Although we’re all still coping with the fact MTV’s Teen Wolf will be ending after this upcoming season, we’ve got a new MTV show to watch. This fall, the network will be premiering Sweet/Vicious starring London-based actress Eliza Bennett. The 24-year-old actress will be taking on the role of a superheroine who fights for justice over a very heated topic: campus rapists. If that already piqued your interest, check out our interview to read more about the show and her character.
Cliché: Since we have many readers who may not know your name yet, can you tell us how you got bit by the acting bug?
Eliza Bennett: Of course! It has definitely always been a part of my life. Ever since I was little, I did every possible acting play or production I could find. I probably drove my parents nuts. Then my first professional job was when I was 9 and I played Jemima in the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Once I’d gotten a taste for it, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Since then, I have worked on a mixture of British films and shows, so I’m very excited for Sweet/Vicious as it’s my first U.S. television series.
Can you tell us a little more about Sweet/Vicious?
It’s set in the fictional university Darlington and tells the story of two girls who moonlight as vigilantes avenging sexual assault victims on campus. Basically, it’s about two unlikely friends who take justice into their own hands and kick literal ass. I play Jules Thomas, one of these vigilantes, who hides under the cover of being a perfect sorority girl by day so she can dish out justice by night. She’s pretty cool.
How similar or different are you from your character?
I definitely relate to Jules. When we meet Jules, she is feeling very out of place with the people in her life and trying to do a good job to fit in and I definitely felt that way for a while when I first came out to L.A.! Luckily now, I have an incredible group of friends and feel very settled, but I definitely related to that feeling of not belonging. The differences are that I’m English, she’s way better at martial arts, and she’s much braver than me.
It’s difficult to say what I brought to the part—I hope a lot! Darlington can seem like a pretty heightened universe at times and so I really tried to keep Jules as grounded as possible and tried to find moments of goofiness and light for Jules whenever I could.
I was so ignorant to this issue before Sweet/Vicious came into my life, so I really hope we can just help in telling this story.
It seems like television is starting to become more socially conscious and incorporating real life events into their storylines more and more. Do you think Sweet/Vicious is pushing the boundaries too much or is it about time we address these topics?
Oh, we are way behind when it comes to telling this story and addressing this topic. Sexual assault victims on campus are far too often silenced and we are only just catching up to it. It definitely is filling our news stations more now, but if we can in any way raise awareness and let sexual assault victims know that they are not alone, I’ll be happy. I was so ignorant to this issue before Sweet/Vicious came into my life, so I really hope we can just help in telling this story.
What were some of the challenges, if any, that you came across while playing this character?
There were definitely challenges! Physically, the role was challenging for Taylor (Dearden) and I as we both were new to martial arts and fighting, but that was also one of the most fun aspects of the show. It was also a challenge to tell this story right and I definitely felt a responsibility to do Jules justice. When you are telling a story about rape, I knew there were going to be difficult scenes, but I was so supported by our creator Jennifer (Robinson), our showrunner Amanda (Lasher), and our incredible cast and crew, so nothing felt too overwhelming.
Will the storylines reflect moments that happened in real life?
Our storylines are definitely inspired by events and incredibly thorough research from our writers, but none of our characters or plot is directly based on real people or news headlines. When it comes to the characters’ dynamics though, I know that Jenn loosely based Ophelia and Jules on herself and her best friend, which is pretty cool.
Lastly, MTV is a huge network to be a part of! What’s it been like being a part of the MTV family so far?
It’s been wonderful! We are in the early stages of promoting the show and the whole journey has been bags of fun. It really is a lovely family environment and we are so excited to be a part of it. I’m forever grateful to them for giving me this opportunity.
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Eliza Bennett Proves ‘Sweet/Vicious’ is the Show to Watch: Photographed by: Faye Thomas