Are you searching for what to binge next this quarantine? It’s Outer Banks, which is out on Netflix now!
We caught up with one of its stars Madelyn Cline, who plays the golden girl Sarah Cameron. She opened up about the show, the writers, and how she’s quarantined with some of the cast in Los Angeles! Like a breath of fresh air, Madelyn’s interview came with poise, laughs, and an insightful look at what she’s learned from the best. That… and also a new show to obsess over!
So, let’s hear it! What is Outer Banks about and what should we be most excited to see?
Outer Banks is if The OC met The Goonies and Dawson’s Creek. It’s a fun, action/adventure and young adult show. I love it because it is engaging, and it hooks you in. The characters, in my opinion, are so much fun. They’re the kind of people that you watch, and you want to be involved in what they’re doing and be their best friend!
You grew up in South Carolina, did you ever spend time in the Outer Banks?
Being completely honest, I’ve never visited. I would love to. Our creators, Jonas and Josh [Pate] are twins and they grew up and spent a lot of time in the Outer Banks. That was one of the main things I wanted to do before the show dropped; I wanted to fly back to the east coast and visit the Outer Banks just to kind of get a feel for the story. Obviously, because of quarantine, that was kind of put on hold. My family is from North Carolina, but I am from Charleston, South Carolina. So, I’m not too far. I grew up on the coast and going and shooting the show really felt like going home.
What challenges did you face when filming Outer Banks? I understand you had to move filming to South Carolina due to anti-LGBT+ legislation. What happened?
The show is a love letter to the creators growing up on the Outer Banks. We moved the shooting to Charleston, and we really wanted to shoot it on the Outer Banks to keep it as close to their childhood as possible — but obviously, because of House Bill 2 and then its repeal HB142… It [the law] is very discriminatory and very homophobic. And that’s not something that our cast, crew or Netflix will ever condone or endorse because we are about inclusivity. Our show, even in our story, is about throwing labels aside and accepting people for who they are. That is not something we stand for. We didn’t want anyone to feel excluded.
Your character of Sarah Cameron is said to be warm-hearted and quick-witted. Would you say this character resembles you in real life?
Sarah and I have a few things in common. In the beginning, Sarah is the Kooks’ President if you will. She is from a very wealthy and well-known family in her hometown. She’s dating the golden boy, she’s kind of the golden girl. As the series goes on, you start to see her break that mould and see her start to come from her own and form her own identity and opinions and start to stand up for herself. She breaks the mould of what is expected of her.
And in that way, I absolutely identify with Sarah. That’s where I came from with her. I started with insecurities and said, ‘What is this girl insecure about? Why does she make this transition in the story?’ And in that, you can empathize with her. We’ve all been through a transition in our lives where we start to develop our own opinions and ideas about the world and we start to realize that maybe what is around us, might not be something that we agree with. We see that journey of Sarah through the show. It’s a part of growing up, finding your own voice.
Is there a little something for everyone in the cast?
Absolutely! We are so lucky to have the cast and crew that we do because they are so incredibly talented. As artists, they are all incredibly empathetic and they bring such nuance for their characters. I think everybody can find something in any of our characters that they can relate to or look at and want to emulate. You’ve got Kiara [portrayed by Madison Bailey] who’s tough and a bit of a badass, you’ve got Sarah who starts to find her own thoughts and opinions; you’ve got John B [portrayed by Chase Stokes] who just goes to the ends of the earth to defend what he believes in. JJ [portrayed by Rudy Pankow] who will do anything for a trend, and you’ve got Pope [portrayed by Jonathan Daviss] who goes through this big transition where, in the same way, he’ll go to the ends of the earth to defend what he believes in, even if the world is telling him it’s wrong. I feel like our cast is really lucky. We didn’t want to falsify any of these emotions, and I hope people see that.
Which of your castmates are you still close to?
We’re all really close, to be honest! Right now, I am currently quarantined with Drew [Starkey, who plays Rafe], Chase, Rudy, and we did a zoom call with Austin [North, who plays Topper] the other night. Madison Bailey is actually on the East Coast right now quarantining, but we’re all always talking. It’s actually kind of like a big old Thanksgiving dinner. It’s wonderful. It’s so special to have a cast that you’re close with. It’s not something that I’ve ever experienced in quite this capacity. They are my family, my lifelong friends. It’s just nice to be able to share this experience with them while we’re quarantined. For the most part, we’re all East-Coasters and stuck here in LA on the West Coast and we’re all leaning on each other. It’s pretty special.
Are there talks of a second season?
Obviously, as a cast, we’ve talked about it. Of course, we want it to happen but… nothing is confirmed yet. We would all love nothing more than to go back and do it all again for a second season. And because of quarantine, everything is kind of on hold right now. I hope that if people are bored at home, they’ll turn on Netflix, ya know?
Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about Stranger Things. Who were you most excited to meet? Who surprised you the most (good or bad)?
I played Tina on Stranger Things, Season 2. I met Natalia [Dyer], Joe [Keery], and briefly met Finn [Wolfhard], Millie [Bobby Brown] and Gaten [Matarazzo], as well as Charlie [Heaton] and Noah [Schnapp]. I met pretty much the core. I did not get a chance to meet David Harbour or Winona Ryder. I met Dacre [Montgomery]; I had a brief scene with him. And that was a crazy moment for me. A year prior to landing the role, I was at home recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out. I was just sitting on the couch without anything to do. I binged the entire season of Stranger Things in two days and I’m obsessed with it. So, a year later to meet them all and see it in action — they’re all such kind-hearted humans. That was a fangirl moment even though I was trying to keep it in and keep calm.
Your character threw a Halloween bash! How did it feel to throw the iconic party where Nancy drunkenly tells Steve off?
When we were shooting it, they gave me these flyers to hand out that said ‘Get Sheet-faced’, so I thought that was pretty fun. I’m a sucker for a good pun. Then we got to the house, and it was an absolute rager that I never experienced in high school. It was such a good time. I had never seen anyone do a keg-stand before, but Dacre did a keg-stand and we were all chanting for him. Nights like those on set, when you’re doing big party scenes, are actually like a party. Everyone is so riled up and hyped and amped. Everybody is feeding off that energy and it’s a big fun all-nighter. It was really fun to shoot. I was very proud that it was Tina’s party. I don’t know where her parents were?… But who knows? She got to throw a party.
Where would you like season 4 to go?
Honestly, I loved season 3. It was one of my favourite seasons so far. Obviously, season 1, as iconic as it is, season 3 is a close second. I love Maya Hawke’s character [Robin Buckley]. She’s badass, quirky, funny, and you want to be like her. She’s just a cool girl. I thought she did an incredible job. I love the dynamics they all brought out this season.
As far as the fourth season goes? I don’t know. That’s the thing with the Duffer Brothers [Stranger Things creators]; they have so many tricks up their sleeves. I’m interested to see where they take it next. That’s the exciting thing about the series and the way it goes. It’s always a surprise.
Do you think Tina should come back and throw another party in season 4?
I would love that! I would absolutely love that! Tina, years later. Is she still in high school? We don’t know. Maybe.
With your film Boy Erased, the public had strong reactions to its focus on conversion therapy… What was it like filming such a controversial issue?
I thought it was amazing. When I first got my director session with Joel [Edgerton], I had never read the book. I went out and immediately bought and read the book — and I was in tears throughout the entire book. It was so moving. That’s when it hit me that I potentially had the opportunity to help share this story on screen. I was set; I wanted to be a part of it.
I knew I had to do whatever I could to help tell the story. Especially being from the South, I think as much as I love where I’m from… obviously, growing up, you see that there are issues with inclusion. To be able to meet the author [Garrard Conley] and his mother who was this wonderful Southern woman, and to also be able to know people growing up struggling with identity and to be able to tell that story was so important to me and to open up that conversation. To me, that’s what storytelling is about. It’s about opening up conversations and holding a mirror to humanity. I was so proud to be a part of that.
Have you ever known someone who went through conversion therapy?
I’ve never met someone prior to the film. I’d never heard about it and when I read the book, I was horrified. To hear and to read that it was a thing and that it wasn’t illegal… I couldn’t believe that kind of lack of humanity was still legal in some states.
Joel Edgerton wrote, starred, directed and produced the film. What would you say was the most rewarding part of working alongside him?
Joel did the screen adaptation from the book written by Garrard. He directed and starred in it and also produced it. He wore a lot of hats.
Joel took all of us under his wing and made sure we all had a minute to speak with him every day, sort of privately about our character development and where he wanted it to go. He encouraged us to talk with each other and in a group. He really wanted it to be a personal development in all of us. It was very important to him that all of us, individually, developed our characters and found our truths in that. I know for the actors who were playing in the conversion camp, they all wrote in a journal as they did in the film. It was a personal statement from their own heart that no one else wrote for them. That was their character development. He really dug deep with all of us. I still keep up with a couple of people from Boy Erased and we still to this day talk about how much impact that film had on us. In the same way, how we were talking earlier about Outer Banks and how we didn’t want to falsify the teenage experience, in Boy Erased, we never wanted to falsify the human emotion of going through that kind of circumstance. Whether it be Chloe going through this confusing time with Garrard, or whether it be going through a conversion camp. Without Joel and that connection, I don’t know if the film would have been what it is.
You’ve worked with a lot of A-list stars and incredible actors and performers throughout your career, but who would you say was the most memorable? Why? What did you learn from them?
I’ve taken a lot away from everyone I’ve worked with, even from actors who aren’t A-listers. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of amazing actors and people. On Boy Erased, obviously, Joel made a massive impact on me. He taught me a lot about empathy. He also taught me a lot about craft and about making something and finding your truth.
Working with Lucas Hedges as well, he was incredible to work with and such a kind human. When you see someone who approaches their work with that kind of empathy and ethic, it really pushes you. My cast in Outer Banks, I’ve never been a part of a project that lasted that long. There’s stamina that comes with being on set for months at a time. We’re all kind of new here, but there is no lack of work ethic or talent. And I’ve learned so much as a person. I’ve learned kindness, to turn the other cheek, to be slow to judge and I’ve learned what family is. It goes beyond the word.
The isolation/quarantine period must be extremely challenging with acting. How are you coping and keeping busy?
The industry is shut down. We [Outer Banks cast] have been pretty busy promoting the show and posting about it in lieu of the premiere. Some of the cast are quarantined together. We’re all keeping each other safe. We’ll go up to the rooftop and watch the sunset. If it’s warm out, we’ll go outside and put some music on and lay out. We binged watched Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tiger King… gosh, what else. We’ve been cooking ‘family dinners’ and lots and lots of FaceTime. If I was by myself, I would go insane, I don’t know what I’d do without them!