Mason Versaw & Aparna Brielle Interview: Boo, Bitch

Mason Versaw and Aparna Brielle star in Netflix’s Boo, Bitch as a popular high-school couple — Jake C. and Riley. The pair’s rocky relationship seems to have reached its end when Jake C. meets Lana Condor’s Erika Vu and decides to pursue her instead. Riley sees her status challenged by Erika’s newfound confidence, as the latter lets go of her insecurities when she believes herself to be a ghost.

Prior to their appearances in Boo, Bitch, Versaw played the younger version of Andrew Garfield’s Jonathan Larson in Tick, Tick… BOOM, while Brielle held a major role in the Peacock series A.P. Bio. 

Screen Rant interviewed Versaw and Brielle about the toxic dynamic between Jake C. and Riley in Boo, Bitch.

Screen Rant: Mason, when we meet your character, Jake C., he’s in an on-and-off relationship with Riley, but calls it quits in favor of Erika. What is it about Erika that compels a popular guy like Jake to leave his popular girlfriend for a lesser-known girl?

Mason Versaw: She’s very bold by the way she comes up to him. There’s some confidence and there’s kindness. It sounds like she maybe wants to here a little bit of what he has to say and what he has to offer, whereas with Riley, it’s a little tricky because she’s typically the star of the show. But with Erika, to Jake C., I think for him there’s some charm from her that catches him by surprise and something that he’s shocked that he didn’t notice before, so he’s a little stunned.

This series features a number of high-school archetypes often portrayed in media. Aparna, how did you approach playing Riley as a sort of “mean girl”?

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Aparna Brielle: First of all, we’ve been so lucky that we got to grow up with so many great references for this role. We had Mean Girls, we had so many different movies, but I think the most important thing for me stepping into this role was realizing that at that age, no one really has that kind of confidence. I mean, they might, but Riley certainly doesn’t and I really wanted to lean into her insecurity because there’s a reason that she kind of craves the drama that she gets. There’s a reason that she plays all these political games. She’s deeply insecure. I don’t think she’s really confident in how real any of her friendships are. I think Jake C. might be the only person that she feels like she has a genuine connection with. For approaching this role, rather than focusing on just the archetypes and the stereotypes, which are really fun to play into too, I started with that emotional river and really leaning into what it felt like, at that time, to not have control over things in your life.

I loved the dynamic your characters have in this toxic relationship. What was it like working on that together?

Aparna Brielle: It was delicious.

Mason Versaw: It was delicious. Every time, it was so much fun. I almost wish there were more moments that we had with each other because it was just such a ball to you know, that dynamic, it’s a very specific dynamic that I feel like most people are very aware of and have experienced in high school or outside of high school. So, that one was a wild one because yeah, their relationship’s a real whirlwind. I mean, seeing that chaotic energy of the power and control that Miss Riley has over Jake C. is serious, and then Jake C.’s like so determined to say otherwise that she doesn’t have that but she so does on him, but it was so much fun.

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Aparna Brielle: We had such a blast and I know that sounds terrible because we were playing a toxic relationship, but part of what we’re doing is we’re playing make-believe, we’re acting, and it’s just really fun when you get to work with someone who’s so open, and so giving. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t met or known Mason before ’cause it was so easy for me to jump into it with him and just play. We had so many great, fun scenes — some of them didn’t even make it into the show — that we really got to play with every level of their dynamic and just let loose and have fun.

It also helps that we became pretty good friends while we were shooting, so we really trusted each other to let loose and we had permission to go as crazy as we wanted to. That’s kind of a show, too, you know, it’s not totally reality either, so while it’s rooted in that real relationship that we’ve all witnessed or been a part of, we got to really take it to an extra level. There are so many little elements, so many juicy little things we got to play with.

Boo, Bitch Synopsis

Boo, Bitch. (L to R) Lana Condor as Erika, Mason Versaw as Jake C in episode 101 of Boo, Bitch. Cr. Erik Voake/Netflix © 2022

Over the course of one night, a high school senior, who’s lived her life safely under the radar, seizes the opportunity to change her narrative and start living an epic life, only to find out the next morning… she’s a motherf*%king ghost.

Check out our interview with Boo, Bitch stars Lana Condor & Zoe Colletti as well.

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All eight episodes of Boo, Bitch are available to stream July 8 on Netflix.

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