The Lodge is coming to the US and it will be a grand experience. BSCKids gets the opportunity to talk to Skye (Sophie Simnett), Ben (Luke Newton), and Sean (Thomas Doherty) as they talk all about their new show.
In the same landmark year of High School Musical’s 10 year anniversary, The Lodge is poised to unleash a wave of fresh new British talent, including Sophie Simnett (Skye), Jade Alleyne (Kaylee), Luke Newton (Ben) and Thomas Doherty (Sean).
The Lodge is a life affirming emotional rollercoaster about 15 year old Skye’s journey of self-discovery following the death of her mother, as she moves from a big city to exciting rural life. Skye returns with her father to her treasured childhood holiday lodge, bringing a new lease of life, not just to the place, but the lives of those who live and work there. She reconnects with her family and discovers new friends and adventures, as they rock-climb, kayak and mountain bike their way through their beautiful surroundings, all the while making and breaking relationships.
BSCKids:The Lodge Cast
Tell us a little bit about your character in the show?
Sophie Simnett: I’m Sophie and I play Skye in Disney’s The lodge. Skye’s great, she’s got a great, positive energy. You see her throughout the series navigate her way through these everyday teen issues so she’s a really relatable character and that what makes her so likeable. She makes friend with everyone at The Lodge quickly because of the way she is, and she has a real creative edge and you see that in the way she dresses and revamps The Lodge.
Thomas Doherty: Sean is a cheeky chappy, he’s very confident, he’s quite charismatic, but he’s also very athletic, he wants to be a professional mountain biker when he’s older, he’s really into his sports. He’s quite carefree, he doesn’t work at the lodge, but he’s good friends with everyone there, so he’s got this care free attitude, it’s not reckless, but fun.
Luke Newton: I play Ben. Ben works at the lodge and he’s referred to as The Handyman, he’ll sort of fix anything that’s broken in The Lodge, any cars that need fixing he’s your man, and he is best friends with Sean and they do a lot of mountain biking and sports together. Sean’s a little bit better at the activities like mountain biking which I would say is similar to real life. I refer to Thomas as ‘The Machine’ because he’s one of those guys who’s good at everything. We had some good fun training for that.
How do you feel you are similar or different than the character you are playing?
Sophie: I’m quite similar, all the cast would tell you, I’m quite similar to Skye in that she’s really clumsy and quite goofy and she sometimes says the wrong things which I do quite a lot. But also I’m quite different in that I’m more mature than her, she sometimes makes naïve decisions, and I would hope that I’m a better decision-maker than she is.
Thomas: I feel like I’m quite similar to Sean in that we’re both quite confident individuals, we do a lot of sports, I used to do a lot of sports when I was younger. In terms of age, there’s obviously quite a big difference for me and Sean so I think I’m a lot more mature than him.
Luke: Aside from Bethan (who plays Danielle), I’m the most different to my character. I’m not as sensitive and he can be a bit reserved and shy at times and I feel as Luke I’m not too similar to that. Same as what Thomas said, the age is obviously a massive comparison and I do sort of see Ben as a younger version of me in some respects.
Tell us a bit of how the audition process went for each of you.
Luke: Well I initially heard about the auditions from Facebook and saw it from an open casting online and messaged my agent and said I’d seen this project, I’d really like to get involved, I’ll send you a picture of me looking suitable, looking age-appropriate, and then I did a self-tape and went in for different auditions and met these guys along the way. There were sections of the cast together and I felt like me and Thomas met in the first audition and we felt we were put together as a Sean and Ben initially and we knew we were the older versions of the cast and could be up there with younger possibilities. We would always be in the corner laughing at something; we would audition together and, throughout, wanted to get the role.
Sophie: It was quite a long audition process. The first audition was in August and I finished in December so had about 13 auditions but it’s funny; every time you see someone that you knew, there was a cast beginning to form I found that we were all sitting around a table and thought ‘oh there’s one of each character around here’, we could probably make this cast.
Thomas: I remember I was staying in Edinburgh at the time I was working in a restaurant, and on my days off I would come down, I was the same as Sophie, I started in August so yeah it was a long process but, like the guys just said, it was a great opportunity to meet these guys. Like Sophie had mentioned, we kind of formed our own cast over time, for whatever reason, we connected and there was great chemistry between us all.
How do you get in character for the filming?
Luke: What’s quite good about the way we film, we filmed about 40 miles outside of Belfast, we do have that long car journey which is good for us to get into character a lot of time we’re doing face warm-ups and vocal exercises and getting us ready. Singing the songs from the show, it’s a nice little time for us all to get focused and find out what scenes we’re doing. In the car we’re usually running some scenes that are going to be difficult throughout the day.
Sophie: We get the schedule the night before so we know exactly what we’re going to be doing the next day so you would try and pair yourself in the car with the right people in your scene so you can go through them and refresh your memory, everyone has their own way of preparing and especially with this show being so sports heavy that we had to have a lot of training for that as well as dance, there was a lot of warm-ups.
Thomas: You get into a routine of warming up your body just in case you pull something. With such an intense filming period, if you were to pull a muscle or something that would be quite bad. You get yourself into a routine and it sorts of becomes second nature.
Sophie, how hard is it to get in character especially the part where you need to talk about your mother?
Sophie: Everyone has a way of dealing with the more demanding scenes, I have methods to relax myself and think and use emotional memory to think about things that I’ve lost and it’s great because I’m usually acting alongside Marcus Garvey who plays my dad and he’s a fantastic actor so he really helps with scenes but yeah it’s just finding something that is going to work with the scene and really putting your side of the character.
Tell us a bit about your favorite scene and what has been the hardest part of filming the show?
Thomas: I think the hardest part of the show was the different elements, we filmed in Northern Ireland from February to May, so it was freezing, raining and snowing.
Sophie: There was one scene in The Lodge where I was with Luke, it was actually snowing and I was wearing a dress and the costume department was running in and off with thermal coats. But hopefully it will all look good. It got sunnier towards the end which was great because everyone suddenly got into an amazing mood all the time. Filming the music video for If You Only Knew was a highlight for me.
Luke: There was a nice scene between the here of us in the music video when we’re by the lake and there’s like water pistols involved. It was good fun.
Do you like the fact that you also get to do original songs?
Sophie: Yes! It’s one of the best things about the show. That’s what makes the show unique, you’ve got the mystery teen drama, but the singing and dancing because it’s showing character subtext because there are so many complex emotional relationships between all six and we’re quite young I think that makes it even more complex. I feel it gives the audience another view of the character, and they feel like they can connect with them more through that subtext – with the songs it really shines through. And it’s a fast-paced show, that constant excitement; you know there’s a song coming up. And the songs are really very catchy; we’ve been singing them for seven months!
Thomas: And also through movement, there’s a lot of different dancing pieces in the song which are in tune with whatever’s going on emotionally within the scene so again it’s a great visual for young viewers to see.
Luke: There’s a character I sing a duet with, I won’t say who it is just yet, but it was the moment for me where Ben could only come out of his shell and he could only do that through song I guess – he wouldn’t have been able to confess those sorts of feelings in a scene normally so it does add that extra element.
Do you get to do your own stunts on the show?
Luke: Myself and Thomas, we did mountain bike training. Our producer, Steven Andrew, took us out and we went to some of the best tracks in the country and we did a good few weeks of that before filming just so we did look accurate on screen and from watching the little bits we’ve seen I’m happy. If there’s a series two it would be good to get involved, back into mountain biking, maybe some other sports.
Thomas: Luke and I never did mountain biking before and it was never really something I’d thought about doing. It was a great opportunity to learn something new and we’ve kept it up.
Sophie: Skye doesn’t really have any stunts as she does sit on the back on a bike but she does fall out of a few beds when she’s waking up too late. Oh, and there’s rock climbing and kayaking. Luke and I did some rock climbing sessions which were very interesting; I used to be very scared of heights and boats so this was a fear to conquer.
Besides The Lodge what has been your favorite Disney Channel show or movie so far?
Luke: High School Musical
Thomas: Hunchback of Notre Dame
Sophie: High School Musical
Why should everyone tune in to watch The Lodge?
Sophie: It’s such an exciting show, it’s new. You’ll be able to find something in these characters and you can sing along, what more could you want?
Thomas: It’s fun, energetic, dramatic, poignant, gripping. When I was young watching things like High School Musical I always found it quite inspiring to watch older actors singing and dancing.
What else do you have coming up in your career?
Sophie: I’ve got a film coming out later in the year called Mum’s List, which is Niall Johnson’s new film and I play alongside Emilia Fox and Rafe Spall – it’s a really great and emotional British film, a cancer story. I’ll also appear in Endeavour in the New Year on ITV.
Thomas: Disney’s Descendants 2, I’ve been cast as Harry Hook, the Son of Captain Hook, who’s a new character. I’ll be in Vancouver for the next two months rehearsing and then filming that, so, yeah, very exciting.
Luke: I’m focusing on my music at the moment, I did a lot of singing before so I’m using the training we got from our Disney coaches which was amazing and just concentrating on that and doing stuff on YouTube and, yeah, it’s going well.
Special thanks to everyone for making this interview happen for BSCKids, The Lodge is already out in the UK and you will get to see The Lodge starting in October on Disney Channel in the US. Stay tuned to the rising stars of Sophie Simnett, Luke Newton, and Thomas Doherty as their careers take off.