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The Sex Lives of College Girls Renee Rapp Star on Playing Mean Girl Again – The Hollywood Reporter

Four women share a dorm room – and freshman escapes – in Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble’s new HBO comedy Max, The sex life of college girls. One woman in the quartet is the inevitable mean girl in the group: Leighton, a rich, regular, and arrogant blonde who makes it known that she considers others barely worthy of being. her time and attention.

Playing her is Renée Rapp, a rising talent who perfected her mean girl role playing Regina George in the Broadway musical version of Bad girls.

“I think with Leighton, you love to hate her,” said 21-year-old Rapp, who brings a comedic side to his role in The sex life of college girls, premiered on November 18 and released new episodes on November 25.

“Leighton is a very stubborn girl from a very wealthy family on the Upper East Side of New York,” Rapp continued about her character. “Her experience going to university was that for the first time, she was out of the comfort of her own home and her own situation and could go into every room, have an office, and have space. For the first time, that is being challenged a bit. ”

Leighton is also hiding a personal secret that she continues to grapple with as the season progresses. “You were starting to see her unraveling in a way,” Rapp said. “It was very scary for her but it was scary to watch – because this person needs to be rocked. She doesn’t make great decisions and isn’t necessarily a nice person either. But when you start peeling back some layers, hopefully she won’t be as judgmental as she used to be. “

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Rob Huebel and Renée Rapp in ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’
Courtesy of HBO Max

Rapp grew up in Huntersville, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte, and acted in plays in high school before eventually moving to New York, where she landed a role in Bad girls. She played the role from mid-2019 until March 2020, when Broadway closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later announced that Bad girls will not rerun on Broadway when New York theatrical films resume.

She auditioned for Sex life a few weeks after her stay Bad girls has come to an end. “It was a long callback process and [meetings] via Zoom in the middle of the pandemic,” recalled Rapp, who won the part last September and shot the series over the course of nearly six months, both onstage at Warner Bros. in Burbank and upstate New York at Vassar University. . “It is a beautiful campus. I am living my Hogwarts dream,” she added.

Rapp talked to The Hollywood Reporter about making the HBO series Max, moving to Los Angeles from New York, and her love of music.

How do you like LA?

I am growing to love it. Interesting. I’m from North Carolina and now I know I’ve found North Carolina in LA because I live in sleepy little Burbank which is awesome, but sometimes I never leave my house.

How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen it?

It was literal chaos. It’s an incredibly messy portrait of the lives of four college women who are out of the house for the first time. I think you will see there are wins and losses and a lot of times you can see their losses raw and in real time. It’s just a mess.

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Alyah Chanelle Scott and Renée Rapp in ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’
Courtesy of HBO Max

Have you and your three main co-stars, Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Alyah Chanelle Scott, become close?

We’ve known each other at this point for so long and we’ve really grown together, it feels like. Some of my favorite memories are messy, and I know that doesn’t really work for the program or the workflow. We have formed a capella group. When the four of us started getting really delirious at 4 a.m., we would go up to the crew and say, “Do you guys want to hear our song? Yes? No?” And we’ll do it anyway.

Is it just a one-time thing or is this little group still growing?

We annoy people and are a bit annoying. It ends up working in our favor as it just brings us closer together. We started with “You Are My Sunshine.” And it became a thing. I would ask our DP, “Can we sing clappers? Take one, take two, take three. ” And then we would start singing those things. That’s when people start to get really upset. We started singing everything.

What does Mindy Kaling want to work with?

She is a superpower. Whenever you see someone as a funny icon, you see how funny she is. And when I first met her, I was surprised because she looked so much like a businesswoman. She has a very good energy and she owns the room.

Do you have any intimate coordinators on set for sex scenes?

Well, we’ve got an intimate coordinator, Kelly Flynn, who we probably all agree is vital to the show and its success as well as to the mental health and well-being of the people. we. Kelly was always there with us, talking on the phone with us days before we filmed something. And for me that’s really helpful. I have a lot of anxiety, and I’m going to have days where I’m very nervous and Kelly will be very receptive and say, “Hey if this isn’t the day to do it, it’s not the day.” And that made me more comfortable filming that scene, knowing that I was in good hands and had someone to watch over me.

Are you also pursuing your music career beyond hosting?

Correct. My music career is why I moved to New York in the first place. I love pop R&B. It was my first love. I’ve been singing since I was in diapers, and I used to host my family and I would sit at the coffee table and ask everyone to be quiet and I would sing.

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