Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (airing on Thursday nights on Freeform, starting on June 7th) tells the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph), two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves with superpowers that mysteriously link them to each other. As dangers surrounding them heighten, Tandy’s ability to emit light daggers and Tyrone’s ability to control the power of darkness puts them at risk, but also teaches them that they are better together than apart.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Olivia Holt talked about how little she knew about the show and her character during the audition process, how quickly she connected with co-star Aubrey Joseph, who in her own life is most excited that she’s playing a superhero, making sure the lives of these teens feel as real and authentic as possible, whether having newfound powers is a blessing or a curse for Tandy and Tyrone, how she most identifies with her character, how physically and emotionally draining the season was to shoot, and that their journey as superheroes is just beginning.
Collider: I’ve watched the first four episodes of this show, and I enjoyed it very much.
OLIVIA HOLT: Oh, good! I’m so happy to hear that. Thank you so much.
Obviously, we all know how secretive Marvel is about everything that they do, so when you went through the audition process for this, what were you actually told about the show and the character?
HOLT: Very little. I had a little bit of a character breakdown, just explaining what Tandy has gone through, as a kid and where her headspace is at now, and a little bit of a backstory between the two characters, but it was very, very little. They did tell us that it was based off of the Marvel comic, Cloak and Dagger, so I did read the first comic, just to understand the tone, where Tandy and Tyrone come from, and what exactly their powers are and what they can do with them. So, I did a little bit of my research before going in, but it was tough. It was easier when we were in the room with our creator, Joe Pokaski, and Gina Prince-Bythewood, our director, and they were helping us and guiding us through what was happening in the scenes and what our characters were going through because we went in a little blind.
From what you’ve said, it sounds like you and your co-star, Aubrey Joseph, knew pretty instantly, during the audition process, that you were meant to do these roles together. What was it like the first time you got to work together during the auditions, and then how did that compare to your first day together on set?
HOLT: Our audition was magical. It truly was just something that is rare. We hit it off, right off the bat. I know that both Aubrey and I felt very excited to be in that room together. It’s very rare that you instantly connect with somebody. I remember leaving that audition and feeling really good about what we did in the room together, whether we got the parts or not. That’s something that you can hold onto, forever. And then, once we ended up getting the parts and moved ourselves down to New Orleans and started the show, it just all evolved from there. I feel really lucky to have Aubrey, as not just a scene partner, but a friend and somebody who’s just as passionate about this story and these characters as I am because I feel like it just makes it that much better.
With as popular as comic book and superhero movies and TV shows are now, who in your own life was most excited, when they found out you would be doing this?
HOLT: Probably my dad. My dad is my biggest fan, which is amazing because I’m his biggest fan, too. My dad and I have a really awesome relationship and when I told him, he was like, “What? You’re gonna be playing a Marvel superhero?!” He was over the moon excited, which makes me excited. Not only does this show entertain, and my dad will be entertained by it, but I also think it impacts people and moves people.
This TV series has been highly anticipated. How does it feel to finally be getting this series out into the world?
HOLT: It’s surreal. It’s a lot of emotions compiled into one being. It’s exhilarating, it’s overwhelming, it’s nerve wracking. I feel really, really grateful to be a part of this show, to tell Tandy’s story and to tell it alongside of Tyrone. After five months of creating this story in New Orleans and now finally, almost a year later, we’re releasing it for the world to see, it’s pretty epic. I feel like it’s gonna be a game changer, in my eyes.
I love how it’s unique and different from other superhero shows and from other teen shows. I don’t feel like there’s a show that’s been like this, and these teenagers feel very real, even though they do have powers. Was it important to you to make sure these teens feel like real people?
HOLT: I think it’s the most important, to make this feel very authentic and raw and honest. From what I experience, in every single episode, there are so many important little truths, throughout the entire season. I think it’s important for people to watch that and feel impacted by it, to wanna make a difference, and to wanna use their voice in a positive way, to the best of their ability. That, for me, was definitely something that I felt like I needed to do.
These were kids that seemingly had idyllic lives full of possibilities, until they both experienced tragedy, on the same night. At this point in their lives, is having these powers a blessing or a cursing for them, or will that keep shifting, as they find out more about what they can do?
HOLT: I feel like it’s gonna start shifting. At first, they’re confused. They’re genuinely curious about why it’s happening to them and nobody else. They’re teenagers. They’re young adults who have had to grow up fast, and they’re coping with a lot in their lives already, on top of finding out that they have these powers. Figuring out how to use them, when to use them, and why they need to use them, are all big questions. Throughout the season, you’ll see what it means to them to have these powers, whether they’ll use them for good or for bad, and why they now have them.