Interview: Tiera Skovbye Talks SUMMER OF ’84 and RIVERDALE

The latest eighties nostalgia trip is finally here from the Canadian three-prong collective, RKSS, who gave us the mind-bending Turbo Kid back in 2015. Now, they’ve jumped back in time with Summer of ’84, weaving a tale of suburban boredom that sends a group of junior high kids on a harrowing adventure when their fearless leader Davey begins to suspect that his neighbor Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer) might be a notorious serial killer.

Actress Tiera Skovbye (Supernatural, Riverdale) puts a spin on the classic girl next door role as Nikki, a sweet high school senior that helps her new teenage friends find their man. Skovbye took some time out to talk with us about being transported back to the eighties while on set, the fascination we have with serial killers from the Red Hood in Riverdale to the Cape May Slayer in Summer of ’84, and the possibility of a potential sequel.

Summer, 1984: The perfect time to be 15 years old and care free. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous.

The film is in theaters now, and then VOD and Digital HD August 24th.

Note: Beware of Riverdale season 2 spoilers if you’re not caught up!

DC: When you guys were on set, did you feel like you were transported back to the eighties? Did you guys keep cell phones away or anything like that and was it jarring to go back and forth from 2018 to 1984?

TS: Yeah, it was really cool. I think a big thing that really helped was hair and makeup and wardrobe. Then I definitely felt like I was in the eighties. Then you step on the set and it’s like oh, of course. We didn’t really keep cell phones away too much but there were definitely times where I was reading the script where I would giggle to myself. If this were to happen now, the solution to this would be a lot easier because of modern technology. We’d be able to text each other, have cell phones and call 911. Things like that you don’t think about until you’re in the moment and you’re reading it. It was really cool actually.

DC: I really wish people would just bring back walkie talkies.

TS: Oh for sure. I remember having a walkie talkie as a kid and me and my sister in our bedrooms going, ‘Can you hear me?’

DC: You’ve really been close to this story from the beginning. Your fiancé was a producer on this, right?

TS: Yes, yes. So when he originally got the script from Matt Leslie and they were talking about doing a movie together, he sent it to me and said read this and let me know what you think. I was like, ok, so here’s the thing: when you get the financing and you make this movie, because it’s great, I want to audition for Nikki. So yeah, I read it really early on but I did still audition for it. I didn’t want things to be any different just because my fiancé was producing it. We kept it very separate until we were on set and we let people know that we were obviously together. Until then, I got it on my own merit which was pretty cool.

DC: Well, I see why you were attracted to it, it’s kind of that classic girl next door role. Nikki’s actually really sweet in this which gives her more depth. Do you think she helps Davey become more of a man?

TS: Oh absolutely, and I think that was why I was so attracted to it because she wasn’t just your girl next door. It kind of starts out that way but then as you kind of see the relationship with Davey kind of develop you realize that there’s a lot more to her than just, you know, her being this fantasized about girl next door that the boys spy on. You see a bit of her depth and I think that’s why when she decides to go on the adventure with Davey at the end it makes it so special.

I don’t know if she one hundred percent does believe him but that’s not really what it’s about. Whether he is right or not, she can clearly tell that it’s something he is passionate about and she’s like, okay, let’s go explore it. If it’s not true then at least we know but I think that goes to show the relationship and the trust they have for each other. I think it does help them grow up. The circumstances alone help them grow up but having somebody believe him and really care about him the way that Nikki does says a lot to a younger person.

DC: Yeah, you definitely give them a lot of courage and that works out for some and maybe not so well for others. I just finished the Golden State Killer book so it was good to read that and then watch this again. With Riverdale and the Red Hood or Wayne Mackey in this, why do we have such a fascination with murderers and why are they always suburban white guys?

TS: I know! It was so funny, someone in one of my interviews yesterday was like, ‘What’s with you and serial killers?’ and I was like ‘What are you talking about?’ I never actually made that connection. I think maybe that they’re the least suspecting and also because they’re the people closest to you. I think that’s what was so startling about Officer Mackey and in Riverdale with it being our Dad. Him being in our house and living in our house and him being right next door. It’s so creepy to think of someone who you could trust and also a cop. It just makes you think about everybody. If a cop can do that and my father could do that, what is everybody else capable of?

DC: For so long, Canada really wasn’t making genre films like this. As a Canadian are you excited about what’s been happening to the film scene?

TS: Oh absolutely. I keep trying to leave Vancouver to get work and every time I do I get work in Vancouver. It’s amazing. I think at this point, it’s being taken a bit more seriously in terms of actually having good movies. Having an indie movie made in Vancouver premiere at Sundance is a pretty big deal. And first time writers and pretty much first time producers, it was pretty frickin’ special. And I think that says a lot about Vancouver. We can make films that aren’t just Hallmark or Lifetime movies. We are making things that are different and that are cool.

DC: Is it true you acted in a theatre production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? How was the experience doing a horror adaptation on stage?

TS: I did. It was really cool, we did a very very abstract version of the play which I thought was really fun. We opened on Halloween which was perfect. It was a blast, I had so much fun, it was a long production. I did it with a bunch of my friends from acting school, we all kind of formed this little theatre company. It was awesome. Our main actor who played Victor Frankenstein actually dislocated his shoulder on stage during our second to last performance!

DC: Coming after Stranger Things is probably a blessing in disguise. I know RKSS felt like they got beaten to the punch a little but it’s good to be compared to a phenomenon. Is Summer of ’84 scarier because it’s dealing with a real life killer as opposed to the supernatural?

TS: For me, the kind of movies that freak me out are definitely the ones that could happen and are happening and you don’t even know about it. The things that make you question your own reality and the things happening around you. I think that, for me, that makes it scarier than Stranger Things. It doesn’t come home with me whereas with something like this it definitely makes me look over my shoulder and question my neighbors and wonder what is going on in their world.

DC: Speaking of wanting to be in everyone’s business, that’s definitely the case with the folks in Riverdale. It really seems like your character Polly Cooper is at the heart of all the mysteries. Will she be returning to drop some bombshells in season 3? October is a perfect time for the premiere.

TS: Yes, she definitely comes back. There is a bit about this farm that’s been alluded to so much in the past seasons. So I think there’s been some things with the fans where they’re like ‘What is happening with Polly?’ that slowly starts to unravel which is very exciting. I’m filming right now, we started filming a couple weeks ago. Yeah, I think fans will be very happy.

DC: Is there any talk of a Summer of ’84 sequel? It’s left a little open ended with you going off to college, I think.

TS: Yeah, on set we were all joking and pitching to the writers what we think should happen for a sequel. There hasn’t been any talks but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Sometimes though I kind of feel like with these kind of movies, a standalone is kind of what makes it cool. You never know what can happen.

DC: Fall of ’84, there’s your title right there.



Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter