Picture this: you have sex for the first time ever. Your significant other forgets the condom. You’re OK with it. (Anyway, what’s the worst that can happen?) You wake up the next day. BOOM. You’re pregnant… with an alien. *Pause* Wait, what?
Yes, this is the real plot of the new horror-comedy series Snatchers, which launched exclusively on Verizon’s go90. The creators Olde Money Boyz (Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman and Scott Yacyshyn) managed to have this crazy idea come to life in these short six to eight minute episodes. Yes! Each episode is that long (or short) and packs in every twist possible in the short amount of time.
Mary Nepi stars as the pregnant teen, Sara, and we got a chance to chat with the leading actress about her career, filming each episode, and whether or not she believes in aliens. We obviously needed to ask her that!
The Young Folks: For our readers who are just learning about you now, can you tell us a bit about why/how you knew you wanted to pursue a career as an actor?
Mary Nepi: Ooh, sure! Performing has been a huge part of my life since I was about five years old. My first “role” in a play was in The Lion King, as the completely made up character of Kiki, Rafiki’s daughter (lol), and that’s all it took! I grew up performing around Denver, in as many productions of Annie and The Music Man as I could get my hands on. I think I discovered at a very young age that acting/performing was something I could do that brought me a ton of joy while allowing me to bring joy to others as well. (Omg, cheeseball over here, but so true!)
Who was your idol while growing up, or even up until now, that motivated you to keep pursuing your dream to become an actor?
Well, I couldn’t have done any of it without the unending support of my parents—I know that’s certainly not something everyone has, so I’m super grateful and owe them times a million! My mom actually is an actor as well, so I was very lucky to have her guidance. I also looked up to (slash was obsessed with) a whole bunch of actresses growing up, which is why I think having strong role models in the public eye is super important. I grew up loving musical theater, so people like Sutton Foster, Audra McDonald, and Kristin Chenoweth were huge for me. My dad also introduced me to SNL (THANKS DAD) when I was pretty young, so I’ve always been inspired by Tina Fey/Amy Poehler and co. I also grew up watching and loving Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, because how can you not?
Moving onto Snatchers, how did this role come about for you?
Good old-fashioned audition! I was actually home visiting my family in Colorado, so I recorded my audition tape with my dad reading the other parts. To his credit, he didn’t blink an eye at the whole “pregnant with an alien baby” thing…just another day in the life.
The whole premise is pretty unbelievable, but watching the series you can’t help but look away. Was there anything specific that drew you to the role to be like, “Yes. I have to do this”?
I remember when I first read it thinking how wild and fun it was, literally LOL-ing and yelling “Wait whaaat?” Just instantly knowing it was special, and was something I really, really wanted to be a part of. I also felt like I connected with Sara right away, like, “Oh yeah, I absolutely know who this girl is/can super relate to her.” I also loved the genre crossing, Mean Girls meets Edgar Wright tone, as it’s not something you see that often.
Each episode is pretty darn short. How long was filming for each one? What was it like on set?
I was in Salt Lake City for a little under a month, and we filmed the whole first season in that time. It varied based on the episode (more blood and action=more time to film), but I think about two days for each one. To say it was a fun set to be on is a big ol’ understatement—the whole experience was a blast. From vomit cannons, to a farm with alpacas, to “driving fast”, crawling through blood, diving through windows–the whole experience was like a wild, awesome film boot camp experience. Plus, it didn’t hurt that our directors are kind of funny (okay FINE, extremely funny), and super rad, not to mention the awesome cast. There was a lot of trying not to “break” happening, which is always a great sign/basically my favorite thing ever.
What was the weirdest or even coolest thing to happen while shooting?
Did I mention the vomit cannon, alpacas, and blood? Also, a dude literally flies over us in one scene, which was pretty freaking cool to shoot.
What did you have to do (if anything) to get into your character?
I went undercover and enrolled in a high school in New Mexico, and started dating a lacrosse bro. JK JK…or am I? Luckily, Sara and I are pretty similar, minus the teen alien pregnancy thing. I did focus on putting myself back into that high school mindset, which can definitely be a difficult/high stakes place to be—everything is so important, every interaction with a guy you like is life and death…I’m stressed just thinking about it!
Do you happen to actually believe in aliens and life on other planets?
Hmm…well as Socrates once said, “I know that I know nothing.” So I’m very much on the side of “anything’s possible!” I’ve also watched a lot of Twilight Zone, which I’m pretty sure is historical fiction, no?
Important question – aliens or zombies? And why?
Aliens–because zombies creep the bejeezus out of me (I do love me some Shaun of the Dead, though). Like, my mom loves zombies…I’m trying not to read too much into that.
What’s next for you in your career path?
I’m currently living that actor/writer dream in NYC, where I perform improv on the reg, and have a few short films in the works! Do people say on the reg anymore? They should, they really should.