When you’re a vampire and you fall in love with a human, it always gets difficult, and the love story of Calliope and Juliette in “First Kill” was no different. But, even though the season finale left them in a tough spot, series star Sarah Catherine Hook is still hopeful.
In the final moments of the finale, we learn that Theo (Phillip Mullings Jr.) woke up after Elinor (Gracie Dzienny) got him staked by his own brother and begged Juliette (Hook) for help. Juliette tried to drain him, “so he could die with dignity,” but instead, she ended up turning him into a vampire. Now, Theo’s become the very thing he’s been raised to hate and hunt, and it divides the Burns family — and breaks up Cal and Jules.
In her heartbreak, Juliette turns to her brother Oliver — having just given her sister up to the cops — and the two seem to be closer than ever. What Juliette doesn’t know is that Oliver is the one responsible for bringing monsters back to Savannah, and has plans to “ruin some lives.” That said, Hook herself totally gets it.
“I would probably take revenge as well!” she told TheWrap. “He’s misunderstood. And I think that’s very similar to how Juliette feels, so I think she starts to see a similarity between the two of them. She doesn’t really know him very well, I feel, or at least now. She just thinks that he’s a bad guy ’cause that’s what everyone tells her. But I think she’s realizing they’re more alike than not.”
Of course, if and when she realizes what Oliver is up to, she may not be so supportive. But if she were, Hook would be fine with that too.
“I feel like she’ll go through more of a dark emo phase of like, ‘I’m just gonna kill now, I’m so depressed and sad and heartbroken,’” Hook added. That said, that’s not what she’s looking for in the long run. You can check out our conversation below.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Portions of this interview were published in earlier pieces. You can watch TheWrap’s full interview with Sarah Cathrine Hook in the video above.
I’m a big believer in starting on my most important question. So Sarah Catherine, tell me, what is it like to pull a wooden stake out of your own chest?
That — I’m so glad you asked this question. No one has asked me. And truly — so I tell everyone that the pantry scene altogether was my favorite scene to film by far. I don’t know, it felt like we spent a year in that pantry for just 12 hours that we were in there. But it felt like I had lived a million different lives. So it’s just, it’s really, it’s an indelible moment for me.
But the stake, specifically pulling the stake out, I just remember like, first off, I had this weird, ooey gooey, bloody stuff, circular thing that had half of a stake pressed onto it. So it was like trying to basically be glued on there sticking straight up. So that was a weird sensation. But what was great about it was that it was actually kind of hard to pull off because it would stick so well to that hole in my chest, that fake hole in my chest. So like it actually, if I was methodical with it enough, then I could like move my body with it as I’m pulling it out.
And I remember there was one specific take, which I’m pretty sure they used in the show. After I did it, everyone was like, “Whoa!” They were like “That was so cool!” And the effects hadn’t even been put in there yet, so it already looked amazing. And I was so happy that it turned out the way that it did in the show because I felt really strong, felt really good about it on the day. So it’s always rewarding when it when it turns out nice as well, too.
How many selfies do you have on your phone then, of you just with this big piece of wood sticking out of your chest?
You’d be surprised! I actually don’t think I have any, which is really sad. I wasn’t the best about taking selfies on set. I mean, some days I would force myself to be good about taking pictures, but I feel like there were only a few. I mean mostly I had selfies of me with my fangs. Any time I had my fangs in I was selfie-ing. But yeah, they didn’t let me keep it on there for that for that long so I never got the chance to. But hopefully someone has some some sort of paparazzi picture around, with my hole.
So in “First Kill,” you’re playing Juliette who is a monster but is reluctant to be a monster. And what I love about her is she’s so steadfast in her beliefs. How do you play that balance between her knowing she needs to feed on people to survive, but she also does not want to be this horrible thing that she thinks she is?
It’s funny because as Sarah Catherine, the actor, I struggled with believing that I was a vampire. So it kind of helped that Juliette was having that kind of struggle as well of like, “I’m a monster. I’m not a monster,” like convincing herself that she’s not. She looks in the mirror, she looks like a regular girl. She doesn’t look like a monster. I mean, she fits in with the crowd, but she knows the truth. And that, I don’t know, it was helpful for me to be able to relate to her with with that sort of thing, like the inner conflict of having the two go head to head with one another.
Every day, I wrote in a journal basically as Juliette. I had a Juliette journal, writing down “I’m a monster. I’m not a monster. I’m a monster. I’m not a monster” — just having this internal battle in her head and her soul, you know? It was just something that I could play with in that way. But I did try to make her more human than anything else. Like, I don’t think that she looks like your typical vampire that you would see in like “Twilight,” or “Vampire Diaries” even. I feel like that’s where it gets confusing for her, because she’s like, “Well, I don’t really feel like I fit in with that crowd. But I also don’t feel like I fit in with humans. So what am I?”
OK, so, you mention there’s “Vampire Diaries,” there’s “Twilight.” Vampires have been in the zeitgeist for forever. And you’ve got elements of kind of a bunch of different projects in “First Kill.” I’m curious, for you, what is the definitive piece of vampire pop culture?
Great question. That’s such a good question. I mean, ooh, I guess I would have to just take it back all the way to Dracula. I mean, Dracula is the first one that everyone learns about, I feel, unless your first intro was “Twilight” or something. But that was my very first exposure to vampires, although I think as I got older I thought more of the Edward Cullens and stuff like that. But I think I would take it all the way back to Dracula, really. He’s the OG. So that’s where I would go.
I like the classic mindset! Now, this series is called “First Kill,” obviously because you’re both going for your first kill as a hunter and monster respectively. Juliette does end up getting her first kill in Episode 4, but only because she’s protecting Calliope. How does that inform the character going forward? Because she doesn’t want to kill people but clearly she’s willing to do what she’s got to do.
Well, I really thought that we were going to — maybe, this is God willing there’s a season two or just more seasons to come. I feel like she’ll go through more of a dark emo phase of like, “I’m just gonna kill now, I’m so depressed and sad and heartbroken.”
But I did always think, oh, she’ll have this realization that “I can use my powers for good and kill the bad guys” because that’s essentially what she did. But I think that, just because season one is such an introductory season, we didn’t get to explore that part of it, of like, if Juliette is going to use her powers for good basically. We didn’t get to get to that part, but I do hope, and I feel like that would be the case for her because it’s not like she really can be human at any point. So at some point, she is just going to have to accept who she is, you know? There is a way to use her powers for good and in a way that she wants it to be. Even like Elinor said in Episode 3, when Juliette was still freaking out about killing someone, she was like, “Well, we’ll do it your way, the way that you like, we’ll find the right person.” And then, you know, of course, Elinor totally tricked her like the sneaky girl that she is.
But we love her, she’s so good.
She’s so great. She really is. She just pops. But yeah, so I think there will be some sort of happy medium for [Juliette] in the future.
I like the optimism. OK, well, we touched on Elinor, but “First Kill” really is a show that just makes you go “Women!” They’re just excellent, and I love every single one of them. I’m obsessed with the moms in particular. Please tell me what it’s like being Elizabeth Mitchell’s daughter.
Oh my god. I mean, how iconic? I mean, to me, she was always Mrs. Claus. (laughs) So that was kind of crazy to have her as my mom. It was amazing. She is such a light. And I can’t tell you how generous she is, as not only an actor, but as a person too.
I had a lot of struggles on set just with like my sleep and just my well-being. And she — I always called her my witch doctor. I always went to her because she was like, “I have a lot of tricks when I’m on sets like this.” And so I would text her a lot being like, “Help me I’m dying.” She just, she had my back. She always had an answer. Even after filming, I would reach out to her for her little witch doctor tricks.
And she was really just always responsive and took care of all of us and was such a mom, but also a great friend. Like we would hang out on the weekends and drink or do whatever. It was just so lovely to have her. And she’s so freakin’ good too. I mean, I’m so obsessed with having pros be in the game with me so that I can steal things from them and learn from them and just play like it. There’s something about being with the big dogs, you know, they’re there. They are very inspiring with what they give to you. So yeah, to sum it all up, I’m obsessed with her and thankful that she’s my mom.
I’m glad that you went straight to Mrs. Claus too, because I was like, do I bring it up? That’s very much our generation.
No, we bring it up. She loves it too! And she’s doing the [Santa Clause] series. She’s making a comeback for Mrs. Claus. She knows what the fans want. She delivers.
And we love her for it. OK, now I have a question that’s purely something I’ve always wondered. How do you make a vampire bite look realistic on camera?
Oh, wow! I mean, you literally just bite them. You just bite them. You do! Like they kind of — you have to be like, “Are you good? Is it OK? Are you good?” But everyone likes it. I mean, you saw Philip [Mullings Jr.], who plays Theo, bites my wrist and I was just like, “Chomp away! Go for it. Do it. We got to make this puppy look real!” I mean like, you do end up with some teeth marks here and there. With the neck, it’s easier to not actually bite. You just kind of like, just open up your mouth really wide, and just like, put it there. You just sink the teeth, make sure the camera can get the teeth sinking, and then you cover it and it’s all good. You know your limits once you’ve done it several times.
I’ve just always imagined there’s awkwardness there. Seems like a really quick way to get close.
Straight up. I mean, TV/film is weird. A lot of the time, we really kind of go all out and do what we have to. Like in the script, it’s “bite his neck, bite his wrist,” but you just know you’re gonna do it. There’s no there’s no getting around this, so… Everyone seems to enjoy it, I don’t know!
Well, you mentioned Theo, so let’s talk about Theo.
Let’s talk about Theo.
Let’s talk about this ending! I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t expect you to be the one who changed him.
No one did.
Where do we go from here?
Great question. Well, Oliver’s clearly about to take over, Oliver and his monsters — which, rightfully so! I mean, honestly, learning about Oliver and his whole story with the family I’m kind of like “You poor thing! They totally threw — especially Eleanor — they threw you under the bus and called you the bad guy.” I would probably take revenge as well! He’s just such a sensitive — he’s misunderstood. And I think that’s very similar to how Juliette feels, so I think she starts to see a similarity between the two of them. She doesn’t really know him very well, I feel, or at least now. She just thinks that he’s a bad guy ’cause that’s what everyone tells her. But I think she’s realizing they’re more alike than not.
But Theo, yeah. For Theo, the ending truly — the whole situation with Talia and Jack, how Jack was like “That’s not my son anymore” and Talia, not being his biological mother, being like “He is always going to be my son.” I mean, I have chills just thinking about it. I teared up. Episode eight is just so emo it makes me really like want to cry to sleep all the time. But yeah, I’m really excited honestly, to see him be a vampire. But also, he might still be a monster hunter! He might be like “Hey, I’ve got even cooler powers now, I can really do some cool stuff with this.” I don’t know, we’ll see. I’m not really sure what the plan is for Theo in that sense. I don’t think his Monster Hunter days are over though. I can’t see that happening.
And obviously, it’s a breaking point for Cal and Juliette. Do you think that they can recover?
I do think that they will be able to. You know, they’re really young. And I think that it’s just going to take some time. I think Cal is probably going to try her very best to be the ultimate Monster Hunter. And I think she is going to try to kill Juliette. I think she’s gonna try to kill Juliette a few times. And I think Juliette is gonna fight her too! I’m really kind of hoping for like, you know when it’s a fight and then it kind of gets a little sexy and you’re like, ‘Ah, but I’m still attracted to you!’ you know?
Well then, before we go, is there anything you can say to give fans a little hope?
I think if you guys would just watch the show and make sure that it is top 10 on Netflix so that we can get to season two, then I’m pretty sure we can come back. So just put it on. Everyone in the world, just put it on your TV and we’ll all be okay. We will be back. Don’t worry.
All eight episodes of “First Kill” are now streaming on Netflix.