Sunday Mail - Body and Soul

Krystal Sutherland

- AUTHOR

I was nervous the first time I met [actor] Lili Reinhart. We were on our way to the set of the film Chemical Hearts, which is based on the book I wrote, and we were both catching the “talent bus” from the hotel. I was already on the bus when Lili climbed in and looked me up and down suspicious­ly. I think she assumed I was a crazed fan who’d snuck on board!

When I introduced myself, she warmed up. “I loved your book,” she said.

I was surprised to learn she’d read it. I assumed an agent or manager had skimmed it on her behalf. Lili read it herself and connected with the character of Grace Town. On the TV series Riverdale she plays Betty Cooper, who’s sweet and wholesome. Lili was drawn to Grace as an opportunit­y to inhabit a character who’s confused, complicate­d and angry. She wanted fans to see her in a different light.

In person Lili was reserved, but as soon as you put a camera on her, something happened. It was almost like she was saving her energy for the moment the director said, “Action,” and then she was electrifie­d. Lili has magnetic power as an actor. She brought so much of her own struggle with anxiety to her performanc­e.

Lili was a driving force behind getting the movie made. She’s credited as an executive producer and with good reason. She was involved from the beginning. She only wanted to work with [director] Richard Tanne and she only had a six-week window in which to film.

The time of our first meeting with Amazon Studios to the time we started shooting was just two months.

That kind of timeframe is practicall­y unheard of in Hollywood, but Lili’s star power made it happen. Krystal Sutherland’s new book, House of Hollow (Penguin, $19.99), is out now.

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