Available on Netflix since October 26, the teen series The New Adventures of Sabrina surprises with its mature tone and raised topics. This is confirmed by its two headliners, Kiernan Shipka and Ross Lynch (Harvey).
AlloCiné: We know Sabrina the Teenage Witch very well, which was a sitcom. With this new iteration, we’re onto something darker. Doesn’t this choice demonstrate our obsession and fantasy for witches?
Kiernan Shipka: The sitcom was adapted from an earlier Sabrina comic. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, our showrunner who also works at Archie Comics, wrote a new, darker version called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina [Les Nouvelles aventures de Sabrina en VO]. That’s where his darkness comes from, so to speak. Roberto loves horror, and for him it was the best direction to take with his new iteration. Sabrina is a character born in the 60s you know.
Who says horror series, says “jumpscares”. Did you have any on set?
KS: I’m not one to get scared easily. I find horror quite fascinating actually. That’s also why I loved playing in this series. During filming, some technical aspects mitigated the scary side. It was funnier than anything.
Ross Lynch: Yes, there is a scene in the 6th episode that scared me! They had retouched the script so that my jumpscare arrived sooner than I anticipated.
KS: Yes, I was there (laughs)! You stepped on a plate and broke it.
Sabrina has a very particular style, retro if we can say so. How did you slip into the skin of this character?
KS: I really admire him. So much is going on in her life and yet she always finds the time to properly prepare. Unlike me ! (laughs). But it’s true that she has a real sense of fashion. She’s feminine but doesn’t overdo it. Her approach is quite simple in fact, she wears a lot of skirts for example. Her style evolves along with her. She asserts herself through her wardrobe. Harvey is also wearing a pretty cool jacket!
LR: (Laughs) Yeah that jacket is the only thing that stands out in her wardrobe, the rest is pretty basic unfortunately. I like to say he has the same fashion sense as Clark Kent.
The series is modern in the sense that it is rooted in current events. It was created to measure for the current public: it talks about feminism, strong women, harassment…
KS: Yes quite. We don’t really know what era the series is set in but we made sure it was from our time. The dialogues and the issues raised are modern. We are influenced, consciously or not, by all the things we watch on television.
LR: This is one of the things that I liked the most about this series. It’s important for people our age to have this kind of discussion. But we still keep an entertaining and sometimes light side.
KS: But it’s true that the series has this little retro side, whether in the clothes, the cars, the way of telling the story…
Precisely, the series is also aimed at young girls: what message is it trying to convey?
KS: Believe in yourself. You are worth it. Fight for what you believe in. But I think it’s advice for anyone watching the show. Not just young girls.
I am a very spiritual person and I like meditation, refocusing on myself from time to time. I have these jewels in crystals which do not leave me for example. I have a whole bunch of rituals (laughs).
You play some scenes naked. How did you approach it? And what about Sabrina and Harvey, will they take the next step?
KS: I had a stunt double for the nude scenes, so it’s not me you see on screen. I would say that this relationship counterbalances the darkness of the series.
RS: Regarding our couple, I like their simplicity.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina features a non-binary character, played by Lachlan Watson. What was your reaction and how was your meeting?
KS: Lachlan is so awesome! It can change things about gender identity. Discussing with him allows me to broaden my knowledge on the subject. But beyond that, he’s an amazing person, friendly and funny. When I see the evolution of his character, I am even more proud to be part of this series.
RS: Lachlan may seem like an anomaly to some. It’s not easy to make this kind of decision so young. You have to have real self-confidence and be certain that this is the best decision. I have a lot of admiration for him. I got to know him.
What is your relationship to magic?
KS: I am a very spiritual person and I like meditation, refocusing on myself from time to time. I have these jewels in crystals which do not leave me for example. I have a whole bunch of rituals (laughs). I’m pretty open-minded. Just before making Sabrina, I suffered many refusals. I was really down. And when I got this role, it was magic. It was like the universe was telling me that all those rejections were worth it.
LR: I am sensitive to all these signs that the universe can send me. We will never know if they are true or not.
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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: “The issues raised in the series are modern” according to Kiernan Shipka
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