Many of us know (and love!) Ashley Rickards as the hapless central character of MTV’s pretty awesome comedy Awkward. But the actress has been changing it up somewhat lately, appearing in some darker fare on the big screen.
“I was worried about being typecast!” Ashley says half-jokingly about her turns in the terrifying new At the Devil’s Door as well as projects like A Haunted House 2 and American Horror Story. “What are my agents telling people that I’m not aware of??” But in all seriousness, she isn’t concerned, partially because Devil’s Door is not your average horror flick. “It’s a realistic look” at the occult genre, she says. “It’s very creative. It’s not just a blood and guts type of thing – I’m grateful for that.”
The end result of the film is truly imaginative, keeping the audience guessing at every turn. The first scene in the film is one of the most chilling, and it required Ashley to stick her hand in a mysterious box. “It was very creepy to film,” she remembers. “For the most part, the set was very different from the film itself – there was a camera guy, hair and makeup, all of that…but for that scene we were literally filming on location in a place called Devil’s Pit, which is a real town in California. And it’s Terrifying.” She recalls demanding the director Nicholas McCarthy to tell her what was in the box before filming – Ashley is one of those actors who likes to be prepared. “If I had really been terrified, I would have blown out my microphone!”
The big question is, how does the actress adjust from playing Jenna on the charming and funny Awkward to a demonically possessed girl in one of the scariest movies of the year? “I would say that it’s just another ‘human’ experience, but in this case it wasn’t really a human experience,” she responds. “But it is still that element of general storytelling - it's still the same acting process.” Of course, it isn’t totally the same thing. “There’s definitely more laughing on the set of a comedy than there is on a horror movie!”
And what about getting the opportunity to play Jenna for the past four years? What does Ashley like most about this defining character? “I like a lot about Jenna,” she answers. “I think she has great hair, we have that in common. I also love her wardrobe this season, which luckily I did get to take home quite a bit of!”