Actress Maia Mitchell Talks New Film 'Hot Summer Nights' & Bestie Cierra Ramirez (Exclusive Q&A)

We’re used to watching Maia Mitchell portray Callie on the set of The Fosters, but good news is she's currently working on Good Trouble—which she and her IRL bestie, Cierra Ramirez (who plays Mariana Adams Foster in The Fosters and Good Trouble), also executive produce. While we impatiently wait for the 2019 premiere of Good Trouble, Maia is filling our entertainment-obsessive cravings with some new some-to-be-favorite films, including her new upcoming flick Hot Summer Nights. (After all, how could we not watch a movie that stars Maia Mitchell?)

Maia told us all about her role in the thrilling film Hot Summer Nights, which is Elijah Bynum’s directorial debut. Beyond the Cape Cod drama, the Aussie-born actress also talked to us all about her friendship with Cierra Ramirez, her obsession with The CW's Riverdale, working with KJ Apa and more.

 

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Her Campus: In Hot Summer Nights, you portray Amy, who falls in love with kind of a bad boy of Cape Cod, Hunter Strawberry. Have you found that you’ve learned any lessons in love from your time portraying Amy?

Maia Mitchell: Yeah. I think Amy’s love story kind of goes beyond the kind of stereotype of when a good girl falls in love with a bad boy because there’s so much more to Hunter that you learn throughout the film. I think Amy sees that from the get-go. She’s kind of this catalyst in turning his life around. Hunter’s really drawn to her because she’s got this kind of pure innocence, and, I guess, optimism in her that he’s lacking in his life. So, she doesn’t see him as the bad boy—she sees him as who he is, which is someone with a really big heart. That’s what’s really sweet and special about that love story and what drew me to the character.

HC: Definitely. And I think that kind of helps break down the stereotypical bad boy persona.

MM: I think that’s what this film does really well. You know, it’s got all these really enigmatic characters that are kind of icons of this town. The story’s told from the eyes of a young boy, and he’s telling these tales. The film lets you [see], once you peel back those layers of who these people really are and their vulnerabilities, the kind of hopelessness that exists. That’s what’s really kind of thrilling about the film.

HC: What’s one thing that you hope viewers take away from Amy’s story arc in the film?

MM: I guess if there was a lesson [in Amy’s story] it would be not to judge by appearance. See people for who they are, and see beyond the rumors of what you’ve heard about someone. Just see who they are and see them for who they are as a person.

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HC: I think that’s a good lesson to learn from any character and to take on into anyone’s life. And before Hot Summer Nights you portrayed Callie in The Fosters, what were some things you learned from your time on The Fosters that helped you portray Amy in this role?

MM: What I love about Amy and the characters is that it’s so different from Callie and what I have been doing on the show for so long. Callie’s kind of the exact opposite of Amy—she’s very damaged and quite withdrawn. Whereas, Amy is kind of authentically herself and hasn’t seen a lot of damage or been exposed to a lot of trying situations. What excited me was playing a character that, you know, wasn’t plagued with the kind of trauma that Callie has. That was really fun to kind of set into another character’s shoes that has this really different experience from Callie. So no, there wasn’t really anything that I learned. I think the biggest challenge for me was just to let go of the habits, and the things you do when you play a character for so long, and to just really let go of that and become someone else. That’s what really excited me about it.

HC: That can almost seem refreshing to kind of let loose [from a character] and get a change of pace.

MM: Yeah, it was. And I think when I went back to the show after we’d wrapped—I think it helped. You know, we created this movie and you kind of step out of it for a second.

HC: Production on Good Trouble started recently, what can you tell us about this new spinoff series, if anything?

MM: It takes place about a year after—right after where the finale of The Fosters left us. So, Callie and Mariana have relocated to Los Angeles. They’re living downtown and they’re kind of lost. They have a lot of new roommates, and there’s going to be a lot of new characters. Callie is a first-year law clerk, so she’s working for a conservative judge, which she’s going to kind of struggle with and kind of try to reconcile throughout the season. And Mariana is working at a tech startup and kind of fighting the patriarchy. It’s quite political. You’re going to see, basically, the heart of The Fosters and what was so relatable about The Fosters, just through a different lens. I’m really excited about it. We’re about a month into shooting, and it’s so much fun. This new cast is so talented and there’s also some of the cast from our Fosters family as well. So, it’s really exciting, and I’m really looking forward to it.

HC: And it must be nice to reunite with Cierra Ramirez, what's it like getting to work with her again? How would you describe your friendship?

MM: Cierra and I have a very similar dynamic to Callie and Mariana. She’s my best friend in real life, so she’s so easy to work with. We know each other so well. We know what presses each other’s buttons, and we kiss and then we make up. We just forget about it two minutes later. She’s like the easiest person to work with because I could never say anything that would offend her. And we hang out on the weekends. People think we’re crazy because we’ll wrap like a day of 14 hours together and we’re like ‘What are you doing tomorrow night?’ So, I’m really, really lucky that I get to keep working with her.

HC: I bet that fuels your passion on set, too, which is lovely to see because it creates another dynamic of your chemistry in the show.

MM: It does. It’s just really easy at work. We don’t have to put in that extra level of effort of creating that chemistry and that dynamic on screen. It’s just how we are when we walk onto the set. It’s really effortless for us.

HC: You're also going to star in The Last Summer alongside KJ Apa. Can you tell us anything about your character in that movie and working with KJ?

MM: Yes. I play Phoebe in The Last Summer, and she’s the love interest for KJ Apa’s character, Griffin. The structure of the movie allows for a lot of different storylines and the love stories that kind of interconnect. So, Phoebe is heading toward going to NYU, and she’s spending the summer to make a documentary. It’s a really sweet story. KJ’s great to work with. I never worked with anyone else really. There are so many different storylines, so I feel like when I see the film it’s going to be a surprise. It was a really fun time.  

HC: Important question, are you obsessed with Riverdale like so many of us?

MM: Yeah, I’ve watched every episode. So, when I got the offer, I was like, ‘Of course!’ KJ’s great, he’s talented. And they got Tyler Posey to come on, and a bunch of really great actors. So, it’s a really fun cast.

HC: Having been in this industry for quite some time now, what advice would you give to young women just starting out?

MM: I think the thing I would tell my 18-year-old self would be just to trust your gut and just be really sure of yourself—with people, with projects. Make sure you trust your gut about people and gravitate toward people who make you feel like yourself—rather than trying to fit some sort of a mold. It’s really easy to get caught up in this town. It’s a tough town.

While it might seem like forever until we see Callie in Good Trouble, Maia Mitchell thankfully gave us some helpful advice and same major friendship inspo. After all, trusting your gut instinct and developing a solid understanding relationship with your bestie are goals to live by—regardless of where you are in your life or what industry you work.

Make sure to catch Maia in Hot Summer Nights, which hits select theaters on July 27.