Dead To Me and The Sleepover actor Sadie Stanley is the rising star to get to know now.
It is a rare thing that an actor as young as Sadie Stanley has a portfolio as diverse, rich and impressive as her’s – but talent and humility will get you a long way. The 18-year-old’s turn in the second season of Netflix’s viral dark comedy Dead To Me is an unflinching satire of the teen influencer generation; her action prowess as the titular lead of Disney’s bone-crunching live-action of Kim Possible is nothing short of awe-inspiring; and next up, she steals the show alongside comedy heavyweights Joe Manganiello and Malin Akerman in a heist-teen comedy, The Sleepover. What happens when you find out your mum used to be a former covert high-stakes thief, and has been hiding away in the witness protection program? Hijinks aplenty.
Yes, it’s clear that the trajectory of the South Carolina-hailed actor is up – and fast.
We caught up with Stanley and talked about season two of Dead To Me, being a certified action star, and her biggest pinch-me moment so far.
Hi Sadie, how has lockdown been for you? Do you think it’s changed your outlook on your work or creatively?
Honestly I just feel really grateful to be in the position that I’m in! I got to slow down and spend some time back home in South Carolina with my family and it was really nice. Looking back I got to be there for my family during some important life-moments and I wouldn’t take that back. It also renewed a sense of creative freedom and expression in me. I was creating just for the fun of it, not to meet a particular goal or deadline, just for myself because I enjoy it. Painting, writing, singing, playing piano and guitar were things that I didn’t set enough time aside for before. I also just feel incredibly excited and thankful to be working again. I’ve missed it so much, and I appreciate every day on set even more now.
Loved you in S2 of Dead to Me, where you kind of play a caricature of a selfish teenager – were you a fan of the show before?
I was a massive fan of season one of Dead To Me. I literally binged it all in two days! When I booked that role I was so excited to be a part of a show with such a remarkable cast. Getting to work with Christina Applegate and playing a character that was so different than me was a nerve-wracking but incredibly exciting opportunity.
How did you get into character? Did anyone or anything in particular inspire it?
I for the most part just took from the script. It was so well written so it was pretty easy to get an idea of who this girl was and what her role was in moving the story along. It was really fun to play around and improv a little bit on set, especially with Christina whose a genius at that. She made me laugh so hard.
And you’ve got The Sleepover coming up. Congratulations, it looks hilarious – and got to work alongside Joe Manganiello and Malin Akerman – what was it like working with such industry heavyweights? Did you have any bonding sessions?
Thank you! Working on the sleepover was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I’ve had on set. I felt like I learned a lot working with Malin and Ken and Joe. They are all such leaders and really set the tone everyday on set. Working with Ken was essentially a masterclass in comedy and improv. Malin was warm and nurturing and had amazing advice about the future of my career. She’s such a generous person and actress and I look up to her a lot. I really just wanted to soak up as much of the experience as I could, and hopefully be able to hold my own on a set with such established actors.
Your role as Kim in Kim Possible must have prepared you for the action sequences? How else did you prepare for the role?
Absolutely! I had extensive stunt/fight training for Kim Possible so the few actions sequences I had in the sleepover honesty felt like a breeze! However, I did have another challenge to take on- the cello! My character is a very talented cellist and I had never picked one up in my life before then. I took several lessons to learn the basics and at least be able to look like I’ve been playing for years. I also learned how to play twinkle twinkle little star which was a huge accomplishment haha! Besides that it was just about digging into the script, and working with the director Trish to figure Clancy out and prepare to film!
What was your audition process like?
I went in to read for the role a few times before I got to meet Trish and some of the producers. And then I had a chemistry read with some actors they were looking at to play Kevin, Mim and Lewis. They wanted to see who would work best together and had the perfect dynamic they were going for! They honestly made the audition process really fun and relaxed which isn’t usually the norm.
And your episode of Room 104 aired! – had you ever done anything like it before? Tell us more about your episode.
Yes! I loved getting to be a part of this season! I had never done an anthology series before so it was new territory! Every episode of the show takes place in the same motel room but every episode has a different cast, genre, storyline and tone! The episode I’m in is based on your classic 90s sitcoms but there’s a twist of course. It was a really fun project to be a part of.
2020 is shaping up to be such a huge year for you – how are you staying grounded?
It’s strange, because 2020 has been a pretty good year for my career, and my personal life as well. However, it also been a year of tragedy in more ways than one. The world is hurting right now, so it’s been a priority for me to make sure I’m staying active and engaging in movements like Black Lives Matter. I’m continuing to educate myself and taking the steps to become a better ally- one that isn’t surface level. Im also passionate about taking care of our planet and taking actions to combat climate change. I’m 18 now and will be a first time voter in this presidential election which is very exciting. I’m making sure I’m keeping my priorities straight. My family and friends help me stay grounded as well. I’ve always kind of known who I am and what’s important to me, so I don’t think “staying grounded” is a worry of mine or the people who know me.
Which one of your characters have you related to the most of all of them? And what would you like to do next?
I think I relate to Clancy the most because I was a lot like her in my middle school and early high school years. Her and I both struggled with insecurities and putting ourselves out there in fear of rejection or not meeting the high expectations we have for ourselves. As I’ve gotten older I’ve really grown to be confident in myself and my abilities while also knowing I’m never going to be perfect. I love myself. Which I think is the most important step, and the first step, to living a happy, full life. Life is already so hard, but when you don’t have love for yourself where you’re at right now, it’s nearly impossible. I think Clancy, in a more light hearted, comedic way, begins to learn this when she’s forced into the crazy adventure in The Sleepover.
What’s been the biggest pinch-me moment of your career so far?
I don’t know if anything can top the moment I booked Kim Possible. The whole thing just felt so unfeasible. It all happened so quickly and all the crazy out-of-the-question hopes and dreams I had had for so long were suddenly right in front of me. I can’t wait to have more pinch-me moments like that.
What’s next for you? What are you excited about in 2020?
I’m getting back to work on season 8 of The Goldbergs on ABC which I’m so excited about! I couldn’t be more grateful to be getting back to work, especially on a show with such an amazing cast and crew. There are some others projects in the works coming up that are really special. I’m also just in a really good place in life right now. I’m happy and I’m growing and experiencing as much of life as I can right now.