Based on R.L. Stine’s book series Fear Street, Netflix is pulling out all the stops for a three-part trilogy based on those books. Fear Street Part 1: 1994, Fear Street Part 2: 1978 and Fear Street Part 3: 1666. Each film stands on its own, but they all come together to tell the unique story of the town of Shadyside.
The first entry of the trilogy, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is already streaming on Netflix and is being compared to classic films and shows like the Goonies, Scream and Stranger Things.
We had the chance to chat with one of the young stars of the trilogy Julia Rehwald. Julia will be starring in two of the three films, 1994 and 1666. We talked with her about her roles, working with director Leigh Janiak and why these types of horror films are still so popular.
Pop Culture Principle – Before you signed on to this project, were you familiar with the Stine’s books at all and if you were, did they help you prepare for the role?
Julia Rehwald – Yeah I went through a big Fear Street phase in grade school actually! I somehow never read Goosebumps but jumped right into Fear Street and I was hooked.
Pop Culture Principle – The interesting thing is that the books are more PG for the teen audience, but the film is Rated R and doesn’t not hold back with the violence and gore.
Julia Rehwald – Yeah the movies definitely don’t shy away from the violence. It does a good job of attracting a younger teen audience while aging up with those who read Fear Street as kids/teens and are hungry for something a little more violent.
Pop Culture Principle – Being part of the Fear trilogy was your first big project. Can you talk a little bit about your excitement when you found out you got the role and what it was like stepping on set for the first time?
Julia Rehwald – It was absolutely wild. It still doesn’t feel real to me honestly. From the moment I stepped on set all the way through post-production work, it was like learning how sets work and movies are made in real time. Everything was new to me, which was a bit intimidating at times, but I just had to dive straight in and give it a go. I’m lucky to have had such a great cast & director who made the process so smooth and easy for my first project!
Pop Culture Principle – You are in two of the three Fear films. Can you tell us about your character Kate in the first film 1994?
Julia Rehwald – Kate is a total over-achiever. She’s extremely hardworking and determined to make her way out of Shadyside. She sees a big future for herself and is willing to do whatever it takes to see her dreams through. She’s a realist who isn’t scared to say it as it is. And although she’s not super affectionate with her friends, she really cares deeply for her friends and will do anything to protect them. She doesn’t care about many people besides herself, but when she decides to let someone in and care about them, she cares with her whole heart.
Pop Culture Principle – Your character in the first film goes through a rollercoaster of emotions and a lot of physicality for this role. How did you mentally and physically prepare yourself for this role?
Julia Rehwald – Good question. I guess I just did most of my preparation before we actually started filming. Leigh would meet with us to talk about our characters etc., so that once we started filming scenes and were thrown into the action, it all came pretty easily. We knew how our characters would operate and react in every situation. I didn’t have to do much physical prep for the role specifically though. I spent a good majority of my free time in Atlanta at the gym, but I also just love going to the gym.
Julia Rehwald – Yes!! Literally if I were to describe Fear Street Part 1 for someone, I would say it’s the meeting point in the venn diagram of these 3 projects. It’s got elements of camp, horror, and adventure/mystery.
Pop Culture Principle – I don’t think there has ever been a group of films like this that although they fit under one big umbrella, they are so different in tone and style. Would you agree with that?
Julia Rehwald – Yeah it’s really cool how each film has its own sub-genre under the horror umbrella. While the first movie has those Goonies/Stranger Things/Scream vibes, Part 2 gives off more of a bloody slasher vibe a la Halloween/Friday the 13th, and Part 3 finishes off in a 1600s witchy period piece.
Pop Culture Principle – Can you talk with us a little bit about working with director Leigh Janiak? Was she a collaborative director and did you have any input when it came to your characters?
Julia Rehwald – Yeah, Leigh was incredible to work with. She was really collaborative and hands on in creating our characters with us. Kate was a character that both Leigh and I understood and had a clear vision of from the beginning. We both kind of immediately knew who Kate was and what we wanted to do with her.
Pop Culture Principle – You are also playing a different character in the third film in the trilogy. Can you talk to us a little bit about that character?
Julia Rehwald – In 1666, I play the role of Lizzie. She’s got a similar fiery spunk like Kate does, but is a bit more mischievous than Kate’s goal-oriented mindset. Lizzie is usually up to no good, but is also the life of the party and loves to get her friends involved in her schemes.
Pop Culture Principle – Although you are playing two different characters in two of these films, do you think there is something that connects them together, besides you playing them of course?
Julia Rehwald – Yes! They are both spunky and confident young women who really cherish their best friends. They have a very similar energy to them.
Pop Culture Principle – Why do you think there is still such an appetite for horror and particularly films like this?
Julia Rehwald – I think those of us who love classic horror movies from the 80s & 90s are super excited to see a new horror franchise that pays homage to so many of the essential classics. I’m always down for a movie with good nostalgia. The trilogy takes the typical tropes, formulas, and rules for the genre but updates it in a fresh and modern way. I think in particular it’s also nice to see a horror movie that makes the audience really care for the characters, it makes the eventual violence all the more upsetting.
Pop Culture Principle – What would you say to the people who are fans of the books and looking forward to watching the films?
Julia Rehwald – Get ready!! While the movies aren’t based on specific Fear Street novels, they exist within that world of Shadyside and evoke the same feeling of campy, nerve-wracking horror that the books do. It’s a fresh new take on the classic series while still paying respects to the OG Fear Street books.
A huge thank you to Julia Rehwald for taking the time to talk with us. Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is now streaming on Netflix. Fear Street Part 2: 1978 will debut on July 9th and Fear Street Part 3: 1666 will debut on July 16th.
**Main photo courtesy of Deborah Lopez**
**All Fear Street photos courtesy of Netflix**
**Julia Rehwald Red Carpet photo courtesy of Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Netflix**