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Interview: Sammi Hanratty and Ali Astin Talk Bad Kids of Crestview Academy (Exclusive)

The pampered children of rich, powerful and influential leaders can often times have trouble contending with the emotionally confusing time of adolescence on their own, especially when they have to take responsibility for their own actions. They usually feel as though they deserve to get everything they want, and don’t have to suffer the consequences of their actions. But in the new adventure movie, ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy,’ the spoiled students are forced to finally contend with their conflicts on their own, particularly when they wrong one of their angst-driven, and under-privileged, classmates. The action film shows how ill-prepared the opportunistic teens are to cope with not only the ghosts of their past, but also the villainous urges of their peers.

The comedy-infused horror film is inspired by the ‘Bad Kids’ graphic novel series, and serves as the direct sequel to the 2012 thriller movie, ‘Bad Kids Go to Hell.’ The new follow-up marks the feature film directorial debut of Ben Browder, who also reprised his role of the title academy’s janitor, Max Rainwater, from the original movie. The action adventure film was written by executive producers Barry Wernick, who also penned the first installment, and James R. Hallam. The sequel is set to be distributed into select theaters and On Demand and Digital HD on Friday by Momentum Pictures.

‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ follows a group of spoiled bad kids, including Ben (Drake Bell) and Faith (Sophia Taylor Ali), who have been placed in Saturday detention at the prestigious title high school, on the order of Headmaster Nash (Sean Astin). One of the students, Siouxsie (Sammi Hanratty), who isn’t as privileged as her classmates, manipulates her way into detention, even though she doesn’t deserve to be there. She wants to gain access to the school when not that many other people are there, in order uncover details about her sister’s death, without getting being stopped.

As a result, the students find themselves trapped in their school without any way out, and are left wondering who, or what, set them up. Siouxsie, meanwhile, is more concerned about uncovering the answers she’s searching for, and realizes that some of her classmates, including Ethel (Ali Astin), may know more than they let her know. But as the day continues, and Siouxsie continues her mission, the other students’ ranks quickly begin to dwindle, and each falls victim to a gruesome accident while trying to escape.

Hanratty and Astin generously took the time recently to talk about starring in ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ during individual exclusive phone interviews. Among other things, the actresses discussed how they were drawn to play their respective roles in the horror comedy sequel, as they never played such daring characters, who will stop at nothing to get what they want, on screen before. They both also mentioned how they enjoyed bonding with each other and the rest of their co-stars, as well as Browder, while they shot the movie on location in Dallas.

“I was really excited about starring in this film, because (Siouxsie’s) a character I have never played before,” Hanratty explained when she started her conversation about ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy.’ “It’s also a type of film I have never done before. I’ve never done a (teen) film that’s kind of raunchy and a bit out there,” the lead actress noted with a laugh.

“So I was really excited to play a bad-ass for the first time. I also don’t know if I’ve ever said the F word in a film before! But with this character, her vocabulary was really funny and interesting,” Hanratty added. She also revealed that playing a character with such raunchy language helped push her outside of her comfort zone.

When she signed on to portray Siouxsie in ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy,’ Hanratty was filming the CBS crime thriller television show, ‘Stalker.’ While shooting the series, she received “a call from my manager and agent. They told me that (the filmmakers) wanted to book me for the movie. At the time, it was called ‘Bad Kids Go 2 Hell.’ They said it was going to be a play on words, because its the second film,” the actress divulged.

“I didn’t even have time to read the entire script before I would answer them, and tell them whether or not I would do it,” Hanratty admitted with a laugh. “So it was all very fast, since I was on another set. So between scenes on the show, I was trying to look through the film’s script. But I did say yes, and was flown out to (the movie’s set) in Texas about two days later.”

Astin also began her interview by mentioning what attracted her to the action sequel. The actress noted that she had fun seeing how Ethel evolved throughout the story. “I think she stared as a cheerleader, and then ended up in a mascot costume. It essentially turned into me getting to play around on set for awhile, and I had as much fun with it as I could.

“I became involved in a beautiful way. It turned out that the director was the pole vaulting coach at my old school,” Astin revealed. “My dad (Sean) had known Ben since I think they were about 19, and they had worked on another film together.

“So I just became involved and joined this family of craziness,” the actress added. “It’s crazy to be able to hang out with people who you’ve known for so long while you’re working on something that’s so cool.”

After the actresses signed on to star in ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy,’ they did have a little time to prepare for their roles. “I watched the first film, just to get a feel of it,” Hanratty divulged. She warned fans of ‘Bad Kids Go to Hell’ that the two films are different in some ways. “But the new movie is going to have some references to the original film,” the main actress also reassured fans of the series.

Hanratty added that in her preparation process, she also “read the script for this movie and met with our director, Ben. We talked about how we were going to make the sequel, and what we were going to change (from the first film). It was great working with him, because he really let me have a voice on how I saw certain scenes going, and what I saw for Siouxsie.” The actress added with a laugh, “I said that I thought Siouxsie would dye her hair differently than from how I had it, so I went blonde!”

Also speaking of how ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ marks Browder’s feature film directorial debut, Hanratty added that their collaboration and experience on set together “was cool. He really let me have that creative voice of where I saw the character going. So sometimes we would change things from the script, or sometimes we would keep things the exact same way they already were, because they were already pretty cool.

“But before we started shooting, Ben said, ‘I would love for you to stay on set, even when you’re not filming. I would like you to sit by me, and really be involved and give your opinion on things,” the actress also revealed. She added with a laugh, “So that experience was pretty cool-I was on set the entire time! So that was a new experience for me.”

Astin also discussed what her experience of collaborating with Browder on the action sequel was like. The actress divulged that he’s “one of the most interesting directors I’ve ever worked with. I’ve been on stage (in theater productions) for most of my acting life,” which helped prepare her to work with the helmer.

The actress explained that Browder’s “not afraid to be bluntly honest, and say exactly what he’s thinking. But that makes for a very welcoming environment when you’re on a film set for one of the first times in years. He breaks you right into it, and that’s nice.

“Since I knew Ben, I wanted to support him on this movie. I like the cheeky side of this films. I think he, as a director, was able to capture something humorous for the sequel, and that’s what I was able to latch onto as an artist,” Astin also noted.

The actress added that the “Horror meets comedy genre is the only one I can really handle when it comes to horror films. It’s really nice to have humor in the middle of gore and blood. I think the music (that’s featured in) the movie was the best directorial choice (Browder made) to highlight the comedic side of the horror elements that are happening,” Astin explained.

Hanratty added that she also immediately clicked with the action sequel’s producers, who she called “absolutely wonderful and a delight to work with. My mom actually visited the set, too. So it was me, my mom and all the guys!”

The follow-up film was shot on location in Dallas, Texas like Hanratty previously mentioned, and she noted that she appreciated thaat experience. “It was my first time in Dallas, so that was exciting. Traveling’s probably one of my favorite things that my job allows me to do. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to travel to most states, as well as out of the country. I’ve been back to Dallas a few times since” filming on ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ wrapped production there.

Astin spoke about the experience of shooting ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ in Dalls, as well. The actress described the stadium where she shot some of her scenes as being a beautiful. “The high school stadiums (in Texas) seem like huge, professional arenas. When I walked in, people had their make-up being put on in towers, six floors up, inside the stadium. It felt like when you walk into New York for the first time, and you think, these buildings are so huge,” she explained with enthusiasm. “So we filmed the first couple of scenes there.

“There were also a couple of party scenes, so we had an all-night party with about 50 or 60 extras on the roof of this building. We shot those scenes from 2 to 6 in the morning. Even though we were filming a movie, those scenes felt like a continuous party,” Astin revealed with a laugh.

Hanratty also discussed her experience of working with the rest of the cast on the comedy sequel once they arrived in Dallas. “We did a table read, and then talked about our characters a bit, which was fun. Before you shoot any scene, you have to do rehearsals, just so you can figure out where the camera’s going to be. We did a run-through for every scene,” the performer explained. “It was a lot of fun to be able to work with the rest of the cast-they’re wonderful people. I’m still very close with Sophia and Matt (Frias).”

Astin also praised Hanratty’s work, and called her “one of the most exciting young actresses that I’ve been able to work with. She’s the star of the film, and she’s fearless and hilarious. We immediately hit it off, and ended up watching ‘Once Upon a Time’ in a trailer for most of the time we were shooting,” Astin shared with a laugh.

“My dad was actually on ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with Drake Bell’s co-star (Josh Peck) from his Nickelodeon show. So I knew Drake from ‘Drake and Josh’ from when I was working on ‘Turtles’ with them,” Astin also divulged. “So I ended up being connected to people in the film in all of these weird ways.”

Since ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ is largely driven by its action sequences, Hanratty revealed that she did a few of her own stunts, as she began discussing the process of creating the physicality for Siouxsie. “I did get pushed into the pool (during one of the party scenes)! We also had a real, working flamethrower on set, and it had real fire coming out of it, which was really neat,” the actress noted. She added that she enjoyed performing her own stunts, because “it made me feel like a badass! The only way that I could get into that mindset was to go all out!”

Astin shared that one of the most important aspects of the filmmaking process for her was when she went into the studio to re-record some of her lines of dialogue. “Then Browder heard some of my music that I’ve been working on for my new album. He ended up loving it so much that he ended up putting one of the songs in the credits,” the performer revealed.

“So that’s pretty cool for me. I think having my music in the film is personally the best thing that could have happened for me as an artist. Being able to write a song, and having a full character to develop that song with, is great. Every time I hear the song now, I can jump back into the character, which is really cool for me,” Astin noted. “I know that Drake also has a song that plays in the movie. So some of the cast also has their musical side come out.”

While ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ doesn’t open until Friday, Astin revealed with a laugh that she has already seen the film. She admitted that she watched it for the first time last month, even though she’s “deadly afraid of horror films! I was afraid of just the preview for the first film!” But the actress gave her approval on the final version of the sequel, and revealed that while she was watching it, she “screamed like a little girl!”

Check out images of Hanratty and Astin in, as well as the poster for, ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy’ below.

Interview Sammi Hanratty Talks Bad Kids of Crestview Academy (Exclusive)

Sammi Hanratty as Siouxsie Hess in the thriller ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy,’ a Momentum Pictures release.
Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

Interview: Sammi Hanratty and Ali Astin Talks Bad Kids of Crestview Academy (Exclusive)

(L-R) Ali Astin as Ethel and Sean Astin as Headmaster Nash in the thriller ‘Bad Kids of Crestview Academy,’ a Momentum Pictures release.
Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy Poster

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As a life-long fan of entertainment, particularly films, television and music, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic. While still attending college, Karen began writing for Shockya during the summer of 2007, when she began writing horror movie reviews. Since she began writing for Shockya, Karen has been promoted to the position of Senior Movies & Television Editor. Some of her duties in the position include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, producing posts on celebrity news and contributing reviews on albums and concerts. Some of her highlights include attending such festivals and conventions as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, SXSW, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Film Festival and New York Comic-Con.

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