An Interview with Dead of Summers’ Zelda Williams at San Diego Comic-Con 2016

DEAD OF SUMMER - "How to Stay Alive in the Woods" - Joel has an eye-opening experience during the overnight camping excursion in "How to Stay Alive in the Woods," an all-new episode of "Dead of Summer," airing TUESDAY, JULY 26 (9:00 - 10:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform. (Freeform/Jack Rowand) ZELDA WILLIAMS

Photo Credit: Freeform/Tyler Shields
Photo Credit: Freeform/Tyler Shields

Actress Zelda Williams is best known for her work on Girl in a Box, Teen Wolf, Never, Were the World Mine, Don’t Look Up, Detention, Luster, The Frankenstein Brothers, A Beer Tale and House of D. Currently she’s portraying Drew Reeves on Freeform’s chilling new series Dead of Summer. While at San Diego Comic-Con, we spoke with Williams about cosplay, Aliens and the Dead of Summer finale. Read our interview below.

How much were you told about the Camp Stillwater mystery?

Oh god, when we got the parts? Like nothing. (laughs). We actually don’t find out about what we are doing until a week before we do it. We get scripts while we’re filming the episode prior to the one we are going to shoot. So I didn’t get the last episode, we’re shooting nine right now, and we just got the last episode the season finale two days ago. I can’t tell you anything.

So you can’t tell us if there are any big revelations? (laughs).

It’s a finale, it’s completely boring and nothing is going to happen. We actually all go barbecue and then swim. It’s great. So mellow. (laughs). 

Are you a horror movie fan yourself?

I’m a horror film nerd. I just went downstairs and bought a Wolfman pin from them. I am obsessed with horror films so actually, this role is a lot of fun for me.

What is your favorite horror movie?

Aliens One. I know a lot of people like Two more, but honestly, Ripley’s story is in one. I was a really tough, loner girl growing up with a shaved head and Ripley was my spirit animal. To this day she is still everything I would love to play in a movie. Please make me a survivor who kicks an alien out of an airlock. (laughs). I would do that in a heartbeat. Even if I had to work with a cat. I don’t care. I don’t love cats, but I would do it. I don’t mind.

So did you see all the movies the show has referenced? Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc?

I’ve watched all of them way too many times. (laughs). I’m not kidding when I tell you Comic-Con is literally the two things for me that I really, really love. Well, actually three because books as well. Horror, books and video games. And I grew up on the fringe of Manga. I read a lot of Manga growing up as well because they are a bit more like books and I’m part Filipino so I really gravitated towards a lot of what was more of the Asian culture in the nerd community. I always loved it. You know how it is, I’m obsessed with it, but this is why I came to Comic-Con the last five years, four or five years. I’m so tired today that I’m not sure, but I always came in costume. (laughs).

Last year I was Harley Quinn, but from the cartoon, not the movie. I’ve been Death from the Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Chronicles. I’ve been quite a bunch of characters. It’s really lovely to be in a place that it didn’t matter. The way I grew up it was very strange because I think a lot of people thought they knew something about me by knowing who my parents (Robin Williams and Marsha Garces Williams) were. No one cares here. If I come in costume I’m just Harley Quinn and it was really lovely. I’ve come out of costume too. When I did the cartoons, I would tweet out “Hey, if any Legend of Korra fans are at Comic-Con you can come meet me here.” It’s really fun to also see them in costume as characters I’ve voiced. That was so fun. I’ve recorded a bunch of voice mail messages for people. I grew up loving this so much that to be a part of it is actually a big deal for me, honestly.

Since you are a self-proclaimed movie/TV fan did you approach acting on Dead of Summer differently?

No, but I haven’t done anything yet that I would consider the kind of thing I would have been a fan of, to be honest. I really love what I do, it’s a wonderful job. I haven’t done the kind of things… My favorite character growing up, so to speak when I was of an age when I could watch them, was Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. I reread the books once a year with my mom. It’s what we have done since I was young. So when those movies came out, that’s absolutely the kind of character I would love to play.

Has that happened? No, because those movies come along once every fifty years, but that said, I do look forward to the first time that I get to play something that I would nerd out about as me. Like if I ever get to be a superhero or preferably a super villain, I would love it. That’s the kind of stuff I look forward to if I do continue to be an actress and if not I will enjoy continuing to be a fan.

What do you like to watch ?

I watch a lot. Truthfully I will watch about two movies a day because I write and when we are on set we have a lot of downtime. I’ve gotten into Stranger Things. I really enjoy it. I really do. I’m a huge Winona Ryder fan so it’s awesome to see her working again in something that I think is worthy of her again. Because people like to push her off to the fringes and that’s a shame. She’s so talented.

They did a lot of what you guys are trying to do. Going back in the 80’s.

It’s the same time period and deals with the similar tropes, but I think ours being a camp is a lot campier whereas Stranger Things is this incredibly beautifully shot auteur piece that I’m obsessed with. Although the aliens had to further evolve and now I can’t say anything. I said I won’t spoil it for yor people. It weirded me out. I didn’t like it. (laughs).




*Interview was done by TNWU’s on-site SDCC reporter Anna Ruth Ramos

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