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Olivia Holt & Aubrey Joseph Interview: Cloak & Dagger

Olivia Holt is an American actress most known for her work with Disney Channel and Disney XD. She has appeared in the Disney XD series Kickin’ It and the Disney Channel series I Didn’t Do It. She will be appearing in the Freeform series Cloak & Dagger as Tandy Bowen aka Dagger. Aubrey Joseph is an actor, who first got his start acting on stage for Broadway’s The Lion King. He will be tackling his first starring role as Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak in Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger. Cloak & Dagger will premiere on Freeform on June 7, 2018.

Screen Rant attended the press day for Cloak and Dagger and had the chance to chat with Olivia and Aubrey, where we discussed what it felt like when they found out they got the roles, what themes Cloak & Dagger will cover throughout the series, and what they see for their characters in the future.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the excitement factor as actors to get involved with something that has Marvel? It must be pretty good, but then also just being super heroic characters must also be kind of a cool thing to get to do.  Can you talk about when this project came your way, your sort of emotional reactions?

Aubrey:  It's kind of something you don't even dream of, just as an actor, you know.  Just for me, I was in acting school at the time and kind of hoping for a lead role. But hoping, you know, that was a regular show, a maybe a guest star role, or anything like that. And then Marvel comes along.  So, yeah, you can't say no to the audition and you just hope that it goes well. So just being a superhero, but also being a part of a show like this, that stands for so much, and has such a powerful message is perfect. It's like the perfect situation. So just honored and ready for you guys to see it.

Olivia: Yeah. I think not only, well one, being a part of the Marvel Universe is like insane. It's so surreal. And I think we're both so grateful to be a part of the family now. But yeah, this show it stands for so much and I think it's not just about the super heroic team that they are. But it's also about them as humans and individuals and the things that they go through in reality. Which I think is so important and so humane to what this show brings.  I think that sort of separates it. It makes it stand out a bit.

Q: In the first few episodes alone the show tackles really heavy subjects like sexual assault, the shooting of an unarmed black man.  What does it mean to you to bring these real life issues to life in this comic book show?

Olivia: So important. I mean, I feel like it's very rare that you see on television a show tackling such heavy topics, right? I mean it does. It focuses on sexual assault, police brutality, addiction, and so much more.  The fact that we’re doing that in such an effortless way, in an organic way, also in an honest raw way is so important for us. Especially because we're young and able to be in a situation where we get to use our voices and our platform to tell a story that's so honest. And I think ultimately that's what we want for this show. To not just entertain people, but move them and impact them in a way that's going to push the culture, and change the game for as many as we can.

Aubrey:  And it’s essentially important right now, just because, I was just telling Liv this, you have two groups of people, like black men have been completely dehumanized in our media, in society period.  And women are always minimized. You know, they always have to warrant that they get equal pay or asked to be represented as equals. So we really have this show that brings humanity to these two groups of people, and it's just time. It's time for this to come out and I think this is gonna just jumpstart the new normal.

Q: The cultural conversation kind of shifted this way last fall. Where you guys already at work on the show, when all of a sudden everybody was talking about the issues that the show is tackling?

Olivia: Yeah. We started shooting in the end of July. We started pre-production at the end of July and then we really started shooting in August. And so everything, the movements was sort of happening and a lot was actually happening when we were down in New Orleans. And it sort of gave us perspective. And I think we were in a very new headspace just because of that. And I think for us, we became even more passionate about the stories and the journey that Tyrone and Tandy were on.  The journey that they were on together but also as individuals. And I think it definitely made a difference and an impact on us. And I think it made us feel like we were actually doing something to change society a little bit. And to also help people gain perspective on the situations that are going out. And I almost felt like we saw the future a little bit. Because some of the stuff that was written was happening, and that was a little weird. But at the same time it's the perfect timing for a show like this to be coming out. So that was a very strange situation. But in the best way possible I guess. Because now we have the opportunity to tell the that story.

Q: Being on location in New Orleans, how does that help with the tone of the show and how does that help you as actors get into the headspace of your role?

Aubrey: New Orleans in itself is a character on the show, you know. It's, I don't know if you've seen it, but it’s literally, undeniably there, you can't miss it. New Orleans has beautiful architecture, it’s a beautiful city. It has beautiful people, a lot of history. So even just going out there myself, it was an honor as my first time out there. New Orleans is a city that always fights and like never loses that fight in them. I think that speaks a lot to who Tyrone and Tandy are. No matter what the world throws at them, they prosper and keep pushing. So I think just that sense of never losing hope. It's huge for our show. Huge, enormous.

Olivia: I also think cinematically and stylistically it was gorgeous.

Q:  It's interesting for comics fans, because these characters are not huge name characters in comics, but they definitely have a fan following and have had been around I think for like 30 years. So it's cool to see them in live action for the first time. How much did you kind of delve into source material for this?  And did you find anything helpful in there in bringing to the show?

Olivia: I was very unfamiliar with the comics before even going into the audition process. We also knew very little going into it. Information that they gave us was like-

Aubrey: Scenes. Literally.

Olivia: I mean I personally felt like I needed to read the first comic, even if the origin story was a little bit different, just to sort of understand the tone and where Tandy and Tyrone come from.  What their power even are. So that helped a little bit. And then once we actually booked the parts it was pretty epic. Our hair and makeup trailer actually had Cloak and Dagger comics plastered all over the walls. So while we were getting ready for the shooting day, we would just have like a fun little read. But you know, I've met a lot of people who are fans of the comics. They still seem pretty excited to see the differences a little bit because, you know, like you said, it's been around for 30 plus years, started in the late eighties, early nineties and it was perfect for that time. But I think changing it up a little bit and making it more current and talking about, again, topics that are happening right now in 2018. I think makes it a little bit more relatable and I feel like the audience is going to connect to it in a way that they wouldn't if it was based in a different era or even if they were going through things that were happening back then. But now since we're sort of focusing on something that's a little more current and talking about what it's like to be a young black male in America in 2018 and what it's like be a young white female, in American in 2018. We're excited about because we get to story tell and a creative way. But also in a way that it's not just impacting the audience but impacting us as well.

Q: In acting school they can teach you to cry on cue, but they don't teach you about powers. How to play powers.

Olivia: Isn't that is a bummer, right?

Q: How did you wrap your head around how you were going to act out the abilities knowing that CGI was going to help you at some point, but you’ve got to figure it out on camera how it’s going to “look.”

Olivia: We had a pretty epic team that helped us. I mean as far as like, because we knew obviously a lot of the effects were going to happen in post production. Our special effects team definitely helped us within that role. That way we didn't under-act or over-act. I think it was definitely helpful. But, I don't know, I think it's a feeling that you just feel in the moment. And I think also depending on the scene, the energy that's there, whether it's, you know, it'd be a mood that one of us are in. If it’s angry or if it's just wanting power, if it's wanting, you know. There's got to be an intention behind why we use our powers, right? So I think it just always depends what the scene was. But as far as coping with the powers that was the interesting part. Because we're not going to be badass from the get go. We have to learn, cope, how to deal with all those powers.  And that's also one thing that I found so fun and interesting and intriguing about these specific characters. Is that they're not just learning how to cope with real teenage life stuff. They're also learning how to cope with powers on top of all of it. So they have a lot on their plate. But, I mean, I remember for me anyway with the daggers at one point in the show, you know, I have to learn how to actually fight with them and throw them. And I worked with a magician for a couple of hours one day who taught me how to grow cards into like a hat. Which was like how I learned how to throw the daggers, which is pretty epic. And you had so much cardio. I don't know how you-

Aubrey: Yeah, I had a lot of basketball. I had a lot a, one thing just to talk about what she said, we're not having them be so badass. At first, I remember we would always go into stunt rehearsal and have these crazy like fight scenes and then they would be like, “Nah, dial that back down.’

Olivia: Yeah, we’d want to kick ass and they'd be like, “You can't do that. Cause you don’t know how to do that yet.”

Aubrey: And I feel like that was the beauty of it as well. They don't teach superhero acting, but they do teach “acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”

Olivia: Ooh.  I feel like it's what you do as a kid too.

Aubrey: Right. You just act like you have superpowers.

Olivia: Yeah the floor is lava at all times.

Aubrey: Right. (LAUGHS)

Q: The stories that have a male and female at the center, you pretty much always root for them to get together quickly.  Is that something that you want to see happen for these characters or do you want them to stay as platonic partners and friends?

Olivia: I know in the comics they were lovers, which was interesting. But I think at first we want to do a little bit of character development. Show who they are as individuals and also show the camaraderie and loyalty and trust that they have as friends. Because their relationship is very complicated. As I'm sure some of you guys have seen already, like it's not an easy relationship. They've already gone through so much. You know, they already have a lot on their plate and everything is overwhelming and scary and they also don't want to show those sides, but then do. I think that they're just like- (COUGHS)

Aubrey: Just to speak off what she's saying. Wait, I'm so sorry, what are we talking about again?

Q: Do you want to see them get together on the show?

Aubrey:  I'm so in love with their friendship right now and just the fact that they need each other.  You're that one person that they can literally talk about anything. That's what I'm obsessed with right now. I don't know about the whole love thing yet. Yeah. Maybe. Maybe in later seasons.

Q: Looking forward into the future. Obviously on the big screen the MCU had the big Infinity War. Now that you guys are on TV, are you guys looking forward to, or possibly even thinking about, you guys are about the same age as The Runaways, a little team up over there. Any crossover there?

Olivia: Sorry. I almost died just then. (LAUGHS) We hope so. I feel like if there is going to be a crossover, it will be with The Runaways. It's just because it makes more sense and we also love them as just a cast.

Aubrey:  We just saw them last night.

Olivia:  I think it would just make a lot, and I think they also cross over in the comics. Hopefully there'll be an opportunity there somewhere.  We’ll see.

Q: Was there like a real test for you guys as actors? A scene or a sequence that you're like, “Okay, we're in it now. This is a real challenge.”

Aubrey: Of course.  The scene in the church. I feel like almost every scene we had in the church was an actors class.  It was all about being invested in each other. And it was probably one of my favorite episodes to shoot just because we were so invested in. And I feel like we did some of our best acting work all season in the episode too.

Olivia: I also think it really, I mean in that fourth episode where Tanny and Tyrone finally hash it out and you know, they get a chance to really speak from their not just heads but with their hearts. And what they feel like they've been experiencing over their lives. I think it's such an intense situation and the fact that they get to really confide in each other in that. And I think both of us felt really passionate about where their head space is, where as well. I think almost the Olivia and Aubrey were really speaking in those moments as well.And I remember at the end of that day we were both just like so heated and exhausted and it just, it was, it was a moment that I think we both genuinely felt powerful. And it's one of those moving moments that you read it and you're like, “whoa.” But then you do it and you're like, “WHOA”  Yeah. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, but I think that moment in particular we felt like we had a show that was a game changer. And that's just me being cocky. (LAUGHS)

Q: Thank you!

MORE: Read Screen Rant's Cloak & Dagger Review

Cloak and Dagger premieres on Freeform June 7, 2018.

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