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[The following story contains spoilers from Let It Snow.]
The actress stars as Angie, who is also known by her friends as The Duke. While her best friend Tobin (Mitchell Hope) has always had feelings for her, the two have kept their friendship platonic. They soon have to confront their feelings for each other when a new potential love interest, JP (Matthew Noszka), begins to pursue Angie.
“Tobin starts getting intimidated by this presence that is JP because JP is older and he is just a stunning human being,” Shipka told The Hollywood Reporter about how Angie and Tobin’s friendship changes when JP is introduced. “The addition of JP just heightens everyone’s feelings because there’s a threat.”
Based on the best-selling novel by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, Let It Snow features a number of interconnecting storylines about high school students that live in a small town hit by a snowstorm. The ensemble cast includes Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Jacob Batalon, Odeya Rush, Liv Hewson, Miles Robbins, Anna Akana and Joan Cusack.
Shipka spoke to THR about Angie’s friendship with Tobin, the musical number in the film and the message she hopes viewers take from the movie.
Can you tell me a little bit about your character Angie?
I play Angie, who’s more commonly referred to as The Duke in Let It Snow. Her storyline centers around her, her best friend and a potential love interest named JP. The heart of her story is her relationship with Tobin, who is her best friend and he’s been in love with her forever, but she’s been harboring feelings for him, too. There’s basically this unresolved tension between the two of them because even though she’s a very confident young woman, I think she’s scared of what being honest and taking that leap could mean and that’s basically the arc of her story in the movie.
How would you describe the dynamic between Angie and Tobin?
They have a best-friend dialogue that no one can keep up with. They have been best friends for as long as they can remember, since they’ve been little kids, and they’ve got a million inside jokes. The way they talk together is super comfortable and they could be stuck together for hours without talking, although I don’t think that would happen because they just can’t stop talking to each other. They’re a perfect pair in a lot of ways.
How does the dynamic between Angie and Tobin change when JP comes into the picture?
When JP comes into the picture, he doesn’t really affect The Duke too much. She knows she kind of likes JP and she wants Tobin to tag along because that’s comfortable. She wants her best friend by her side when she’s with this potential love interest. However, Tobin starts getting intimidated by this presence that is JP because JP is older and he is just a stunning human being and he’s been all around the world. He’s got so much life experience. So all of a sudden I think the addition of JP just heightens everyone’s feelings because there’s a threat, if you will.
The viewers know that Tobin likes Angie romantically from the beginning, but Angie is a little more difficult to read. Is there a certain point in the film when Angie realizes she likes Tobin romantically, or do you think that’s something she’s always known but was afraid to admit?
When I developed her character and was doing work on it before I started filming, I wanted to make sure that I had a clear understanding of Angie’s feelings for Tobin the entire time. Whether or not they were being harbored or not, I wanted it to be clear for me so that it made sense for the viewers. The fact of the matter is that I think she has had a love for Tobin for a long time and it just took a while for her to realize it. There are moments in the film when she is realizing it and we do see her on that journey with little moments peppered in here and there. She’ll look at him or their eyes will meet in a certain way, and it sort of slow builds to all of a sudden Tobin and Angie have this one-on-one fight. The fight sort of brings up all of the feelings for her, and she realizes what everything means. Later in the film there is a bigger confrontation, and you hear everything for what it really is.
One of the most memorable moments in the film is the car chase scene when the schoolmates chase Tobin, Angie and JP up a hill. What was the filming process like for that?
It was so fun. We filmed it over the course of a couple of days. The major bit of the car scene was our first day on the job, which was really funny because it’s one of the scenes that requires the most chemistry between Angie and Tobin. It was the first day of filming, but because we were already getting along so well off-camera we just kind of threw ourselves into it and did not hold back. It turned out to be super-duper fun.
You joked on Instagram that you tend to play characters in love triangles. In Let It Snow you have a love triangle with Tobin and JP, while on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina you have a love triangle with Harvey and Nick. Is that a storyline you tend to be drawn to or like to play with?
It’s literally never my intention. It’s so funny. I feel like I randomly fell into this thing where the past few projects that I’ve done have had love triangles in them. It’s more of a joke at this point, but any storyline that involves something remotely complicated — like a love triangle — is always fun as an actor. It’s not specific to that by any means, but it’s a common thing at this point. Maybe it will keep happening.
You get to sing in the movie, and you have also sung in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Is that something you looked forward to or is singing out of your comfort zone?
I love it. I will literally jump at any chance to sing on camera. It was so fun and honestly a really big draw for me was doing this number because I love the song we were singing, “Hold the Moon.” I also think it was such a different sort of way to approach a musical bit. It was something that I hadn’t seen in a really long time. It kind of reminded me of Once or something like that. It was very stripped-down and poignant. It wasn’t big or flashy. It was just a really grabbing moment in the movie, which I really loved. I feel like it wasn’t like, “Oh, let’s break out into a musical number.” It was just a really lovely, lovely moment between two friends that shows the honesty and love in the relationship between The Duke and Tobin before JP shows up and sweeps her off her feet. With the number, we didn’t want to feel taken out of reality or something like that. We didn’t want it to feel like, “Oh, it’s not really happening.”
What was the most memorable scene for you to film?
I would say all of the sequences at the end when we’re all at the Waffle Town together were really, really memorable because that was pretty much the first time that the cast had filmed together. We were all kind of doing our own little separate movies in a way. Odeya’s filming experience was completely different from mine, while mine was different than Shameik’s. Everyone had very a different storyline and we all didn’t work together a lot, so those end sequences with the dancing in the Waffle Town were so fun because we actually got to spend a few days on set together and it really felt like the perfect way to cap out the filming experience. It was also the last few days, which felt like the right way to say goodbye to the movie.
The dance scene was a fun way to tie up all of the storylines and bring everyone together.
It was super fun. I think it was just having everyone in the same room. There was such a lovely energy, and it kind of reminds me of why we were all making this movie. At the end of the day, because everyone does come together at the end, we all felt really, really good about that. And also just to get down and dance with people for three minutes straight was just gorgeous. It was so fun.
The film features many interconnecting storylines. Other than your own storyline, which was your favorite in the film?
There are so many really good ones. I would say the storyline between Dorrie (Liv Hewson) and Addie (Rush) is really lovely. I really respond to that one a lot because it’s a friendship kind of love story and I really do think that that’s beautiful. I think that Miles Robbins is such a highlight in the movie for me. I think that all of his stuff with Jacob is just absolutely hilarious. I think he’s so talented and so cool, so I loved to see that. It’s great to see Anna Akana, as well. I think that she’s been doing cool stuff for a really long time, and it’s really lovely to see her shine in the movie. It was just a treat.
As a viewer, the main message seemed to be to stay true to yourself and to not be afraid to take chances. Do you think the film has a particular lesson?
I think you hit the nail on the head. I think the main lessons are to take a chance on love, to not be afraid and to not let love stop you from doing scary things because if you do those scary things, life could be more fulfilling. I think that’s the breakthrough that a lot of these characters go through, and I hope it inspires other people to do the same. To tell someone that they like them or love them. I think that’s lovely and I hope that happens.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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