The supernatural teen comedy Darby and the Dead takes a heavy dose of its inspiration from teen comedies from the pas. The young cast fully embraced the opportunity to dive into some of their favorite films.
“I think Mean Girls is definitely one [of the inspirations],” according to Kylie Liya Page, who plays Taylor in the film. “That’s easy, we’re a group of four girls. We’re at the top of the food chain. We’re cheerleaders, so a little bit of Bring It On is in there, and Clueless for sure.”
“Yeah, I brought my own little puffy pen to set,” says Auli’i Cravalho who plays Capri, and channeled her inner Cher Horowitz for the film. “It made it to the poster, it made it to the poster!”
“Even our wardrobe tried to give nods to different films that we loved,” according to Nicole Maines who plays Piper. “We wanted to make a fresh take on the classics that we grew up with, but also not make it too mean.”
Riele Downs, the titular Darby of the film, agrees with her fellow castmates. “I was so impressed by how focused they were on style.” Speaking of her own character, “She does go through a style evolution throughout the film. She starts dark, she goes totally the opposite direction, and then she ends up in a
a place that’s sort of in between.”
“I feel like the movie perfectly shows all of the things that we love from those 90s and 2000s classics: the outfits, the cliques, the teenage drama, the problems,” says Genneya Walton, who plays Bree. She applauds the diverse cast who provide a level of representation not present in those older films. “So, we get all the lovely things from the 90s and 2000s, but in our modern world.”
“I feel like what brings this movie into the realm of being the next Clueless or the next Mean Girls or the next Heathers is it very – like Genneya said – accurately depicts what the high school environment is today,” agrees Maines. “I think that is breathing new life into what we think of as the popular girls or the popular kids, and I think that what this film does spectacularly, and what is groundbreaking about it, is that it showcases diverse and marginalized communities, particularly women, thriving and existing at the top of the food chain.”
Darby and the Dead is streaming now on Hulu.
About Darby and the Dead
After suffering a near-death experience as a young girl, Darby Harper (Downs) gains the ability to see dead people. As a result, she becomes introverted and shut off from her high school peers and prefers to spend time counseling lonely spirits who have unfinished business on earth. But all that changes when Capri (Cravalho), the Queen Bee of the school’s most exclusive clique, unexpectedly dies in a freak hair straightening accident, resulting in the obvious cancellation of her upcoming “Sweet 17.” 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.