Thanks to the release of the coming-of-age classic Clueless in 1995, Alicia Silverstone quickly became the teenage queen of the era, with her stylish knee-high stockings and sassy one-liners. Now, 25 years later, the Golden Globe-nominated actress is back on the teen screen again, but this time as a mom in the new Netflix reboot of The Baby-Sitters Club.
Getting involved with the revival of the popular Ann M. Martin book series — which comes out on July 3 — was a no-brainer for Alicia. After finding out that executive producer Michael De Luca, showrunner Rachel Shukert, and executive producer and director Lucia Aniello were on board, Alicia immediately became interested. Then, she read through the script and instantly grew fond of her character, Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer, the mother of the ever-headstrong Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace).
“It was just so sweet and lovely and made me smile and feel good,” Alicia tells Good Housekeeping. “I think what turned me onto the script was that it included a complicated relationship between Kristy and Elizabeth. [My character]’s got four kids, a lot on her plate, and not a lot of money. She’s just trying to survive.”
One of the plot points for Alicia’s character involves Kristy coping with her mother’s boyfriend. Though it throws Kristy for a loop, the show, like the book franchise, highlights the importance of listening to each other and being open to perspectives.
“I think what I love about the show is that these kids are all growing and learning,” Alicia adds. “And so are the parents and everybody. We all are, right?”
While talking about her own character, Alicia reinforces that the Netflix series is centered around Kristy, Mary-Anne Spier (Malia Baker), Claudia Kishi (Momona Tamada), Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph), and Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez), and their individual triumphs and struggles as they navigate friendship, entrepreneurship, and growing up. Though she isn’t the lead in this new series, working as a supporting actress came with its own set of unique challenges.
“I do come from being the lead often,” she explains. “So there is a luxury to being the lead where you can really tell a story and say a lot over the course of an episode or a movie. You’re sort of being followed and you can really track all of the things.”
In particular, she remembers one of the first scenes she did being especially tricky: “I sort of walk in — and I’m so happy and relieved to see it went really well and how it turned out in the edits — but I remember feeling really awkward about coming into my first line … it’s hard to feel flow-y and natural and present to the moment sometimes.”
That said, the overall filming experience for Alicia “was a dream.” When asked about her behind-the-scenes experiences, Alicia recalls getting a kick out of seeing the babysitters’ “odd” and “interesting” costumes every day. She also really enjoyed getting to know Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein, who plays her character’s love interest.
“Mark is so fun and devilish and naughty,” Alicia reveals. “He’s so good, such a good actor. As a human, he’s lovely — such a charming, flirty, happy guy that, like, you just have so much fun with him. And I think all the girls had fun with him too, because he’s just, he’s a daddy, and he was just funny and silly on set.”
Her filming experiences aside, perhaps one of the biggest things Alicia appreciates about The Baby-Sitters Club is the way the show made her reflect. Watching the five girls’ storylines unfold prompted Alicia to recall her own coming-of-age years. Though, according to the 43-year-old actress, her experiences were much different.
“I felt envious of the relationships these girls have with each other,” she says. “And I thought, ‘Gosh, I wish that I had those kinds of [relationships].’ They just all seemed so much further ahead with their emotional development or something.”
Alicia adds, “There’s depth to [the characters] and there’s depth to how they communicate with each other. I don’t remember any of that in junior high. My god, I just remember it being really painful. Really painful. So I was sitting there going, ‘Oh, what a dream.'”
Seeing The Baby-Sitters Club leads have such strong senses of self was personally inspiring to the actress. In Alicia’s view, these kinds of characters are the ones she hopes will inspire the next generation of teens to come, including her very own 9-year-old son, Bear.
“It’s so modern. It’s okay for these girls to be feisty, strong beings, to have purpose and ideas. I mean, sometimes they have a crush on a boy, I’m sure, but that’s not the focus at all. They are dreaming up big ideas, and they’re working things out inside of themselves,” Alicia says. “I think this is content that a parent could feel really good about.”
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