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Sophia Lillis Interview: Meet the New "Nancy Drew"

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Image attributed to Sophia Lillis

Sophia Lillis

Seventeen-year-old Sophia Lillis is known for her role as Beverly Marsh in the horror film It (2017), the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name and also as the young version of Camille Preaker in HBO’s psychological thriller Sharp Objects, which was played by Amy Adams as an adult.

Lillis stars as the famous literary sleuth Nancy Drew in the Warner Bros film adaptation of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, released March 15, 2019. The film also features Zoe Renee, Mackenzie Graham, Laura Slade Wiggins, Sam Trammell and Linda Lavin.

“I felt like I should show people that I’m a happy person. So I felt like Nancy Drew was kind of the perfect switch, you know? It was family friendly. It seemed like such a fun, great opportunity, so I decided to go for it.”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Sophia, how did you become involved in Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase?

Sophia Lillis: I was looking for a little bit of a change of pace. I was working on quite a bit of darker roles, and I felt like I should show people that I’m a happy person. So I felt like Nancy Drew was kind of the perfect switch, you know? It was family friendly. It seemed like such a fun, great opportunity, so I decided to go for it. I talked to the director, and the director seemed amazing and fun to work with. So, yeah.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The film is very entertaining.

Sophia Lillis: Really? Oh, thank you so much!

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tell me about the film in your own words so moviegoers can flock to the theaters to see it.

Sophia Lillis: Well, it’s another adventure of Nancy Drew. It’s kind of a story of how she came to be what everyone knows she is. It’s about how she adjusts in this new town after the death of her mom. She solves this mystery about a haunted house. She makes friends along the way.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Were you nervous playing the title role and basically carrying the film?

Sophia Lillis: (laughs) It was a little stressful because a lot of people, the crew especially, came up to me. The whole entire crew loves Nancy Drew, guys and girls alike, so they came up to me and said, “Aw, I can’t wait to start working with you on this. You’ll do it.” I said, “Oh, I guess I’m going to do this then, huh?” I wanted to do her well (laughs). I wanted people to like the version that I bring out, and that was a little bit stressful.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Had you read any of the Nancy Drew books?

Sophia Lillis: I started working on it after I heard about this project. I finished the fourth one and lots of this one. So that is on my list of things to do.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you have to learn some skateboarding?

Sophia Lillis: Oh, oh, yes. Oh, yes. That was the thing that I had to do every day, which was a feat. It was hard. I’m not really the most dexterous person. It was hard to even stay on the board much less ride it. But I did pretty well. I know the basics now which is great for me, honestly. That’s saying something. So, yeah. It was interesting.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What was it like to act with the legendary Linda Lavin?

Sophia Lillis: I love Linda Lavin! She is my favorite person. She was so much fun to work with. I looked up to her the whole entire time shooting. I still look up to her now. She was amazing, and she’s such a nice person. I still keep in touch with her. I send her texts here and there on my phone, and it’s really fun. She’s such a fun person.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Those of us who are way older than you know Linda primarily as “Alice” on the sitcom of the same name.

Sophia Lillis: (laughs) Alice, yes.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you met Ellen DeGeneres, one of the producers of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase?

Sophia Lillis: No not really. But I’m going to meet her today actually, so that’s going to be fun. I’m a little nervous.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will there be a sequel to the film?

Sophia Lillis: Nothing’s been confirmed quite yet. But if there is, I’ll be really psyched for it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): There seems to be some chemistry between you and Andrew Welch (who plays Deputy Patrick). Would you want that to be explored more in a sequel?

Sophia Lillis: Oh. I don’t know. Oh, boy. I guess (laughs). That would be interesting.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tell me about your early interest in acting.

Sophia Lillis: It really seemed like a fun thing to do as a kid. I was looking for a neat thing to do because I liked working on stuff, but nothing really stuck, you know? I tried singing. I tried dancing. I tried some musical instruments like piano or violin. They were fun to do but nothing as much as acting because when I tried acting, I felt really supported. The people I worked with seemed so nice, and I felt so comfortable with them. So it kind of led me to work more and more until, “Hello. Here I am.”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You turned 17 in February!

Sophia Lillis: I did, yes!

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you graduated high school?

Sophia Lillis: Nope. I’m still working on high school. I’m a junior, got a few months left then another year until I’m done with high school. I’ll be on my own.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you thinking about college, or have you decided to continue acting?

Sophia Lillis: I’m going to take a few years off because I want to keep working on acting. I think it would be a really nice experience to keep working on acting when you don’t have to juggle so many other things. I think it will be a great time to figure out some other hobbies and other stuff I’d really like to do.

I might take different classes. There’s a butchery class near my house which seems like a very interesting thing to do. I thought it would be really cool. I’ll try and work on that (laughs). I don’t know. I like to draw. I’m going to do more drawing. I can’t wait.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): So what films are coming up?

Sophia Lillis: It: Chapter Two is coming out this year, I think in September, which I’m excited about. I’ve got Gretel and Hansel, which is another horror film, coming out. I’m going to start working on another project soon called Uncle Frank, which is not a horror film, but it’s going to be a really fun thing to do. It’s going to be great.

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