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The Nine Lives of Chloe King – Star Skyler Samuels on the curses that come with being a Mai

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The Nine Lives of Chloe King - Grey Damon, Amy Pietz, Skyler Samuels and Benjamin Stone
Grey Damon, Amy Pietz, Skyler Samuels and Ben Stone at the 2011 Disney/ABC Television Group press junket © 2011 Disney Enterprises

Skyler Samuels isn’t new to the sci-fi/fantasy genre, recently starring in the ABC series The Gates and appearing in the horror film The Stepfather. In her new series for ABC Family, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, she portrays the title role, a smart, slightly off-beat teenage girl, who was adopted from the Ukraine and is now living in San Francisco with her divorced mother.

On her 16th birthday, she discovers that she’s the descendent of an ancient race called the Mai, which have been hunted by human assassins for millennia. As the Uniter of the race, she must save her people from extinction.

I visited the set of The Nine Lives of Chloe King and spoke with Skyler about her new show, which has been compared to an iconic series –

Are you getting sick of hearing people compare your character to Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

The Nine Lives of Chloe King - Skyler Samuels
Skyler Samuels in a nice top during the set visit © 2011 Judy Sloane

No, I think it’s quite a compliment to be compared to Buffy. There are certainly a lot of obvious differences between Buffy and Chloe. I think Buffy was a show for a generation. It’s so iconic, everybody knows Buffy and Angel, so to be compared to something of that caliber is quite a compliment.

How much of the mythology do you know, or are you learning it as we are?

I definitely don’t know everything. Our writers have been very smart, and sometimes it makes me mad that they withhold information, but I’m glad they do, they don’t give us any spoilers.

I have a sense of the mythology so far, but basically what I know is what you guys will find out this season. Chloe definitely is the Uniter, and as the Uniter she’s discovering there might be loopholes or ways around the curses that come with being Mai.

In season one she’s getting to know the role, then season two is what is she going to do with it, and how is she going to use that role to make it mesh with her normal life? So it’s very interesting. Chloe’s got quite the future ahead of her.

Did you have to train for this or learn any kind of martial arts?

The Nine Lives of Chloe King - Grey Damon, Amy Pietz, Skyler Samuels and Benjamin Stone
Episode 1.03 "Green Star" - Chloe King (Skyler Samuels) is forced to meet Valentina, the leader of the San Francisco Mai © 2011 Disney Enterprises

I was not an athlete of any sort before this all started. Before the pilot I couldn’t run, I didn’t know how to punch, kick, throw; I couldn’t even look at fighting and understand what was happening.

We were totally starting from the ground up and I went through some training before the pilot. But then with the couple of months we had between the pilot and coming back for episodic, I was doing boxing, Pilates, I was running a couple of miles every day, doing different circuit training with our stunt coordinator, working on these fights and moves, and adapting them to my body, what my strengths are.

I’m a great kicker, and Chloe throws some mean kicks this season, of which I am very proud. I can kick above my own height, which is very exciting. I kicked a 6’3” man in the face!

Can you talk about being reunited with Colton Haynes?

The Nine Lives of Chloe King - Grey Damon, Amy Pietz, Skyler Samuels and Benjamin Stone
Episode 1.04 "All Apologies" - Paul (Ki Hong Lee), Amy (Grace Phipps) and Chloe King (Skyler Samuels) © 2011 Disney Enterprises

Of course, I could talk about Colton all day, I love that boy. Colton happens to be one of my closest friends in real life, and it was really cool to have him on the show. We met last year working on a show, and we always said, ‘Whoever gets their own show first has to put the other one on it.’ We made a pact and it was for real. And sure enough, there was the perfect role for him.

He’s a very interesting, dark, twisted, yet sweet and loveable character. He’s a very complex guy, and he comes in and kind of shakes up Chloe and the Mai and her human friends. He’s not a human, and he’s not a Mai, so he’s introducing a new breed of people or creature, whatever you want to call that, for Chloe.

Even the people that he introduces her to definitely sets up some drama, and I think we’ll see him and his people, so to speak, in future seasons.

Is he going to reciprocate and put you on Teen Wolf?

The Nine Lives of Chloe King - Grey Damon, Amy Pietz, Skyler Samuels and Benjamin Stone
Episode 1.08 "Heartbreaker" - Chloe King (Skyler Samuels) © 2011 Disney Enterprises

I can only hope. Listen, this has to work both ways here, pal. I’ve met a lot of the Teen Wolf cast and they’re really cool. Maybe if we can do one of those shows where Chloe King is stopping by high school, or bumps into Tyler Posey while he’s pouncing on werewolves. I can just break out my claws, I don’t know, we could figure something out. The Nine Lives of Teen Wolf, we can make it happen.

How does it feel to carry a show, it’s really your baby? Is it scary or exciting?

Like you said, it is my baby, and that’s what I tell people all the time. When I’m driving down the street and I see my face plastered to the side of a building or a bus, I don’t see me, I see the show, this thing that we’ve all created. I’ve never been so proud and I’ve never been so terrified.

Chloe does a lot of things I would never do, and sometimes I, as Skyler, worry, ‘What if I can’t do that? What if I’m not brave enough?

What if I can’t deliver, what if I can’t be Chloe King?’ She challenges me and every week I’ve been able to meet that, so I’m constantly raising the bar for myself, but I think that’s one of the greatest parts about being Chloe King.

She’s really challenging me, so I will certainly be a different person by the end of this, because I’m transforming with her. I’m definitely along for the ride.