A Friend to Die For was one of the quintessential TV movies, airing on NBC in 1994. Based on the true story of a high school cheerleading hopeful who murdered the star cheerleader, Lifetime is telling the story for 2019 audiences in their production of Death of a Cheerleader.
Aubrey Peeples (Nashville) stars as Bridget, the socially awkward teen who ends up murdering star cheerleader Kelly (Sarah Dugdale). A Friend to Die For star Kellie Martin even has a role as an FBI agent. Showbiz Junkies spoke with Peeples and Dudgdale in L.A. about the 2019 film.
Death of a Cheerleader premieres Saturday, February 2 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.
Was learning cheerleading different for each of you, since Kelly had to be good at it and Bridget was not?
Sarah Dugdale: “We both kind of went into it blind, but we had an amazing choreographer. Morgan Tanner, he really gave us the confidence and let us shine. We were both a little nervous. We’ve never cheerleaded before. I grew up dancing so I feel like I was at a little more of an (advantage), but it’s definitely different. It’s very peppy, lots of strong arms.”
Aubrey Peeples: “Yeah, I did dance when I was younger but I was the bad kid in class, like the awkward one. And I didn’t continue like Sarah did so I was very nervous. But, yeah, Morgan was amazing.”
Sarah Dugdale: “I’m glad that we were in it together though. We survived it together.”
Like most teenagers, Bridget doesn’t understand how friends connect and she gets it wrong. Hopefully most people learn that as they mature, but did you understand how that social awkwardness could turn deadly?
Aubrey Peeples: “Yeah, it was really interesting studying the source material from all the reporting that came out in the ‘80s, there was such a lack of awareness about mental health and they were in such a small, affluent community. There was a lot of pressure on them and I think hopefully people can take away that we all experience insecurity and pressure, and hopefully going forward we can create more of an awareness for mental health and what might be going on underneath the surface so we can create a dialogue and try to prevent these things from happening or going to that extreme.”
Sarah Dugdale: “Yeah, I feel like we’re definitely moving in the right direction, having more of an open dialogue so you don’t have to suffer alone.”
What were your favorite pieces of ‘80s wardrobe?
Aubrey Peeples: “I got some good Levis out of it. I got to keep them.”
Sarah Dugdale: “Yeah, I guess for me, I have this – I took it home – it’s this really cool, brightly colored windbreaker.”
Aubrey Peeples: “Oh, it’s so good. I love it.”
Sarah Dugdale: “It’s so awesome. It’s vintage and I’m just obsessed with it. I wear a lot of black so it was a nice injection of color into my wardrobe. We’ll see if I’m confident enough to wear it, but one day.”
Did either of you grow up watching Lifetime movies and dream of being in them?
Sarah Dugdale: “I definitely have seen them on at my house. My mom will have them recorded.”
Aubrey Peeples: “Yeah, my mom loves them so I’ve seen them by proxy.”
Was it like my parents will be so proud of me?
Aubrey Peeples: “There’s definitely that element to it.”
Sarah Dugdale: “Definitely, yeah, but my mom is always scared whenever I’m in something where I’m harmed. I’ve done a few Lifetime movies so I’ve been kidnapped and now I’ve been stabbed. I’ve been burned to death. My mom is like, ‘When will it stop?'”
Does it also help bring attention to subjects that maybe Hollywood movies won’t tackle?
Aubrey Peeples: “Yeah, I would definitely agree with you.”
Sarah Dugdale: “I feel like there’s such a market for it. People are always looking for entertainment and an escape. I feel like true crime is such a big part of people’s lives now and everyone’s so interested in it.”
What was your relationship with the other girls?
Aubrey Peeples: “So we only had a couple days to work with the background cheerleaders. They were so wonderful and very helpful, especially to me because I’m not a dancer. But as far as the cast of women, we all are best friends now. We’re really close.”
Sarah Dugdale: “We got along so well and it’s kind of beautiful that something so tragic could bring together such wonderful woman.”
And the actors playing the parents?
Aubrey Peeples: “I loved the woman who played my mom. She was super awesome. I really appreciated her and great to work with.”
Sarah Dugdale: “Yeah, I totally agree. I felt very safe and felt like we had a good connection and it did feel very maternal like instantly with her.”
What are you doing next?
Sarah Dugdale: “I have a Hallmark mystery movie coming out called Mystery 101. And fingers crossed, they want to make it into a little bit of a limited series which would be cool. I got to play someone a bit older than myself and a detective for the first time. So solving crimes instead of being murdered, and that’s coming out January 27th. Then I have a Netflix feature coming out called In the Shadow of the Moon that Boyd Holbrook is starring in. I’m playing his daughter. That was an amazing experience. I got to film that in Toronto and Jim Mickle, the director, is such an incredible man so I’m very excited to see it.”
What’s it about?
Sarah Dugdale: “It’s like a mystery crime thriller and there’s time travel involved. I can’t say too much. I don’t want to give it away, but it’ll be exciting.”
Aubrey Peeples: “A little while ago I shot a film called Locating Silverlake with Josh Peck and Finn Wittrock. We recently got distribution so hopefully I’ll have more answers soon about where it might be coming out. And then I also recently wrote, directed, starred in and produced a short film and I’m waiting to hear back from festivals right now, so we’ll see.”
What is Locating Silverlake about?
Aubrey Peeples: “I don’t want to give too much away. My character kinda comes in after maybe the first 30 minutes and I don’t want to say what my character is too much because it would give away a big part of the plot, but it’s basically about Josh Peck’s character moving to L.A. to become a writer. He moves to an area right near Silverlake and sort of meets this crowd in Silverlake that is very strange and unusual and becomes friends with them. I don’t want to say anything else.”
What’s your short about?
Aubrey Peeples: “My short is just kind of spending 10 minutes with four teenagers sort of being aimless and hanging out. It’s very day in the life.”
Who are the four teenagers?
Aubrey Peeples: “One is myself and one is my friend Christina Scherer. My roommate Austin Abrams is in it and my friend Cooper Koch is in it.”