EXCLUSIVE| 'That 90s Show' star Ashley Aufderheide hopes people walk away with 'positive feelings' after watching the series

EXCLUSIVE| 'That 90s Show' star Ashley Aufderheide hopes people walk away with 'positive feelings' after watching the series
Ashley Aufderheide attending 'That 90s Show' event (Instagram/@ashleyaufderheide)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Making a spin-off show of a popular sitcom can be a daunting task and things can go wrong pretty easily. In the never-ending list of spin-offs, Netflix is set to enthrall viewers with a show that is going to take them to the fictional town of Point Place in Wisconsin once again and re-introduce the character that once became an integral part of their lives. Yes, we are talking about ‘That 70s Show’ spin-off series titled ‘That 90s Show’ which sees the legacy characters making a comeback for another fun outing.

ADVERTISEMENT

Apart from the original cast members, we’ll also see a bunch of new characters making appearances. The series centers on Leia Forman, the teenage daughter of Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti, forming bonds with other teenagers as she spends the summer of 1995 with her grandparents, Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) in Point Place, Wisconsin, two decades after the events of ‘That '70s Show’. One character that has managed to create a lot of buzz in recent weeks is Gwen Runck, a rebellious girl with a loyal heart, played by Ashley Aufderheide.

RELATED ARTICLES

'That ‘90s Show': Debra Jo Rupp reveals she NEVER thought Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis would get married

'Oldie but goodie': Netflix drops trailer for 'That '70s Show' spin-off series, 'That '90s Show'

Ashley Aufderheide as Gwen Runck in a still from 'That 90s Show' (Netflix)
Ashley Aufderheide as Gwen Runck in a still from 'That 90s Show' (Netflix)

ADVERTISEMENT

 

The young star is known for her strong performances in titles such as ‘Emergence’ and ‘Infinity Polar Bear’, but ‘That 90s Show’ was a different ball game altogether because she had never done a “genuine comedy” before this and had a lot to prove. So, MEAWW caught up with the rising star and had a conversation about her character and the challenges she faced while doing a series like ‘That 90s Show’.

Your character, Gwen, is inspired by the ‘Riot grrl’ movement and is a rebellious girl. This is pretty different from the work that you have done previously in ‘Emergence’ or ‘Infinity Polar Bear’. So, what was the audition procedure like, and did you need to do anything differently while giving the audition for a comedy series?

ADVERTISEMENT

Ashley: That's a really good question. So it's, it's definitely very different because I, as you said, I've done a lot of sci-fi and drama, but this was my first comedy, like not even a drama, just like a genuine comedy. So that was a really different experience. But I was all for it, the audition process was actually really simple. Basically, what I went in the car, and I just drove while singing a song. So I just went and was singing the song for so long that it got drilled into my head, I learned all of the words, all the lines, and then I sent in a recording that I took myself. And then they thought, okay, like, maybe we like this girl. So I met with them on something called actors access, I don't know if people are familiar with, it's like a zoom meeting. And then I did a chemistry read with a girl auditioning for Leia. And I actually was the first person cast, which is the most insane thing. Then, I just did a bunch of other chemistry readings for other characters and that was essentially it. Two months later, I found myself in California shooting the show.

ADVERTISEMENT

‘That 70s Show’ is a classic and became an integral part of people’s lives. Did you feel any kind of pressure while working on the spin-off series because people will be making comparisons between the two shows and choosing their favorites?

Ashley: Well, something that I really liked about ‘That 90s Show’ is that it’s obviously a continuation of ‘That 70s Show’, but it's not mimicking it, it's not a copy and paste. Like, I just feel like it is its own show. I mean, I feel like I just put pressure on myself, because I want to do the best work that I can do. I want the show to be the best it can be, you know, just standing on its own. So, I just put the pressure on myself and I think all of us as actors do that because we just want the audience to fall in love and laugh and just really enjoy the show. So, I mean, there is pressure, but I feel like I found a good way to handle it.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

 

Were you familiar with ‘That 70s Show’ and its characters? And what was the experience like when you got the chance to share the screen with stars such as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Topher Grace, Lauren Prepon, and others?

ADVERTISEMENT

Ashley: I hadn't seen ‘That 70s Show’ before the audition, but when I got the audition, I thought okay, well I need to watch it a little bit, see what I'm getting myself into. As soon as I saw it, I thought oh my goodness, I need to get this role. It's so good. I became a fan. I got really lucky that I got the role and got a chance to work with all the original characters. They're so professional and so dedicated and their talent is so insane. I aspire to be like them, and I've definitely learned a lot from them while having conversations offset in our free time.

What kind of relationship did you share with the other cast members?

Ashley: When I was auditioning, I did a chemistry read with Callie, who plays Leia, Greg, who's the showrunner, writer, and producer, he does a lot. While doing the chemistry read, Greg was like, ‘Have you guys met before? Do you guys know each other?’ and we had never spoken before. Like I never met this girl in my whole life and somehow we just had that chemistry, like we immediately bonded like that. Fortunately, we both got our respective roles. As far as off-set relationship is concerned, I got along with all of the cast members, young, old, legacy, and new characters, we all got along. There were no fights, no drama, or anything like that. I think you can see that through the screen and it translates well. We're really, really lucky because I've heard that it can really go not well during some projects. But we didn't have that kind of experience at all, which is really great.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

This is the first time you are working with a streaming platform. All your previous projects have been backed by traditional networks or production houses. Did you feel any difference between the two? Is working with a streaming platform like Netflix any different from working with a traditional network or studio?

ADVERTISEMENT

Ashley: That's a good question. I never really thought of that. I think ‘That 90s Show’ was different for me because it was in front of a live audience and I never had done that before. I don't have a theatre background or anything. I had just been doing things with single cams, maybe a few cameras, but this was four cameras in front of a live audience. I think that was the biggest difference for me. I literally cried, I cried from happiness in front of a live audience. I like went off to the side with all the producers and was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is crazy’. But I would say that's the biggest difference between what I've done in the past.

Any message for the fans eagerly waiting for ‘That 90s Show’?

Ashley: I hope they love this show. I want them to feel warm and fuzzy and feel the same sense of heart and love for the characters and that same sort of chemistry that they felt while watching ‘That 70s Show’. I hope, they walk away with a good positive feeling because this show is just one big ball of positivity, which is what I love about it.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

 

'That 90s Show' will be available for streaming on Netflix on January 19.

Share this article: EXCLUSIVE| 'That 90s Show' star Ashley Aufderheide hopes people walk away with 'positive feelings' after watching the series