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  • Writer's pictureVingt Sept

Cover Story: Kizzy Edgell & Kit Connor discuss Heartstopper Season 2 on and off-screen secrets


Film

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A little over a year ago Heartstopper hit our screens via Netflix with a bang, fast becoming a household favourite. Friendship, self-discovery and coming of age are the roots that anchor this queer teen love story as it follows the developing relationship of Nick and Charlie and their friends.


With the release of its second season, two of the show's stars Kit Connor (Nick Nelson) and Kizzy Edgell (Darcy Olsson) – this issue’s cover star – caught up just before the SAG strikes began and let Vingt Sept in on some little-known secrets.


In the second season of Heartstopper, all the characters and their respective stories are headed for pivotal evolutions. Creator Alice Oseman and the cast explore coming out, developing friendships into romance, saying the first “I love you”, and the emotional management these challenges demand of our characters.


Whilst it might be all rainbows, it's not necessarily all sunshine, as Vingt Sept finds out from Kizzy with where their character is heading.


From being part of the fandom to representing the LGBTQ+ community, Kit and Kizzy discuss it all. Particularly, Kizzy’s character who is set to experience some changes with Darcy moving from the sweet comic relief that made us fall in love with their character, to building on the more serious side of relationships particularly with Tara (Corinna Brown). That's something Kizzy is keen for us to see, as well as the intricate development of the relationships from season one.


The first season of Heartstopper immediately became an integral part of the canon of queer film and television, inviting Kit and Kizzy to discuss the weighty responsibility of being part of such an influential project.


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KIT CONNOR (KC) : Hey Kizz, how are you doing?


KIZZY EDGELL (KE) : I’m good, I’m good.


KC: That’s good. I guess the first question I’ve gotta ask is how are you feeling about season 2?


KE: I’m excited, I’m really excited. I know you are as well. You did an amazing job.


KC: Thanks, so did you.


KE: Thank you! Yeah, I’ve seen it now, so it’s sort of sunk in that it’s happening. It’s weird I had this last time as well, I was like “oh yeah, it's a show, it's gonna come out”, but now it feels real so I’m kind of a little bit freaked but, yeah, I’m good!


KC: Yeah so you’re a little bit nervous or is it more excitement?


KE: It’s nervous, it’s all scary, and I was expecting it to be less scary this time around because it's already happened once, but I’m still scared! I think!


KC: Well, you don’t have to be scared, Kiz, because you’re amazing in the show. I’ve watched it and I thought you were wonderful and, you know, I’m on my journalist mode this time so I’ve got some questions ready to ask you. And you’re gonna love it! Okay?


KE: Yes!


KC: So, the first question is, Darcy goes through some significant developments and challenges in season 2, how did you approach portraying the emotional journey and growth of Darcy throughout the season?


KE: Corinna (Brown) helped a lot and gave me a lot of advice. She’s got a lot of drama school tips and tricks that I don’t necessarily have so that helped. Seeing Darcy as more than comedy is weird to me, so it felt a bit uncomfortable and some getting used to, but it works.


KC: I thought you did very well, it was a very moving story. And I suppose, on the back of that, speaking about your relationship with Corinna, I think it’s no secret that the chemistry in season 2 is just so much better than it was in season 1 because we all know each other now.

KE: Tara and Darcy don’t have the same awkwardness that Nick and Charlie did at the beginning, those relationship jitters. The first season was difficult because Corinna and I had that with each other, that nervousness where we didn't quite know each other. We weren’t quite comfortable with each other and to play people that had known each other for a long time was kind of weird. But with this season I’m just so comfortable with her, I’m so at ease. It feels like a modified version of our relationship, like with the jokes we have. I feel like myself with Corinna because we are so tight.


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KC: Let’s talk about that chemistry and the way we all just had so much fun on season 2, especially between you and Corey (Corinna) as you’ve had so many scenes together. Could you maybe tell us some on-set or off-set story?


KE: Do you remember when we were on the bridge with all the locks? Cormac (Hyde-Corrin) snuck to our room to hang out with us. He wasn’t really allowed to in Paris – he was supposed to be supervised at all times, but he snuck out and hung out with me and Corinna in our rooms in France and it was lovely. It was a really girly sleepover, we played “Never Have I Ever”.


KC: Wow! That’s so adorable. I didn’t know that actually! Well, Cormy’s gonna be a grown up now so he’s not going to have to sneak around anymore.


KC: As an actor how do you navigate the balance between staying true to a character’s essence whilst also infusing your own unique interpretation?


KE: I’ve never seriously played a character other than Darcy. I think, out of all the cast, I’m the most at risk for that weird blurring of the boundaries, because I don’t know and have never played any characters like this. So I do get confused sometimes and when I’m nervous; I default to Darcy-mode which is light-hearted, and by making jokes. I do sometimes get mixed up, but luckily Darcy’s nice so it's not like a serious method actor doing a horrible role and I start being cruel to everyone.


KC: Exactly, exactly. I mean I would say, also, that you do have a switch that you flick on, I think you switch on Darcy-mode.

So, what was the most rewarding aspect of working on this season for you personally? Is there a particular scene or moment that stands out as memorable?


KE: I really liked all the time we spent together. I really liked all the group scenes. Especially, all the montage-y ones with no written dialogue, the improvisation ones. Like the post prom scenes, I love everything that comes after prom, I also love the whole ending of the show.


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KC: And there's a really beautiful scene between you and Corey as well.


KE: I’m really happy with that. I watched it and I was really nervous about it, but it was fine.


KC: You were wonderful in it, it was very, very moving. Would you say that's your standout moment?


KE: Yeah, I think absolutely.


KC: What was it like meeting Alice and the wonderful cast for the first time?


KE: We all met at the chemistry read, I was very quiet. Corinna and Yas were talking, I was not talking, I was scared. They were talking about something really menial like a holiday or something. I was sitting twiddling my thumbs really, really nervous and not sure if I should speak, if I shouldn’t speak. It was such a whole new situation. And then I met you, Joe and Will right after that. We talked a bit but I think we were all pretty nervous.


KC: I was very nervous, I know that. And I actually had the role at that point but I was still extremely nervous.


KE: Yeah, myself and Joe didn’t have the roles at that time.


KC: How was your experience meeting Alice (Oseman) for the first time?


KE: I was a bit starstruck. They have this insane creativity, they’re very down to earth yet quite quiet and humble as well. I guess this is what I thought a writer would be in person. They were basically exactly how I thought they'd be.


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KC: Tell me Kizz, name three tracks that are at the top of your essential playlist for the rest of summer.


KE: I Love It by Charli XCX and Icona Pop. I think we should bring back Kiss Me More too, it's a classic summer song but it's also a very Heartstopper cast song.


KC: Yeah! Yas used to play it really, really, really loud in her room?


KE: You could hear it everywhere!


KC: And then you’d have Will in the next room playing jazz really loud, but Kiss Me More would be playing even louder.


KE: It was very loud! For a third one maybe any song by Nell Mescal. Love her.


KC: Heartstopper has gained a dedicated fan base and the series has resonated with many viewers. How has the reception been to the show and to your performance? How has it impacted you as an actor, and what do you hope viewers take away from your portrayal in Season 2?


KE: It’s been completely kind, which I think I was shocked by. I was like “Oh surely someone’s gonna have some issue with something I’ve done”. And of course there is always some negative stuff out there if you are looking for it, which I do because I’m self-obsessed – joke! But yeah the reception has been really intense! It has made my life different from what it was before Heartstopper.


KC: What about your day to day life, walking down the street, how often would you say you come across people who have really been impacted by Heartstopper?


KE: It’s funny the type of places I am in when I’m stopped. I’m like, “Oh of course, there’s a correlation between Harry Styles fans and Heartstopper fans!”. Like when I was at the Harry Styles concert with Corinna (Brown), it was funny to see the intersection and crossover of fans between different things. At a lot of concerts like the Mitski one too, people came up to me. They are so nice, they’re all so nice. They’re really sweet and it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming how nice they are to me, because to me, I don’t feel like I’ve done much to deserve that attention. So it's a bit disorientating, to have people be so appreciative.


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KC: Of course, of course! Now, my next question is, are there any actors or directors to whom you look up to and consider sources of inspiration? If there is anyone, what work have they done that has really inspired you?


KE: This is an odd one, but I think it would be the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. They are so incredibly funny, with great timing! They’re all super professional and on it with their jokes and I would like to take a lot from their comedy.


KC: Mhmm, that's a very good answer.


KC: Okay, how about this? If you had to choose one person from the show, who would be (1) the funniest (2) the most stylish (3) most likely to lose something (4) most likely to be late to the party? I think about three of these are the same person but anyway.


KE: Funniest: Bradley (Riches).


KC: Ahhh, that's a good answer! For me it's either Bradley or Tobie.


KE: I think so much about the time Bradley was reading jokes from a website in hysterics.


KC: You gotta tell us that story, that was a very, very funny moment.


KE: The picture of you all from that moment was my phone background for a while. He was just telling us some jokes like, “What do you call a woman with a laptop on her head?”.


Both: Adele.


KE: You look so silly in the photo, you’re like laughing your entire brain off. It’s still the funniest thing in the world to me. That really crap joke.


KC: I think you’re gonna have to send that picture that was your lock screen because I don’t think I’ve seen that and that will bring back the good memories.


KE: I will, I will.


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KC: Alright, now, number two! Who’s the most stylish?


KE: This is Yasmin.


KC: Yasmin is a style icon to be fair.


KE: Will (Gao) is also stylish. Do you remember before we even started filming we went to Brick Lane and Will got this gorgeous coat with paint splatters all over it? It was so gorgeous.


KC: Yeah! He still wears it sometimes, apparently he still wears it just to walk to Tesco and things.


KE: Oh my – he’s just so effortlessly cool!


KC: So effortlessly cool and it's so annoying.


KE: I know!


KC: Number three, most likely to lose something?


KE: Could be me, could be Yas also. I’m very forgetful.


KC: I think it also could be Will.


KE: Yeah, I see that. What do you think he’d lose?


KC: I think he’d lose his head if it wasn’t screwed on properly. He’d lose anything. I think, I think Yas would lose something purely because there would just be so much stuff.


KE: Yeah, yeah


KC: And I could definitely see you losing something.


KE: Yeah, I lose my phone so often.


KC: Number four! Most likely to be late to the party.


KE: I feel like… that's Yas.


KC: Yeah.


KE: I don't think there's any other answer for that.


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KC: Again, I think it’s either one of the supermodels, it's either Yas or, for me, Will.


The show tackles important themes, such as friendship, self-discovery and LGBTQ+ representation. As an actor how do you navigate portraying these themes authentically and respectfully?


KE: It can be quite intense with a lot of pressure. It does help that it's beautifully written by Alice, so the bulk of the work, when it comes from representation, has been done by Al. But with Darcy, the only way I can make sure it's authentic is if I consider Darcy to be a version of my sixteen year old self. Not exactly the same, but with stuff like coming out, navigating relationships or friendships and LGBTQ+ stuff, the only way I can make certain, is if I anchor Darcey in a bit of me.


KC: Absolutely. And what are your hopes for your character’s arc and the show in general?


KE: I really need Darcy to grow up a little bit. I feel weirdly paternal towards my character. So I do truly want Darcey’s life to improve, and for her to learn to think before she speaks. I feel like her mouth can get her in quite a lot of trouble. She’s lucky that it hasn’t done that yet but I’m nervous that it could. So I feel like that could be fun. I’d really like to see how her relationship with Tara progresses too and the integration into the group. That's my favourite thing about this season because in the first season we didn’t know each other. Now we all know each other and we’re a proper gang, it feels really good, so I want us all to hang out in the show.


KC: Yeah! How do you feel about it, because correct me if I’m wrong but I seem to remember that you’re a bit of a Heartstopper fan yourself, I mean you read the comics?


KE: Yeah you’re right, I read them up to volume four on the train during Covid. I loved it!


KC: Wonderful.


KE: My favourite bit in volume four is New Years’, I think it's so cute. I also really like Darcy’s outfit. That was what caught my eye. It's a very Darcy outfit. She's wearing a plaid shirt with a patterned shirt over the top and a bum bag and shorts I think? I remember talking to the costume department about it. I said, “I’ve just seen in volume four this really cool outfit, can we recreate it?”, which we basically did for this season, it was great!


KC: Darcy’s always got some cool outfits.


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KC: As someone who knows the comics, the stories and the arcs these characters are going on, what is your favourite thing about the way Alice has slightly veered away from the comics for the show, with introducing new characters and storylines?


KE: I love it. It means I get more screen time, so I love it. I love Imogen as a character. I think, not that the comics weren’t perfect, but the addition of her character to the show is so sweet. She brings such an upbeat energy and a really sweet naivety and I love Imogen, I’m so glad she exists.


KC: What are the three things you think the fans would be excited to see in Season 2?


KE: I’m excited for everyone to see the friend group as a whole. I’m excited for Paris in general – it’s so cute, it’s so beautiful. And I’m excited for them to see you Kit!


KC: Awww!


KE: Yeah I am! You and Joe I think have levelled up so supremely this season. I’m excited.


KC: I think we’ve all levelled up to be honest, I think you know what's crazy is everyone in the show has really developed as an actor.


KC: Especially as we do tackle some more difficult topics in this season, I think everyone’s stepped up.


KE: I agree. In this season, one of your scenes made me tear up man!


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Heartstopper Season 2 is out now on Netflix



Interview by Kit Connor

Photographer Philip Blythman

Ph Ass Arturo Sylar

Set Designer Paula Salinas

Fashion & Editor Jheanelle Feanny

Fashion Ass & Intro Gwyneth Green

MUA Claudine Blythman

Hair by Jon Chapman at Carol Hayes MGMT





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