One of the benefits of summertime is that it gives me the opportunity to catch up on some guilty pleasures. While you all may know my guilty pleasure for bride shows, I do have another that takes up a good portion of my time, particularly on Saturday nights. And that’s TV movies.
Lifetime has a new one premiering on Sunday at 8/7c, a psychological thriller called #PopFan, where a young pop star is rescued by a kind fellow in rural Maine, only to discover that her hero might not be as valiant as he claims.
I was lucky to be part of a conference call with one of the stars of the movie, Chelsea Kane. Chelsea plays Ava, our troubled pop star, who escapes to Maine to clear her mind and reassess some life choices. You might recognize Chelsea from recent roles on One Tree Hill and Jonas L.A., and she currently plays Riley Perrin on the ABC Family series Baby Daddy.
In the call, Chelsea discussed what it was like to be part of a creepy thriller, her time with costar Nolan Funk, and even singing and dancing.
On working on a psycho thriller. Chelsea had a blast working on the movie, but she admits that it was taxing: “Some of the scenes toward the end of the film…there is a lot of crying. At least for me, I really had to dig deep for some of that stuff. So at the end of certain workdays, I was just emotionally drained after sobbing for hours on end.” But Chelsea admits that it was good challenge for her, and commends the people around her. “Our director Vanessa [Parise] had so many great tricks and so many great methods for pulling a good performance out of me. And Nolan was amazing. He was so good in the movie and so good to me on set,” she said. “I usually am the happy-go-lucky comedy girl, so it was good to take on this role.”
On her character: Chelsea really wanted to make sure that her character was likable (despite some early scenes where Chelsea admits that she was a brat!). “I still wanted her to be a likable girl,” she said. “You want to find some way to root for her at some point. It was finding those moments where this girl has a heart, she’s just a little lost right now, as opposed to being a complete turnoff through the whole film.”
On preparing for the role. Chelsea had a great relationship with the director of the movie, which included, of all things, letter writing! “I wrote her several letters that had my deepest, darkest secrets in them or hard times that I’d had in my life so that she could see where to draw from when she needed me to be scared or hurt or sad…who I would kill for just to get out these different emotions,” she explained. “That was a part of preparation that I had never done before… To dig into the harder times in life and relive those and open up to Vanessa about them, that was definitely a challenge. It was a different way of getting the results. I’m glad I did it, but there were a couple days on set where she’d ask me a question about something personal and I’d fall apart.”
On working with her costar. Chelsea admits that Nolan Funk had more experience in dramatic roles than she did, and that gave her the opportunity to ask him a lot of questions and work with him to define how scenes would go down. “A lot of the scenes took on a life of their own,” she said. She and Nolan would sit down together and “make it our own, make it more real, make it more rooted in reality.”
Fortunately, they got along great right off the bat. This was really one of her first roles working with only one actor, instead of an ensemble cast. “You were forced to get cozy real quick,” she joked, especially considering one of the earliest scenes to shoot had her tied up on a bed! She noted that while filming in Vancouver, the two would have meals together and hung out on the weekends. “The chemistry was very real,” she said. “It was hard to be so scared of someone because I absolutely adore him.”
On singing and dancing. You may remember Chelsea from Lovestruck: The Musical and Dancing With the Stars, and Nolan from Glee. Yep, these two costars have their own special talents in the singing and dancing department, and while they didn’t get to show off on screen, the two did get to burst into song behind the scenes. “We were constantly singing and dancing around. He has such a great voice,” she said. “He’s a talented kid, that one.”
There was a real lightness on the set, she said. “Any time the camera cut, there was a lot of laughter and pulling people out of that [darkness of the movie].”
On scary movies. “I’m a real wimp with that kind of stuff,” she admitted. “I never go see scary movies.” This movie was very different for her, but it reminded her of Misery and Fear, two of her favorites. “Normally it’s not my cup of tea, but I’m glad I got to try it.”
On tweeting and social networking. Chelsea loves social networking — having the control over how people are seeing her through that medium and having that connection with the fan. And with that in mind, she’ll be live tweeting during the movie: “Because it’s a movie made for TV, we all get to watch it at the same time, so I get to live tweet with the film, reacting to feedback and if people have questions. I’m all about that stuff.”
On TV and movies. Which does she prefer? “I’d love to do it all,” she said. “I feel so blessed that I love my job. And especially working on Baby Daddy, I do feel like comedy is where my heart is. I love it. For me, I would always love to have a home in the sitcom world… But what a gift this was, on the hiatus, to fly to Vancouver and see a different country and shoot this movie… I love it all.”
Watch Chelsea Kane in #PopFan, premiering Saturday, August 23, at 8/7c on Lifetime.
*photos by Quinn Bender, courtesy of Lifetime