Talk Nerdy With Us recently chatted with singer and actress Lindsay Pearce. Lindsay is best known for the Glee Project, For the Record series (including For the Record: Baz Luhrmann and For the Record: Tarantino), Through the Woods and The Wedding Planner. Later this month she’ll be guest starring as Rebecca on ABC Family/Freeform’s new drama series Recovery Road. Recovery Road premieres Monday, January 25 at 9pm/8c following The Fosters. To get to know more about Lindsay, and her character Rebecca, read our interview below.
Tell me about your audition process for Recovery Road?
Oh man… I don’t think I’ve ever prepared for an audition more thoroughly in my life. I’ve heavily prepped for auditions before, but this one was like the championship fight of auditions. Not that I punched anything, I just really researched, memorized, and dug deep for it. I’ve really wanted parts before, but this one felt like mine. It felt like it was a part of me and I just had to have it.
I went into it, a producer session, and felt completely at home in the room. It ended with a lot of positive feedback and left me feeling raw and vulnerable. It was a really cool experience. I was pretty much waiting by the phone for two weeks to see if I was going to have another callback or maybe a screen test and I heard nothing.
I was in Vegas when I got the call from my reps that I had been chosen for the role, and I remember I was holding a beer in my hand at 10am in the middle of the Luxor with my best friend. When my reps convinced me that it was real and not a hoax, I laid down on the floor of the casino, still holding the beer, and cried. I called my mom in the same position. It was a really sophisticated moment.
In what ways are you similar and different from Rebecca?
I really identify with Becks. She’s got this fear of people leaving her, or misunderstanding her, and I think that was a huge part of my life at her age (she’s nineteen), and I struggle with it still now at 24. It’s a defense mechanism. Self preservation. Wanting to be loved but wary of accepting it. But she’s also tough and has grown a lot. I appreciate her straightforwardness as a young woman, and her honesty. She’s a work in progress, and it takes a lot of courage to accept that about ones self.
I’m different in the sense that I’m far less classy than her. That girl’s got her look perfected down to the jewelry she wears. You’re lucky if I get my hair combed. My mom’s gonna kill me for publicly admitting that, but it’s true. I’m way more laid back than Becks is.
Did you read the book Recovery Road for prep work?
I did! The day I was cast I downloaded the book onto my phone and read it several times. It’s a really honest look into the world of recovery and the victories and risks that come with it. Bert, Karen, and the rest of our amazing writers did a really good job of encompassing the spirit of that book, of Maddie, and creating a world inspired by the original story for us to play in.
What else did you do to prepare for the role?
Other than my meltdown on the casino floor? (laughs).
I did a lot of research on addictions, watched a lot of the Intervention series on Netflix (now THAT is a tough show to watch), and I dyed my hair purple. The last one is a joke, but I actually did dye my hair purple and sadly had to change it before filming started.
How much character backstory did Karen (DiConcetto) and Bert (Royal) give you? How much did you make up on your own?
I definitely didn’t make anything up in my own head. Karen and Bert have a very specific vision for our characters and we are totally allowed to explore and get our hands dirty, but if there was a question about backstory they would answer it to the best of their ability without giving too much away. We would find out what was happening in the next episode when we got our scripts for the table read. But they are very open and two of the most powerfully creative people I’ve ever met. They write with heart, and really cater to their actors.
You’ve done a lot of theater (specifically For The Record Live) so how does theater acting differ from television? What did you learn about TV while filming Recovery Road?
I definitely felt myself come into my own in terms of screen acting with Recovery Road. I had the chance to consistently work in front of a camera and that was a really cool thing to finally experience. Theater and TV/film require the same amount of passion and hard work, but there are different gratifications to be had. With stage I feel like once the curtain goes up, you are locked in for the next two hours or whatever, and you just gotta throw yourself in and evaluate after curtain call and leave it on the stage. With screen acting, doing take after take and staying in it and adjusting and keeping focus is a really cool challenge. Being open to instant direction AS I’m performing is a very educational experience and revealed a lot about my strengths and where to improve. I hope it’s always like that.
Maddie and Rebecca have a lot of conflict, but what is your off-set relationship like with Jessica (Sula) and the rest of cast?
I mean, I guess my only criticism about the cast and crew is just… they’re so nice, you know? How annoying to be surrounded by the most passionate, happy team. Going to work is really a chore. (laughs).
Jess is amazing, and a weirdo and a goofball and I love being around that. It’s invigorating. And to meet it with the same kind of weirdness and openness is fun. We’ve had some great times, on and off screen.
If Rebecca had a theme song what would it be?
Hurt by Johnny Cash.
We know Rebecca works at a movie theater. So what is the worst/craziest/silliest job you’ve ever had?
Tits. I knew this would come back to haunt me someday.
Okay, so I was born and grew up in a town called Modesto, California. There are a lot of canals in the city because of all the irrigation going to the farmland, right? Naturally the kids of the city needed someone to teach them about water safety. Well, in Modesto, there is a frog named Splasher. Splasher the Water Safety Frog. I was Splasher. You know, it was a really dark time in my life wearing that felt mascot suit made for a six foot man (I was fourteen), but I’m a hustler and just had to make that money. This is not a drill. I was a frog mascot for like… two summers. Modesto is in great debt to me.
ABC Family/Freeform has released the first three episodes early. What has that experience been like for you? How has the reaction been? What has it been like seeing them in their final versions?
It’s really cool. A lot of my friends and family have been waiting for the premiere and to see what I’ve been working on. For me, it’s awesome to see the final cuts. Every show has their own color scheme and cadence and life, and the guys over at post prodcution really nailed it.
The reactions have been really positive so far and it makes me even more proud to be a part of the show. I think generating that dialogue about a new show is really important. It’s like a TV appetizer before the big meal. Let’s see how many food metaphors I can make in this interview.
What episode are you most excited for fans to see?
For Rebecca’s story? Eight and nine. For the show? The finale. Absolutely the finale.
Do you feel pressure to (re)join Twitter so you can interact and live tweet with the fans?
I don’t. And I won’t be pressured into something I don’t want to do. Twitter is great, but it wasn’t for me anymore. I felt like I saw too much negativity everywhere, and the saying that you could have a hundred nice things said to you but you’ll only see the ONE bad thing is so very true.
Of course social media is a huge part of the industry now, and a huge part of our culture today, but it doesn’t always serve the good things in the world. If it’s abused, it’s a minefield, and I would prefer to be able to better control the content I see and post. That’s why I prefer Instagram. Even though I’ve come close to deleting that as well.
Our self worth isn’t defined by our online personas and I truly believe that I don’t owe anything to someone attacking others and spreading bad juju from behind a screen.
Am I grateful for the support? Absolutely. Am I more into how many true friends I have in life than how many followers I have online? One thousand percent.
What can you tease about Rebecca’s storyline in episodes 4-10?
You’re going to see a lot of backstory. You’ll see her be a little lighter, crack some some jokes and laugh. She won’t be all glares and chipped shoulders. Fun fact: The phrase, “Rebecca glares” was in the pilot probably six times. That was a great laugh during the first table read.
What other projects do you have coming up?
Right now it’s a much needed break. Pilot season is upon us and that’s always exciting, but it’s nice to remember that I have a life outside of acting and that career vacations are important.
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what makes you a nerd? What do you “nerd out” about?
Video games, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, books and endless other things come to mind. However, my true nerd love is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The films are sacred to me. It’s insane how much I know about them. I could talk for hours. Days. It’s sick. It’s a disease. I met Billy Boyd (Pippin) in the Barnes and Noble Starbucks in the Grove once and it was like meeting Beyonce. I’m not kidding. I was not chill. I was not chill at all.
Also the Food Network. Duh.