Madison Iseman plays twins in Amazon's adaptation of "I Know What You Did Last Summer." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The cast of Amazon's I Know What You Did Last Summer adaptation said the show updates the 1997 film with a more diverse cast of characters.
Madison Iseman, Brianne Tju, Ashley Moore, Sebastian Amoruso and Ezekiel Goodman play high school grads who cover up a hit-and-run in which they were involved. One year later, a stalker begins to send them threatening notes and killing them one by one.
"Not only do we have a new setting and new story, but we have new colors," Iseman told UPI in a Zoom interview, speaking about the show's diverse cast.
"I think there's also a long way to go, so it's great to just be a small stepping stone toward a more diverse entertainment business," Iseman said.
The 1997 movie, adapted from Lois Duncan's 1973 novel, starred Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe. The Amazon series cast includes Asian, Black and LGBTQ actors as new characters.
The 24-year-old Iseman plays twins, Allison and Lennon. Lennon is in a relationship with Margot (Tju), but also seduces Dylan (Goodman).
"They are totally opposite people, but they also share the same darkness from when their mom committed suicide when they were younger," Iseman said of her characters. "That's the one thing that tethers them together as twins and sisters and survivors of this incident."
The 23-year-old Tju said she has struggled to fit in as an Asian woman in the entertainment industry, and feels that I Know What You Did Last Summer allows for a diverse group of friends, including Margot and her sexuality.
"I still think she's trying to understand her sexuality, which a lot of young people are," Tju said. "She confuses love with attention and validation."
Amoruso, 21, said he had not been able to find roles for an Asian-American man like himself in five years of auditioning, until his 2020 role on the series, Solve. Summer is only his second television role.
"The minute people started pushing diversity, I started being seriously considered for things," Amoruso said. "We see minority led projects doing better on streaming services and online right now, specifically women-led minority projects."
In I Know What You Did Last Summer, Johnny (Amoruso) was a quarterback and musician. After the accident, he decided not to attend The Juilliard School.
Dylan is one of the characters who encourages his friends to report the accident to the police. However, characters like Riley (Moore), a Black woman who experiences police profiling, convince the others they will face manslaughter charges for driving after taking drugs.
Goodman, 26, said that as an actor starting out in his career, he has little control over the casting of a show. However, he welcomed the assortment of co-stars I Know What You Did Last Summer afforded him.
"I want to work with people with different life experiences," Goodman said. "That's how you become a fuller person."
The 1997 movie took place in Southport, N.C. In the book, the town was not named.
The Amazon series changes the setting to Hawaii. Iseman said the island setting added layers to the classic story.
"We're trapped as people and we're trapped on an island," Iseman said. "It's a metaphor with not just my character, but with many characters putting on a face and feeling trapped in themselves."
Tju said the beauty of the island contrasts with the morbid nature of the friends' secret.
"It's a place you wouldn't expect all this horror to happen," Tju said.
Iseman and Tju have previous experience in horror films and series. Iseman starred in Goosebumps 2 and Annabelle Comes Home, but said I Know What You Did Last Summer is scary in a different way.
"It's not just a bunch of young people running away from a kill," Iseman said. "It's a story where everyone is hiding something and no one's innocent."
Tju starred in the Scream TV series and the killer shark movie, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. Tju said I Know What You Did Last Summer delivers the horror, but offers even more.
"There are gory aspects, but at the end of the day, this is a story," Tju said. "We really prioritized the relationships, so when you do lose someone, it's heartbreaking."
New episodes of I Know What You Did Last Summer premiere Fridays on Amazon Prime.