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Sofia Rosinsky: Humor helped with challenging 'Paper Girls' role

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Sofia Rosinsky attends the Comic-Con premiere of "Paper Girls." Photo courtesy of Prime Video
Sofia Rosinsky attends the Comic-Con premiere of "Paper Girls." Photo courtesy of Prime Video

LOS ANGELES, July 28 (UPI) -- Sofia Rosinsky said a sense of humor was the only characteristic she shared with her character in Paper Girls, premiering Friday on Prime Video.

Sofia plays Mac, a 12-year-old newspaper carrier in 1988 who travels to the future with her friends.

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"A similarity between the two of us would be humor," Sofia told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "We always manage to sometimes just say that one wrong thing in a situation."

Mac is joined on the 1988 paper route by KJ (Fina Strazza), Erin (Riley Lai Nelet) and Tiffany (Camryn Jones). In the future, Erin meets her adult self (Ali Wong) and KJ learns that she has come out and is accepted by a girlfriend.

Fina called KJ's story "incredibly special" because she represents "a child growing up in the '80s and growing up being taught that being gay was not OK."

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At 12, she only begins to suspect she is not interested in boys. Seeing her older self gives her an early confirmation she is gay.

"Her realization was a very delicate thing, and it was something that she had to explore," Fina said.

Mac smokes cigarettes and lashes out against both adults and her fellow paper girls. Sofia said she first became nervous about the language Mac uses while she prepared an audition tape at her grandparents' house.

"My grandfather is not a huge fan of bad language, to put it lightly," Sofia said. "I was trying to be as quiet as possible when approaching the F-word, where I would sometimes try to change it to 'flipping.'"

Now 16, Sofia has been acting since she was 5. Her mother, K. Louise Middleton, studied with acting coach Sanford Meisner and introduced her daughter to his technique, which Sofia described as "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances."

Sofia said Mac comes from a more troubled background than she does. When Mac exhibited her more aggressive tendencies, Sofia said she used her acting training to convey them.

"My body would respond to the energy that I'm putting out and it would just get me there," Sofia said.

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Fina and Camryn are now 15 and Riley also is a teenager. All three remembered what it was like to be 12.

"The struggles she goes through are timeless," Camryn said. "I really thought that anybody of any age can really relate to it."

Tiffany is worried that leaving 1988 will compromise her grades and prevent her from getting into college. Erin misses out on a lot of childhood because she is taking care of her elderly mother.

"Being 12 is such a weird time in your life," Riley said. "You're not a teenager. You don't feel like a little kid."

Sofia read Brian K. Vaughn's comic book as a fan after it was published in 2015. Stephany Folsom adapted the comic book for Prime Video and Vaughn remains an executive producer.

The adults in Paper Girls are The Old Watch, time travelers pursuing the girls for breaking the timeline. Adina Porter plays Prioress, who assumes a new identity in every era the girls visit.

"Wherever she happens to be, what year it is, she does her research," Porter said.

Jason Mantzoukas plays Grandfather, the leader of The Old Watch. Mantzoukas said viewers will come to learn The Old Watch are not just bad guys, as readers of the comics already know.

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"These are not mustache-twirling villains," Mantzoukas said. "These are people who are trying to protect the timeline."

Grandfather wears shorts, T-shirts with band names and Birkenstocks. Mantzoukas said his wardrobe mimics the original drawings by Cliff Chiang.

"I didn't necessarily have input in as much as these shorts are more comfortable than those," Mantzoukas said. "Or they had a bunch of different shirts so I just was like, 'I'd like to wear these ones over those ones.'"

All eight episodes of Paper Girls are available Friday on Prime Video.

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