DARBY AND THE DEAD Interview: Asher Angel & Chosen Jacobs Talk Crazy Love Triangles, DCU, And More (Exclusive)

Darby and the Dead stars Asher Angel and Chosen Jacobs talk about the movie's unique take on high school life, memorable moments on set, bonding off set, and what's happening with the DCU under James Gunn.

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In Darby and the Dead, after suffering a near-death experience as a young girl, Darby Harper (Riele Downs) gains the ability to see dead people and spends her time counselling lonely spirits. When Capri (Auliʻi Cravalho), the Queen Bee of the school's most exclusive clique, dies in a freak hair straightening accident, her upcoming "Sweet 17" is (obviously) cancelled.

Capri, however, pleads with Darby from the other side to intervene and convince Capri’s friends to proceed with the party as planned. In order to appease the wrath of the undead diva, Darby must emerge from her self-imposed exile and reinvent herself - which along the way allows her to find new joy back in the land of the living. 

Darby and the Dead is an absolute delight, and a movie we can't recommend checking out highly enough when it hits Hulu on December 2. Earlier this month, we spoke with stars Asher Angel and Chosen Jacobs about their roles as James and Alex.

In the video below, Chosen tells us what it was like to go from facing Pennywise in IT to this similarly supernatural project and find out how Asher felt about getting to show off his singing talents on set. The actors also weigh in on their most memorable moments shooting the movie and how it explores grief in a very unique way...with a bizarre love triangle.

Asher also discusses the change in leadership at DC Studios, sharing his excitement for the DCU's future, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and a possible meeting with Black Adam. Chosen, meanwhile, reveals his own comic book movie aspirations. 

Check out our full conversation with the actors in the player below. 
 


Asher, James finds himself in a love triangle without really knowing it seeing as Capri is dead, but what were those days like on set when you’re working with Riele and you have Auli'i there who your character obviously can’t see? 

Asher: [Laughs] For sure [it was surreal]. When I stepped on to set on the first day, I didn’t really know what to expect. Silas called ‘Action’ and I just kept looking at Auli’i. I couldn’t stop. It took some getting used to for sure and then, over time, I figured it out. What was I calling her? I was calling her…not “Capr-ee.’ Now I just have it stuck in my head. ‘Capr-i,’ yeah, It took some getting used to, but it felt like I was actually in a love triangle to be completely honest because most of my scenes were with Auli’i and Riele and they’re incredible, but it was a little stressful for James, but he figured it out and went on his merry way. He’s going through a pretty tough time with his girlfriend’s tragic death and trying to navigate his life after that, but luckily he has Darby there who is a great friend to him…then he develops some feelings for her. 

Many of our readers will remember your awesome work in It: Chapter One, Chosen, but after the darkness of a story like that, was it refreshing to come on board a supernatural story like this and have some fun with your character? 

Chosen: [Laughs] Yes, most definitely. Not going to set and having a six-foot clown chase you is always a pleasure. I had so much fun shooting this film. The cast is phenomenal and the movie is funny, but also has really deep and intricate storylines about real issues we go through as people and especially teenagers. I feel like my character, Alex, he lives life to his own rhythm. He has fun and sees things in a very unique way. He really emphasises the importance of being yourself. I had so much fun playing this guy. He has no rules, he’s uncontained, and optimised. 

We’ve seen so many high school cliches in movies over the years, but neither of your characters fall into those familiar trappings - was avoiding those familiar beats something you guys both welcomed when you joined the project?

Asher: It’s not your stereotypical high school movie, obviously. For James and Alex, they’re both going through different things. James is a popular guy at school, but I think in a way he’s not really aware he’s the popular guy. He’s doing his own thing and trying to figure himself out. Chosen can speak on this, but I feel it’s the same for Alex. He’s going through his own stuff and in his own world. He’s not really worried about being a nerd or not being popular; it’s just about going to school and figuring myself out. For us too, it’s the same. We’re young and trying to figure out our lives. We might be actors right now, but we were going to middle school and I feel like it does a great job and gives a great representation of what high school is really like.

Chosen: I totally agree with what he said. It was a pleasure to make a movie that still takes the beauty and fun of the classic teen movies that we loved from the 1990s and 2000s, but we wanted to show, ‘Yeah, he is a jock, but he’s a fully layered three-dimensional person under that.’

Asher: Right, he has layers. 

Chosen: What’s really beautiful is that it still plays on the jock and nerdy sides of them, but I’m a nerd, but a confident nerd because I truly love what I’m a fan of. I nerd out about that, just like in real life. I love anime. I’m a nerd for anime and that’s what I love. I think it’s cool that the movie doesn’t stop at that initial layer. It’s, ‘Here’s the character you know; now, let's take us to a different place and show us something you didn’t know about them.’ 

Asher, you get to show off your musical talents in the movie; were those some fun days for you on set? 

Asher: I really enjoyed it. I’ve been waiting to do a project where I’m able to mesh the two, so getting to do that in such a great environment…Silas is so welcoming and so collaborative. He really allows us to use our voices. Chosen said this before, but you never know what you’re going to get when you show up to set. It’s always something different. When I first walked on to set for the first time, everyone was super welcoming and nice, and really genuine. I love being able to mesh the two by performing and acting, so it was special, for sure. 

And I’ve got to ask, Chosen, what was it like inside that mascot costume? 

Chosen: That was definitely the selling point for me. When they told me I got to be the school mascot, it was just so much fun. As an actor, I left school for homeschool during Freshman year, so there are certain things I didn’t get to do or experience that I got to live out in this movie. I feel like, in school, I’d have definitely tried out to be the mascot. Alex is the type of guy where, if he does anything, he’s going to try to be the Michael Jordan of it: the best. It was so much fun trying to entertain the crowd and my fellow actors and extras as well. If we do a Darby and the Dead 2, I hope I still have that job. 

Asher: I’ll tell you, one of my favourite memories from set was knocking on Chosen’s door, and him coming out in the costume. I loved it. He was so confident, I was like, ‘Bro, you look sick!’ He was so excited. That was the best day for me. 

I’m a big DC fan, Asher, so I’d love to know how you’re feeling about James Gunn being in charge of DC Studios and your future in this new DCU?

Asher: Man, I feel really good. With Peter [Safran] and James coming on board. I mean, they’re obviously super talented and passionate, and I love how they’re creating this ten-year plan. I think the DC Universe…there’s a lot of special movies to come and I’m just ready for Shazam to be integrated with some other superhero movies. I mean, look, we’re not here to talk about Shazam or whatever, but I’m excited! I’m very grateful. It’s an incredible cast and I’m excited for the movie. 

Black Adam just came out a few weeks ago, of course, so it must be exciting to think Billy could be crossing paths with that character played by The Rock down the line?

Asher: Yeah, for sure. 

Chosen: It was great having a castmate and a friend who’s into DC. With the ten-year plan, there are a lot of movies for actors’ friends to be in…I know Shazam!

Asher: [Laughs] You’d be so good at it. You would kill it.

Chosen: I’d love to. It would be so much fun. Sign me up!

There are a lot of really crazy and surreal moments in the movie, but were there any scenes, in particular, you guys just struggled to get through from cracking up on set?

Asher: Hmm, did we have that many scenes together? It was like two. 

Chosen: Really, we didn’t act together much, but we hung out so much outside of shooting. We’d go to the gym and that was how our bonding happened. We knew each other prior to the movie through mutual friends on IT and Shazam!, so when we got there, it was basically, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go workout, wanna come?’ It became our friendship.

Asher: Yeah, every day we were doing something together. We’re very active, so it was him pushing me to play basketball so it was fun getting to do that with someone on set and, as Chosen said, it was funny because right before I found out we both booked this, we were talking about working together. He’s so talented and we have mutual friends, so we knew it was soon to come. Then, all of sudden, we’re working together. I called him, and said, ‘Are we working together? In South Africa? This is insane!’

Chosen: I know, right? I knew it was gonna be so cool. So cool. 

Darby and the Dead premieres on Hulu on December 2.
 


 

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