Talk Nerdy With Us had the pleasure of talking to Canadian actress Samantha Munro. Samantha is best known for portraying Anya MacPherson on the long running hit drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. Next Saturday fans will see her play the notorious Shannen Doherty in Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story. Keep reading to see what Samantha had to say about her first biopic role.
Have you seen any of the original 90210?
Oh, absolutely. I was a bit young for the show when it originally aired. I was three years old when the show was in its fourth season I believe. (laughs). I started watching a little bit before I got the part for research. And as soon as I found out that I got the part I binge watched the show along with most of my cast mates.
Did you also watch the other unauthorized movies?
No, I haven’t seen them. We did meet up with the producers in Vancouver. We met up at Daimasu’s and had drinks. They we’re telling us all about the other movies.
Obviously it takes place in Beverly Hills but, you guys filmed in Canada, right?
Where in Canada did you guys film?
We filmed in this little place called Langley. We shot mostly around Langley. An hour outside of Langley at the most was all that we had to drive. It’s this little town in the middle of nowhere really. It was really beautiful and they made the beach work! (laughs).
What was your audition process like?
Mine was a little crazy! When I first got the audition, I was here in Toronto and it was a self tape. That’s where you shoot the audition then you send it in but, I was actually backpacking through Europe for most of the audition process. The director, Vanessa, called me while I was in a hostile in Rome.
Oh my gosh!
We did the audition there. The hostile was terrifying actually. It was really dingy and quite scary so, I was like, “Please hire me for your movie.” (laughs). It turned out to be really great. They told me I think the next day or two days later that I got the part. I had to come home because I had to film it and I said, “Okay. It’s okay. I’ll do that.”
It’s like “You guys convinced me. I guess I could come home.”
I know! I was like “Okay, fine. I’ll play Shannen Doherty. Fine.” (laughs). That was really cool. I was really excited.
Since this was your first time playing a real person, what was that like?
It was actually really great! Normally you’re developing your own character but, for this part, I didn’t have to. I did have to play both Shannen and Brenda so, I watched 90210 to get the idea for Brenda. I tried to find interviews of Shannen, but there’s not actually too many 90210 interviews of hers that I could find. I used the research that our producer Pete had on Shannen. It was incredible. It was really great getting all that information on a character. Normally, you just get a little break down in a script but, for this, I actually got so much information. It was awesome!
What were your impressions of Shannen before shooting? Did they change after spending time in her shoes?
It did. At first, I was very excited to get to do a lot of crazy things! After getting to spend some time in her shoes, I really did sympathize with her. She came off colorful sometimes and she came off abrasive. There are lots of really great stories about her. But, in the end, I think I sympathize more with her than anything else. She dealt with something that really no one has to deal with. There’s no instruction book or guide-book on how to deal with getting mass amounts of money and publicity and fame before you turn twenty-five.
In the end, I really did just feel bad for her and the cast. I don’t envy the position that they were in. I know a lot of people would but, it’s a large invasion of privacy. They had to do a lot of growing up with everybody watching them. It’s too bad. Everybody likes to make mistakes and everybody likes to have fun. You know? Theirs was just very public.
Shannen is arguably the most controversial 90210 cast member, how did that impact your experience?
Honestly, I think you’re doing a good job if somebody hates you. Let’s take a look at Game of Thrones. The guy that plays Joffrey. He was a kid. My goodness, do I hate that character but, in reality, he’s just doing a really good job. You’re not supposed to like him. Brenda, I think she kind of rubs people the wrong way. I don’t know where most of that fandom started. I know there was a big newsletter that went around but, I don’t know the origin. In the end, you’re getting recognized for this character that you created. It didn’t really impact me. I just continue to feel bad for Shannen.
In the movie, fans weren’t able to see the difference between Brenda and Shannen, so Shannen got a lot of heat, and it messed with her. When fans are mad or angry at your characters, are you able to easily brush that off?
Yes, I am. I don’t know about Shannen though. I know that she really struggled with it and that’s were a lot of problems came from. She thought that everyone hated her and, for her, it was really hard to separate the two of them. For me, to be honest, it was just really, really, very interesting. I have a pretty great fan base. My fans are really supportive. They’re really, really quite wonderful actually.
The movie shows a lot of the off set antics that the cast did. What was your favorite off set moment while filming?
Oh my, there’s so many! I really enjoyed my fist fight with Abbie. That was so much fun to film. I enjoyed those kinds of crazy physical moments on set. As a cast, we all bonded a lot. We have so many stories and memories. The things that I took away most from the experience were those private moments that I had with the cast mates. They were really awesome and really, really cool.
Were you able to do your own stunts?
For the fight scenes in the club and the fight scenes with Abbie, I was able to do my own stunts. They wouldn’t let me crash the Camaro. Sadly, I didn’t get to do that. They didn’t trust me with that. (laughs). I was very disappointed but, I see where they’re coming from. It’s fine.
What scene are you most excited for fans to see?
I don’t know what scene I’m most excited for. I do know I’m extremely nervous for the make-out montage. I am really scared because I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard other people have seen it and they said that it’s quite sexual. I’m having a small panic attack but, I’m sure it will be fine. (laughs). That is what I’m more nervous for.
What show would you love Lifetime to do an unauthorized story of?
Friends! I watched every single episode of Friends a good six times. So, for me, I would love to see what happened. If there were any steamy off set make-out sessions or craziness.
Since our website is Talk Nerdy With Us, do you have anything that makes you a little bit nerdy?
I have a hundred and fifty things that make me completely nerdy! (laughs). I have a League of Legends account. I game. I do engage in a casual Yugio battle with my boyfriend. I’m not joking! I have a Sherry deck. You can tell your readers that. What else do I do? I do a lot of nerdy stuff.
Do you larp? I remember Anya larped!
I don’t larp, no. I actually would be totally down to do that though. I think that would be a lot of fun. The first time I got that story line, I was like, “This is dumb,” but then I started sword fighting and I changed my tune really quickly. (laughs). I would love to larp. I think that would be really cool.
Watch Samantha in the world premiere of The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 story, October 3 at 8/7c, on Lifetime.