‘Shrinking’: Rachel Stubington Interview
If you haven’t checked out Shrinking on AppleTV yet, we cannot recommend it enough. Seriously. Go watch it and then come back and thank us. The entire season hasn’t been released yet, but we eagerly await every episode. And a big reason for that is an up-and-comer, Rachel Stubington, who plays Summer. We got the opportunity to have a lovely interview with her and we became even bigger fans of hers! And Shrinking isn’t the only project she has in the works! She’s also working on a Lifetime movie, A Rose for Her Grave with Crishell Stause and Colin Egglesfield. We know. We’re internally geeking out, too! So keep reading for all the things we discussed!
Cape & Castle: It seems like acting has always been your dream. Was it always your plan to go to UCLA and become an actor?
Rachel: I wish I could say that for me it was that I saw a life-changing performance. But I was watching Corey in the House on the Disney channel. I have two stories like this. I also saw Annie and both times I saw kids my age and was so jealous! Obviously, at that time, I didn’t want to do it for the right reasons. But I was like that looks like so much fun and so I kind of fell in love with the idea of being an actor at a really young age. It wasn’t until I actually got into classes and decided in high school and college that it was an option. But it’s always been what I wanted to do.
CC: What kind of emotions were you experiencing when you found out you got this role in Shrinking and discovered what other actors you were going to be working with?
Rachel: I don’t even have the words. I’ve been auditioning since I was twelve and I’m so grateful to have representation. But it has been quite the journey. Especially for my parents, who have been on this journey with me. And it’s a lot of no’s. Or you might get a yeah and then they come back with well actually we’re going with someone different. There are so many stories I have like that. When I finally graduated, I had a talk with my family the week before and they were like what’s your backup plan? I probably should have had one. Then I got this role. And it has been the coolest moment of my entire life! I sobbed, I cried, and there are some really embarrassing videos of me. But I feel so grateful to be a part of this.
CC: What was it like acting alongside Jason Segel and Harrison Ford?
Rachel: So, I’ve seen the muppet movie like an unhealthy amount of times growing up. It’s so cool that Jason brought the muppets to this new generation of people. So as a child, I idolized him. I still do, but I can play it cool now. But he is the nicest guy and so personable. Harrison Ford too. They are just such kind genuine people that I think more than just getting to work with my idols, you realize they’re people who have the same passions as you do. And getting to work with them has been so fulfilling and so much fun.
Cape & Castle: So you play Summer, and for those who haven’t checked it out yet, can you tell us about your character and maybe a little bit of the journey that she’s on?
Rachel: Summer is really fun. I hate to reduce her to that word but she’s in high school. She wants to go out and hang out with the boys. She’s much cooler than I was in high school! But she’s constantly trying to get her best friend Alice, who just lost her mom, to come out with her and go to these parties and dance. But obviously, her friend is going through something far more difficult than Summer can even try to understand. Summer’s storyline throughout this is that she cares about her friend, she doesn’t understand anything about grief, and she just wants to drink White Claws. So she’s trying to constantly get her friend outside of her comfort zone. But she also really cares about Alice, which is fun to get to have this strong female friendship.
CC: Do you have a favorite scene or moment that really sticks out for you that you can talk about from Shrinking?
Rachel: I got to do a scene with Jason Segel, Harrison Ford, and Michael Urie and they are all so good. So I think for me, getting to do a scene with them was really great. Even though Lukita is the best scene partner ever too. In the second episode, the scene I got to do was so much fun because we got to do it so many different times with different lines and improv along with changing the scene. Which was really cool because I was so nervous coming in. I was like I need to do these lines perfectly so I got to take a deep breath and try a new thing every time and that was really fun.
CC: You also have a movie coming out on Lifetime, A Rose for Her Grave, so without any spoilers is there anything you can give away about your character or just some info on what it’s about?
Rachel: So it’s a book that’s out that’s based on a true story which was really interesting to get to dive into. It’s written by Ann Rule, who is just fantastic. So it’s really got that murder mystery edge. It’s about a man who would marry women and then kill them for their money and move on to the next one. And he wasn’t caught for a crazy amount of time! He was really close friends with this family that basically idolized him and they had a sixteen-year-old daughter that he was super inappropriate with, which the parents were totally oblivious to. And I play the daughter. It’s very heavy.
Cape & Castle: Wow, that’s intense. What kind of preparation do you do for a role like that?
Rachel: It was really dark. So I watched a lot of documentaries on grooming. It was a lot of student and teacher relationships that they made documentaries about but just in general adults who prey on kids and what that story is like. It was really heavy stuff.
CC: That’s quite a far cry from what’s going on in Shrinking. What’s it like to jump in and play roles from two different ends of the genre spectrum?
Rachel: Yeah I think the biggest thing was learning the difference in how you behave. Like in Shrinking, it’s so jokey and fun. I would get on set and talk with people and we had a lot of fun. But with A Rose for Her Grave, it was like okay I have to sit and dig into this character and this situation. It was much more serious.
CC: Do you have any special processes or rituals that you go through to get into character?
Rachel: I try to do as much research as possible. So if it’s not based on a true story, I read the script and do my best to get an understanding of my character and where she fits into the world. If it is based on something true, I just try to research and gain as much information and knowledge as possible so I have a really good understanding of my character before I do anything else.
Cape & Castle: What were the dynamics between you and your castmates on A Rose for Her Grave?
Rachel: So, we were all in West Virginia together and I had never gotten to travel for acting before. Which was so cool. And it was really fun because I would go to Applebees and other places for dinner with the cast and crew. So that was a really different dynamic with all of us kind of living together during filming. I got used to seeing Crishell and Colin every day, which was really fun. They are all so talented and it was really cool to get to work with them. I had the best time in West Virginia!
CC: If you could be involved in any project, what genre would be your first go-to?
Rachel: So I’ve been told if you make a Pinterest vision board, whatever you put on your board, it’s going to happen. So, for me this year I would do anything to be on The Sex Lives of College Girls. It films right next to Shrinking! So I could go between the sets and it would be such an easy commute just going from one place to the other. I would love to do something on that! And then they are making a Mean Girls movie musical and I would love to work with Tina Fey. That would be amazing.
CC: Are you watching Shrinking along with the fans or have you already seen the episodes?
Rachel: I got to see my part in this episode and I think I saw all of my parts in the next episode. But after that, I haven’t seen them at all. And I’m so excited to!
Cape & Castle: Is it weird seeing yourself playing this role and seeing that final product come together?
Rachel: Oh, I called my mom, and I was like it looks so good! And she goes, of course, it does. It’s AppleTV. So I’m still shocked by the quality of it alone. But it’s so much fun to watch and see it all come together.
CC: Have you been checking out social media with the different responses the show is getting or do you stay away from that?
Rachel: Like an obsessive amount. I look up Shrinking every day and I look up my own name every day. It’s a problem. I don’t think I have a big part that anyone is going to say anything about me. But I’m nervous about what happens if I’m ever talked about in a positive or negative way. Because that will go to my head immediately!
CC: Do you have any other projects in the works you can share with us or are you just kind of hanging out and taking things as they come?
Rachel: I’m waiting for the next season of Shrinking. I did a little part on a pilot on HBO Max but, you know, it’s a pilot. So you never know what’s going to happen with it. I’m trying not to get myself too excited about it. And they just released a trailer for a commercial I worked on with Alicia Silverstone. So, I did something with her for the big game in the next few weeks.
Cape & Castle: I saw that you are looking to get involved with mental health charities and organizations. Are there any specific organizations or specific mental health diagnoses you would like to bring to light or focus on?
Rachel: I think with working on Shrinking and with my own experiences going to therapy in the past and knowing other people that go through therapy, it’s such a taboo subject. I remember during covid when my roommates and I would go to therapy on zoom, we would feel so embarrassed about it. It’s such a common thing and shows like Shrinking bring more of a normalization to seeking mental health care. I think just talking about mental health more in the media and as a person, it’s so important. Getting to work on this show really made me realize that.
Have you checked out Shrinking on AppleTV yet? What are you waiting for? Not only are you going to get to see Jason Segel and Harrison Ford, but you’re going to get to see Rachel Stubington kicking ass with her role as Summer! And be sure to keep an eye out for our reviews for each episode! And don’t forget to tune in to Lifetime’s A Rose for Her Grave so you can watch Rachel kick ass in two genres! You can find and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @capeandcastle. And you can find and follow me here on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out our site for more content on all things Disney and beyond!
*Featured Image via Tommy Flanagan