The much anticipated teen horror series Throwing Stones from Bart Van Bemmel will debut on both Koldcast and Mingle Media TV on January 5th, so DCTV creator Daryn Strauss got the lowdown on what scary things are in store for the troubled kids of Blair High from two of the show’s stars, Cherami Leigh and Rebekah Kennedy!
DARYN: Tell us about the character you play on Throwing Stones.
CHERAMI LEIGH: My name is Cherami Leigh, and I play Robyn Goode on Throwing Stones. Robyn is new to Blair High, and although she is the star athlete, she doesn’t have many friends and is having a hard time fitting in with everyone. Blair is a wealthier school with a lot of money and name brands, and Robyn is a little more laid back and tends to find them excessive. The other students don’t really know what to think of her and over the duration of the series you are going to see how some of the relationships evolve from being extremely volatile (like with Asher) to more tolerant or understanding due to the heightened circumstances. It’s very psychological as well as scary and the depth of the characters are really going to help hook the audience since the webisode segments are so short.
REBEKAH KENNEDY: I play Chrissy Holden, who is a senior at Blair High. She’s got a reputation for being a bad girl and she really doesn’t have many friends at school. Chrissy has a few girls she gets along with, but most she avoids. She can be a hard person to read. She usually keeps her emotions to herself and if she does express them, it can be tough to know if she’s actually telling the truth. Chrissy exudes confidence but on the inside she mostly feels alone. All in all, she’s really just looking for someone to love her.
DARYN: How did you get involved in the series?
CHERAMI LEIGH: I had worked with Bart Van Bemmel and Jason Wheeler in a short called “Virgin Mary Christmas” which is currently being submitted for festivals. I also worked with Rebekah Kennedy and over time she and I had gotten to be good friends and I really wanted to work with her. I was super impressed with Bart and Jason as writers and for getting such a talented crew and producing great work, so I would jump at any chance to work with them. They overheard Rebekah and I say we wanted to work on something and asked if we were interested in Throwing Stones. We were ecstatic, loved the script and when they offered to let us come on board as associate producers, we couldn’t believe what an amazing opportunity we had been given.
REBEKAH KENNEDY: I worked with Bart and Jason on a short film, “Virgin Mary Christmas,” which Cherami Leigh was also in. I played a small but fun role in that. And I really loved working with both of those guys. So, Cherami and I were talking about how we would love to work on another project together and shortly after, Bart and Jason approached us about this web series! It really was perfect timing and an answer to what we had been wanting. They sent us the script and I was immediately in love. I knew this was something I had to be involved with. Besides my love for the horror genre, it was a smart captivating script. The thing that really drew me in was, it was so much more then a crazy killer wandering around slashing people without much reason. This first season really focused on the relationships between the characters and who they are as people. As an actor, I really look for characters I can bring to life that have depth and a purpose. Even if that purpose is not for good. Chrissy had so many layers and ticks already written, it was a dream to take that as far as I could. The audience is really going to get to know these kids and hopefully have a connection to them. It was truly an honor to be asked to take a role as well as produce on this fabulous series. Bart and Jason are just amazing and we were blessed with a rock star cast and crew. I could never say enough good things about everyone involved.
DARYN: Welcome to the web series community! How digital are you? Twitter? Facebook? And have you had an opportunity to watch other web series?
CHERAMI LEIGH: Thanks! I do have a twitter, though at first I was reluctant to get one. But I have joined the world of twitter and enjoy it! www.twitter.com/cheramileigh And I do have a facebook as well: search Cherami Leigh. I love facebook. I think that may actually have been how Bart and Jason found out about our interest. So, it’s an amazing networking tool. And I love that the feedback from the fans is so accessible. I love getting to talk to them!
REBEKAH KENNEDY: Thank you! I’m very excited to have my first web series airing soon. I don’t know if I should admit I often live on the Internet! I do have a twitter account. www.twitter.com/rebekahkennedy. And I’m on facebook as well! www.facebook.com/rebekahkennedy. I have a couple of shows I’ve watched. I want to start watching more though. But Pink directed by Blake Calhoun and Cell directed by Mark Gardner, both are great shows! But as I said, I want to start watching as many as I can. I’m realizing how important it is to support shows online, so we can continue to bring great programming and an easy way to watch.
DARYN: The show looks pretty physical! How much action can we expect in the show and how exhausting was it to shoot?
CHERAMI LEIGH: It was fun and physical! I love working out and actually, for a year or two, I was working to become a part time fitness instructor. There was a lot of running, some characters carried other characters, but we had a blast. When all the chaos really breaks out in the show, we had different shots and different locations and breaks in between shooting, so we had to rev ourselves up in between takes, so Lynn (Dontrelle), Tom (Tad), Rebekah (Chrissy), Spencer (Asher) and I were doing sprint drills, jumping up and down, doing pushups, pyometric jumps and other things, while screaming and crying to exhaust ourselves before running. I also, being the jock in the show, worked with one of the other actors Jon (who plays Jackson) to work on some basketball skills to make myself look a little more convincing as a star athlete. You don’t see much of it in this season, but maybe season 2?!
REBEKAH KENNEDY: There was quite a bit of physicality for all the characters. I had some actions, which I don’t want to give away, that were quite taxing. We all did a lot of running, which was quite exhausting. Even if we weren’t running long distances, we really had to pump ourselves up with whatever emotion we had in the scene before. Or the take before. You give so much for each take, it can be quite draining. Especially when the emotions are high and you are literally putting yourself in the place of the character and situation. But through the fatigue, it’s very rewarding when it’s all said and done. I have to give huge kudos to the cast who gave everything they could even when the camera wasn’t on them. That’s all I can say though, without revealing too much. I think people will be on their toes through the episodes, hopefully wondering what’s around the corner for these kids.
DARYN: A big part of the show are the video yearbooks. Are the video yearbooks all scripted or improvised?
CHERAMI LEIGH: The cool thing about the interviews is that we had a basic outline of what needed to happen and 2 vague plot points that needed to be shared to help develop the characters without giving anything away, but when we were casting the series, Jackson and Paige had no lines. So we sat down and asked them a few questions and wanted to see how the actors would fair with complete improvisation. Jon and Rachel were great. Rachel had such a unique presence, and Jon is unstoppable with improv. He read for all of the male characters, but was a force to be reckoned with as Jackson. It is harder than it looks to hit all the points with fluidity and they always brought some freshness to each take, while maintaining focus.
REBEKAH KENNEDY: We were given the guidelines of the video and a set up. But really, we followed Paige and Jackson’s lead and just went along however we felt our characters would respond. It was really fun watching the result of that. And if everyone watches closely, there are definitely clues to the series in each one.
DARYN: What is your favorite teen horror film?
CHERAMI LEIGH: Teen horror? I don’t know. I really love the psychological thriller. I’m beyond excited to see “Black Swan” and I love Stephen King. Anything that deals with the spiritual unknown, or conspiracy theories, or other worlds and aliens- I’m there. For some reason there isn’t much of that for teens… Someone should make that happen!
REBEKAH KENNEDY: Hmm, my favorite teen horror film would probably be the first Scream movie. That is definitely a classic.
DARYN: What crowd were you a part of in high school?
CHERAMI LEIGH: I was middle of the road, I guess. I never really fit in. Though I was a cheerleader, I was also on the debate team. I was never popular, and I’m kinda glad about that. I didn’t have many friends in middle school and felt really awkward, but it helped me create “my own image” without having to fit in to some perfectly accepted niche.
REBEKAH KENNEDY: I kind of hated the group part of high school. I really was friends with all kinds of people. It’s hard to admit that you want to be liked, especially during those tough years. But when it came to good friends, if we clicked, it didn’t matter their social status.
DARYN: Did you perfect your scream or did it come naturally?
CHERAMI LEIGH: I guess I came by it naturally! I have always had a really shrill, loud scream. When I was 8, I was doing a project, where they asked me to scream, and I asked if they wanted to to “scream full force.” They laughed like I was crazy and told me to go for it, and when I did, I looked at the sound guy, and he was holding headphones away from his ears and told me to maybe take it down a notch! So, yeah, I guess I come by it honestly.
REBEKAH KENNEDY: Ah, I knew the scream was in the script, but I actually never thought about how I was going to do it until that day on set, haha. And even then, I didn’t practice. Once I heard action, I was Chrissy and in the moment, I just let out what felt right. It ended up being tons of fun.
DARYN: What is your biggest tip for surviving a teen horror series?
CHERAMI LEIGH: Have a lot of attitude so people will root for you or hate you. Either way, people will want you around. Be somewhat athletic! There is a lot of running ahead of you. Don’t get involved in relationships or alliances — it distracts you — and be friends with the writers and producers, so hopefully they let you stay!
REBEKAH KENNEDY: Be careful whom you trust!