Coachella is right around the corner and there’s nothing better to get you in the mood than the new movie Cover Versions.
Cover Versions follows a band named Star Foxy as they’re gearing up to play at a big festival much like Coachella. The night before their gig, they end up having a wild party that takes a murderous turn. Each of the members of the group then tell varying accounts of the night but just who is telling the truth?
The film stars Austin Swift, Katie Cassidy, Jerry Trainor, Drake Bell, Debby Ryan, Ashley Argota & Jenn An and is directed by Todd Berger. Reading that cast list, a lot of those names may sound familiar if you grew up on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. However, if you were expecting a g-rated Coachella flick, this is not it. This is a fun, wild movie that will show you a side of these former teen stars you’re probably not used to, and that’s what we love about it.
Ashley Argota stars as “Amber” in the film who is one of the women who may not be exactly who you think they are which is a big part of the fun and the mystery. We had a chance to chat with Ashley all about the filming process, breaking away from her Nickelodeon past and much more.
Cover Versions is such an interesting and edgy film. What was it about the film or the character of “Amber” that made you want to say yes?
Ashley Argota: Character wise, I just love getting to play the badass or the villain in any given project because it’s more fun for me. It’s worlds more fun for me to play that than a goody two shoes character. Also the script was so well written and it was so interesting to see such a huge event from all these people’s different perspectives and then find out what the real version of all that was.
What’s fun is you don’t even know if the version we see at the end is really even completely true until the twist because it’s all he said she said. When you read the script did you know where it was going before you read the ending or were you surprised?
AA: I did not know what was going to happen. I had sides for my audition so I knew at one point I was going to hold a gun to somebody because that’s what it said in my audition. I knew she started off pretty sweet and I knew something had to happen somewhere but when I started reading the script I didn’t understand what was going on until I got to those very few last pages and realized that we were even worse than I thought.
The filming for this must have been tricky since you’re doing some of the same scenes over and over just with slight differences depending on which character is narrating that part. What was the filming process like? Did you film all the versions for one scene at once or did you film it by storyline?
AA: We shot everything as “we’re in the ping pong set right now and we’re going to film all 5 versions of the story we have in the ping pong set.” I actually had a notebook and I color coded all the different versions of the script. There’s very subtle differences between every person’s versions with not only the acting but how it’s shot and the different looks and reactions. I knew very early on in the process I was going to get pretty confused pretty quickly because things move quickly on a movie set so I ended up just writing down different people’s versions. Every morning I could look at the notebook and know what I was filming and it was an easy way to keep track of everything and Todd, the director, was very helpful and gave us a giant diagram of all of the versions of the story.
As far as the cast goes, you’ve known a lot of these people for a long time. Was that fun to walk on to set and have a reunion?
AA: Yeah, “iCarly” was the first thing I did on Nickelodeon before “True Jackson” and my storyline in “iCarly” was with Jerry Trainor so it was really cool to see him again. After iCarly I didn’t really get to work with Jerry except for doing game shows on Nickelodeon and stuff like that. It was great to act with him again. Debby Ryan I’ve known for so long, I think she came to one of our very first True Jackson tapings ever and we just never got a chance to work together. I remember seeing each other and just being so ecstatic that after like 7 or 8 years of knowing each other we finally got to work together. It was really cool because they’re two remarkable and wonderful and talented human beings and so the fact I got to see them every day and work with them it was awesome.
A lot of the cast come from Nickelodeon & Disney stars where you end up with a certain stigma when it comes to acting. In this movie, we see very different sides of all of you as it’s not particularly a kid friendly movie. Did trying to break away from the stereotype factor into taking this role and do you look at roles differently now or do you not think about it?
AA: I try to not think about it too much, I do get there’s kind of a stigma around it. I try and gravitate towards characters and scripts that intrigue me and that I think would be fun to play. I was very fortunate when I got “The Fosters” I feel like kind of broke me out of the goodie two shoes, Nickelodeon, Disney whatever you want to call it stigma. I got to play a badass on that show who was a high school dropout that just wanted to play music and live on the road. I feel like doing that show broke me out of that but after looking at other roles I try to not think about it too much. I love my job so I try to pick scripts and characters that I know I’m going to have fun with.
Austin Swift is one of your co-stars in this film. What was it like working with him since he’s fairly new as an actor and you’re a bunch of vets.
AA: He did not feel new to the game at all, he knew exactly what he was doing. I feel like he was the most prepared out of everybody. He always offered very interesting insight into the different points of view of everybody. He was very chill to work with, he was so much fun, super kind. We had a great time with him and I think his version of the story always makes me laugh because Jackie just comes off as such a bitch to him and it makes me laugh every time I watch it.
Now lets play a little word association for your cast.
Katie Cassidy: Talented
Drake Bell: Guitar, he loves music
Jerry Trainor: Hysterical
Austin Swift: Quiet
Debby Ryan: Long time friend and I love her
Jenn An: Rock climbing
Yourself, Ashley Argota: Awkward
I love that Cover Versions tells the story from different points of view. Is there a project you’ve seen that you’d love to see it told from a different point of view?
AA: For some reason Tommy Wiseau comes to mind because I saw The Disaster Artist and The Room a million times. I guess more from Tommy’s point of view. I think he’s a fascinating person and I’d love to learn more about him. I’d love to see more of his point of view of the world/what he was thinking when he made The Room.
Your character is kind of a groupie for Star Foxy. Is there a band or artist you love so much that you’d consider being a groupie for?
AA: I feel like I’d follow Adele anywhere she went. I’m not really a band person. Maybe 10 years ago it’d be NSYNC or Backstreet Boys.
Lastly, what do you think viewers can learn from Cover Versions?
AA: The truth will always come out somehow, some way. You never know who may be watching.
Cover Versions is available now on Digital and On Demand. Get it on iTunes here.