Sugar Rush Interview - Part 1by Toni
The Candy Bar. The most popular lesbian bar in London's metropolis and a sweetly apt location for meeting the Sugar Rush babes Olivia Hallinan and Lenora Crichlow. In Part One of our interview the actresses speak frankly to LoveGirls about their roles in the show and what it was like playing television's hottest teenage lesbians.
LoveGirls: How did you get the roles and why did Sugar Rush appeal to you?
Olivia: I went along to the audition not knowing anything about the show apart from a few scenes. I got called back and read the full script and thought, “Wow, this is really something different.” The role of Kim was a young girl coming to terms with her sexuality and I thought it’d be a real challenge and tried to do the part justice. Kim really appealed to me because of what she was going through in general, regardless of her sexuality.
Lenora: I came in pretty late, towards the end. They’d been auditioning for Sugar for months and months and I’d been working on The Bill while all the auditioning had gone on. When I first heard about it I thought it was a children’s show for CITV [laughter] Yeah! I thought I was too grown up and I can’t do children’s TV and then I read the scripts and thought “Ah, maybe not!” We didn’t get given much of the script until we were both cast, and my second time in I read with Olivia. We had more of an idea about what it was going to be but I think for everybody involved it was really new territory. We didn’t know how it would be, what the response would be and how it was going to be received. Even as we were filming scripts were changing quite dramatically and we were getting new feedback.
Olivia: On our first day of filming we were thinking, “What the hell are we doing?!” We do a lot of improvisation...
Lenora: Which really helped. Everyone was bit like “let’s just see how we go and make it up as we go along.”
LoveGirls: Did you have any reservations about doing the show?
Olivia: When I heard the words ‘lesbian drama’ I thought “ok, WHAT?!!” [laughter] I did initially think it was going to be a late night programme so it’ll be excuse to see two girls getting it on …
Lenora: For boys really...
Olivia: Then as I read the script it wasn’t like that at all, which is why it appealed to me so much.
Lenora: The main thing, especially in the first series, is that Sugar is only sexy in Kim’s eyes, which makes the whole thing very innocent. Like when she’s eating a hotdog - and Sugar is not the most graceful person - she’s shoving this hotdog down her throat and Kim is getting so turned on and it’s all in slow motion and wave machines. But because it’s Kim and because she’s struggling with things its take the edge off and that’s what made it ok.
LoveGirls: How challenging were the roles to play?
Olivia: Like Lea said, I didn’t quite know how it was going to turn out [laughter]. All the scenes were so all over the place we were filming for episode one then episode 10, and I really did have doubts at one stage. Each scene I got I just had to play the truth of it.
Lenora: We were lucky that we had such great scripts. The scripts really helped and it helped that Olivia and I really got on so well. Off screen we were able to talk to each other and find what it was about Kim and Sugar’s friendship that worked and didn’t work. It just fell into place. We helped define them who they are; we brought something to it because it was so unknown.
Olivia: We were given so much freedom with the characters, I remember the first scene we did they just let us do what we want.
LoveGirls: Olivia did you do any research into playing Kim? Hang out in lesbian bars? Pick up any random women?!
Olivia: Do you know I didn’t! If I had done that then maybe I wouldn’t have been able to be as natural in the part. I thought ok, yes, she has fallen in love with a woman, and yes these feelings are universal. I just imagined Lea was Brad Pitt! [laughter] I put my own feelings into it and treated it as Kim’s in love with Sugar. Obviously I thought about the lesbian aspect as Kim was coming to terms with her sexuality but that was just part of the storyline. I didn’t really focus on that to be honest.
Lenora: Kim is a teenager before she’s a lesbian, she is just a teenager. She has the same shit going on as every other teenager. So your crush, whether it’s the same sex or not, it a big deal and especially when it’s your best friend.
LoveGirls: Why was the show so successful?
Olivia: It really struck a cord with people...
Lenora: It was funny and tender and honest and colourful. It was refreshing. When we’d finished filming we kept asking Johnny Capps [the producer] what it was like? He said, “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not like Hollyoaks, it’s not like EastEnders, it’s not like anything on TV at the moment” and when we watched it we thought it’s different and there’s no issue it won’t touch. One minute you’re laughing the next minute you’re thinking, “oh that’s really quite sad”. Everything is a bit bitter sweet, a bit like Stella [Kim’s mother]; as a mum is brilliant, she is so funny but she is awful you know? So, dysfunctional...
LoveGirls: Olivia was your portrayal of a young lesbian woman accurate?
Olivia: I hope so, I should ask the audience really ...
LoveGirls: It is scary how accurate some of it was...
Olivia: ... [smiling] I think I did an alright job.
In Part Two of our exclusive interview, released tomorrow, hear what the girls have to say about Sugar Rush ending.
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