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Interview: Olivia Holt Stars in Class Rank and Cloak and Dagger!

May 10, 2018

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By: Lynn Barker

You might have first seen Olivia Holt in Disney XD popular series “Kickin’ it” about a team of martial arts teens. You can catch her this week in the Eric Stoltz-directed movie Class Rank playing a kinder version of the Tracy Flick role in the classic film Election (check it out!) which starred Reese Witherspoon. In Class Rank, Olivia plays Victoria, an ambitious student bound for Yale but only if she is #1 in her class. That slot belongs to Bernie (Skyler Gisondo) and only some heavy political maneuvering at school can get Veronica to number one…but will her feelings for cute Bernie get in the way?

Olivia as Dagger with Aubrey Joseph as CloakOlivia as Dagger with Aubrey Joseph as Cloak

Busy and popular Olivia also joins the Marvel Universe playing Dagger in Freeform’s new series “Cloak and Dagger” premiering on the network June 7th and she’s thrilled to take on the role of an unsure, young superhero! 

Join us for this talk with talented Olivia who is also happy to be working on her music again with tunes to be released soon.

Q: Veronica reminds me a little bit of Tracy Flick from Election. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on Veronica when you first read the script. What attracted you to the role?

  • Olivia: I definitely got Tracy Flick vibes for sure and I did base a lot of the tone and the journey of Veronica’s future off of what Tracy Flick is going through and her energy and the way she connects with people. I did my research on the whole politician world because, as Olivia, I’m not really into politics so I definitely had to dive in and do my research and understand what a person is like when they’re as passionate about politics as Veronica is.

Bernie and Veronica (Olivia) run for officeBernie and Veronica (Olivia) run for office

Q: You said you couldn’t relate to her political ambitions but could you relate as an actor in terms of going out there and getting what you want?

  • Olivia: Absolutely. I think since I was a kid I had that independence of being driven and being motivated in whatever I did whether school work or a sport or even a hobby. I feel like that drive has always been in my bones and I’ve always been very ambitious and want to do things to the best of my ability no matter what that may be so I definitely feel like Veronica and I share that similarity.

Q: You are also joining the Marvel Universe with your role in “Cloak and Dagger”. Can you talk about that? I know the premiere is coming up very soon. What can you tell me about your character?

  • Olivia: I’m really excited about it. I’m very proud of that project and confident that people  will feel connected to it in some way or another. It’s surreal. I’ve been a fan of all things Marvel since I was a kid so now, working with the company and playing a superhero on screen is pretty cool. My character Tandy is one of the very few women on television that I’ve seen who is not just bold and powerful but complicated and resilient and she’s her own woman. She beats her own drum and she is very strong in her opinions and using her voice and I love all of those aspects about her and I’m excited for everybody to meet her.

Freeform's new show Cloak and DaggerFreeform's new show Cloak and Dagger

Q: You’ll have a chance to use your martial arts skills. Is there a lot of physicality to the role?

  • Olivia: There is a lot of physicality, more running than anything but I absolutely got my steps in. What I love about this first season is you really see these characters cope with the powers first before becoming these kick-ass characters, these superheroes from the get-go. They have to figure it out. They’re trying to learn to use their powers and fight off the things they’re fighting off versus already having that ability.

Q: Will there be a romantic connection between Tandy and Tyrone? Are they friends? What’s their relationship?

  • Olivia: I think, at first, we’re really going to see these characters connect more on a human level than a superhero level and watch how their relationship forms as two people who are constantly being put in the same scenario and I think we really see a friendship form before we see anything else.

Q: There are ten episodes in the first season. Have you shot them all?

  • Olivia: Yes. We shot them all. We’re finished.

Two overachieving misfitsTwo overachieving misfits

Q: Back to Class Rank. What was it about the film that interested you?

  • Olivia: I was sort of in this, I guess still am, transitional phase of my life not just as an actor but as an individual and I was looking for something that resonated with me in that way and also something that impacted me in a positive way and that not just entertained me but moved me. I remember I read the script and just fell in love with the coming of age story about these two teenagers who I thought were so intriguing and unique.
  • There was something about Veronica that I felt really attached to. I had a Skype meeting with our director Eric Stoltz and we had some great conversation and talked about the script and Veronica and I remember ending the meeting not really knowing where he stood or how he felt about me potentially playing that role but it was something I really wanted.  I felt like Eric’s mind was already made up. I was like ‘I want to show him that I can do this. I want to put some scenes on tape and send them in to Eric’ and that’s exactly what I did and I got a call a couple of weeks later and we left for Louisiana and we shot the movie.

Veronica hatches her plan to go to YaleVeronica hatches her plan to go to Yale

Q: You have a good chemistry on camera with Skyler (Gisondo who stars in Netflix series “Santa Clarita Diet”) who plays Bernard/Bernie. Did you audition with him or were you cast and met each other when you got to Louisiana?

  • Olivia: Yeah, we were both cast and met each other in Louisiana and luckily we had awesome chemistry. We got along really well and he’s so talented and I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him because we had such great banter on and off set. We were two people meeting for the first time just like Veronica and Bernard and having this awesome connection that you don’t share with very many people. I loved having him around and being able to tell this story with him.

Could this get serious?Could this get serious?

Q: Your director Eric Stoltz also started as a young teenager in acting. He’s done a lot of TV directing but I believe this is his first feature film. Did you talk a little bit about his career as an actor? Were you a fan of his work? And how was he as a director?

  • Olivia: I’ve been a fan of Eric and his work for a while now; both back in the day and now. He’s so intelligent and really develops an awesome relationship with his actors. He trusts us and we trust him. We had this amazing, creative, collaborative process. He is a fantastic director but even more fantastic human being and I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to work with him.

Is she working me or does she like me?Is she working me or does she like me?

Q: You also get to work with Kristin Chenoweth who plays Veronica’s mom. What was it like working with her?

  • Olivia: Kristin is an amazing woman. She’s not just this sweet, fragile human being but she’s also a boss lady. I loved working with her and getting to know her. We are very similar so I feel like playing mother and daughter was easy for us even though our characters are polar opposites. She’s just a really loving, kind-hearted woman. I learned a lot from her just by watching her and observing. I hope to work with her again. She really brought a warm tone to the set.

Mom (Kristin) brushes Veronica's hairMom (Kristin) brushes Veronica's hair

Q: What about your years on TV’s “Kickin’ It”? What was your favorite memory from that series and do you still stay in touch with your cast mates?

  • Olivia: I spent four years of my childhood on that show. It was the first show I’d ever worked on. That was home away from home for me. That was my family for four years of my life. Being able to create a show based around camaraderie and loyalty and friendship, towards the end not only our characters went through that but I went through it as well. Working with them was, hands down, one of the best experiences of my life. We all do still stay in touch. We catch up every now and then and everybody’s doing well. Every time we get together we always reminisce on the good times we had on that set.

Olivia in TV's Kickin' ItOlivia in TV's Kickin' ItCourtesy of Disney XD

Q: Are you doing any more music; recording and performing at this point?

  • Olivia: I am. I’ve been in the studio writing and recording almost every single day this year which has been great. I’ve never really had the opportunity to prioritize music like this. It’s always a balance of both acting and music so the fact that I’ve been able to really hone in on this category of my career and make it a priority but also have fun with it and not take it too seriously and not rush it or force anything has been pretty special so I’m excited for everybody to hear what I’ve been working on.

Q: You’ve got to do a duet with Kristin.

  • Olivia: Oh right! I’d love to do that.

See Class Rank in theaters Friday, May 11th and “Cloak and Dagger” on Freeform starting June 7th.

Class Rank PosterClass Rank Poster
Have Your Say

Were you a fan of “Kickin It” when you were younger? Are you looking forward to watching “Cloak and Dagger”? What would you do something a little sneak to get into Yale as Olivia’s Class Rank character does? Let us know with a comment below.