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ON THE RISE: Bex Taylor-Klaus Talks Career, ‘Scream’ and The Return of ‘Voltron’

Photo by Ricky Middlesworth Photography

While it may seem it happened overnight, Bex Taylor-Klaus is no overnight sensation. This multi-faceted star on the rise caught the acting bug early in life and has been dedicated to taking herself to the limit ever since. Her training started with Shakespeare in an after school program in the third grade and was a consistent part of her extracurricular life and summers. When she turned 18, she made the move to LA in the summer of 2012 to pursue her acting career. She hit the ground running and it wasn’t long before she was turning the heads of Hollywood decision makers and landing some impressive roles.

As a series regular on “The Killing” (2011), Bex’s first official role as an actor is the part of Bullet, alongside Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman. Her impressive debut led to roles in other high-profile projects such as “The Last Witch Hunter” (2015) with Vin Diesel, “iZombie,” “The Librarian’s,” “House of Lies” and “Glee.” In 2015, she tackled her most impressive and complex role to date as Audrey Jensen in MTV’s hit series “Scream.” Based on the hit horror franchise from the mind of Wes Craven, the series quickly captured the imagination of a new generation of genre fans. Bet will return as part of talented cast of “Scream” when it’s second season launches on May 30th, 2016. Continuing to push herself and expand her horizons, her next project is every bit as ambitious and exciting as those that came before. Bex will soon lend her voice to Dreamworks/Netflix’s highly anticipated animated series, “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” based on the iconic ‘80s cartoon series and action figures. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Bex Taylor-Klaus to discuss her work as an actor, her work on both “Scream” and “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” as well as what the future may hold for this star on the rise.

You are becoming a familiar face in the entertainment industry. Let’s go back to where it all began. What attracted you to acting early on?

My mom and dad like to say that they put me in acting class since they thought it would be cheaper than therapy. Aside from the fact it turns out that it wasn’t, everything else about it seemed to be a good idea! [laughs] I loved it! It was a really great outlet for me to express myself. I didn’t really know that I could pursue it as a career until I had an acting coach who said to my parents, “Don’t take her out of school but don’t ever let her stop doing this.” I think that is what hit it for me. Someone saying, “Yes, this is a possibility. This is something that is a viable career choice. Not many people do it but it is possible.” After I knew it was possible, having someone telling me that I couldn’t do it or I wasn’t talented enough made me say, “Screw you! Yes, I am! Let me serve it to you.”

Your breakout role has been playing Audrey on MTV’s hit series, “Scream.” How did you get involved with the project?

I got involved through the audition process. I wish I had a better story for you but it was as simple as that! The audition came in and I said, “OK, let’s do this!” Really, nothing came of it for quite awhile. I was not the right fit and they ended up casting someone else, which I totally understood, but then they came back to me. They asked me if I was still interested and, of course, I said, “Yes! I am still interested!”

“Scream” has been a huge part of pop culture for 20 years. How did you get introduced to the series?

I don’t remember exactly how old I was at the time exactly but I feel like I watched “Scream” by accident when I was around 10 years old. I didn’t really see it properly until I was about 12 or 13. I think I saw “Scream 2” around 15 or 16 and I had only seen those two films when the audition came along. I didn’t marathon the entire series until after I got the role. Then it was the game over, end all, I love this reaction! [laughs]

The material on the series is well-written but I was curious to know what you brought to the character that wasn’t on the written page?

Audrey is a very unique character. [laughs] She has her strengths and her weaknesses, I think something I added to the character, who is very mysterious by nature, is a new layer of darkness and who she is when no one else is around that probably wasn’t on the page.

How do you relate to her? Any similarities between your personalities?

I like to think that Audrey has more anger issues than I do but it depends on the person you ask! They may agree or may not agree! We have a lot of differences but there is one thing about Audrey that I really admire that I don’t think I have grasped quite yet and that is Audrey knows when to shut up! Bex does not! Audrey doesn’t speak unless it’s necessary! That is something that Bex works on quite a bit!

Photo by Ricky Middlesworth Photography

The series was getting off the ground around the time of Wes Craven’s death. Did you and the rest of the team feel added pressure to keep this amazing franchise going?

Honestly, no. It wasn’t pressure. There was so much confidence that everyone had. Sure, it was nerve-racking at first but, at the end of the day, we got the blessing of The King! We had his blessing to go ahead and make our mark on his world. That was really what we needed and what it took!

What has been the biggest challenge for you as an actor?

I think the biggest challenge has been balance. Balancing serious, suspicious activity with honest and raw emotional vulnerability. We have to be such tough characters but, at the same time, we are human. Finding that balance has definitely been both challenging and rewarding.

“Scream” has been a big hit with fans. What has it been like connecting with your audience?

It’s meant the world to me. Seeing how much people care and appreciate what we are putting out there has been amazing. Sometimes, just hearing what people dislike fuels me to say, “Oh, I can make that better.” I definitely have enjoyed all of the feedback!

You have another big project waiting in the wings and it is going to be a big hit this summer. What can you tell us about “Voltron: Defender of The Universe?”

I am so excited for this! I still have no idea why they chose me for it but I am really glad they did! Originally, I got a call asking me if I would be interested in doing a voiceover job. I said, “Of course!” I had no idea the prevalence of the fan base of the original series. I really didn’t know what it was until I had gone in and started the whole audition process! That was really, really cool for me because it was an opportunity to be a part of another amazing franchise that has been given new life. I feel really honored to make these projects from the past something new and fresh!

Was this the first time you had done voiceover work?

No. I had done an episode of “Robot Chicken” before. “Voltron” was a much bigger undertaking!

Tell us about the role you are playing and what we might expect from the series?

I play Pidge. One of the things I love about the new series is that they have given each paladin, each pilot and each character beautiful, fleshed-out backstories. All of these pilots went to this military academy called The Garrison. Pidge is trying to find his family, his father and his brother, who went missing on a mission years ago. Hiro, one of the other characters, happened to be on the mission, so that is how they are drawn together. Every time I talk about this I get so excited! Oh man, I am a huge, huge fan of my own show!

Photo by Ricky Middlesworth Photography

Looking back on your career, what stands out as your biggest creative milestone?

I was really fortunate to hit a lot of milestones straight off the bat. I got to work with Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman right off the bat. I got to work with Jonathan Demme, the director of “Silence of The Lambs.” That was a big item off my bucket list. I love him so much and he is absolutely amazing. One of the greatest days of my life was just meeting him, let alone working with him!

You are interested in your craft and everything that goes into making these shows a success. Do you think we will see you pursue work behind the camera?

Actually, it is funny you mention that because a friend and I are writing and producing a new little short right now. We are currently working on the storyline. When I get back from shooting, we are going to go in and play around with the actual story. We are just waiting until I get home! [laughs]

People can look to you as an inspiration with all you achieved and the hard work you put in. What is the best lesson we can take away from your journey?

I think it is OK to not be the shining beacon of happiness. Not every character or person is going to be that, so don’t expect to be. Be who you are. As dark as that may be, it is still OK. That is my thought process right now!

I know you lend your voice to some worthwhile charity organizations. What can we help shine a light on?

Right now, I am working with Team Be Brave, based in Florida. They try to raise money for these groups of families in Florida who have kids with cancer. Half of what I raise with them will go to them and the other half will go to a hospital in Atlanta and/or Los Angeles. I am working on getting that setup right now. You can go to www.bebrave.networkforgood.com to learn more.

Thanks for your time today, Bex. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!

Thank you so much! Take care!

Be sure to catch Bex Taylor-Klaus when “Scream” returns to MTV for Season 2 on May 30th. DreamWorks/Netflix series “Voltron: Legendary Defender” premieres June 6th!