Freshman drama Guilt is Freeform’s twisty-turny, addictive breakout show of the summer. The whodunit loosely inspired by the Amanda Knox trial surrounds American student Grace Atwood, her sister, Natalie and attorney, Stan Gutterie, as they work to figure out who killed Grace’s roommate, Molly Ryan, while also trying to keep Grace’s name off the list of suspects. We had the pleasure of talking to actors Daisy Head and Billy Zane and discussed the show’s intensity, their characters’ quirks and what lies ahead in the season finale.
We’ve got the finale coming up- which is going to be all sorts of action-packed. I want to know if while you were filming- did you have a list of people you thought could be Molly’s killer? And if so, how close or far away from it were you? Was your mind blown when you found out?
Billy Zane: (laughs) “Completely! I was convinced it was someone else, and I was completely surprised. We all had our suspicions, but I don’t think anyone got it right. We were just talking about that- I have not heard the truth align with anyone’s theory. We were all very surprised.”
Daisy Head: “Yeah- mind blown!”
I don’t know at what point you found out, but if it was midseason- did it change the way you played your character at all?
Daisy: “Personally no- it didn’t change anything for me because I was keen from the get go to play the ambiguity of Grace. I didn’t want anyone to feel confident in whatever decision they were making about her character because she is very multifaceted, and in the situation she finds herself in, she could swing either way. So for me, it didn’t change that because I was still having fun playing all her colors.”
Billy: “Well played and well said! (laughs).”
Billy, what about you? Did it change Stan for you at all?
Billy: “No- not really. Stan is always operating- when he’s working, at least- from a degree of theater. He’s spinning- so his reality is already a degree of artistry, by nature of the function of the job description. He- and as I- were more concerned with the story he wants to tell in the interest of his client, rather than the facts. Stan is a character who doesn’t necessarily care about the truth. Or he didn’t- in this case, I think he got a little too deep and started to care. But it did not effect the action nor the character.”
This show has been very twisty-turny and does not sugar-coat things. Was there a particular moment or scene that was particularly shocking or hard to film?
Billy: “So many- as many as the audience felt. I have to say- it’s a testament to how well it’s written. With every page, I respond accordingly even though we’ve been embedded. I’ve been enjoying it like a viewer. It’s a page-turner, and the surprises land with full-force. Every revelation, every little turn, every concept of threat, every piece of violence or decision that the unpredictable Grace makes has me.”
Daisy: “I second that. The unpredictability of Grace has been fun to play. Even when we as actors found out the truth behind certain things, it was grossly shocking, but also super fun and engaging to play because a lot of what we played on camera and what the audience is seeing is genuine. We were getting the scripts as we were going along, so we were finding out stuff week-by-week, and it was so fun to play. As Billy said, it’s a complete page-turner, and so well written in that respect.”
If Guilt does get a season two, what are some things you would like to see?
Daisy: “Just more! The girls [creators Kathryn Price and Nicole Millard] are very good at what they do, and I have no doubt that the storylines that they could create would be as page turning and shocking and jaw-dropping and all of the above. I want more- as I hope the audience does, too!”
Daisy, I know James is played by your real-life father, Anthony Head. What’s that like to work with your father?
Daisy: “It’s the best thing in the world. You don’t have to pretend with the emotion, it’s all there. I feel blessed to have had that opportunity- especially in this early stage of my career. I learn so much from him as an actor and obviously, a father, and it’s great to put the two together and be able to use that in our scenes together. It was an honor.”
Billy, on a lighter note, I did enjoy the trial scene last week when you had to wear the robe and the wig. What was that like? Did you feel really awkward or was that kind of fun?
Billy: “It was enormously fun. Stan loves his clothes. I think the character enjoys the pomp and circumstance of it, being an American in that system. He’s quite enamored by the tradition, but you felt the gravitas of it. It was fun. It was nice to play with.”
Daisy: “I want to add that he wore it very well! I think Stan pulled it off! (laughs)”
And Billy, what is that like for you play Stan? He’s a showman; he got disbarred in America in quite an interesting way. What is that like to play someone who is quite different from yourself?
Billy: “Always fun! I try to bring as much of my love of sarcasm and social commentary to the character- so it doesn’t feel that far from me. Mind you, the character is often defined by their actions, vocation and how to serve a plot, which I don’t relate to at all. But in terms of curious personality and one-on-ones, it wasn’t that far of a stretch. It was fun to play with those colors and make him a bit surprising. It didn’t feel like that much of a departure. It’s nice playing someone so smart! (laughs)”
Tease the season finale in five words each!
Daisy: “Oh my gosh.”
Billy: “That was three, but I’ll add in two more for you! Oh my gosh, stay tuned?”
Daisy: “Oh my gosh, keep watching! (laughs).”