We’ve heard this story before–but we’ve never seen it quite like this. Nancy Drew is the whipsmart detective of our girlhoods. However, in The CW’s Nancy Drew–actress Maddison Jaizani and the rest of the cast are about to show us a much more menacing side to Nancy, Horseshoe Bay, Maine and the mysteries we all thought we knew.
On the series–Kennedy McMann stars as the red-headed teen detective. When her mother dies–Nancy’s dreams of attending the prestigious Columbia University fade into the background as well as her passion for detective work. Shoving her aspirations and her grief into the corners of her mind, Nancy works as a waitress at the Horseshoe Bay diner along with her former classmate and surly boss George Fan (Leah Lewis), the aloof Ace (Alex Saxon), and Bess Marvin (Jaizani)–a recent Horseshoe Bay transplant still clinging to the last remnants of her affluent past.
However, when the foursome, along with Nancy’s secret boyfriend Ned “Nick” Nickerson (Tunji Kasim) are implicated in the murder of a socialite –the red-headed detective must put on her mystery-solving hat again–unpacking her personal demons, and uncovering her friends’ secrets in the midst of it.
Ahead of the debut of Nancy Drew–-STYLECASTER sat down to chat with Jaizani about the surprisingly dark show, what exactly Bess is hiding and what we can expect during this debut season.
“I had heard of Nancy Drew, but I did not grow up reading the books,” Jaizani revealed. “I was a total newbie on this Nancy Drew sort of craze. This was also a genre that I’ve never delved into before –it’s supernatural and a bit scary. But I loved the script. There were a lot of lighthearted moments. I could tell that the characters didn’t take themselves too seriously, and they had a lot of stories and backstory and secrets themselves that I could see that the scripts were going to really delve into. I thought that was really interesting. I just love the cast that I was being put up for. I knew that it was my role.”
More than the lore of Nancy Drew–there was something delightful and sinister about Bess that immediately drew Jaizani in. “She is such a complex character,” the British-Iranian actress explained. “When I read the script in the audition, I just thought she was so much fun. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. She doesn’t realize the comedic value that she brings to the show–to the character. But she definitely has a lot of skeletons in the closet, which you will learn throughout the season. Obviously, these characters have backstories and pasts, and she is definitely one to watch. She’s got a lot of secrets and a lot going on. So, yeah, she’s a really exciting character, and I just love her mannerisms and the way she dresses, and I thought she was just so much fun. Because obviously, the show is quite serious and scary, she sort of brings this lightened note to it, which I think is really fun to play.”
Along with the female-led cast, Nancy Drew also boasts a crew of women. “We’ve got female leads, but also, the showrunners, the directors, and pretty much every team is female-focused,” Jaizani explained. “I just think is fantastic. We’re giving a lot of women directors a chance that haven’t done much before. We’ve also got a huge diversity in the cast. Everyone is from different walks of life and different countries, which I think is really amazing. So, I think it’s really important because the times are changing. Nancy Drew is definitely going to be one that sets a standard. So, I’m really looking forward to being a part of it, and it’s great that we get asked these questions because it’s such an important topic, I think it’s marvelous that we get to be the voice of it.”
Still, the ladies might be at the helm, but this isn’t your mama’s Nancy Drew. “It is so scary,” Jaizani laughed. “Honestly, I am an absolute scaredy-cat. I do not watch horrors. I’m a very jumpy person. So, this show, for me, is kind of difficult because I’m just constantly looking over my shoulder like, ‘What’s going to happen?’ It’s just done so well. It’s highly supernatural, which I didn’t think was going to be such a huge part of it. I thought we’d sort of flicker into it. But it is the show. It’s massively supernatural. There’s a lot of ghosts, a lot of spirits, and a lot of trying to save all of our lives all the time. We have a mystery that we’re focused on, but then our own lives are sort of mysteries, which you delve into each episode so that you’ll learn something new about each character. There’s a lot going on.”
In addition to acting, the Into the Badlands alum also has some other ventures near and dear to her heart. “I live in Manchester, where the homelessness is just stifling,” she reflected. “Moving to Vancouver, I’ve noticed it’s really quite an epidemic here as well. There are too many young adults on the street, which I find really mortifying and extremely sad. I’ve been really passionate about feeding the homeless. Also, when it comes to poverty, there are so many women without the stuff that they need during that time of the month, and the cost of sanitary products are quite expensive. That’s why FemPowered really spoke to me. The company delivers sustainable period products to you while also helping disadvantaged women and girls globally. Also, I think we’re all very aware that Earth is struggling. So, that’s super important to me too.”
When Jaizani isn’t on the ground trying to shift our world into a better direction you can catch her on Nancy Drew when it debuts Oct. 9. 2019 on The CW.