Kathryn Prescott on “Finding Carter,” “Skins Fire” and being recognized in America

Kathryn Prescott will always be Emily Fitch to us, but she’s now got two new identities on MTV’s Finding Carter. Kat plays a teenager she thinks is named Carter Stevens, but finds out that she was abducted as a three-year-old, formerly named Lyndon Wilson. Now Carter has to meet her biological parents, twin sister (played by Anna Jacoby-Heron), younger brother and grandparents while also figuring out why the woman she thought was her mother (Milena Govich) has lied to her all these years.

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The first two episodes of Finding Carter premiered on July 8 and Kat Prescott attended the MTV TCA day in Los Angeles to talk the new series, being recognized in America and Naomi’s untimely death on Skins Fire.

AfterEllen.com: So firstly, one question people want me to ask is why is Meg not playing your twin sister on the show?

Kathryn Prescott: Yeah, I’ve seen that question a lot. It’s such a weird question! It’s so weird. I think because if she did, people would be like, “Is it Skins?” And also my sister’s writing now. She does do some acting but her thing now is writing. I love Anna. Anna’s awesome and plays my sister really well. I forget that we’re supposed to be twins in it. I’m so pleased they cast Anna. I would have worked with Meg again. It would have been a weird casting choice for them to just pick my sister. We’re not like the Olsen Twins, we don’t always work together!

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AE: What do you think Skins fans will like about Finding Carter?

KP: I think it’s got that youthful vibe. A lot of it is youthful and it’s very, very different from Skins, firstly, but I do think there are some things that are good about Finding Carter that were so good about Skins. One of them is that it takes relationships—this show deals a lot more with adult relationships as well. But it takes the relationships of teenagers and shows them in a way that is as credible and as important that teenagers really feel that they are. Because I think on a lot of shows it’s diluted down or exaggerated extremely, like, “Look at these silly relationships this teenagers are having!” But it’s not how you feel at the time and it’s not how it is. The relationships you have when you are young kind of shape who you are a little bit, whether that’s with your family or romantic partners and I don’t think it’s just or fair to show them as these silly things and I think, yeah, it shows that very well. Both of them did that and that’s what I liked about Skins as well.

AE: But less drugs and sex, I assume.

KP: Carter has this one thing where she takes the pill and has a seizure so I don’t think she’ll do that again. By no means were they saying that every time you take them you have a seizure, but the drugs in this case—Carter was so broken inside and upset that she is doing anything to make herself feel better and she’s making bad choices and you see the consequences of these choices. It’s shown in a very different light.

AE: The last time we saw you in Skins Fire, you were in a very dramatic situation. So far Finding Carter is kind of heavy, too. Do you get to have any lighter moments?

KP: People ask me this—it’s obviously about some kind of crazy storyline that’s really big but that is the undertone of the whole thing. it doesn’t filtrate really through every single scene. Even I when I’m reading them, you’ll go for a whole episode and think “Oh, she’s better or something.” You see the second episode and think “Oh she’s a wild child, she’s having fun. She’s partying. She’s getting better!” But then you’re like no because when people go off the rails like that, they’re not wild and like that and having fun. She’s doing that to escape this pain. I think there are a lot of times you watch it—same thing with Elizabeth. You watch her —”Oh, she’s not mentioned Laurie in a while. Maybe she’s able to forget about it.” And then something will happen and you’ll see, no, it’s always there but they’re not always talking about. The abduction is definitely something that is hanging over them, but it’s not hanging over them in every scene. Yes it is dramatic but it’s not like melodramatic. Also there are some hilarious—when you meet Carter new friends and like Max is so funny. I couldn’t even do the scenes with them because I was laughing so much. I have really light scenes with the friends.

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AE: How did you feel about the way Skins Fire ended?

KP: I was shocked when I read it because, “Woah! OK.” It’s extreme, but at the same time, it’s something that happens and what Bryan Elsely, the creator, always used to say was “We don’t dumb things down for our audience. We don’t dumb things down ever. We’re never going to write something because that’s what we think people want to see. ” He’s like “We’re going to write something we feel is true; we feel is something that happens.” And I think they wanted to show—in a way it’s kind of good. I like these stories that I’m reading and seeing now more where there’s not just some happy ending. And I know it’s horrible and I’m sad it ended like that in a way because it’s a lesbian couple that’s not well represented in young TV especially so it was great but it still existed. They still were there, it still was well represented. Just because Naomi died doesn’t mean that their relationship never happened and I think that lives on.

But I like stories that show that even when you think everything will be alright from that point, it isn’t because life does this. There’s this really good book called 100 Years of Solitude and it gets kind of depressing at some points and then kind of happy and then you’re just not sure how you feel about it because at the end the whole thing is that nothing ever stops. It just keeps going. So whatever happens, you just keep living. And that’s kind of the best story other than bombarding people with these images and stories about people getting married and being happy ever after and people being disappointed when it’s not what they thought it would be. It was good, it was sad, but it was good in some ways.

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AE: So have people have come up to you and said they liked it?

KP: [laughs] It’s not the main response. I’ve had people say they thought the show was good, they the liked the writing real well, the acting…I have not yet had someone come up to me and say that they liked that that happened. But they said the show was good. They just were sad that that happened.

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AE: At first Americans had to find Skins illegally if they wanted to watch it but then it became available on Hulu and Netflix. Do you get recognized a lot here?

KP: Very rarely. Not as much as in England, but far more often than I would think. When I first came out here someone said that to me and I was like [slowly], “Yeah…” And it was weird because she was from Australia and I was from England and we met in Venice Beach. It’s bizarre, it’s everywhere randomly, but rare. I was in Hamburg and a girl came up to me and said it.

AE: Is there something you hope people will take away from Finding Carter?

KP: What I would really like for people to take away from the show is that it’s really good to see the grey areas in people and life and everything. Noone is ever completely black and white. They fall in between. And it’s not good to pigeonhole people. In the pilot, I feel like people are going to be like “This person’s good, he’s bad, he’s good, she’s good, she’s bad.” But the more you get to know them, the more you’re like “Oh my god wait—she’s awful!” And then something else happens and you go “Wait!” and you get really confused. Like when you put people on pedestals, it’ snot fair on them because then it’s like every time they do anything that isn’t perfect, they feel like they’ve got to keep that up. At the same time you think of someone as all bad, you never give them the opportunity to prove otherwise. And you never give them a reason to prove otherwise because you already think they’re a terrible person. Nothing happens for no reason. No one is just evil. Everyone is just a product of other things; cause and effect. If people were to take anything from Finding Carter, just look in the grey and embrace it.

Finding Carter airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on MTV.

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