Buzznet Talks to the Cast of MTV’s New Show SKINS (Part 1)

Reblogged from sarahmorrison

You’ve probably seen the billboards, the commercials, and the bus benches. The UK’s hit teen soap opera Skins premieres Monday night at 10 on MTV, with an American cast, a few new characters, and the good old gritty teen drama we know and love from the original series. With the help of Skins creator Bryan Elsley, much of the first season replicates the first UK season. The storylines and character developments stay pretty true to the original. Much like it did overseas, the series will tackle those darker topics, like dysfunctional families, mental illness, sexual identity, sex, substance abuse, and death. And while the sex and language have been toned down quite a bit for 10pm basic cable, this isn’t Gossip Girl, kids. These are regular kids: kids from working class families, kids you can relate to more than the Blairs Waldorfs and Chuck Basses of the world, kids with real teen problems. Sure, the storylines can be tough to stomach at times, but so can being a teenager.

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The MTV versions of Tony, Michelle, and Chris stay true to their original characters. Jal becomes Daisy, Sid becomes Stanley, Effy becomes Eura, Cassie becomes Cadie (sans eating disorder), Anwar becomes Abbud, and Maxxie’s character has been swapped out for Tea, a lesbian cheerleader with family mafia ties. But fans of the original show will see the group as a whole is fairly similar. Whether die hard fans of the UK version will embrace the Americanized MTV-ified version has yet to be determined. But, it also has a shot at a whole new audience, an audience who has been yawning through 90210 episodes, hoping for some real teen dramarama.

Buzznet was lucky enough to talk to James Newman (Tony), Rachel Thevenard (Michelle) and Sofia Black-D’Elia (Tea) about the show, the inevitable comparisons to the original series, life on set, and some regular old teenage stuff.

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Here is Part 1 of our Skins Cast Interview series:

BUZZNET: Overall are you guys big fans of the UK show? Were you watching the UK (version) or familiar with it at all before the opportunity came to you for this one?

Rachel: Yes, we were all huge fans of the UK show; one of my favorite shows

James: Yeah, I actually didn’t pick it up until I heard about the audition, and then I had to put it down pretty quickly because once the audition started to progress I couldn’t watch it anymore. In that brief period of time, I got through about 2 seasons so I kind of went right into it.

BN: It’s super addictive.

Sophia: Like Rachel, I was a very big fan of the original show.

BN: For James and Rachel: the two of your guys’ characters are really similar to the characters that are on the UK version, same name and everything. Can both of you guys take turns telling me what the differences are that you see between the characters you play and your UK counter parts?

James: I think a lot of the differences have to do with stuff that happens throughout the season, so I don’t want to give anything away by talking about differences. I think you’ll see Tony start out similar, a bit more sarcastic, but it’s a similar set up just in the way he treats his friends and the way he acts. You’ll see some stuff happen to him over the course of the season that I think will turn him into a much different kid then he was in the first season/the UK version both in what happens and also in attitude.

BN: Cool, how about you Rachel?

Rachel: I’m on the same page; I don’t want to give away too much. Michelle, this season, really kind of tries to figure herself out. We see a bit more of Michelle questioning who she really is.

BN: You two have some pretty “racy” scenes in the first episode, is it your first on screen kiss that you both have ever done?

James: It was the first on screen walk for me. So it was definitely the first on screen kiss, but I’ll let you know, we had to practice a bit before we actually filmed. We had to go up to Bryan’s hotel room and Bryan just kind of just said, “Ok, lets see this.”

Rachel: It was probably the most embarrassing experience ever.

James: But once the camera rolled it wasn’t that big of a deal, cause Bryan had already made us do that.

BN: Sophia, you are one of the only people on the show that didn’t really have a UK character to reference. There are some similarities between you and Maxxie, but do you think that that was an advantage or a disadvantage?

Sophia: I don’t know that it was either. I think that Maxxie was a really great character, but other than them both being gay; they are 2 entirely different people. But everyone in the cast kind of had the same issues to tackle, cause we all had these great people to live up to and all that. Once it became our own show, my character wasn’t much different from everyone else’s because Michelle was a different character and Chris was a different character, just because they have the same name doesn’t necessarily mean that their the same as the UK show. So I don’t think that I was in a very different place from my cast mates. I think we were all kind of in the same boat. The only big difference was waiting to see who Tea was, because Bryan had started to write her as he was casting the show. So she kind of came into focus after we started filming. We didn’t really know who Tea was gonna be when we started filming the pilot and as the show continued Bryan really developed her more.

James: The thing is you think about Tea is that it was a role that started from scratch, but I think all of us were actually starting from scratch. It’s just that some of the descriptions were the same, so some of the results were the same. But I speak for all of us, we just kind of took the scripts as they came and then kind of decided who our characters were gonna be once we got into it. I don’t think its like we started with something that was already there and then just went forward. We all started from scratch.

CHECK BACK MONDAY FOR PART 2 OF OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE SKINS CAST!