Going back to the start, let’s talk about the audition process. You originally auditioned for Lizzie?
I auditioned for both.
Can you tell us a bit about the process?
Well I had met Bernie [Su, head writer, executive producer, director and co-creator] before, and I saw the breakdown and I thought “Oh cool, this sounds fun, I like Pride and Prejudice.” Obviously every girl initially relates to Lizzie, and Lizzie is one of my favourite female protagonists in literature, but I also knew that I look younger so that’s why they wanted to bring me in for Lydia as well.
I did Lizzie much more straight, down the line, normal girl. Then as a foil to that, because everytime you’re reading two characters in an audition you want to make them different, I made Lydia way on the other side, a super crazy party girl, and so much so that I had no idea if it was any good at all. And they had me do the Bing scene, in my first audition – “This dance is super slamming.” I was like, this is so weird, we’re pretending to be other people, I don’t get it. And then I didn’t hear back from them for a while. I think our initial audition was a year ago in December.
Then I finally got the callback, and I was only called back for Lydia, and again I was like, “We’ll see if they like this. I’m going to throw this at them and see if it sticks,” but it just seemed to me that that’s who Lydia would be in a modern setting, and there was only me and one other girl called back for Lydia and she was taking a very different approach, so I thought “Well, you know, they’ll choose the one they like better.”
I guess they did.
Yeah, I guess they did. And again, I didn’t hear back for weeks, so I thought “Well, I guess that didn’t happen” and then I got it. None of us really knew each other very well at the beginning, it’s kind of funny how we all got to be so close because at first, I don’t even know if I met Laura [Spencer, plays Jane Bennet] before our first shoot or on our first shoot. I guess we were there at the same time, but it took time for us to actually get to know each other and create this crazy bond that we have now, and obviously as time has gone on everything has informed our characters and our relationships.
Would you ever be open to having your Lizzie audition tape included on a DVD as a special feature?
Oh yeah of course! I don’t think it was probably very good, but I wouldn’t mind. I would actually be more nervous about people seeing my Lydia audition because it was so kooky. So crazy. It’s hard to remember and judge, but I was pretty silly in it.
It did the trick.
I guess so, I’m glad.
Lydia is a very close character to you now, but do you ever feel in hindsight any regret, or just a wish, that you had had a chance to play Lizzie?
Oh no, not at all. I don’t mean that as an insult to Ashley [Clements, plays Lizzie Bennet] at all, but no. It’s funny, because at the beginning Laura always gets to be so pretty and sweet, and everyone was always annoyed with Lydia, and I was like, “I wanna be the pretty, sweet one”. But then as time goes on I’m like, “No I don’t! I really like Lydia!” I really like this person that we got to create with her, and she really is so different from anything else I’ve gotten to do personally. In my career, I have never played the party girl, ever. I’m always very brooding, I’m very weird.
Yeah. It was kind of a shock at first to have all of these people know me as this person who is so not me. Actually Laura had to give me a pep-talk about it at Vidcon, where she was like “Stop doing that”. I wanted to assert that I wasn’t Lydia, that I was different to Lydia. And she was like, “Just stop it, why are you doing that?” And I was like, “I don’t know”. And then as time went on I realized that Lydia and I had a lot more in common than I originally thought.
It’s an interesting turnaround because I don’t think anyone really grows up thinking “I want to play Lydia Bennet,” everyone says “I want to be Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice,” but I think you have turned that around now.
Thanks, that means a lot to me. Again, I didnt ever realize that that’s how it was going to happen, and now I’m so proud of her. And I’m so proud of her story and I feel like it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done in my career, and that’s so crazy. It’s just been really cool.
I think you can be proud of yourself as well, you had a little bit to do with it.
Thanks. I’m very lucky.
It’s been a really great adaptation. I’m interested to see what they would do next. Would you like to be involved if they do another one? Would you like to work with the same people, or do you want to do something different? Obviously you have Squaresville coming out.
I do have Squaresville coming out. I highly doubt that they will ask us to be involved, because – this sounds so arrogant – our characters, to these people, are kind of iconic in that way. I don’t know if anyone will be able to see me in a similar sort of thing, not as Lydia Bennet. And I’m happy with that, thats fine. I’m very happy being Lydia Bennet to them. I’m definitely interested to see what they decide to do, it’s been such a cool thing to be a part of, really no classic story has ever been told this way, ever.
It’s so original and new and cool and different, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it in that way. I’m very curious, I know that they’re going to want to change some things up, but still keep it similar, so I’m very curious to see what they come up with and how it goes. I have loved working with the team, and would definitely love to work with them again, I doubt that it will be on this next one, just because I’m sure they are going to want to make a different story.