The ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ Cast and Creator Talk About Their New Series
Stars Madison Iseman, Brianne Tju, Ezekiel Goodman, Ashley Moore, and Sebastian Amoruso join writer/executive producer Sara Goodman to talk about their new Amazon Prime series.
Amazon Prime’s new series ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ is an adaptation of the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan. Duncan’s novel also inspired the classic 1997 movie. Now writer/executive producer Sara Goodman gives us a new interpretation, and this time we get a whole TV series. The stars of the series, Madison Iseman, Brianne Tju, Ezekiel Goodman, Ashley Moore, and Sebastian Amoruso joined Goodman to talk about their new show.
Series lead Madison Iseman talks about playing two characters.
Moviefone: So I want to start off by asking you, and I don't think this is a spoiler because this is in the trailers. You're playing two roles, twin sisters, but they're very different. So is that difficult?
Madison Iseman: Yeah, I mean, I feel like the most difficult part of it was the technical side of playing twins. You know, it's double everything, so it just took longer. It took more time. It's more memorization. You're working off an acting double, but also having to think about what your reactions will be on the other side. So that side of it was more difficult, but as far as creating them and making them two different people, but also giving them their own personalities to where they're different, but not, you know, the stereotypical type of twins, different. I wanted them to feel real. I wanted them to have similarities. So that part of it, that was fun. But that's what I like to do. I keep the creative side of it.
MF: Were you familiar with the old movies, the iconic movies and the book?
Iseman: I'd never read the book, but I was a huge fan of the movie from '97, but I love horror movies. I've watched them ever since I was a little girl. So yeah, I was very excited to be a part of such an iconic show.
MF: So how does this long form series differ from the iconic movies? And what's similar also about them?
Iseman: I like to think of our series as like a nostalgic stepsister to the original movie and the book, our story very much starts the same way. We start with a fatal car crash and a cover-up and a killer coming to horrify us all. But at the same time, it's a completely different cast, completely different setting. There's a new story. And also our series is very character driven. You know, it's not just about a killer coming after all of us. It's really a story about everyone's secrets coming to life, and really no one is innocent. Everyone is guilty of something. And I think that really drives every episode.
MF: You know, I'm wondering, would these five friends do you think still be friends if they weren't keeping a secret?
Iseman: I don't know. I mean, yes, they all love each other in their own way, but they also go through a lot and in some ways they're probably not the best friends for each other, but some of them, yes. I'd like to think yes.
MF: So when you started the series, do you receive all the scripts, so you know the whole arc or do you just get like, because you know, many times when you're doing episodic, you're just getting one script or two scripts at a time.
Iseman: We were given the first four, I think. So we had no idea how this thing was going to wrap up and how it was going to end. So we actually held a bet on set to find out whom we thought the killer was. And I will tell you we were all wrong. I think everyone was wrong except for one person. But yeah, it blew my mind. I thought for sure I knew who it was, and I was completely wrong.
MF: I was going to ask you who won that bet.
Iseman: I would tell you, but I think I'd get in trouble.
MF: Okay. Okay, don't tell me, I don't want you to get in trouble. Yeah, they gave us four episodes to watch. So that's kind of where I am, where you were with the scripts. I'm like, I want to know the rest. Now the location, it was actually shot in Hawaii, where it's set?
MF: I find it interesting because you know, most people's vision, what they feel about Hawaii is a paradise, the vacation place. And it really is a juxtaposition against these things that are horrible things that are happening in this idyllic location. What was that like?
Iseman: I think it helps so much in the setting. Also, just being on an island and feeling like you can't leave and can't go anywhere, which very much symbolizes what our characters were feeling, being chased and hunted down by this killer and having nowhere to go, but also being trapped in your own mind. You know, all of these characters are trying to figure out who they are, and they're making decisions that impact the rest of the show. And it's very much a butterfly effect. And some of them make decisions that are not so great and very much affect them towards the end of the show. So I definitely think the setting has a lot to play in more than just beautiful Hawaii, because it was beautiful, but it definitely is a huge character in itself.
Actors Brianne Tju and Sebastian Amoruso describe their characters.
Moviefone: Brianne, tell me about this series and how it relates to the iconic movie and how it's different.
Brianne Tju: Yeah. As you said, it's so iconic, the source material, the book, and the movie. And so we took inspiration, but at the same time, we took our own liberties to create something unique and that is our own and of this time. And I think the similarities fall, in terms of genre and the characters. You think, on the surface, our characters might be mimicking something from the movie. And because we have this long form opportunity to explore our show and these characters, you realize there's much more. And so we've created a lot of dynamic characters and very interesting storylines. So yeah, I hope people like our take on the material.
MF: I certainly enjoyed it. We were given the first four episodes, and I can't wait to watch more. So, Sebastian, do you think that this group of friends would still remain friends, if not for the secret?
Sebastian Amoruso: Oh God, I guess we'll never know, but yeah, I think so. I think they would still remain in touch, and in the day of modern social media, they always have Facebook or Instagram or whatever, to stay in touch. But I don't know if they would be as close. I think there's a part of life where you kind of journey outwards and find yourself, not in relation to the people you grew up with. And I'm sure they would have found that. I don't know about Margot and Johnny, I think maybe they would have just gone to USC and had a killer time. So who knows? Or maybe not, who knows? Maybe Johnny would have gone to Juilliard. I guess we'll figure it out never.
MF: I believe Johnny was going to go to Julliard.
Amoruso: I think that that's what's hinted. I think that that's probably true, yeah.
MF: So quickly, because we're running out of time already. I'd like you each to kind of describe your characters and maybe even how they fit into this group of friends keeping this secret. So we'll start with you, Brianne.
Tju: On the surface, she's wealthy, fun, popular, a little outrageous. She's an influencer, and social media is where she kind of gives her facade, the mask, where everything is just fabulous in her life. And she's just fabulous. And throughout the show, we realize that she has a lot of layers and a lot of depth and a lot of pain and mental health issues that she's dealing with, that she doesn't feel comfortable enough to share with other people, which at the end of the day, hinders her.
MF: And for you, Sebastian and Johnny?
Amoruso: I feel like other than being Margot's right-hand man, I think he is kind of the drummer of the band, is what I've been saying. He kind of keeps people together, keeps things in time. Yeah, he's a bleeding heart caregiver. And I think all of these people are really important to him in a really meaningful and true way, so yeah.
MF: I feel Johnny is rock solid. I feel he's the rock solid within the group.
Amoruso: Yeah. He's definitely the caboose, yeah.
Actors Ezekiel Goodman and Ashley Moore talk about differences between the movies, the book, and their series.
Moviefone: Ezekiel, this series is based off the iconic movies and the book. So what kind of nods do we see to the iconic movie, and what do we see that's modernized?
Ezekiel Goodman: Yeah, I mean, besides the conceit of the book and the movie our showrunner, Sarah Goodman, says that the book was of its time, the movie was of its time and the show is of its time. So we definitely do things stylistically to evoke the original movie. But I think that we're playing with a whole new cast of characters in a different world and a different time and place.
MF: So the part that's the same is something happens, someone dies. There's a secret, and there's a group of friends that keep the secrets. So Ashley, do you think that these five people would still be friends if not for the secret?
Ashley Moore: Do I think that they would still be friends if they weren't holding the secret? You know what, yes and no. I think their characters grow so much throughout and there's a lot of changes, but I think that's because of the secret they hold. So maybe things would have just stayed the same, and they would remain friends, even if they didn't have that secret.
MF: Well, one thing that's different, and maybe it's just because this is long-form, and you have many more hours than the movie, but I feel like each character gets developed a lot more than what we would've seen in a movie. So Ezekiel, we'll start with you. Can you just tell me about Dylan and how he fits into this group of friends?
E. Goodman: Yeah. I mean, I think that Dylan is the conscience of the group, and a very severe one at that. He's a soft-spoken sweet intellectual, a very loyal friend, always wants to do the right thing. I think that he's also someone who sees kind of the world in binary, in good and bad, and right and wrong. And I think that his adherence to that moral code carries a lot of weight with it. And I think that directs a lot of his actions and choices throughout the series.
MF: Yeah. I think he really regrets not going to the police to start off with.
Goodman: I think he regrets a lot of things, but yeah.
MF: Ashley, what about Riley?
Moore: Riley, I think she's the underdog of this group. She feels like she's set apart from them, and really the only reason she's in this friend group is because she's the one that supplies the drugs. So you can see her battle with that.
And yeah, but she really loves her friends, and she really cares about them and wants what's best and wants to protect them. And yeah, you also see her relationship with Dylan change a bit throughout the season because she's in love with her best friend, and it's become a little bit complicated because obviously he doesn't feel the same.
MF: Ezekiel, the location, it's set in Hawaii and I know you guys actually shot in Hawaii. And it's interesting to me because for instance, my family, they're all from Hawaii and most people think of Hawaii as an island, beautiful, relaxing, paradise to be. So I feel that juxtaposition between this beautiful island and these horrible things that are happening is very interesting. So what was that like?
E. Goodman: Yeah. I mean, being on Hawaii was great, there's also such a long tradition of ghosts and folk tales and ghost stories in Hawaii. So we could even give a little of a side-eye to that tradition, that would be great. But the thing that really struck me the most besides the natural beauty of the place was how welcomed into the community we were by our crew, by just people on O‘ahu in general. There's such a strong identity for people from Hawaii, and it's, oddly enough, a very inclusive one. So I felt so at home there, which is a real privilege, because I know that I'm not on there.
Writer and executive producer Sara Goodman talks about creating the new series.
Moviefone: Tell me how you got involved in this series and why it was decided that it should be long-form and not a movie.
Sara Goodman: Well, Sony and Amazon came to me and asked if I was interested, which of course, I was. And the movies were great. I mean, the movie was amazing, and I didn't feel that I wanted to redo that. But I did feel like there was a different story to be told, based on the novel that the movie was also based on, for long-form, for streaming. Where we could really take a look at the characters and really go deep into the mystery and thriller aspects of the premise.
MF: Were you a fan of the franchise before they approached you?
S. Goodman: Yes, I was a fan. Yes, I was, which made it kind of daunting, to be honest. There are diehard fans, and I don't want to disappoint them. And at the same time, we need to make a show that's of this time; that was in the '90s. And so I put in little Easter eggs for everybody.
MF: Yeah, so what was your approach when you were writing? To have a nod to the iconic movies, but yet modernize it?
S. Goodman: I think I came first, the way I come from everything, which is, I really came from character. And so I wanted to create new characters that were of modern times and that could be sustained over eight hours, not just an hour-and-a-half. And so it really came from that and wanting to tell the story of what the premise does to the characters and what they came in with. And living in the modern world, where everything feels so exposed and where everyone thinks they know you, and yet, the struggles with identity are just more secret than ever, and everyone has more secrets.
And so that was very important to me, and so I kind of just came from that place. And at the same time, knew it was important to give shout-outs to the movie that everybody loves.
MF: Do you think that this group of friends would still be friends if there wasn't a secret?
S. Goodman: It's an interesting question. I think the secret pulls them together and apart.
MF: Now the location: set in Hawaii. Did you choose that location?
S. Goodman: I certainly did.
MF: Because there's this juxtaposition for me. My family's all from there; I love the islands. And most people know Hawaii, because it's a vacation place. It's idyllic, and you go there, and you relax. And I felt that juxtaposition of that, along with these horrible things that are happening, heightens everything. Was that your choice?
S. Goodman: Absolutely a big part of the decision. Also, people think of Hawaii as paradise, but if you grow up there, it's very small. It's an island. There's one way out; there's one way in. And I think that people see paradise, but they don't see the danger. They don't see the tides. They don't see those cliff roads. Lanai Lookout, which was such an amazing place to shoot all night, many nights.
And I think we show Hawaii in a different way, which I feel really good about. And that it also is a reflection of the characters and the story, which is it looks like one thing on the outside, but the deeper you get, the less you know.
'I Know What You Did Last Summer' is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.