Best known for her work on The Creation of Aspen, Send Me to Heaven and Horoscopes and Fortune Cookies, Amber Coney can also be seen in the upcoming L.A. Series, Kill The Czar, and Actors Anonymous. In Dead of Summer, Coney plays Carolina ‘Cricket’ Diaz, a warm, snarky camp counselor who harbors deep-seated issues beneath her carefree, fun-loving exterior.
A former attendee turned counselor, Cricket returns to Camp Stillwater looking strikingly different from her younger self. She seeks validation from her peers, especially her longtime crush, Alex. In this one-on-one interview, Amber reveals the challenges she faced during filming the series and what she enjoyed most about her role.
What attracted you to this decidedly mixed genre series?
Amber Coney: That’s a great question. When I got the script, I immediately loved it. It was something I knew I’d be on board for. I’m very open in terms of genre or style, and I was drawn to the story in a deep and truthful way.
Did you audition for the role?
Amber: It was one of the first scripts I’d received for the pilot TV season. I saw the casting director and he called back almost immediately. I’ve never had such a fast turnaround before. I went home, took a bath, and was ready for my callback. They taped me and helped draw out my best performance. I tested with Adam (Horowitz) and Eddy (Kitsis), who created the show, as well as Once Upon a Time and Lost. It’s no surprise that I fell in love with the material. They’re masters at what they do. It was an opportunity to work with them, and I felt the energy in the room. After the test, I knew I had to be this character.
What challenges did you face during filming?
Amber: Besides the cold? (laughs). We’re filming out in Minaty Bay in Vancouver. The camp was nestled in the mountain areas. We shot the pilot in early spring, doing all overnight shoots in the freezing cold at four in the morning. We’d strip down to our skivvies and run across icy rocks to the pier. My skin was all red by the time I finished. I would layer over my other clothes and have these hot foot warmers. It’s weird because I feel that every project I seem to get involves overnight shoots.
Are Cricket’s deep-seated issues presented gradually or abruptly in one episode?
Amber: It’s gradual. The cool thing about this series is that in the first episode, you’ll see little clues from each character that provide bits of insight as to where they’re coming from and what they’re dealing with. It’s set up in a way that every character will have a flashback episode where you’ll learn about their backstory.
What can you tell us about Stillwater’s dark, ancient mythology?
Amber There’s definitely an ominous presence that causes us (counselors) to question reality and see our fears manifested in a way that we’d never experienced before. This creepy, scary sense going around camp starts to manifest itself stronger and stronger. Soon enough, we’re all trying to figure out what’s going on, where it’s coming from and how to stop it.
Can you go into a little detail about Cricket’s relationship with Alex?
Amber: In the first episode, we’ll see Cricket fawning over him. He’s basically the guy she wants. She does everything she can to make that known to him without ruining her chances. You’ll have to see whether or not she’s successful.
Is there a backstory we’ll see between Alex and Cricket?
Amber: We were all campers as kids, so there’s already this history in that we all knew each other growing up. How Cricket feels about Alex in the present day is just a dramatic progression of what she thought about him as a kid. It’s sort of a perpetual summer crush.
Is the series more coming-of-age story or more supernatural horror?
Amber: I think the cool part is that it’s actually both and that’s why I was drawn to it. This dynamic and the progression of the characters are just as strong as the supernatural horror element.
Dead of Summer premieres on June 28th.