A spoiler-filled conversation about diversity, dads and fan casting the sequel.
Actress Lovie Simone hadn't yet been born when The Craft came out. In fact, all four of the young women who make up the sequel's coven -- Simone, Gideon Adlon, Zoey Luna and Cailee Spaeny -- were born in the years after 1996, when moviegoers were introduced to Manon, Nancy Downs and the eternal joy of playing light as a feather, stiff as a board.
Which is to say, the quartet had some catching up to do before starring in writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones' continuation. The Craft: Legacy picks up more than two decades after the original, as Frankie (Adlon), Lourdes (Luna) and Tabby (Simone) discover their fourth in new girl Lily (Spaeny) and quickly find themselves in double, double toiling trouble.
"I hope people take the theme that your difference is your power," Simone tells ET. "I know that is also the theme for the original Craft, in the sense that [by] stepping into your powers, you're not going to be the same as anyone else and all that. You must rise above it all to find your people or your coven or your home outside of home."
With Legacy out now -- just in time for spooky season -- Simone hopped on the phone with ET for a conversation about inclusion, that major Craft cameo and manifesting a sequel.
You hadn't seen The Craft before Legacy came to you. What was that first viewing experience like?
I remember I watched The Craft and what happens to, I guess, everyone who falls in love with The Craft, it happened to me. Like, I couldn't get out of that realm of my angsty teen phase. [Laughs] I just remember falling in love with it and watching it maybe four or five more times leading up to my audition, just because I enjoyed it so much. I think that me watching it was part of the reason why I was so invested in my audition, because I really wanted to be a part of that world. How could I not?
Did not having that background make it easier to approach signing on to this movie, maybe not feeling the pressure of how iconic people think the original is? Or were you quickly made aware?
I was quickly made aware that it was iconic. [Laughs] But what's crazy is that it doesn't scare me. It never intimidated me. If anything, it was like, wow. The people who had The Craft effect happen to them, it's about to happen again -- hopefully -- with the intentional writing and direction that Zoe Lister provided. It was more so excitement to talk about this world and what it looks like.
I think fans maybe think there will be direct correlations between these girls and the original coven, but they are very much their own characters. Like, in terms of the calling of the corners, Tabby would actually be the Neve Campbell character. That said, did you look for inspiration in any of those original actresses in terms of how you'd approach playing Tabby?
No, only out of respect. I didn't want to mimic or recreate a character more so than I wanted to dive into the experience that was somebody completely new in Tabby. Acting is storytelling for me, so it was me getting close to my Creole witch whose mom and grandmother speak French and are into witchcraft and give her a sense of confidence and belonging. It was working off of the character breakdown and the world Zoe created. And just staying true to, like, feelings. When it comes down to it, being an action film about witches or superheroes, I don't think I focused on the witchy stuff or the fights or anything. It was, what am I feeling? What is the one accomplishment that I'm trying to have in this one scene? What is driving my character? Why am I standing right now? Everything is intentional. Then it's easy, because the words will paint the rest of the picture for you.
One of the things I appreciate about this movie is that over the years, Rachel True has had to fight for her place in the legacy of the original film as the only Black cast member. But in 2020, it's not just you, this film has taken a much broader approach to diversity and inclusivity. What did that mean to you?
To me, it means a lot. I think every young Black girl has the conversation with her friends where she talks about diversity and all this stuff. For me, this has been in the works for years, so I'm like, finally, geez. Please and thank you. [Laughs] I know that a lot of girls who look like me have -- not the same life, I don't even want to say similar life, but they could have a similar life, because literally, people judge you just based off of the box that you came in, the human vessel. They have this idea of how you were raised and how you act and all this other stuff, and then they treat you accordingly.
A lot of the times, the stigmas around Black women are very not so progressive. So, I do love that Tabby was maternal and chill and masculine and feminine and she was a friend and a teenage girl. She was all of those things. I feel like people tend to drop the whole entire concept of duality when looking at Black girls or when looking at women period, and that's why I love that now there's a trans girl and a Black girl and a Jewish girl and a white girl and they're all friends. I have yet to see that clique and have it [not be like,] "Oh, we just all cliqued up, because I ended up at this white boarding school." I love that our friendship -- our coven -- is a choice and I love that Zoe's choice was to put the weirdos or people who are identified as the weirdos in a bunch and have it be beautiful. Because we are beautiful.
Even beyond the coven, something I wasn't expecting but found so moving is we get this beautiful bisexual coming out scene from Nicholas [Galitzine]. I don't think I've seen that in a movie before, either.
Me either! I loved that. That space on set, they allowed for complete vulnerability. After Nick did that scene and they said, "Cut," we just looked at him like, "Dang, Nick, where was all of that?!" Because you really don't get to see that much, I guess, humanity with men. It's kind of ego-driven in every story, so I do love how they cracked Timmy open to be a person as well, with vulnerabilities and suppressed sides of himself. That's a big reason for a lot of these shows of hyper-masculinity that men put on, it's because something else is being suppressed or something else isn't being addressed.
Now that the movie is out, we can talk about some of the fun spoilers and such. Do you have a favorite Easter egg or homage to the original Craft?
Ooh, my faaavorite. I'm going to have to say it's, "We're the weirdos, mister," only because I like the fact that me and Cailee both got to say it for two different scenes. I also love the fact that in the movie when I say, "We're the weirdos, mister," it's kind of like the same situation happening, but on the other side of the spectrum. It's the male coming up to the four girls who aren't as soft as they are perceived to be and he's like, you know, "There's weirdos out there" as a warning more so. I like that David Duchovny says it more so like a retaliation and it just starts everything off in the fight. I just love that.
Knowing I would be getting on the phone with you, when it got to that part, I was like, "She got the line! She got the line!" Because there was sort of a fake out in the trailer with Cailee saying it. Did you always know you'd get it? Or were there different versions filmed to see which would play in the movie?
Oh my god. Yeah, no, I did not know I was going to get it at first, but once it was in the script officially and it wasn't just an idea, I was like, "Oh, this is cool." [Laughs]
I also loved the nod to the light as a feather, stiff as a board scene. We get a little taste of it. Did you get to film the full, extended version of that scene?
No, we just did the lifting up of Gideon.
I need to talk with you about this ending. Fans are going to freak out over Fairuza [Balk]'s cameo. Was Nancy written in from the start? Did you always know she was going to be in this?
Yes, I did. I did. I did. I love how she's in it, but it doesn't take away from the storyline. It makes sense for the story. So, I was just like, "This is genius." I remember being excited because it's also the original Craft fans will also have something to looking forward to if they don't like this as an independent film standing on its own. They'll have a nice little reunion.
Do you have a favorite theory yet of who Lily's dad is?
I was thinking about that. I don't even know, only because if it's... Yeah, things didn't even get too far [with Skeet Ulrich's Chris] at the party in the original Craft. I'm just thinking about the whole "he's sorry, he's sorry!" part. He couldn't have been too important, only because I think Lily's magic comes from her mom. I don't know. I don't know! That's a good question.
This does feel primed for a sequel. I mean, we still need to see Gideon shapeshift into Kristen Stewart. Has Zoe shared any of her ideas of where this could go next? Or have you and the other girls talked about what you want to see?
Well, me and the girls, we talk all the time. We were talking about, like, we don't even care how the story goes -- well, we do care -- but we just want to work together again and be in that safe, sacred environment again, because that does something to you as an actor. It unlocks so much more feeling and emotion. I would love to just experience that Craft world again and get to see Tabby's family and get to see Gideon shapeshift and all of these other beautiful things. And find out who Lily's dad is! I would love that.
Hearing you speak about Tabby's own legacy, I need that movie. I'm going to spend the rest of the day fan casting who should play Tabby's mother and grandma.
Oh my gosh, I think my mom should be Angela Bassett.
I was going to say Angela Bassett! But I wasn't sure if that was just because I was thinking of American Horror Story.
That's what I was thinking about! [Laughs] That's exactly what I was thinking about.