Right after graduating from North East School of the Arts in San Antonio, Texas, Grace Phipps found herself cast in the horror film Fright Night, doing a table read with her idol, David Tennant.
In her new TV series, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, she plays Amy, Chloe’s best friend since childhood. Not afraid to voice her opinion, she is a straight-A student, a would-be singer, dealing with her first serious relationship with Paul (Ki Hong Lee), another close friend of Chloe’s.
Paul and Amy lives change drastically when they discover that Chloe is the savior of the ancient Mai race, and has superhuman abilities. She is also being stalked by a group of assassins, putting not only Chloe, but her friends, in grave danger.
If I were your character I might be a little jealous of Chloe, because your boyfriend Paul seems in awe of her now that she has superpowers.
I don’t think she’s afraid of losing Paul. If anything Amy’s main concern would be if Paul will actually get a cape and try to be her sidekick. That’s probably her primary concern more so than losing her boyfriend.
How are you different from your character?
I think people tend to think in the past, the present or the future primarily, and my big difference with Amy is she always has the plan of what’s to come, and she’ll adjust it but that’s always in her head. But we both speak our minds.
Are you a singer/songwriter and is your own music anything like Amy’s music?
I am a singer/songwriter, but I did not write the song I sing on the show. My music is similar, I started playing guitar in fifth grade, I started writing pretty soon thereafter. I tend to have the lyrics of a 60’s psychedelic song, but with the same kind of sound as Amy’s songs.
When you came in to audition for this, was that something that they wanted for the role?
No, that actually was something they decided when they were writing the next nine episodes. My mother was visiting me and we were driving back from a hike and I got a call and they’re like, ‘We want to know if you can sing?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I sing. Do you want to hear me?’ They were like, ‘No.’ I could have been lying.
Can you talk about the fact that Amy and Paul are not just on the sidelines, they get very involved in the fight.
Those are actually some of the hardest scenes to do, because you have to deal with the actual physical limitations, and deal with the fact that your friend can do more than you can, that you can’t rush in and her. So to be in the background of those scenes make them the hardest scenes to do
You get to say a lot of great lines, but are you going to have to do more serious stuff as the series goes on?
Yeah, definitely, Amy has to grow up along with her best friend. I think Amy was sort of sheltered, but as her best friend gets all this responsibility thrust upon her, she has to go through that with her and so she starts to have to confront adulthood too. And she gets into some dangerous situations and it becomes an emotional ride.
Does Chloe’s new life disrupt her relationship with Amy?
I think with any big change in a relationship there’s going to be a bumpy patch. But because their relationship is so strong, once you get through the bumpy patch you just grow more. I think any experience that you share, any secret that you share with someone, it makes you bond even more. So I think that their friendship will only get stronger.
Does your character ever learn how to defend herself on the show, because she is in danger now?
She starts to be able to involve her natural talents a little bit, at least in the planning stages. She’s super-smart, so she has ‘Willow’ research powers. Yes, I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When I first read the pilot for this I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s like Buffy.’ It’s its own entity certainly, but in terms of genre I would called it a Buffy Jr decedent. In terms of show structure and the quips and the humor with the fighting, there is a reason why it gets compared to it.
What other shows are you a fan of?
Firefly and Doctor Who. I was in Fright Night with David Tennant, I had to make sure someone parked behind my car so that he wouldn’t see ‘My Other Car’s a Tardis’ bumper sticker! I actually got that call from my manager, ‘Make sure he doesn’t see your bumper sticker and that someone parks behind you.’
Did you get to spend a lot of time with David Tennant on set?
Not on set, but I actually got to read a line that wasn’t cast yet with him at the table read. It was six and a half days after I drove here after my high school graduation. That was a hell of a panic attack. But it was amazing, he’s such a fantastic actor, and I got to talk to him after about Doctor Who. All the actors in Fright Night are fantastic, but only one of them was Doctor Who!