Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
Rita – I just finished a film called Holding Patterns directed by Jake Goldberger. It’s a little indie film that I shot in Mobile, AL. It’s a coming of age story about a bunch of 20 year olds trying to figure out their lives. I play Heather who is the best friend of Freddie Highmore’s character, Charlie. He is kind of this down-on-his-luck guy trying to figure out his life. He’s in a rut and she plays his bigger sister role. She’s always trying to push him to get out into the world and start his life. She’s different than Amy. She’s more mature and more stylish. She’s more hip and knows what is cool and what isn’t cool. She’s trying to find love and figure out her own life.
Q) What has been your favorite part of Amy’s character development on “Faking It?”
Rita – I think that she is definitely becoming more comfortable in her skin, not completely, but getting to the point where she is figuring out that she is really not able to label herself. She kind of went through this progression of them both being very young and then Karma (Katie Stevens) led them along with this ridiculous lie. Then, Amy started punishing everything that she was and was kind of trailing behind Karma, who is leading her own to all of these crazy situations that they find themselves in. Now that we have wrapped the second season, by the end of it, I think she kind of becomes more assertive in who she is. One of the things I talked to Carter [Covington] about, because the writers are really good with talking to us about where we want the character to go or where we see them going, is that I hope she continues to find her own person and find her own self. I don’t want her to lose her own self identity with this friendship because I think we saw a lot of that and you are going to see her start to develop independently from Karma, which is very healthy and it’s good.
Q) Will we be seeing any new dynamics beyond the core group of friends?
Rita –Definitely! We have Parker Mack who plays Felix and we are going to find out more about him and what his story is. He’s the new kid in school. Amy will have her bonding moment, her own relationship with him. That is one new character we are excited about. We have Principal Turner (Bernard Curry) on the show. In terms of keeping it with the core group, it is always going to be the five of us that the stories revolve around. It very much becomes an ensemble as the story goes on. So, each person is going to have their own independent relationships.
Q) How has it been for you with Amy struggling to identify her sexuality?
Rita – I feel like I’ve definitely been welcomed (and I’ve said this before) into a community that has had a lack of that for this young of an age group especially. Over the course of the show, we’ve gotten fan letters and had interactions with fans – girls that were pretty young (maybe as young as twelve or thirteen years old) who have said, “This is what I’m feeling and I’ve expressed this to my parents, but I was shutdown and I couldn’t be myself.” Maybe they have contemplated hurting themselves or tried to. You read all that and you really realize you are doing something that might actually matter to somebody and that is reaching out to people. Especially at this time, this is such a socially applicable show and it couldn’t have happened at a better moment. I think there is definitely a movement happening. I don’t know fast or slow – I can’t tell you. It feels like it is all happening fast, in a good way. It’s been incredible and that is something that I realized pretty fast – that lack of a character like this. It’s hard because you recognize that there is such a deficit of someone like her, but at the same time you don’t want to label her as one thing. You are going to polarize somebody. So, you can say, “She is bisexual.” So, that’s an okay word to use. Then, you have other people who understandably so like a character like this and are going to want her to take a side and be adamant about it. I think there is a balance we are trying to find and at the end of the day it is true to a lot of people to question that. I don’t think anyone can say, “This who I am,” exactly at that young of an age. I think they are still trying to find themselves. It’s high school – that’s what you are supposed to do. Some people know who they are at ten and some people might not know until later. I think that is the direction we are trying to go for her to explore that and hopefully people find that to be realistic.
Q) We saw a darker side to Reagan last episode. Will Amy face consequences for her lack of truth with her?
Rita – It’s going to definitely test the relationship and it’s going to get challenging for Amy because when she met Regan (Yvette Monreal) she was very much, “I’m a lesbian. I like girls,” because she kissed Karma. She’s like, “I kissed her so I must like girls.” Then, there is Reagan who is showing me a new side to life and who I am. That goes back to what are we really labeling Amy as? Is she a lesbian? Does she not know? Not only is she in a relationship, most of the time when you are in a relationship we need that personal space or it feels constricting. That’s how she is starting to feel and then there is a whole other side to her sexuality that she is also questioning and is not 100% sure, especially with Reagan who is so sure of who she is. So their relationship is definitely going to get rocky. I think up to this point it has been pretty smooth sailing. I can’t really think of any scenes where that has really happened. I think it has been pretty good for the most part, but it will definitely get more unstable with Amy questioning herself and not really wanting to hurt Reagan.
Q) Talk about your favorite scene with Shane (Michael Willett) to film.
Rita – I love Michael! Michael is a blast! I love the scenes with Amy and Shane. When I first met Michael, I thought, “Oh my gosh! Who is this person?” He just has this incredible aura to him and he is just so natural. I love that! As a character, I’m sure he is just everybody’s favorite. He’s such an amazing, funny, real character. That pirate costume scene was a lot of fun! And I love my scenes with Michael and Bailey [De Young] because they are starting to have more of them. The dynamic of those characters with Lauren and Amy hating each other, but they are also sisters. Shane has this wonderful ability to find himself in the worst situations and kind of laugh it all off without a care. That was a fun night to shoot. That mustache got to be a real pain because of the glue. They kept adding more and more, I’ll never forget that. I literally had toxic glue on my face so that was not the most fun. Everything else was a lot of fun because we had some moments where we had some improv. We really didn’t know what we w ere doing in real life so I hope that translated. That was definitely one of my favorite episodes to shoot.
Q) Who are some upcoming guest stars?
Rita – There will be another musical performance. [She] is also very awesome. Lindsey Shaw is also amazing. She is very sweet!
Q) What can you tease about the prom episode?
Rita – We’re going to meet Shane’s family and see why he is so crazy. It’s going to be hilarious! You are really going to see where Shane gets his proclivities from.
Q) What can you share about the love triangle for the second half of the season?
Rita – I think that Amy is definitely moving on from that triangle. I don’t think Liam (Gregg Sulkin) effects her as much. In Season 1, there was a lot of vying for Karma’s attention. The relationship between Amy and Liam was a little heated to say the least. That scene where Amy says, “If you love something, you have to let it go.” She really wants Karma to be happy and I think she isn’t against the relationship anymore. I just think she is trying to find her own happiness and own grove. She just wants her friend back, the way things were. They are kind of struggling with that, but I don’t think Liam is as much an enemy to her this season as he was in the past. She is learning to accept it for what it is and she sees that Liam is being really kind. He is making the effort and not just the hot guy on campus. He really has feelings for Karma and he has a lot of redeeming qualities as well. I think that is something she understands. For Karma, that is going to have a lot of ups and downs, but as I said she is starting to find her own person and have Karma as a friend. It won’t come easily, but that is the goal of this season for Amy.