Their time to shine. Sadie Stanley and Lexi Underwood opened up about making a statement with their Cruel Summer debut — and offered a glimpse at the conversations that took place between them and the season 1 cast.
“It was just incredible being able to have the team from season 1 that definitely understood that formula and that structure of it. Because it is a little bit tricky navigating telling a story while also playing three different versions of your character or having those three different timelines,” Underwood, 19, who plays Isabella LaRue, exclusively told Us Weekly about the support she received.
The Maryland native said she was thrilled to be in contact with actors from the show’s first season, adding, “Being able to have them guide us — it kind of took the pressure off of feeling like we had to do better. Like [we had to] top something or live up to certain standards. When we do interact with [the season 1 cast], they’re all just so incredibly great and they’ve given us so much like support and love.”
“Chiara and Olivia have both been so, so supportive and so lovely and reached out to both of us,” the singer, who plays Megan Landry, shared with Us. “I had met Chiara a couple of times [and] she’s lovely. Olivia came to set one day while we were filming in Vancouver and she’s awesome.”
The hit series, which debuted in April 2021, introduced a unique form of storytelling by capturing moments throughout three timelines. During the first season, viewers followed Kate Wallis (Holt), who was kidnapped and later rescued, and Jeanette Turner (Aurelia), who was accused of knowing the whereabouts of the missing girl.
After the show became a fan favorite, Freeform confirmed that season 2 would focus on a new set of characters. At the center of the new season is a tumultuous friendship between Megan and Isabella — which untimely seems to lead to a murder in their small town.
According to Stanley, the cast was just as in the dark about the show’s biggest mysteries.
“We were learning things as we were getting the scripts and we didn’t know what part our character played in the death of Luke [Griffin Gluck]. Then everything that leads up to that — we didn’t know all of it,” she recalled. “It was just about getting to know our characters and who they are and why they are the way they are.”
Season 2 has already introduced plenty of questions about the main characters — and presented potential suspects. Underwood, however, found it vital not to make judgment calls about Isabella before the events unfolded on screen.
“It’s our job as actors to be our character’s keeper. With Isabella specifically, she’s a very complex person. It was a little bit tricky not necessarily knowing her fate or where she was gonna end up,” the Little Fires Everywhere alum detailed. “You have to know your character like the back of your hand. So having that foundation there — it kind of helps you adjust with whatever is being thrown at you.”
As the series unravels details about Megan and Isabella’s eventual rift, Stanley hinted that fans can expect to have more questions than answers.
“Each episode is kind of set up so you’re suspicious of somebody new and you’re left with a new piece of information to mull over in between,” the Goldbergs alum noted. “I would just say don’t trust any of the characters. It’s not as simple as who did it. It’s all about how we got to this point and what led to it. Not everybody is who they seem.”
Underwood, meanwhile, teased how Cruel Summer will surprise viewers with the direction it takes throughout the season.
“I think another big mystery — just like the mystery of Luke’s death — is who a lot of those characters are deep down. [There’s a] mask that they’re putting on to hide everything that they are internally going through throughout all those three different timelines,” she added. “So you definitely have to keep your eye open and understand that everyone is trying to take control of their own destiny and with that things get messy and a little bit selfish.”
Cruel Summer airs on Freeform Mondays at 10 p.m.