If you’re a fan of mystery, drama and suspense, you won’t want to miss Cruel Summer Season 2 on Freeform! This thrilling anthology series will take you on a wild ride through the lives of three teenagers in a small coastal town in Washington. What secrets are they hiding? Who can they trust? And who killed Luke Chambers, the charming and popular boy who was found dead on the beach?
Find out the answers to these questions and more as you watch Cruel Summer Season 2, which premiered on June 5th with two back-to-back episodes. Don’t miss this gripping and addictive show that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
We recently had a chance to catch up Cruel Summer cast members Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, and Griffin Gluck during a recent press day to discuss all of season two’s major twists and turns. We asked the cast if while navigating their way through season 2 and the various timelines and continued to delve into their characters if there was anything they were surprised to learn about themselves as actors. Lexi Underwood tells us, “That is a really great question! I would say that something that I was surprised to learn about myself was maybe to me the true definition of what it means to be “ride or die” or just a really good friend in general.
I think that because Isabella is a hardcore friend, meaning she doesn’t mess around at all when it comes to her friends and I think that for me, she takes things a little far sometimes, but for me internally it really made me think a lot about my own friendships and my relationships. We filmed in Vancouver, so when I show up back home what’s the type of friend that I want to be to people…how do I want to show up in other people’s lives? Loyalty was big as well! Really checking and making sure that the people around me are as loyal as the character I’m playing and that I’m also loyal and showing that loyalty back to them! ”
The characters in the show often portray multiple sides of personality throughout the course of the season. We curious what the cast members did to get into the headspace when their character takes a darker turn. Underwood reveals, “Music was a really great tool! I had a playlist for each version of Isabella, so a playlist for summer ’99, winter ’99 and then summer 2000. My summer 2000 playlist was really dark and I listened to things that would get me into that mindset and then usually it depended on a scene and sometimes I would take time to myself beforehand, making my trailer kind of dark and sitting with all the thoughts and feelings that Isabella is going through in that space in her life. I would definitely say music specifically, but also another thing was hair, make-up and wardrobe. When you are in those looks it’s kind of hard not to immerse yourself in that version of the character, when you are looking so goth and depressed.”
Sadie Stanley adds, “I totally agree! It does come down to what you have on the outside and it reflects the way that you are feeling on the inside. For Megan, especially, she’s using that hard exterior to mask what she’s going through and to protect herself from the outside world, and yes, music too! I think it’s all really in the script too, if you look at the page and you see what these young girls are going through it’s not hard to imagine how difficult that would be and find a way to tap into that!”
Griffin Gluck jokes, “I wish I had a goth look! I don’t! I have pretty similar looks from both timelines. I never got to explore the dark side as much as these gals. Later on in the season, it gets a little darker and I really just got to have fun with it. I think it is fun to throw that bit of spice in there, like now I’m going to play someone who is really goth and depressed, you kind of feel like everyone already has those kinds of feeling and emotions inside them sometimes and I always see those types of scenes or roles or moments for the character as outlets to let that stuff go. You throw on a playlist of some music that reminds you of an angsty time in your life and you’re like ‘Yeah! I’m just gonna let it roll!’ ”
When talking about what their favorite episodes to film this season, Stanley comments, “I think I might speak for Griffin and Lexi too when I say that when we get towards the end, like episodes seven, eight and nine, we start looking at what happens on the night of New Year’s Eve and the day of New Year’s and what that looks like and it is the climax. Those were some really intense shooting days for us…it got dark there for a minute! It was intense and we leaned on each other a lot, it was a lot of night shoots and emotional scenes. I don’t know if they were fun to film, but they were rewarding to film and it was really nice to do that with Griffin and Lexi. I have some good memories from that even if it was a little rough.”
Underwood adds, “I agree, it was a little rough. They were my favorite scenes to film even if they were the hardest. There is something about when we were all snotting and crying together, it really bonds you. Even the ensemble cast as well, it is such a big friend group…all the scenes that we had together notable the pool party scenes, we just had a blast doing it and it genuinely felt like we were all partying together and just having fun. Those are the best kind of moments when it is actually authentic.”
Gluck says, “I would echo that! I would actually go for the earlier episodes. I really enjoyed the times when we were all getting to know one another and we would have those crazy late night shoots. No better way to get to know someone than working with them for two weeks straight from 4:00am to 5:00am in a freezing cold pool. You see every version of a person in those two weeks! You see how they are at their happiest, how they are at their most stressed, how they are when they are completely delirious and you are also going through all that at the same time. It is the fastest way to get to become close with somebody. ”
Discussing whether or not they judged their characters in any way during filming and how they were able to separate from that, Griffin Gluck tells us, “I judged Luke all the time personally…he makes a lot of silly decisions. He’s got some issues to work through! He also doesn’t make the right choice a lot of the time, but that’s okay, he’s young, he’s dumb and he’s learning. I always had to justify it and go even if I don’t agree like with the clothing choices as a mild example, I can go ‘I hate wearing this!’ ‘This looks bad!’. But in the back of my mind I’m going Luke likes wearing this, he feels comfortable in this, he thinks it look good and you apply that to everything. You have to! You have to be your characters own biggest advocate even if you personally don’t agree with what their doing, saying or thinking. You have to recognize at the end of the day they believe in it wholeheartedly. That’s who they are as a person so, you have to find a way to excuse it, find a way to justify it to yourself so you can justify it on screen and for the scene and for everyone else.”
Underwood adds, ” I feel it is our job to be our character’s keeper. It is never our job to judge our character regardless of what they’re going through or the choice they are making, so while obviously, Lexi, myself, I may not necessarily do the same things that Isabella does…I am portraying Isabella so I do have to remember that, while I have to remember that while that is something that I may not do in my world outside of set, but this is something that this character is choosing to do and I can’t judge her. All you have to do is just go with the flow and go with it and trust the writer and trust that your character is somewhat making the right choices even if you don’t agree with it!”
Stanley reiterates, “You are your characters biggest advocate! You have to love your character. I love Megan wholeheartedly even though she makes some questionable decisions and she can be immature at times or handle things “incorrectly”, but what is “incorrectly”, she’s just a teenage girl. I can understand that and I can understand where she’s coming from and why she wants what she wants, so that’s what it comes down to…the love that you have for this character that you’re playing.”
In describing what the fans can be excited about for the series, Stanley shares, “If the fans loved the first season then I really think they are going to love this season too! We have all of the same pieces and the same formula as the first season. We have the relationship between these two girls and this crazy devastating event that happens and we have everything that unfolds after and each episode you get more and more confused and each episode you are suspicious of a new person, so the fans can just be excited to not have any idea what’s coming next and to be shocked every episode.”