‘Confess': Katie Leclerc and Ryan Cooper on Art, Romance, & On-Screen Chemistry

     April 11, 2017

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In the go90.com streaming series Confess (executive produced by Amy Kim and Jaime Burke for Lifeboat Productions, as well as Lauren Levine and author Colleen Hoover, who wrote the best-selling book that it’s based on), Auburn Reed (Katie Leclerc) has already lost everything important to her and is trying to fight to rebuild her shattered life, and while her heart is in the right place, she’s terrified of making a mistake. But when she unexpectedly ends up with a job at a Los Angeles art studio, she finds a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry (Ryan Cooper), who works and lives there, and together they must learn to navigate their pasts, in order to move forward with the lives that they want.

During this very fun and highly entertaining phone interview with Collider, co-stars Katie Leclerc and Ryan Cooper talked about how they got involved with Confess, what drew them to the project, their awesome chemistry, having Kyle Secor and Sherilyn Fenn as the parental figures on set, their production schedule for the shoot, the scenes they were most nervous about, which paintings they got to keep, and all of the fan love. Leclerc also talked about what it’s meant to her to have been a part of the Freeform series Switched at Birth, while Cooper talked about his experience working with the insanely funny cast of Rough Night (due out in theaters on June 16th) and the preparation he did to give Scarlett Johansson a lap dance.

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Image via Awestruck

Collider: How exciting is it for you guys to not only hear the feedback about how much people are loving Confess, but also that they immediately started asking for more?

KATIE LECLERC: It’s been interesting having a show get canceled and have its final episode air in the same week that these episodes premiere. There are lots of feels in that department.

How did this come your way? Were you even aware of what go90.com is?

LECLERC: I just got it through my agency, as a regular audition. I did know what go90.com is, through friends of friends who had done projects with go90.com and Awestruck. So, I was a little familiar with it, and I’m more familiar now. I thought this was an intriguing story about an artist who takes confessions and turns them into fine art, but I loved the portion where Owen is explaining that and says, “Everybody has these secrets that they try to cover up, but ultimately, how much better off would we be, if we just shared all those secrets.” I loved the aspect of the love story, but more importantly, and the thing that really sold me on the project, was Elissa Down, our director. In the audition process, she was wild and crazy and so much fun. Because we got closer and closer, further into the auditioning process, I was like, “This woman is my spirit animal and I would like to work with her.” I was really lucky to be picked.

RYAN COOPER: I totally agree! I actually hadn’t heard of go90.com, prior to the whole project. Reading the script, I knew Elissa’s work and the way that she tells story and the way it ends up on the screen. She’s Australian, like I am, so I knew of her previous movies. And then, I met Katie in the room and it just all felt right. I felt like I could really trust each of the players and that everyone was going to bring their A-game and do justice to the fan base. There’s no point turning up to tell a story, half-heartedly. I felt very privileged, and the response has been wonderful and just amazing. It’s really cool.

Your chemistry is pretty great and you seem to have a real ease with each other, on screen, which is so important to this story. Did you guys do a chemistry test, at all, or did you just click, right away?

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Image via Awestruck

LECLERC: There was a chemistry test. It was on a Saturday morning, and it was a gloomy, overcast day. Ryan walked in the room and he was a ball of sunshine, and we all swooned, at the same time. It was a really nice day. Honestly, from the moment Ryan walked in the room, I feel like there was no doubt in anyone’s mind, and at least there wasn’t in mine.

COOPER: When I did get to meet Katie, she just brings her A-game. As much as Katie says she’s not like Auburn, at all, I think there’s a bit of Auburn in her. She’s very, very, very kind-hearted, and you can feel that. We just had a blast. It was wonderful.

These characters have really been through some shit, so you really want to be able to root for them to be together.

LECLERC: Yeah, and in a lot of ways, they’re the only people who could understand each other and accept that the person that you are is not defined by the mistakes that you make. They’ve both made mistakes, but they’re both in this place where they’re making up for that and just doing the very best that they can. That’s all you can expect from anyone.

COOPER: And it’s really interesting to see the way Lydia is trying to keep Auburn as a child, in many respects, with the way she’s treating her. And Owen has had to grow up and take care of his own dad. They’re both trying to figure out this equilibrium between where they are and where they should be and what’s expected of them, and the guilt that’s placed on them for the secrets they keep and what that is like when they truly can be vulnerable with each other and what doors open into each other’s lives when that happens.

What was it like to have actors like Kyle Secor and Sherilyn Fenn as the parental figures on set?

LECLERC: So good. I am a Twin Peaks fan, so I was really stoked when they cast Sherilyn Fenn. She was everything that I was hoping she would be. She was very giving in the scenes, and inventive in the moment and terrifying, at the same time. I just really learned into that for Auburn. And I had less scenes with Kyle, but he was lovely. He was just willing to play.

COOPER: I’m similar with Katie, in the opposite. I actually didn’t have any scenes with Sherilyn, so we just said hi, passing by, in and out of the schedule. And with Kyle, because he’s such a tall guy, the way he came on set the first day, the dynamic between us was very, very interesting. I loved it because even just his height alone gave me the feeling of, “I’m small, and you’re a big guy.” It was something to fight towards, which for me, gave me a very different feeling in the scene, which helped with what Owen is going through, trying to fight up and break ground with his father and get his message across. That was very interesting to me. And Kyle is a fantastic guy. I just loved having him there. We’ve been on walks and talked, since then. We did Runyon Canyon. I really like him.

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Image via Awestruck

What was your production schedule like on this? Did you shoot it one episode at a time, or did you shoot it more like a movie, with everything all at once?

LECLERC: Definitely like a movie. We bounced around L.A. The first two weeks were in Owen’s loft, which was such a cool set. Thank goodness for our amazing script supervisor and director because I got lost plenty of times. I was like, “What is happening right now?! I don’t know. I know my lines, but help me figure this out.” But, that’s the collaboration of a crew. We were very lucky!

COOPER: That’s true. You’re shooting across seven episodes, and we had scenes with the three Fs. We had food scenes, fighting scenes, and the other f-word. We had days where we would have all three of those, so it was interesting trying to figure out if we were in a flashback or if we were in the present moment, and keeping all that straight. It was a task, but that’s what we do. We had a wonderful team around us to support that. We lucked out.

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Television