Jinkies! Two of your favorite meddling kids are back in an all-new, live-action feature length movie! “Daphne and Velma” tells the story of Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley before they team up with Scooby and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang. The mystery-solving teens are best friends but have only met online — until Daphne transfers to Velma’s school, Ridge Valley High, stocked with high-tech gadgetry by the school’s benefactor, tech billionaire Tobias Bloom. While their peers vie for a coveted internship at Bloom’s company, Daphne and Velma try to uncover the reason why the school’s brightest students are disappearing — only to emerge again in a zombie-fied state. The film stars Sarah Jeffery (Disney’s “Descendants: Wicked World”) and Sarah Gilman (ABC’s “Last Man Standing”), and is produced by Ashley Tisdale and Jennifer Tisdale’s Blondie Girl Productions. “Daphne & Velma” will hit digital, blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2018 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Sarah Gilman to discuss the challenges of taking on such an iconic role, bringing the character from script to screen and much more!
Thanks Warner Bros. for the opportunity to talk to Daphne and Velma star Sarah Gilman.
Why does Scooby-Doo and the gang continue to resonate with audiences?
I think there are a couple of factors. One of the aspects that attracts me to the show is the relationships between these five friends. I grew up watching them interact and seeing them be five best friends doing what they love to do together. I always wanted that to translate into my life! I always wished I could find my own group like that! Watching them and their chemistry, which sounds funny to say because they are cartoons but I really believe they do have on-screen chemistry. That’s one of the things that attracted me time and time again. The mystery/whodunit/monster in the attic and who’s-going-to-be-under-the-mask type of thing is a timeless genre and operation that a lot of people are attracted to. It’s fun, keeps you watching and keeps you on your toes! You think it’s going to be this person but it’s the other person and that’s something fun for all ages to figure out. Right now, it doesn’t hurt that it is a piece of nostalgia, at least for me. When I was watching the Scooby-Doo cartoons to brush up on who Velma was, her sassy character and how she operated, it did bring me back to my childhood memories. I think, in times like now and with how our world is, that’s definitely very appealing to a lot of people to let those memories all come back!
What did you do to prepare for the role of Velma Dinkley?
There were a couple of things. There was the physical preparation. I used to have my hair down almost to my waist. When I flew out to film the movie, they cut it into the Velma hairstyle. From there, I went into wardrobe and tried on all of Velma’s clothes. That stuff really does make a difference for me in terms of settling into the character, figuring out who they are, how they walk, how they talk, how they operate and feel. That was the physical preparation. Then there was the work that comes into it like making sure I know my lines. I can’t start acting until the lines come naturally. If I’m using my energy to remember the words, then I’m not putting my full attention into what the acting is going to be. There is a lot of memorization and reading involved. I didn’t go too crazy on watching too much “Scooby-Doo” to prepare for this. There was a bit of binge-watching but, at the same time, a lot of the creativity and finding out who Velma was came from talking to our director Suzi Yoonessi and our creative producers, Jennifer and Ashley Tisdale. It came down to figuring out what this more three/dimensional, flesh-out Velma was going to be. The cartoon is great, and there were definitely parts that I wanted to take from that, but it is also a very flat character. To expand on that, there were a lot of talks with the creative team on this film to figure out who she was going to be.
How did this project compare and contrast to the ones you’ve been a part of in the past and what were the biggest challenges on this film?
Most of my work has been on television or in theater but mostly television with sitcoms and single/cam comedies. “Daphne and Velma” is my first real feature film experience and it’s very different. Getting accustomed to that was its own experience in itself. The way that the pace moves is much faster than television. We filmed the entire movie in 17 or 18 days. It’s quick, you’re memorizing lines a lot faster and you don’t have days of rehearsal and you’re rehearsing on set and running lines — then you go in and do the scene! It’s a lot faster and there’s a lot less time to work in the space, at least with a movie shot this quickly. That was the big difference between the two. I think the biggest difficulty in portraying Velma was the fear that I had about playing such an iconic character. She’s iconic and there are so many people who know and love Velma! They have their own perceptions of the character, so I was worried about fleshing her out, working on her, making her a little different and how people would react to that. I thought it might alienate some people and their view of who Velma and I really didn’t want to do that! The biggest difficulty was my fear and making sure that it didn’t affect the acting, the performance or how the movie came out. I don’t think it did but it’s definitely going to be nerve-racking once this film premieres and seeing everyone’s reactions to this new Velma! She’s different than the original character!
She is different but you put a great spin on a classic, so I’m sure the reaction will be positive! What do you hope audiences take away from it?
What I want girls to take away from this film is that they can do anything! This is a really good film in that it shows two young, strong females who aren’t constantly talking about boys or are damsels in distress who are waiting for someone to rescue them. They are proactive and fast-thinking. They are very real characters who are scared at times but find their strength and inner courage to keep moving forward and kind of control their own destiny. I think that’s a really important message to in the media right now for young females because, historically, we haven’t seen much of it. I’m hoping that is the message that anyone can take away from this film.