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Sophia Anne Caruso and Sofia Wylie Discuss ‘The School for Good and Evil’


They didn’t plan this.

Sofia Wylie, 18, who plays the good-at-heart, if witchily named, Agatha in the brand new Netflix fantasy film “The School for Good and Evil,” pops onto the Zoom call swaddled in a tan-and-white blanket, a cheery, sunlit room with white partitions and a gray couch in her Salt Lake City home behind her.

A moment later, Sophia Anne Caruso, 21, who plays her best friend Sophie, a fairtyale-obsessed girly girl with a dark side, materializes, her short black fringe mixing in with the dark black background of her Upper West Side apartment. All of the lights are out.

“Oh, I would like a blanket too,” Caruso says, grabbing one from offscreen and wrapping it round her shoulders. “I believed we had to cover!”

Each actresses (yes, each named So-fee-uh — no bias to either spelling) are making their debuts as leads in a feature film in “The School for Good and Evil,” which began streaming on Netflix on Wednesday. Based on the young adult book series by Soman Chainani a couple of magical school for storybook heroes and villains, the film follows the adventures of Sophie and Agatha, who’re kidnapped and brought to the titular school and must discover a solution to return home. (The starry solid also includes Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron, Michelle Yeoh and Laurence Fishburne.)

In a video interview last week, Wylie, who’s best known for her role as Gina Porter on the Disney+ series “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and Caruso, who originated the role of Lydia Deetz within the Broadway musical “Beetlejuice,” shared what it was like leading their first film, how the crew distinguished between them on set, and who’s most like each of their characters in real life. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation.

How much did you understand concerning the series before you auditioned?

SOPHIA ANNE CARUSO I first heard concerning the books in summer 2017.

SOFIA WYLIE I had a gathering with producers to discuss a bunch of projects, and I used to be like, “‘The School for Good and Evil,’ that sounds so familiar.” I went to Goodreads and realized it was on my “to read” list. I did a few self tapes after which had a chemistry read with Sophia Anne.

CARUSO As soon as we tested, it was obvious that you simply were easy to consult with and friendly, even over Zoom. We had an instantaneous connection.

This was the primary lead role in a feature film for each of you. What was the largest adjustment?

WYLIE I definitely had a preconceived idea of what being a lead in a movie meant, but once I got to set it was like, “Oh, no, we’re all sharing the load here.”

CARUSO I used to be really just on set more! My attitude didn’t change.

How did people distinguish between the 2 of you on set?

WYLIE Mostly everyone called us by our last names.

CARUSO But then people began unintentionally calling me my character’s name, Sophie, which is a pet peeve — it’s a distinct name!

Which of you is most like Sophie, and who’s most like Agatha?

WYLIE Sophia, you’re not as uptight as Sophie may be, but you don’t care how people perceive you.

CARUSO You could have Agatha’s heart; I even have Sophie’s attitude; her fire, you’ve gotten her vulnerability in addition to her glamour.

The film was shot in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Did you get to do anything fun once you weren’t shooting?

CARUSO Sofia and I were so busy working that on our days off, we were sleeping or I used to be down on the beach, listening to music and chilling. I didn’t have the energy to do stuff. I might just sit on the grass and skim.

WYLIE I used to be still 17 and ending up my senior 12 months, and Sophia can be like, “Wish to have coffee?” and I’d be like, “I’m doing algebra.” It was horrible.

Unlike within the books, students at the college don’t wear uniforms. What form of input did you’ve gotten into your costumes?

WYLIE I might do Zoom calls with Renée [Ehrlich Kalfus, the costume designer]. Agatha’s arc starts out grungy within the Gavaldon scenes, and as she’s transitioning into the college and becoming a princess — or, not less than, wearing princess dresses — I desired to have a say in what that looked like. I do look quite a bit different than how my character is described within the book, and it was great to feel like I had a real collaborator versus being put into costumes or hair and makeup that didn’t suit me.

CARUSO In relation to the costume process, I’ve never had a more collaborative team. I spoke with Renée about how Sophie starts out in a princessy place after which leads to a potato sack — eventually, we tied ropes around it to jazz it up! Then, when she becomes glam again, it’s not a princessy glam, but a punk glam. It’s such a selected variety of hot that suits her fiery spirit — if I used to be like, “I would like an inch shorter” or “I prefer a veil,” it was like, “OK, done!”

What was probably the most difficult a part of working on the film?

WYLIE The computer graphics moments were so difficult. For some reason, I had the concept in my head that the magic can be there on set with us [laughs]. Then we show up, and it’s like, “Where is that this bony bird that’s speculated to be taking us away, because all I see is that this man in a green suit with a stick?”

CARUSO On our last day of shooting, we needed to do the scene with the stymphs [a bird that has just a skeleton] where we’re being carried to the faculties. That was difficult because not only are you going to should use your imagination, but we’re also in body casings which are really tight and intensely uncomfortable for hours at a time.

WYLIE I even have so as to add that Sophia Anne was the sweetest, most protective caring person who day. At one point, my body solid had shifted so I used to be being squished on each side, and even 20 feet within the air, she knew immediately something was incorrect. She was like, “Are you good?” I used to be like [in a weak voice], “No!” And she or he was like, “Get her down!” I used to be like, “What a very good scene partner.” I do know she doesn’t just have my back inside the scene because the characters, but she has my back as Sofia.

When you could have any magical power, what would it not be?

CARUSO I’d wish to be a genie who could grant all my very own unlimited wishes.

WYLIE I’ve at all times desired to be invisible — I would like to know everyone’s opinion of me without them knowing I’m knowing their opinion.

There are 4 books in “The School for Good and Evil” series. Have you ever heard anything a couple of movie sequel?

WYLIE I’ve heard rumors, but nothing for certain.

CARUSO It depends how many individuals who watch it want one other one — if people want one other one, we’ll make one other one!

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