They’re more than paper girls. They are friends. Paper Girls delivers an epic time-traveling story featuring four girls who aren’t close friends but form a bond after they end up in the middle of an expansive war. The comic captured the hearts of many fans (myself included), putting girls at the forefront in an authentic way. Now, the Paper Girls TV show is bringing that brilliance to live-action life, taking fans from Stony Stream, Ohio in 1988 to other places (and times). Ahead of season one’s release on July 29, we spoke with Camryn Jones, Fina Strazza, Riley Lai Nelet, and Sofia Rosinsky—Tiffany, KJ, Erin, and Mac, respectively—about their character’s qualities, forming their own friendship, and what to expect from the show.
Nerdist: Were you familiar with the Paper Girls comic before joining the TV show? And if not, did you decide to read it or just stick to the script and formulate your character in your own way?
Riley Lai Nelet: I wasn’t familiar with the comic at all. And so when I got the audition, I really went into [the comic] and I became a fan of it myself. I really enjoyed it. I thought the story was unique and I loved all of the characters and I knew—I think all of us knew—that it was something we needed to be a part of.
Fina Strazza: Yeah. I started reading it during my audition process and fell in love with Matt [Wilson] and Cliff [Chiang]’s drawings and coloring. And then Brian [K. Vaughan]’s characters were just so real and developed that I knew I wanted to be part of this project and bring it to life.
Sofia Rosinsky: I am a newcomer to the comic book and graphic novel world so Paper Girls was kind of my introduction into all of this. And I’m loving it! It was a wonderful beginning. Prior to the audition I had not read the comics. But around callback or chemistry testing, I bought the first one, read it, and fell in love with it. But really I just let the script guide me on who Mac is.
Camryn Jones: Like these guys, I didn’t know about Paper Girls before the audition, but as I was about to test for the role, I read the first book to get a better grasp of Tiff and the whole series. And I fell in love with it. I just was so hooked and then I booked [the role] and then I bought the entire series and now I’m obsessed. Like, the characters were so authentic and genuine and so relatable and the entire comic was just so easy to get hooked onto.
Love it. You all embody your characters so well. Are there qualities that you share with your character? Or maybe parts of her that you admire?
CJ: I do think I share a few qualities with Tiff. I love how smart she is and how she’ll do anything to achieve her goals and how she’s very protective of her friends. And I just love everything about her basically. But I think that if I could steal one thing from her, it’d probably be her knowledge and how she applies it to everything because I admire that so much.
FS: Something I really love about KJ is her compassion and her incredibly centered moral compass and how often she is willing to put others before herself, sometimes to her own detriment. I think that is incredibly admirable. I think KJ and I share a good amount of qualities. We both strive to have that moral compass. I am very focused on what is right and I try to act upon that often. (Camryn and Riley nod in agreement.)
SR: I can’t say that Mac and I have a lot in common! But we both enjoy humor, sometimes with jokes at the wrong time. A quality of Mac that I wish I had or hope to develop is her assertiveness. Sometimes she can be a bit too assertive, though. That along with her ability to sort of roll with things. She’s very stubborn but when she’s thrown into situations she’s able to easily adjust.
RLN: I really admire Erin for always wanting to be responsible. And she really tries to take care of the people that she loves. I think that’s how I relate to her… wanting to protect you guys. (motions to her castmates)
And you can see a strong dynamic between you all, both on screen and in real life. The crux of Paper Girls is about forming friendship. So how did you build your bond so that it would feel authentic in the series?
RLN: We don’t know each other at all. I don’t even know who this is. (everyone laughs)
CJ: So we weren’t allowed to contact each other before meeting in person. No DMs, no text messages, nothing. And then they put us in a room and then they’re like, “This is your cast.” …it was two weeks before we started filming. We met like our characters did and I think that really helped us.
FS: Like Camryn said, we had two weeks before we started filming when we first met. And we spent those two weeks doing all this whole mess of bonding activities and becoming our characters. We [learned] from our wonderful lead director, Georgie Davis, that if you are fully in your character, any choice that you make is not wrong. And we just got to explore our connection and ourselves and our characters and it was a great way to build the show.
That’s so awesome! So if you could describe Paper Girls in three words, which three words would you choose?
FS: Should we all say one word?
You can all do three words!
FS: That works too. I’ll say thrilling.
CJ: That was mine. Gosh.
FS: Sorry! Thrilling, emotional and captivating.
CJ: You go, I have to think of two other ones now.
RLN: I’m going to say unpredictable. Heartfelt. And those are the two I can only think of right now.
SR: Electric. Forgiveness. And Expected!
Those are three good ones!
FS: I believe in you… (lots of giggles)
CJ: Exciting wild ride. That’s three. Yeah!
You did it! It’s the connection you all have. That’s why you’re all thinking of the same tings! Thanks so much for being a delight.
All: Thank you!
Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.