First Kill star Sarah Catherine Hook on that pilot shocker and what it's like playing a vampire
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the first episode of First Kill.
Juliette and Calliope just met, and already their relationship is extremely complicated. How complicated? Their families — and species — are destined to go to war. Love stories just aren't as simple as they used to be.
In the new supernatural drama First Kill (now streaming on Netflix), Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook) is on the verge of completing her first kill and finalizing her position as a vampire within her very important family of legacy vamps. (That means she was born a vamp, not turned.) Meanwhile, Calliope (Imani Lewis) comes from a family of monster hunters, and she too is looking for her first kill, which will cement her status as a hunter. So what happens when Calliope and Juliette start falling for each other? A lot of drama, that's what.
Based on a short story by New York Times best-selling author Victoria "V. E." Schwab, First Kill follows Juliette and Calliope as they navigate love, family, and all that the supernatural world has to offer. EW spoke with Hook about her experience making the series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let's start with how you got involved with this project.
SARAH CATHERINE HOOK: I was at the airport and I got this in my inbox, and I had been auditioning for lots of different stuff. And my manager was like, "I'm going to get you the lead of a show if my life depends on it." And then this one appears and he was saying how cool it was. He was like, "It's like a Twilight meets Killing Eve." When I read the description of Juliette, I for some reason thought, "Oh, there's no way I'm going to get this." And then a month and a half later, the part was mine.
And then I would assume a chemistry read had to have been part of it, right?
Oh yes. I was cast without a Calliope, but we were going through chem reads and they were on the hunt for Calliope for a while. And then Imani came in, and it was just game over. We had to do the bee scene that's in the first episode, where I find the bee on her shoulder, and I just knew it was her. This is all over Zoom, by the way. She gave me this one look and I just immediately fell into a puddle and put my head in my hands, flustered as all get-out. It was like, "That's Calliope." It was magical, truly.
Yeah, if you can have that moment via Zoom…
I mean, right? You know it's real. Because it's not easy to have chemistry reads over Zoom, I will tell you that much.
Did you go back and read the short story to prepare for this?
I didn't have access to it until I was cast, but then I read it, and it's really similar to the pilot. Because [V.E. Schwab] also wrote the pilot. So she remained very true to her short story, which is cool. And also too though, with short stories there's going to be a little bit more subtext. You get to know what they're thinking even more so than what we have in the pilot. So it was more helpful than anything.
I have to say, the end of the pilot really shocked me. I thought it was a dream!
Yeah, the ending of the pilot is killer. I hope that moment when Calliope stakes Juliette in the chest will make people want to go on to the next episode because it's like, "What? This is only the first episode here and you're already killing each other!?" They get the love story going right off the bat, and it's going to get really complicated. It's going to be a bit messy.
I remember seeing the social media reaction when the trailer for this show dropped. This is a character a lot of people love. What did you want to bring to her?
Yeah, I didn't realize how many people knew the story. I understood that people knew V.E. Schwab very well and have just been excited about her being attached to it and the fact that this is a sapphic vampire love story. It is very exciting. And they've already started shipping Calliope and Juliette, which is so cute. For Juliette, it said in the breakdown that she's shy and sensitive and all these things. What I didn't want was for her to be a stereotypical shy person. I wanted there to be a little bit of mystery with her, and you see that she's very conflicted about being a vampire and a normal girl. She struggles knowing that she's a vampire, and that just because she's a vampire doesn't mean that she has to be a monster. She's having this battle constantly throughout the whole season. I wanted there to be a lot of internal conflict with her that was holding her back from really letting her be who she's supposed to be.
And it's such an interesting idea that a lot of people who become vampires choose it. But as a legacy, she was born it. So she doesn't have the choice.
Right. Exactly. She's never had the choice. She's always been a vampire and has never been human and never probably will know what being a human is like. And that's her burden throughout the show and throughout just her whole life.
My most important question is, at one point your sister hands you a glass of blood and you have to chug it. What are you actually chugging?
It was beet juice actually, which, I really like beet juice. So I was not opposed to it. Everyone was warning me. I think it was beet and carrot actually. And I was like, "This is so healthy. This is going to make me feel amazing." I felt like I really actually did need that during the filming process. It was probably 3 in the morning, I'm depleted and tired. I'm like, "Give me a pick-me-up. Give me this beet juice."
You have fight scenes and obviously you have to bite people. Technically, what was the hardest part of playing a vampire?
I personally loved having the teeth in. I wanted them all the time. [Laughs] I was so obsessed with them. For me the hardest part really wasn't the technical stuff, because the fighting and whatnot, I enjoy doing that. And same with the biting. But what I think was the hardest part for me was for my mindset and believing that I'm a vampire. But it actually worked in my favor if I was feeling insecure about being a vampire, because Juliette feels insecure. [Laughs] But yeah, trying to embody a vampire was interesting.