Paper Girls Stars On Time Travel, Takeaways From Season 1, And What They Want To See In The Future [Interview]

Back in October 2015, acclaimed comic book writer Brian K. Vaughn unveiled a new sci-fi mystery comic titled "Paper Girls." Joining forces with artist Cliff Chiang, colorist Matt Wilson, letterer Jared K. Fletcher, and color flatter Dee Cunniffe, the writer behind "Y: The Last Man," "Saga," and Marvel Comics' "Runaways" introduced the world to Erin, KJ, Mac, and Tiffany, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls from 1988 who unintentionally find themselves in the middle of a generation-spanning war between groups of time travelers.

In July 2022, Amazon Studios, Legendary Entertainment, and Prime Video are bringing the girls and their adventure through time from the page to the screen with a highly anticipated live-action adaptation. Ahead of the series premiere, we had a chance to chat with the four young leads of the show, Riley Lai Nelet, Fina Strazza, Sofia Rosinsky, and Camryn Jones, about the process of bringing these beloved characters to a new medium, their experiences on set, and their first foray into interacting with fandom at a convention. Plus, they discuss their hopes for a potential second season and the recent of influx of projects (including this one) that seek to normalize menstruation.

Extra Extra

When some actors joined a project based on a comic, they consume as much of the source material as possible. Did you take that route when you signed on for "Paper Girls," or were you more focused on creating your own version of the character?

Nelet: A little bit of both, I think.

Jones: Yeah.

Strazza: We all read the comics. I know after my first audition for it, I found a sketchy website...

Nelet: [Laughs] That's how I read it!

Strazza: I read all the comic books in one night in my bed. I fell in love with the color palette and the characters and the realness of their personalities and how they had depth to them. And then we all took our own liberties with creating the screen version as well.

Nelet: I think in the show, the characters are very similar to the comic books. But there's just this new essence to them that just brings them to life.

Jones: I actually bought the books. [All laugh] I did read all of them and I wanted to really bring comic book Tiff to life. But I also wanted to put Camryn into Tiff -- put a little bit of myself into her. So that's what I did.

Rosinsky: For me, I feel that sort of, at least for Mac, there's the comic book Mac, and then there's the TV show version of Mac. And I love the comic book Mac, but I've sort of just done my interpretation of her, given it my own twist on it, but I hope that those can be preserved sort of separately, almost.

Strazza: Independently.

Rosinsky: Yeah.

Carrying The Banner

How much of yourselves do you see in each of your characters? Are there any qualities of theirs that you admire that you wish you had more of in your everyday lives?

Strazza: I'd say Camryn is definitely the most like her character out of the four of us. And for KJ, she is incredibly brave and compassionate and I definitely am not as brave as she is because I wouldn't do half the stuff she does.

Jones: I think you're pretty brave.

Nelet: God, you don't give yourself enough credit.

Strazza: I don't have to face the things she does, though. I don't know how I would react to those situations, but I'd say the four of them handled the situations pretty well.

Jones: Definitely.

Strazza: So I'll give them credit for that.

Jones: I really admire just knowledge in everything. I would love to have more of her knowledge about technology. I think that's very, very cool.

Nelet: I really admire how much Erin takes responsibility of certain things and how she really tries her best to take care of the people that she loves. And I think that taking care of the people we love is important, too. [Hugs Camryn and Fina on the couch with her.] Sofia too!

Jones: [Gestures to Sofia onscreen] Air hugs!

Rosinsky: I would say for Mac, I don't think that we're a whole lot alike.

Jones: That's really true.

Strazza: It's a good thing!

Rosinsky: I would say that humor is something that we're on fairly similar grounds with, I think, because we both very much enjoy humor. And I guess one thing that I admire about Mac is her assertiveness. Sometimes she's a little bit too assertive.

Special Edition

Out of all the different timelines that you get to visit in the show, do you have a favorite era that you enjoyed being in?

Strazza: The '80s were fun.

Rosinsky: Yeah.

Nelet: The other eras we went to were also fun.

Strazza: There are some exciting events that we'll encounter other times. But I think our first costumes from the '80s were very cool to wear and to explore. And the hair --

Jones: [Riley] loved hers.

Nelet: I loved my hair!

The time travel mechanism in "Paper Girls" seems like it can be pretty unpredictable unless you know what you're doing. If you could borrow a different time travel method from a different show, movie, or book for the girls to use to get back to 1988, what would you choose and why?

Jones: Wow. What time travel methods are there?

Strazza: A telephone booth [like in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure."]

Rosinsky: I was going to say the TARDIS would be a good one from "Doctor Who." Or the ARGO machine from "Time After Time." I would choose [that one].

Jones: "Back to the Future." The car [from "Back to the Future."] Yeah. More driving. I like to drive.

Punctuation Marks

The sci-fi and action elements of the show are great, but some of my favorite parts are of the girls just being kids that are growing up and figuring things out. For example, Erin getting her first period. A lot of films and TV shows lately, like "Turning Red" and "Baymax!", are addressing that topic, showing young people that it's okay to ask for help and there's no need to be embarrassed since menstruation is just another part of life. What was it like for you all filming that scene? Are you glad that more media is including moments like this so it's no longer so taboo?

Jones: I'm definitely glad it's included. I'm glad it's being talked about. And I'm really glad that we are the ones who get to talk about it.

Nelet: For young girls, they don't know a lot about it. Having a period is just okay.

Jones: Yeah, it's normal.

Nelet: You don't have to be ashamed of it.

Strazza: Exactly. Adding onto that they don't know about it, a lot of girls, as you said, think it's taboo and people don't talk about it, but young girls are just expected to know what to do. So it's really great that the four of us in that scene were able to explore us not knowing what to do and showing people, "Yeah, we are 12 years old. We'd never spoken about this before and it's okay not to know what to do and not to know what's going on."

Rosinsky: It's amazing to get to see these four kids from 1988 trying to puzzle this out because it's very confusing and it can be scary. And I definitely think that it's a good thing that the media is talking about it a little bit more because it's nice for somebody to be able to point to that [scene] and not feel so embarrassed about periods.

Strazza: Period.

Nelet: Period. (laughs)

Improving Circulation

What are some things that you learned from your experience with "Paper Girls" as performers?

Rosinsky: I've been raised on the Meisner technique of just living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. Especially with sci-fi, that can sort of jumble you up for a minute. But really just being in the moment and reacting, listening, all of that is I would say would be my main thing.

Strazza: I've never worked on such a large scale film project before. Just seeing all the moving pieces with all the different sets and sound stages was really a great learning experience. We got the opportunity to work under some incredible directors and DPs, [so] learning how to set up a shot and really all the process and the time that goes into creating that perfect image was very interesting for me.

Jones: I really learned how to be more in touch with your character and in touch with yourself when you perform. Having to go and be Tiffany for five and a half months every day, you have to learn how to switch it on and off. You know how they say, "Keep everything in a box?" I had to learn how to do that. Then you had to learn how to let people in because I made friends. And you not only had to learn how to open people up, you had to open your mind so you could constantly be adapting and learning while you were there.

Nelet: I wholeheartedly agree with what everyone has to say. Back to what Fina said, I think I learned a lot about how much hard work is put into -- making even just two seven-minute scenes takes a lot of work. I just learned a lot from these three and the other incredible actors that we worked with. And like what Sofia was saying, just to live in the moment, no matter what has happened or what you think is going to happen.

Hard News

"Paper Girls" features a number of really talented performers on the show, such as Ali Wong and [spoiler alert] Jason Mantzoukas, in addition to all of you. It had to be a lot of fun on set, right?

Jones: Definitely.

Strazza: One of the funniest things was Ali and Nate Corddry, they had to wear fat suits.

Nelet: Oh yeah!

Jones: We called them thick suits.

Strazza: Yes, thick suits. They had to wear these silicone bellies and they would walk around with their shirts up.

Nelet: Yeah, both of them would walk around [like that].

Strazza: Just the silicone bellies out. They would be talking --

Jones: And having conversations.

Strazza: It was so funny just seeing these two actors just chatting with these things out. I don't know. It was fun. We have some photos.

Nelet: I think Nate only had to wear a belly, but Ali had to wear these thick arm pads and then around the legs and then a stomach, too. I think she had it pretty bad.

Jones: For me it was funny because when they would have a break, they would call cut and they'd be like, "I need help taking my belly off."

Nelet: Or "I have to go pee. Can someone help me take my stomach off?"

Jones: Right. And then they just set it on a chair or something while they went. And I was like, "It's just cool to see the belly sitting there."

Rosinsky: It was so hot and humid, too.

I'm just picturing Ali Wong's fancy chair and then Ali Wong's stomach's fancy chair on set.

Strazza: Exactly! That's what it was.

Syndicated Features

While you were in Chicago recently, you attended Fan Expo for your first panel as a cast. How your first experience at a convention with "Paper Girls?"

Strazza: It was great. I think we were all a bit surprised about how many people actually wanted to see us. It wasn't an absurd amount, but just the fact that anybody wanted to show up to learn about the show some more and meeting us was really great. We're so grateful for the support and we're looking forward to whatever else we may be doing and meeting more people. Everyone was so welcoming. It was fun.

Jones: I think it was all of our first panel, so we were all a little bit nervous.

Nelet: And jittery.

Jones: But it was cool that we all got to get through it together. I feel like we had such a great time up there because we were joking and it was just awesome. [Now] we can all say we've done it and I think it's one of the coolest things that we can say that we've done it together.

Nelet: We were just really thankful that there were people that were interested.

Rosinsky: It was just kind of interesting to see [and to] be back in Chicago. The last time we were traveling down these streets was when we were shooting and getting ready to go shoot this scene or that scene. Now we're back for press. It was just kind of a nice 360.

Nelet: Yeah. And I'm glad that we're back together.

Jones: Same.

Strazza: It's very nostalgic.

Here's Your Scoop

With the way that we leave the girls at the end of the season, fans will definitely be clamoring for more, especially with the Old Watch not far behind. What are you hoping to explore more of in season 2?

Strazza: Well, hopefully we'll get to explore a lot more adventure and some classic moments from the comics that we didn't get to in the first season that we can kind of call back to, and just see more of the girls growing up and becoming themselves and fighting off bad guys.

Nelet: I agree. And I think just diving more into all of their unique arcs. It would be really cool.

Jones: I agree. I really want to see how they evolve and how they work together in the next season.

Rosinsky: And exploring different time periods.

Finally, what are you hoping the audience takes away from this first season of "Paper Girls?"

Jones: It's okay to be who you are. You don't have to change for anybody. Being who you are is okay, I think.

Nelet: What I took away from the show, and what I hope other people take away from the show, is that you are worth something and that no matter who you are, you are fully capable of taking your fate into your own hands. And it's also just completely okay to not have it all figured out.

Strazza: I wholeheartedly agree.

Rosinsky: I would say that forgiveness takes a lot more strength than I think it is given enough credit in the world. And I would say don't worry about the future so much right now. You'll get there. Like Riley was saying earlier, just be in the moment.

"Paper Girls" premieres on Prime Video on July 29, 2022. 

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The post Paper Girls Stars on Time Travel, Takeaways From Season 1, and What They Want to See in the Future [Interview] appeared first on /Film.