get the story either way, and I know that a lot of Austen purists have been not wanting to watch Lydia because it’s not her story, it’s Lizzie’s story. But as time has gone on it has become clear that Lydia acts a very different way with her own viewers than she does with Lizzie.

And again, all of these things that I never realized would become so important. That’s a huge part of the story now, that Lydia has not been herself with her sister, but she’s been herself with all of these thousands of viewers. So I don’t think you’re going to understand my Lydia if you don’t watch the vlogs, because how could I?

And twitter too, especially with all of the Wickham stuff, there have been some really intense things on twitter, that I personally think is just the coolest thing. It’s so cool to experience a character from these many different sides, and has really challenged me to make sure that all of those weave together and make sense. For a little while I felt disconnected, like “I feel weird, because Lydia is this way on her vlogs, and this way on Lizzie’s”, until I thought “You idiot, that’s why.”

That’s the whole point.

Yeah. So I hope that people watch her vlogs and like them because, again, this Lydia is just not a Lydia that happens in any other Pride and Prejudice adaptation and I don’t mean that to credit myself at all. It’s just really cool that the writers have been able to take her in this direction, and trusted that with me. I just feel really lucky and excited about it, and obviously now in this last arc, if the last time that you saw Lydia was before she went to Vegas and then you didn’t see her again until she just found out about the sex tape, those are two very different Lydias.

I think people would be really confused, and some of them are, because a lot happened in between. And that’s how Lizzie was, and if you want you can have that experience that Lizzie does.

I think this arc, more than any of the others would prompt a viewer to go back and watch Lydia’s videos to try and work out what had happened there, because there’s obviously a disconnect and it is very intentional.

It’s a weird experience. I understand how the Austen purists can have a hard time with the way that thing have gone with our adaptation, but it’s an adaptation – it’s not the same story. It’s based on it, but there are definitely different things, and if it’s going to be modern, there’s no way that things can’t change. It’s funny watching Pride and Prejudice again since we’ve done the show, I’ve been like “Oh wow, I look at this completely differently now.”

I think it’s really cool that we have created this whole world for fans to delve into, and it’s been really neat to see people have really well thought out, indepth conversations and discussions about Lydia’s character and actions – which is kind of cool and kind of crazy.

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After all that talk of inclusivity, Star Trek Beyond falls into the Hollywood trap of implied sexuality.

Mild spoilers for Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Beyond, already a wildly anticipated movie, made headlines ahead of its release because of the franchise’s decision to introduce the first openly LGBT character: Mr Sulu, played by John Cho.

While this decision was certainly met with excitement, there was disappointment, too. The original Mr Sulu, George Takei, openly voiced his opinion that they should have introduced a new LGBT character rather than expand on original canon (as they have been the whole trilogy), while Simon Pegg beautifully argued that there was power in using an established character who wouldn’t be defined by his sexuality.

Then came the movie itself, and while the introduction of gay Sulu is still a great thing, we’re left sorely disappointed by Beyond‘s decision to depict the LGBT relationship — or rather, hardly depict it at all.

As reported by our friends at The Mary Sue, the scene featuring Sulu and his husband Ben depicts a “lukewarm” relationship, although Sulu is very affectionate with the pair’s daughter.

This is, unfortunately, a common problem in Hollywood when an LGBT couple — almost impossibly — makes it into a big franchise film. They’re allowed to be there, but having any kind of physical interaction even remotely resembling what a heterosexual couple might have still seems to be off-limits.

Related: Hollywood is failing the LGBT community: GLAAD slams Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros.

And, according to John Cho, there was actually a kiss filmed. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” he told Collider. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Cho points out that Ben was played by a non-actor, writer Doug Jung, and says, “Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”

And we wish we could have seen it. Introducing a major LGBT character in the Star Trek franchise is a fantastic first step, and depicting two POC actors raising a child together is a great statement — but, unfortunately, the decision to cut out their kiss (which was already chaste, by the sounds of it) is emblematic of Hollywood’s continuous phobia of depicting LGBT relationships and intimacy on the big screen.

As Screen Crush also points out, this exact same scenario played out in Independence Day: Resurgence, too. In Finding Dory, the lesbian couple are only implied, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence.

LGBT representation (when present at all) is always so subtle, evidently in fear of offending straight audiences while not totally erasing non-straight sexualities. And, sadly, even that is considered a big step forward — but maybe it’s time we start depicting humanity as it is, and not what society wished it was 100 years ago.

Here’s looking at you, Star Wars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”