I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Savannah Kennick, discussing her role as young Lindsay Bluth in Season 5 of Arrested Development, which is available on Netflix on Friday, March 15th. Savannah’s enthusiasm for the role made me even more excited than I already was for the return of one of my favorite comedies. Hope you enjoy this conversation!
AG: How are you feeling prior to the show becoming available to watch?
SK: Super excited, it’s been a long time coming. I filmed this in late 2017, so I’ve been sitting at home like “When are we going to get to see it!?” The season was divided in half obviously so we wrapped a long time ago. It was about six months between filming and the first half getting released, and then another year and six months until I got to see my part of it.
AG: How many episodes will you be appearing in?
SK: I am in three of the eight episodes.
AG: I know we can’t get into too much spoiler territory, but what was it like for you playing this character?
SK: I mean, it was a lot of fun to play her. She’s such an icon in comedy. To be able to play young Lindsay, especially in the ’80s, was really cool; to be able to play almost a period piece. It was super exciting and I got to work with so many incredible people on set, and it’s such an interesting storyline that we play out. I had known of the show prior to working on it, but I hadn’t really watched it. So I watched everything and then I got on set and I realized how my storyline would affect the show. And I was like, oh my God. I can’t. I got so excited and it’s been so hard to keep my mouth shut for a year and a half.
AG: Oh, I imagine. So you’re stepping into this cast that’s known each other for I don’t even know how many years now.
AG: So what was that like for you, stepping into this ready made family?
SK: It’s like your first day of school, at a new high school. I got really nervous and I was like, “oh my God, I hope they like me.” But I feel like I get like that on almost every set. I always feel like every time there’s somebody who knows each other, they’re all friends that I’m just like, oh hi, nice to meet, “I’m a crazy like blonde girl”. Within a day or two, we all really became a family and we all got along really well. And especially working with the kids on the show. And because we are the younger versions, there’s quite a few younger kids. I really became like an older sister to them, which was awesome to experience since I’m an only child.
AG: Would you describe your scenes as almost being like a younger version of how we see the characters as we’ve known them for years? Similar dynamic perhaps?
SK: Yeah, very similar. Essentially our storyline explains a lot of things about the characters that happen later on in the show. I wish I could tell you so much, but I can’t.
SK: It was really interesting to see how that all fits in and how it all weaves and works together, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how it translates into the actual episodes.
AG: Nice. Did you have any scenes at all with the original cast, the older versions of your characters? Is that something you can talk about?
SK: I didn’t, unfortunately. I did get to meet quite a few of them since we all film on the on the same sound stages, but I didn’t get to film with any of them. I wish I could’ve.
AG: You said your scenes are primarily set in the ’80s and that was kind of like being in a period piece for you. What was the preparation like for that as an actress?
SK: I looked into a lot of things that were very cool in the ’80s, pop culture wise. And then I had to get down the way that Portia talks. She has like a very specific way that she speaks and then trying to make it sound like I was a little girl and more high pitched was really interesting. But we all got super into it and especially whenever you’re on set and you’re in costume, you get super into the whole time period.
AG: So what do you think fans should be expecting from this upcoming season, or half season, of Arrested Development?
SK: It’s a huge twist in the story. My character is part is a little like something that happens that makes you go, oh my gosh, it hasn’t been the truth this whole time. But I can’t say anything else.
AG: Big developments on the horizon though?
SK: Yeah, for sure.
AG: Now are the episodes the standard 30 minutes or should we be expecting longer episodes or what can you tell us about that?
SK: So they’re the standard 30 minutes. I might be wrong about this, but I do believe the last episode’s an hour. I might be wrong about that though. Don’t hold that against me (laughs).
AG: I will not hold that against you. Readers are always very big on hearing about the off camera stuff. The interactions with cast and crew, the funny stories. So what’s something that perhaps you could share? Humorous, interesting, just an experience of yours that’s worth sharing?
SK: I think one of the biggest ones that stands out was when my dad on the show is Taran Killam from SNL, who played George Sr. He’s so funny. But in my mind, I grew up, I was born in 1998. I grew up in the early 2000s. I watched every Disney channel movie there was. And in my mind he was always going to be Jordan Cahill from Stuck In The Suburbs. And I remember going up and meeting him and being like, okay, so I know you were on SNL, I’m sure that was a really cool project. But like what was it like being Jordan Cahill? Tell me about it. And I was like, are you sure? Like you can’t just sing me that one song that’s in the ending of the movie. Because as a kid I cried. And he was super, he was like almost embarrassed and we joked about it for the longest time. But I honestly think I kind of fan-girled.
AG: Very cool. You touched on her speech patterns and her distinctive way of speaking. I wanted to ask you about your preparation, playing such an established character. And then did you have any interaction with her at all about the role?
SK: I got to meet her very briefly during my costume fitting before I started filming. Which definitely wasn’t enough time with her, but I of course watched all of the seasons. I read people’s character analysis of her. I worked with an acting coach on it.
I tried to take it seriously because it deserves that from me, and it is such an iconic show that if I didn’t put my 110% into it, it would almost be disrespectful to show up on set and just be like, well, we’re going to hope it works. I worked really hard on it. I watched all of the seasons over and over again. I watched so many different clips of Portia and especially whenever she’s on camera acting in the show, she almost has like a different way that she speaks there versus Portia de Rossi, the normal woman. So it took a lot of work, but hopefully it works out well and it translates on screen.
AG: Nice. Is there any possibility of more Arrested Development? Has that been discussed?
SK: I personally haven’t heard a lot. I hope that it does. I would love to see it happen. It’s such a great show and they’re all like a family. I’m crossing my fingers, my toes, my arms, everything for it.
AG: If it did happen, would there be the possibility of a continuation for you as the character?
SK: Yeah, for sure. No one dies if that’s what you’re asking. No one dies.
AG: You did build up the mystery quite a bit.
SK: Okay. There is a little bit of murder somewhere in part of this season, but like I don’t die, so that’s what matters (laughs).
AG: That might actually be headline. There’s a little bit of murder somewhere.
SK: There’s like a little tiny, tiny, tiny bit of it somewhere. It’s on the poster, so I think I can say that. But I’m not one of the people that are murdered, so it doesn’t matter. That’s a very Lindsay thing to say (laughs).
AG: So you have a horror movie coming out later this year. Is there anything you can say about that?
SK: Yeah. So I have a movie coming out called Do Not Reply. My character is the older sister of the main character and it follows her storyline. Her name is Chelsea and she’s just a normal high school girl feeling kind of lonely. She uses a dating app to meet a guy. Turns out whenever they actually meet, he’s not who he said he was. Surprise, surprise. And he abducts her and he takes her back to his house and in his house he keeps all of these girls to transfer them into his perfect dream girls. And then there’s this little added thing that he filmed all of the murders in virtual reality. Just like if it wasn’t like weird 2019 horror story enough, let’s make it virtual reality.
AG: Yeah, got to throw in everything in there. When does that film suppose to be out?
SK: Literally. So they had said hopefully a summer 2019 release. But within the year, for sure.
AG: Okay. Will it be a theatrical release or a streaming site or what’s the working plan?
SK: I think theatrical.
AG: Perfect. Well be sure to let me know if you want to speak again when that film comes out. Where can readers find you on social media?
SK: I’m @SavannahKennick on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much!