Hellcats returns tonight, and we got the scoop from executive producer Kevin Murphy, stars Aly Michalka, Robbie Jones, Heather Hemmens and Matt Bar, and special guest AJ Michalka.
We've all seen the trailer for tonight and yes, it has zombies. Don't go assuming we're talking about a dream sequence -- they are VERY real... in an on-film sort of way. Dan unleashes the undead on the Hellcats as part of his film-school application. Bar thinks Dan didn't need to bother: "Seeing what Dan did, I don’t think he needs film school. I think Universal would want to hire him right now."
Kevin Murphy explains that he decided to bring Dan to school to give him more points of access to other characters. "He’s now a film student and that’s going to be an area that we’re going to go to for the balance of this season and next season."
New love triangle
Now that we've accounted for the undead, let's get the really important information: What's going to happen between Marti and Dan? "There’s always going to be that tension between Marti and Dan and the fact that they did have history together, and there is an attraction to each other even if it’s not right for them to share those feelings and to have those intimate conversations," Aly Michalka said. "It’s always going to go back to that."
"It is inevitable that we will return to that," Kevin Murphy added, "but we’re returning to that slowly."
In fact, Marti might be getting a bit distracted thanks to sexy law professor Julian Parrish, played by Gale Harold. We’ve seen some flirting going on, but this will rapidly evolve and of course Marti will be discovering some Julian-centric secrets as well. "With Gale, there’s this maturity and this kind of taboo relationship between the two that makes them very interesting together," Aly Michalka said. "Marti is younger than Julian but because she’s mature for her age and there’s this connection with their intelligence level it makes sense to them to actually have a relationship."
That doesn't mean that Aly herself is head-over heels for her teacher. "[T]here’s a bit of a turn on with Marti and Dan being together. You want that. Even as the strange detached actor, you’re like, oh yes, get together, do it! You want Marti and Dan to have that relationship, because they’re kind of that perfect Yin and Yang together."
If you’ve paid attention to the trailer, you may have noticed that Aly's sister AJ is guest starring on the show as Deirdre. "Everyone is fishing around what exactly is their connection to each other," AJ said. "I think it’s going to be pretty clear right off the bat. And one of us doesn’t know yet so it’s pretty neat."
We can give you some hints: Marti and Deirdre seem to be connected in some way by Marti's dad. And, because the producers couldn't let the opportunity go by, expect to see the Michalka sisters sing together in episode 20.
Lewis & Alice
But the Marti/Dan/Julian triangle isn't the only relationship drama going on. What about Alice and Lewis? "We definitely get to see the culmination of a couple of things that Alice has been working on for the season in terms of her trying to become captain, her trying to get back with Lewis," Hemmens said. "She gets very jealous of the Lewis and Nasty Kathy relationship and we really see Alice get her groove on with her bad side. She does some really interesting and manipulative things…"
And Lewis gets in trouble with Nasty Kathy, as Robbie teases: "We get to see how nasty Kathy can really be. Because they’re hitting it off and it’s something new for Lewis and just something different because he’s always had this relationships within the Hellcats and just to have somebody in the outside, even a rival, is kind of something exciting to do. But you know, in the end of the day he ends up coming back home, coming back home to momma."
Heather and Marti teaming up
We're going to see Alice and Marti team up again on episode 19 as they deal with the new scandal in Cheer Town. "I think that Alice and Marti have realized that they’re both very strong independent women who are going to fight literally sometimes for what they want, so I think that it’s actually really beautiful when they come together and fight for a cause together and they’re pretty successful and they do team up in the cheating scandal" Heather said. Cheating scandal? You’ll find out tonight…
Interesting, especially considering Alice and Marti have had their differences. Remember a certain cat fight? "The cat fight was so much fun!" Heather said. But it wasn't without its problems.
"The big challenge on set for that was trying to do a cat fight while avoiding all of the soap opera cat fight shows," Murphy said. "In this case what we really wanted to do was make it look very primal … there’s nothing sexy about it, it’s just these two people wanted this one piece of plastic so badly that they were not going to give ground and it just became like grabbing the face, hair pulling… but it was just dignified and internal and intense and that was something we spent a lot of time to get the look of it right."
"It wasn’t sexy," Aly said. Heather agreed: "Yeah, we weren’t trying to look pretty in the fight. In fact it was quite the opposite. The kick in the butt at the end… that was Kevin’s idea."
And there will be a cat fight coming up between Marti and Deirdre. The girls deny ever having a cat fight in real life, maybe some pinching says AJ, and so shooting this was fun for the two of them.
We have five more episodes before the end of the season: More secrets, more romance, and a promised breathtaking cheerleading choreography for Nationals in the season finale. So stay tuned!