Written by : Jayme Face
MTV’s “Sweet/Vicious” centers around amazing, empowered female characters. We were able to catch up with Eliza Bennett who plays Jules. She is just as amazing as her character!
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about “Sweet/Vicious” and your character Jules?
Eliza Bennett: “Sweet/Vicious” is a mash up of genres really. It’s set at Darlington University and it centers around these two girls Jules and Ophelia who are kind of this odd couple. I play Jules and she is a sorority girl by day, but she is kind of living a double life as a vigilante, avenging sexual assault victims on campus. Her life kind of gets thrust together with this girl Ophelia and they become this vigilante duo on campus.
upfrontNY: Are you like Jules in any ways?
Eliza Bennett: I think I relate to Jules. I found upon reading the script I find her decision-making and her response to other characters, I feel for her and I feel the same frustration with justice. But, I would also say she is far braver than I am and much better at martial arts than I am.
upfrontNY: What is the dynamic between Jules and Ophelia?
Eliza Bennett: Well I think in any other context they probably never would have been friends and kind of due to a series of unfortunate events, their lives kind of get thrust together for better or worse. They’re opposites, but they find this kind of home within one another. They are kind of both broken in different ways and I think they find a level of security and support in one another that they didn’t expect. Ophelia is very sarcastic and she doesn’t put up with much bullshit. Jules is kind of very sweet and likes to see the good in people. They make a good duo; they strengthen each other. Jules trains Ophelia to be a better fighter and Ophelia trains Jules to be better with technology and to get a passcode on her phone.
upfrontNY: Jules and Ophelia are quite the duo. Who is your favorite iconic duo and why?
Eliza Bennett: Oh my goodness, I have not had that question before, it’s a good one. Let me think. I’m trying to think of all my favorite shows and I’m thinking there’s no duos in any of them. They’re not really a duo, it’s a trio so I don’t know whether this is allowed. but I think the rat pack. I used to love watching their performances when I was younger, but they are definitely not like Jules and Ophelia. We always get compared to Teen Wolf like Stiles and Scott, the two boys on Teen Wolf. Jules and Ophelia are kind of like a female version of them, which I think is a compliment. We’ll take that!
upfrontNY: I think it’s a compliment too! You do a lot of fighting in the show; Do you do all your own stunts? Did you already know how to do all of this before the show?
Eliza Bennett: No, I did not know how to do any of those things. I grew up dancing a lot, so what was familiar to me was learning the choreography of the fighting, but other than that Taylor and I were complete novices. We had a month training before hand. We did two-hour sessions three times a week and I think we had a little bit of like false confidence in our own abilities before we started and we were quickly humbled by our stunt team by how terrible Taylor and I were, but slowly and surely we got better and I have a blast doing martial arts training. It definitely helped us feeling far more comfortable with the choreography. It was a collaboration between Taylor and I and our amazing stunt team. When Jules does a triple flip off a trash can that is most definitely not me, but then I’m the one looking cool after it.
upfrontNY: If you were a vigilante in real life what would be your first order of business?
Eliza Bennett: Well Jules’ first order of business is very close to home now because its been a huge part of our lives now for a long time. I don’t know whether we’re trying to promote that fact that beating up rapists is definitely the answer to what happens if you are sexually assaulted, but it is a band-aid that she is using to cover up a far deeper wound. Throughout the show it is eventually something she has to deal with, but I will say not only sexual assault on campus, but a lot of injustices that are happening on university campuses that I think are being overlooked through my eyes are really opened because of the show.
upfrontNY: This show displays girl power; what is your advice to girls on how to embrace their girl power and what do you hope they take away from the show?
Eliza Bennett: I hope they take away female friendship and I think sometimes in shows women’s friendships can be displayed as a little, you know, catty and a little jealous and that does happen, but I know that in my life the women that I surround myself with are amazing women who are incredibly supportive and loving and want the best for one another. I think Jen, our creator, wanted to create a show that reflected what the friendships we had with women in our lives looked like. I hope that girls take away the message that mean is not cool because in our show we show girls from all walks of life and when they meet each other they’re not automatically mean to one another which I think happens in a lot of shows. I thought that was really cool. You know, because that is not the experience I’ve had in my life with my friends. So I hope that women take a sense of empowerment and also a sense that Jules and Ophelia most definitely do not have everything figured out, they are broken and vulnerable in many ways, but they are also strong and they are fighters. I hope we’re giving a good example of female friendship and female empowerment.
upfrontNY: That’s so good to hear. This next question is a little silly. You are from England, but in the show you have an American accent, how do you perfect your accent?
Eliza Bennett: A lot of practicing. They say practice makes perfect. When I was younger I think I thought my American accent was really good and then I would listen back to it and it was really bad. So it takes a lot of work, a lot of vocal coaching, a lot of practice and a lot of awkward moments when you’re trying to do it in public to practice and people are like ‘Where are you from?’ In the show I would stay in my American accent as much as I could during work. So it became a lot like muscle memory. It was like learning an instrument. Sometimes I would finish filming and go back to my English accent my own accent would kind of feel funny in my mouth for a while. It’s weird; it gives you a little bit of an identity crisis, but I’m working with all Americans and that helps, being around the accent all the time.
upfrontNY: You are a singer and even sang on Inkheart’s soundtrack, will we be seeing more music from you in the future?
Eliza Bennett: I don’t know. That was a cool thing when they asked me to sing the song for Inkheart and if I ever get the opportunity to be able to do music within acting then I am always over the moon. Acting is definitely kind of my first love, but I think there’s room for both. I don’t know, maybe in the future I will do more of it, but I’ll have to see. I’ve done musicals before and I’m lucky because I get to do both as well, but we’ll see, I keep pushing our creative director to do a musical episode in season 2 so maybe we’ll get one of them.
upfrontNY: You said you’ve done musicals; would you consider returning to the stage or could we see you on Broadway someday?
Eliza Bennett: Oh my goodness! I would love that! If you could hook that up that would be great! Yeah, it’s on my bucket list for sure and I would love to do Broadway one day and also I would love to do a play. So maybe one day. If they would hire me.
upfrontNy: I’m sure they will!