The ‘Pretty Smart’ Cast Talks About Their New Netflix Sitcom
Cast members Emily Osment, Olivia Macklin, Gregg Sulkin, Cinthya Carmon, & Michael Hsu Rosen talk about their new series.
The new Netflix sitcom ‘Pretty Smart’ features Emily Osment as Chelsea, a Harvard-educated intellectual who has to move in her free-spirit sister Claire (Olivia Macklin). And Claire’s three not-so-intellectual roommates. The cast recently sat down with Moviefone to talk about their new series.
Emily Osment and Olivia Macklin discuss playing sisters.
Moviefone: Emily, what's it like being back on a sitcom?
Emily Osment: Wonderful, especially after the past year and a half that we've had, going back to something that's comfortable that I know that brings me such joy and hopefully everyone else such joy. It's like a safe place, and it feels right, feels good.
MF: Olivia, is it really fun playing Claire? I mean, she is just such a light and happy person.
Olivia Macklin: Claire gives me permission to find the joy in life, seek out my joy, which is very similar to hers. I just want to watch a great chick flick, eat some cake, get in my pajamas. She really enjoys those cozy elements of life. It was great to give myself permission to do that too.
MF: Emily, Claire and Chelsea are completely different people. How does this happen? They're sisters.
Osment: Yeah, as we touch on that a little bit in the first episode, they're the product of a divorce. Chelsea sort of went and stayed mostly with her dad, and Claire stayed mostly with her mother. When you separate siblings, and you separate a nuclear family that way, you're probably going to have siblings that turn out kind of different from each other. Luckily they've been given this opportunity a little later in life to mend those bridges they didn't even attempt to cross. They do a wonderful job in season one of doing that. I can't wait to see all the different ways they learn how to connect.
MF: How do you prepare for this role? Is there a preparation that you feel you need to do?
Osment: Well, I roll out of bed in a three-piece suit every day. It's really not that difficult. The preparation is, luckily with the format of multi-cam we're allowed three days of rehearsal, one tech day, and then our live audience day, which of course with COVID, there's no live audience at all. Because of the pandemic, our process was a little different. It was kind of like a relearning how to act when you can only see this much of somebody’s face all day. That was a really interesting dynamic for sure. Then we'd take them off, we were tested many times, we'd take off our masks and be like, oh, that's what you're doing with your face. Okay, I have to change. It was a little bit, definitely more challenging this time around, but so easy with this cast and with Olivia and I had so much fun.
MF: Olivia, what is that like? I never even thought about that. You're rehearsing everything. You have a mask on and especially with comedy, it's so important to see somebody's facial expressions.
Macklin: Yes! Look, at the end of the day I know that I would do anything to keep the people I work with safe, as would our entire cast and crew, so it was a necessary sacrifice that we didn't think twice about. That said, of course when it was the actors all talking, it's frustrating. It's incredibly difficult, and it can really throw you off because yeah, seeing someone's face makes such a difference. Being able to use the full range of your voice, you can't do with a mask on, and you break out, and you're like, I'm supposed to be pretty. The show is called ‘Pretty Smart.’
Osment: The kiss scenes are really weird with the masks.
Macklin: Yeah. It's just, it's a bunch of weirdness, but we got through it. We didn't have a single COVID case, so I'm grateful.
Osment: Grateful we were all vaccinated. It was lovely, it was just new. It was just a new hurdle that we weren't used to, but we did it.
I like the masks. I don't mind them. The job is difficult but the anonymity, the cleanliness of it, it's kind of great. I don't have to wear makeup.
MF: How do the roommates feel about Chelsea?
Macklin: At the top, they're not super happy because Chelsea is going through a pretty tough time in her life and the kind of tough time that you can't really keep inside. I think she needs to break a little bit, and she's doing that in someone else's space. Naturally anyone would be a little frustrated. At the end of the day, Claire is such a great friend and has such great friends around her that they're there for her. They're like, look, this isn't our first choice, but we're here for you and by nature we're here for your sister, and they grow to love her.
MF: Emily, Chelsea comes into that household with a huge chip on her shoulder.
Osment: Yes, definitely. It's a chip, but it's also just an unawareness. She's been on her own path for so long. She's had education at the front of her goal list for so long that she's kind of neglected herself, fashion, friendship. She's kind of disappeared into this world that maybe she doesn't need to be in anymore. She moves to Los Angeles because she's kind of forced to, she has nowhere else to go. She reconnects with her sister, and they're so completely different, but the relationship gives her something she didn't expect to have. It kind of humanizes her a little bit. I'm very, very close with my sibling. I only have one, and I don't know where I would be without them. It's so important to get back to family. Absolutely.
Gregg Sulkin, Cinthya Carmon, and Michael Hsu Rosen describe their characters.
Moviefone: Gregg, talk to me about your character and how did you inhabit that character so well? Is there something you personally relate to? Is it just like a backstory? Did you do a lot of preparation?
Gregg Sulkin: I will say that obviously as an actor, you always do prep. You always try to pull inspiration from maybe other people you've met in your life or other circumstances. So I go to the gym every single day, so I know that culture. I've got friends from Nebraska, so I sort of know that culture a little bit. But I also think that sometimes you just got to let things flow and on the day, things can just happen, and it just flies. And so, from my experience from day one to when we finished, I had, thankfully, really understood Grant in such a more complex way. And obviously the more scripts you have, the more writing you're able to see and storylines, it evolves along the way. So it was a character that I fell in love with when I first read it. But now I'm absolutely in love with it after I've played him for a whole season. So, it was a great, great, great time.
MF: Grant spends a lot of his time with no shirt. Was that really easy to get used to?
Sulkin: Was it easy? Definitely wasn't easy. They had to turn the AC off on set so that I'm happy that happened. But you know, look, it's part of the job. I knew what I was getting myself up into when I signed onto the show. And it made me eat healthy. So overall, it wasn't a bad thing.
MF: And what about Solana?
Cinthya Carmon: I just related to her on so many levels, especially with just how headstrong and ambitious and stubborn she is and just how much of a go-getter and fierce. But also that compassion and that softness that she also has in wanting to help heal people, I thought that was really beautiful. I got to learn a lot about the work that healers do, and I have so much more respect for the work that healers do because while I was exploring her, I got my own healing sessions done. So I just learned so much all around.
MF: Michael, can tell me about Jayden? He's so fabulous.
Michael Hsu Rosen: Jayden is so fabulous. Thanks for saying that. I agree. I think that Jayden brought out like sort of the extrovert in me and the showman in me. And it was funny because it really felt, in some ways, like going back to being a kid again and just not filtering and just kind of, sort of, look at me, I'm here, I'm in my parents' living room. I'm singing show tunes, and I'm feeling great. And it was very liberating. It was just a really fun way to spend four months just trying to make people laugh and soak up as much sort of joy and love and validation as possible. Jayden was really a gift. I had a really great time playing him.
'Pretty Smart' will stream on Netflix beginning October 8.