‘Boo, Bitch’: Zoe Colletti on Connecting With Her Character & Working With Lana Condor
In Netflix‘s Boo, Bitch, just as a high school senior decides to finally make her mark, she dies — but that doesn’t stop her from trying to live her life to the fullest. Premiering on July 8, the eight-episode comedy follows BFFs Erika (Lana Condor) and Gia (Zoe Colletti) as they try to figure out the conditions of the former being a ghost, all while on the cusp of graduation.
Boo, Bitch is far from grave: Erika’s death drives her to go from outcast to social media star, and the more famous she gets, the longer she can stick around. Even though Boo, Bitch leans into the silliness of its premise, its beating heart lies in the relationship between Condor and Colletti’s characters. Before her friend turned undead, Gia was the one to convince Erika to shed their introverted status, but after, she has to grapple with Erika changing herself in her pursuit of popularity.
Here, Colletti, known for her roles in AMC‘s Fear the Walking Dead and Guillermo del Toro‘s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, previews the series for TV Insider.
What drew you to the project? What excited you the most going into it?
Zoe Colletti: I thought the project just seemed super, super cute. The people that are backing the project are really great — Lauren [Iungerich] and Erin [Ehrlich] — and the stuff they’ve worked on is really great and all in a similar genre to Boo, Bitch. I thought getting the opportunity to work with them would be super exciting, [and I] just really connected with Gia as a character. It was one of the first times that I got the opportunity to audition and then play a character that I feel like I have a lot of similarities to. So it was a bit of a journey of looking at myself being like, “Oh, my gosh, would I do this? Would I not do this?” But it was fun getting to play a character that was similar to myself.
What are some of those similarities?
I would hope that Gia is a little bit more awkward and stuff than I was in school. I think maybe I was a little bit cooler than her — we can only hope. I do think I have the kind of goofy, awkward characteristics that Gia has. But on a more serious note, Gia is really the type of person that is a ride-or-die best friend. She’s willing to do anything to make sure that her friends and the people she loves are doing well and have what they need. I would like to think it was a characteristic I saw in her that I feel like I have.
Lana said that Erika becomes “the worst person ever,” so how does Gia’s relationship with her change after she comes back to life?
It’s an interesting dynamic because you find them at the beginning of the show in the peak of their friendship. And after all of the craziness goes down, Erika does take a bit of a nasty turn and becomes super selfish and all of those terrible qualities that you don’t want to see in your best friend. I think Gia’s main goal in general was to make sure that Erika would be able to fulfill everything for herself and to make better connections and kind of live her life to the fullest for whatever time she has left. I think Gia cared so much about that, that even though Erika was not being very nice to her, that was still her main goal at the end of the day. So if that meant separating from her and her wanting to be with new friends for whatever time she had left, I think Gia was OK with that, because she wanted Erika to be happy.
What was it like working with Lana and developing your characters’ relationship?
I would keep you here for like seven million years if I were to tell you all of the reasons why I adore Lana so much. I think she is such a sweet, lovely person inside and out. I feel like the connection that we made was instantaneous. We didn’t know each other at all before starting to film. We had a chemistry read that we had done where we met very briefly to read the lines with each other. From our very first rehearsal, we clicked like total best friends, which was super, super fun and [it was] super fun to get to bring that to screen as well. But the chemistry that you see on screen is completely organic and completely real.
What you can tease about Gia’s arc? Does what happened to Erika cause Gia to make any changes to her own life?
[When] you find Gia and Erika in the beginning, they’re kind of the only person that the other has, so I think it was a pretty big wake-up call to be put in a position where that person is leaving you and not really with you anymore and becoming a very different person. We don’t touch on it so much in the show, but from the behind-the-scenes aspect of what Gia would be going through, I’m sure what she was wanting Erika to do — which was to push her out of her comfort zone so that she’ll make more friends — made her feel like, “Oh, OK, maybe if I’m having someone else do this, maybe I also should put myself out there more.” But I do think her main concern was just wanting the best for Erika, so as much as I’m sure there was lots of self-reflection going on, she [had] kind of a one-track mind.
Supernatural stuff seems to be your go-to, though Boo, Bitch is definitely a very different kind of supernatural compared to Fear the Walking Dead and Scary Stories [to Tell in the Dark]. What was it like to make that transition to this more comedic, lighthearted-type story?
It was something that was honestly super exciting for me and a bit of a challenge going into it. Most of my resume leading up to Boo, Bitch has been dramatic roles, so getting the opportunity to enter the comedy world was super exciting, super challenging, but a ton of fun at the same time. It has some really fun tongue-in-cheek moments, but also adding a supernatural element, that’s like my home. I’ve got all of those kinds of things in a lot of the other jobs that I’ve done, so having that there but also adding this new comedy situation was definitely a challenge but a ton of fun.
Are there any one-liners or funny moments during filming that stand out to you as your favorite?
There is a scene where Erika and Gia end up full-blown wrestling in the woods in a pile of mud and I end up being completely covered in mud and I’m just chucking mud at Lana’s face. She was absolutely miserable filming that scene, but I adored it and thought it was the most fun day ever. I don’t know if I was thriving off of how miserable she was because I thought that was hilarious, but I think that was definitely my favorite day on set.
What aspect of the show are you most looking forward to people seeing?
I think it really kind of comments a lot on the really huge pressure [in high school] to be a certain way or do certain things or wear certain things to fit in. I hope what people take away at the end of the show with the relationship between Erika and Gia and where the show ends and leaves off is to just wear what you want, do what you want, be your own personality, and to not feel pressure from whatever social groups or whatever’s going on in your school to change yourself to fit in.
Boo, Bitch, Series Premiere, Friday, July 8, Netflix