I Know What You Did Last Summer showrunner talks updating the classic thriller for TV
I Know What You Did Last Summer is back. But this time, it's a TV series with a few new twists up its sleeve.
Based on the 1973 Lois Duncan book, the story follows five teens who hit someone with their car on their graduation night. They then make one bad decision after another and decide to dump the body. Cut to one year later, and suddenly someone starts killing them one by one.
The novel was previously adapted into the 1997 film of the same name, but now the horror tale is making its television debut. EW spoke with showrunner Sara Goodman (Preacher, Gossip Girl) about what to expect from this latest iteration.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this project come together?
SARA GOODMAN: It's funny because everyone asks me, "What are my favorite horror movies?" and "Did I always love horror?" And I like horror, but I wouldn't call myself a horror writer. I like psychological tension. I like drama. And I like blood and stuff as well, so I think everybody [at] Amazon and Sony probably felt like [this would be like] Preacher and Gossip Girl had a f---ed up baby. It's kind of where my sweet spot might be. At first I was hesitant because you don't want to take a title like that and not find a new way to tell the story, and at the same time [you want to] be respectful to the old.
Was that the biggest challenge in balancing what people love while still making it feel fresh and different?
The book came out 50 years ago, and the movie came out 25 years ago, and we live in a very different time. There weren't cell phones. And this is a very different platform. I'm not interested in just doing a slasher for eight hours. I think that would get very boring. The most important thing was to create something with kids that live in this time and [something] that feels authentic to what everybody's dealing with — the public personas, the private personas, the identity stuff, the personal secrets, those kinds of dramas — and then try not to alienate the die-hard fans of the original movie and the original book. So it was really that balance. But it's for a new generation.
I love that one of the main characters is an influencer. Just updating the story that way already changes it so much.
Yeah. She's doing an Instagram story when the accident happens. [Laughs]
My favorite thing you've done in this show is put twins at the center of it. What did you like about making this more of a familial story?
What's so interesting about the story for me is: What is really going on with these kids? It's about who they think they are coming into that accident, who they think they are afterward, and the secrets they brought in with them. [Having] the twins was a way of externalizing that, and in horror you almost never meet the families. Like when do you meet the parents? So rarely. But I think in terms of telling a story where there are secrets and lies and a community and all these other things going on relationship-wise with the characters, it's interesting to know where those traits come from — what they're sharing and not sharing with their parents, which parents get in on it, which don't. Also, the parents are very messy — and in my experience, parents are messy.
What was the process for casting Madison Iseman as the twins?
I saw 1,000 young women, and I found it very hard to find young women who didn't just turn [the characters] into caricatures where one was shy and kind of sweet, and one was outgoing and the overachieving partier. With Maddie, all those nuances were there. And I just kept seeing these new pieces of her in everything she did. I mean, the poor girl had to do a dance by herself on Zoom in the audition. But once we started talking and working together, it was just so clear that she was it. For me, the thing Maddie had was, I always felt what was going on inside her without her having to overact or be melodramatic. It was always just there.
I Know What You Did Last Summer premieres Oct. 15 on Amazon Prime. Watch the trailer for it above.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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