Sofia Black D’Elia and Bryan Elsley tell us why you should give US “Skins” a chance

AfterEllen: Can you tell us a little bit about auditioning for Skins. Did you audition strictly for the role of Tea?
Sofia Black D’Elia:
Originally I auditioned for the role of Michelle, but at that time Tea
hadn’t been written. And I think I was actually the first person to read
for Tea once she was written, in New York at least.

AE: What did you think of her when you first read her?
that time, she was nothing more than a couple of pieces of paper. I
hadn’t talked to Bryan yet. I was just another kid auditioning. The only
thing I knew about her was that she was a lot like Teo, and I had been
reading with a lot of other kids who had been auditioning for Teo, while
I was auditioning for Michelle.

AE: What did you know about her?
SBD: I knew she was very funny. When I read for her originally, she was very comedic. Very confident.

AE: Now, were you familiar with the UK Skins?
SBD: Yes!

AE: Were you familiar before you started auditioning?
SBD: Yes!

AE: Pretend [series creator] Bryan [Elsley] is not standing right beside you. What did you think of the show?

I was a huge fan. I hadn’t seen every episode, but I had seen all of
the first season. And I fell in love with the second generation before I

AE: What was it that appealed to you?
I love that as a young person who wants to be an actor, there are young
people out there pushing boundaries, and I think they’re so brave.
Every kid on the original series was so brave, and I really respected
them for that. And I thought the writing was great. And in The States,
at least, I hadn’t felt that there was any series that represented
teenagers properly. I love a lot of shows on HBO, but they’re all for
adults, and then when I saw Skins — after a friend told me about
it — it was the first time I saw teenagers being represented the way I
thought they should be represented.

AE: It must be kind of exciting to be on a show like this that has launched careers like Nicholas Hoult and Dev Patel.
SBD: Oh, it’s extremely exciting!

AE: So you’re aware of that aspect of what the show has done for people?
Yeah, I’m aware of it, but I would say it didn’t really dawn on me at
all while I was auditioning for it. I was more excited that I was going
to meet Bryan. I mean, I’d seen the show and after every episode it had a
credit that said, "Created by Bryan Elsley." And I was in a room with
him. It was a very surreal experience, in that I was a huge fan. And I
believed in the show and in what it does for kids.

AE: So, what do you know about Naomily? Naomi and Emily, the worldwide craze?
SBD: As far as couples go in generation two, I thought they were the best couple on the show.

AE: How does it feel to be doing an American adaptation of a British show?
SBD: It’s scary. I mean, I totally understand where everyone is coming from. I was a fan of the original Office, and when I heard it was coming to The States, I was completely freaking out about it
so I totally understand why everyone is so upset. It’s normal. When
anything gets redone, there are always going to people who will say,
"There’s no way it’s going to be [as good as the original]." But I think
that if American audiences just accept that we’re remaking the show,
and watch it as a new show, they’re really going to love it.

AE: Without giving anything away, what do you think will be different about the new show compared to the old show.
Elsley stepping in]: There will be a gay character at the center of the
story, right from the get go, right until the end of the series.

SBD: There you go.

Bryan Elsley: She didn’t know that.

SBD: I didn’t, until just right now.

AE: Oh, really? You didn’t know you were going to be at the center of season one? So, what three words are coming to your mind?
SBD: Oh my God! Is that good?

AE: That works! There are so few fully developed lesbian characters on television. How do you feel about taking on that I don’t want to say responsibility, but that role?
SBD: It is a responsibility.

AE: All right, that responsibility?
It’s obviously very daunting, but very exciting at the same time
because I think that, like you said, it’s rare, so if I do it well, I
think it’s going to be a very talked about character on Skins.

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