'Sharp Objects' stars had to roller skate in their first audition tapes
One of the most memorable images of HBO's hit series "Sharp Objects" is that of three teenage girls roller skating around a desolate small town. The limited series, based on Gillian Flynn's 2006 debut novel, follows Camille Preaker, who returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to write about the disappearance and murders of two local girls. The victims were friends with Camille's much younger half-sister, Amma, who is inseparable from her two best friends, Jodes and Kelsey.
The trio, played by Eliza Scanlen (Amma) and sisters Violet (Kelsey) and April Brinson (Jodes), roller skates everywhere they go -- inside included. The hobby was so central to the three roles that the actresses' initial audition tapes had to show them roller skating, April and Violet Brinson told AOL's Gibson Johns during a recent phone interview.
We recently caught up with the sister duo to talk about all things "Sharp Objects": The audition process, creating a bond with Scanlen off-screen and what it was like for the Oklahoma natives working with such well-established actresses as Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.
Check out our full conversation with April and Violet Brinson below:
What was the "Sharp Objects" audition process like? Had you read Gillian Flynn's book before you submitted yourselves for the roles?
Violet: We hadn’t read the book when we first submitted ourselves for the roles. Our first step was to submit a roller skating video! So me and April did that and we put it into casting separately. Casting called April’s agents a little while after and was like, "Does April have a sister?" April’s agents didn’t know, so they said she didn’t, but then casting called again and said, "Does she have a cousin or something? There’s this other girl who is wearing something similar, and they look similar and they have the same last name." So, her agents called my mom and asked if she had a sister, and she was like, "Yeah, she does and she’s auditioning, too!" We both went in to read for the role and, after that, we moved onto the director session. Before that, we both got the book and read it and really loved it. When we went into that session, we thought we were reading for the same role, so it was kind of bittersweet -- we had to channel our Serena and Venus Williams! [Laughs] Afterwards, when we both got it, we were both super thrilled that we got to work together on such an amazing project.
I love that the first thing you had to do was submit a roller skating tape, but it makes sense, considering that your characters are almost always skating when we see them on the show. Did you guys know how to roller skate before landing the roles? What’s it like filming those scenes?
April: Me and Violet both have backgrounds in figure skating. When we were younger, we were competitive figure skaters, and we’ve danced our whole lives, but we had only been on roller skates like one or two times with friends, so we had to wing that video. The month leading up to filming, though, we were able to skate with a world champion that me, Violet and Eliza would meet with and practice all together. We got a lot more practice in before we actually started filming.
Violet: There were definitely a couple of scenes where we’d be skating on kind of a bumpy road, and there would be cracks everywhere, and we had to look at the camera and not the road, so we’d miss all the cracks. You’d find yourself sitting on your butt in the middle of the road, which definitely happened quite a few times. [Laughs]
Those practice skating sessions must've helped you guys get close to Eliza, which surely was important because your characters, Kelsey, Jodes and Amma, are a tight-knit group on the show. What was it like forming that bond with Eliza off screen?
April: We became really good friends very quickly. It was nice -- because of the roller skating aspect, we spent a lot of time together before filming. Because we were spending so much more time together outside of the set, I really felt like we bonded as friends. Throughout filming we’d get together on the weekends, we’d go have dinner, we’d take knitting classes. It was really, really fun and nice that we got to build our chemistry off-screen, which made the on-screen part a lot easier.
What's nice about this cast is that it pairs up-and-comers with more established talent. What about working alongside Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson? Were you able to learn anything from them on set?
Violet: Totally. Both Amy and Patricia are such talented and amazing actresses. Just being able to watch them do their thing, you learn so much nt only about your craft, but also about how to act on set and set the tone for a whole film. They’re both so sweet and nice and welcoming. If you’re going onto the set like me and April, you’re so nervous being around Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson! But they put us at ease so that we could do the best work that we could.
What’s it like watching the show now? It’s so eerie and suspenseful -- do you get the same feelings while watching it?
April: We’re definitely watching it, and we definitely get the same feelings. It’s strange to see all of the on-set work on-screen, because you feel that vibe when you’re working, but it’s not quite the same when you’re watching it. When you’re watching it, it ups the ante quote a bit.
How does it feel seeing yourself on screen? It must be pretty surreal watching yourselves on such a high-profile HBO series.
Violet: It’s insane! Me and April watch a lot of shows on HBO. The moment when the old television HBO sign comes on, hearing that noise and knowing that you’re going to come on the show right after it is so surreal.
Where do you hope these roles on "Sharp Objects" take you as your acting careers continue to develop? What do you hope comes next for you guys?
April: I definitely hope this experience opens even more doors to me. I would love to do more shows like "Sharp Objects," obviously, but I would also love to expand into more genres of film and more television. Most importantly, I learned so much on set that no matter what I do next, I’ll be better prepared.
Violet: Yeah, I’m a lot like April. I hope that it will lead to another opportunity. I really like the dark and creepy stuff, but I also want to experience comedy and action movies. It seems so fun.
It’s cool that you both got to be on this project together, and you can share and talk this experience out with one another, which wouldn't have happened if just one of you had gotten cast.
April: That was one of the nicest things about this project. A lot of the times, we work separately and we hear each other’s stories, but these we’ve actually gotten to live together and we have so many memories that we’re going to cherish forever. Even the times off set, it was nice to have someone to talk to someone who understands it as intimately as you do and isn’t an outside listener.