Something to ponder: did American entertainment ever actually recover from the Writers Guild of America strike in the late 2000s? When, *checks notes* 12,000 film and TV writers went on strike to increase funding for writers? Given the sea of remakes that abound and the impending arrival of a third Princess Switch film, one could argue, nope, it didn’t. When a follow-up to the beloved 1996 teen film The Craft was announced, we’re pretty sure most people would have regarded it with healthy scepticism, or maybe just a “but why though?” The Craft: Legacy looks that question squarely in the face and answers, “because we can and it’s fun, duh. Stop gatekeeping.”
The Craft, for all its merits, was still a story about four young women coloured by the perspective of the two men who helmed it. The Craft: Legacy offers up a fresh perspective, it’s a film that rolls around in its nuanced social awareness pretty joyously, only occasionally veering into slight cheesiness. Written and directed by New Girl‘s Zoe-Lister Jones, the film follows a coven of four teen witches through navigating awkward high school moments, taking down a Jordan Peterson-esque patriarch and coming into their own—magically and otherwise. This isn’t a girl power film, but the best moments are definitely ones that revel in the gals.
One witch who’s particularly fun to watch? Gideon Adlon, who plays Frankie, the air element quarter of the four blessed with by the most jokes. Adlon floats and bounces through her scenes and gentle physical comedy with delight—a very different vibe from when you might have last caught her in the Kay Cannon-directed comedy Blockers. Ahead of The Craft: Legacy‘s release in Australia (on the 29th of October), Syrup caught up with Adlon to chat about bringing witchcraft and fresh takes to a generation who is already embracing them. P.S. Keep an eye, or rather ear, out for her in Netflix’s forthcoming Pacific Rim: The Black anime.
How are you feeling right now, on the eve of this movie coming out? Are you doing anything special to celebrate in these very weird times?
Tomorrow night, I’m having like a little screening at my mom’s house with just my family and close friends. And that’ll be all COVID-safe. On Halloween, I’m gonna stay in and, you know, maybe watch the movie again, amongst some other horror movies? I mean, I’m not upset about the movie coming out right now and missing a theatrical release in the U.S. I think it’s very important that we stay home when we watch this movie and I think that’s kind of the fun of it in a way. Like “let’s stay home on Halloween and watch movies with the popcorn.” You have to deal with it, we did reshoots during COVID.
It’s so funny ’cause when I watched the movie, I was like, “Wow, we were filming this movie last year when the world was completely different. I would have never expected to have such a quick 180 from then to now. Everything now it just feels like, this is the way life is now. I kind of normalised it to myself in a way, you know, this is just the way it is when a project comes out nowadays.
There’s a fair amount of social commentary throughout The Craft: Legacy, is choosing projects that have a bit of a ‘smarter take’ important to you?
Of course it’s important to me! I think that nowadays there’s so much more to talk about than just an amazing film. If I can put my political beliefs and what I want to fight for on screen, that means so much to me. People can be going into a film and they’re actually being educated and seeing so many things normalised on the screen. It is so important to me to choose smart, fast paced projects that put the word out there.
Do you feel like people have a lower tolerance for clumsiness around gender or things like that these days?
Yeah, I don’t think that there’s much space to have the industry be what it used to be. And I think by now, if new filmmakers don’t keep up with the pace, they’re gonna fall behind. And if they don’t change and mold and play, they’re not going to be a part of something. Things are changing.
Can you tell us about your personal relationship to magic before filming this movie?
Since I was, like, six-years-old I had a very, very deep connection with crystals. I had a crystal Bible and I learned all about their healing powers, I started going to a psychic when I was very little, I’ve always been connected. So working on this project, it kind of felt like everything I’ve loved through my whole life just came together. [Laughs.]
The makeup and styling in this film are so on point, especially Frankie’s coloured liners, did you have a hand in that?
Yeah actually, Avery Plewes, the costume designer, she was very open to hearing what we thought about the outfits. Also hearing our thoughts on who our character is, where we want our characters to go and how we see them growing throughout the film. She had an idea of adding pieces of our elements into our wardrobes. In one scene, I’m wearing an amethyst necklace, which is the gemstone for my sign. My wardrobe is very all over the place and they thought that matched with my element of air.
I mean, the makeup we just wanted to have fun with. The head of the makeup department, she wanted so many different colours and I have a lot of cat-eyes and all of them have different colours. I think it was the most fun I’ve ever had with wardrobe and makeup on a project. It was kind of like an artist’s palette every day, always adding new things.
Such a fun detail about Frankie’s gemstone, but you’re a fire sign right? How was it getting into an ~air sign~ character?
I know a lot of air signs in real life, my ex is an air sign, my sister’s an air sign. I mean, every character I play I have to get into, but Frankie was just so fun. She’s so loud and all over the place and I had so much fun with that.
Do you have a favourite sign IRL? Did, uh, the air sign ex turn you off?
Umm—no! I don’t think I only get along with specific signs, I’ve kind of always been pretty open to all the signs. I tend to get along with everybody.
What informs your own styles in real life? You were running vintage pop-ups before, is sustainability something that’s important to you?
Oh yeah, definitely. I think that one of the biggest killers of this planet is the fashion industry. I think everything should become more sustainable. If people can mix the old and new—at a start—they should do that. I love, love, love vintage. Most of my closet is vintage. I try to only wear new clothes that are gifted to me, I really try not to buy new. Sustainability can be helpful and stylish.
Do you have any specific vintage shopping tips? Though thrift and vintage shopping does seem much bigger of a thing over in the U.S.
I like starting at the beginning and working my way to the back. I don’t go to thrift stores as much as I used to—that was more of a high school, beginning of college thing. When I go to vintage stores now I start at the beginning and I work my way to the back. I don’t want to miss anything!
And how do you approach beauty?
Like my personal beauty routine and stuff? I’ve never been a really big makeup person, on me. I’m always so fascinated when women can do their makeup and transform themselves. I think it’s so amazing. I’m not talented in that department. I’m a big skincare person. I love taking care of my skin and making sure it’s glowy and fresh and clean. I’ve never really dyed my hair but haircare is very important to me too. I use organic products, I’m obsessed with this brand called Afterworld right now, which is an essential oil hair wash. It just strips your hair of dirt.
In terms of the way I dress, I guess it’s kind of a French way to go about it to, just very clean. Kind of like a curated-sloppy-thrown-together kind of look, very chic.
The Craft: Legacy is in cinemas now.