Bebe Wood discusses her return as Lake in Season 2 of Hulu’s Love, Victor from ‘This Is Us’ co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Bebe Wood has been acting since an early age. In her ten years of professional acting, she has scored credits on television and in film.
Currently, Bebe stars on the Hulu teen drama Love, Victor as Lake Meriwether, a social media obsessed classmate of the title character. In addition to acting, Bebe is also a musician and her new single “Don’t Call Me Flower” is scheduled to drop on June 25.
Welcome, Bebe and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Bebe Wood (BW): Yeah, thanks for having me!
According to Wikipedia, a trip to England and a production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang started your journey in acting. How much truth is there to this story?
BW: Totally, I was on holiday with my parents, we went to London and I experienced my first in-person performance. I was 3 years old, sitting in the front row at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Apparently, my parents didn’t fully realise that we were going to be sitting in the front row. They were a little worried about it and couldn’t move seats. So they were like, you know, kinda see what happens.
In the middle of the performance, the Child Catcher, (who I have to say was much scarier on your side of the pond than when they brought the show to America), he reached out, put his sickle on my nose and said, “I’ll get you kiddie widdie!” He waited for a moment and my parents were like, “this is the moment she’s going to have the tantrum we’ve been dreading”. Apparently, I just started giggling and I loved it.
From that point on I was like, “I’ve gotta act! I’ve gotta be an actor!” After the show, I got to talk to the actor and he basically was like, “Yeah, you should start taking acting classes.” We went back to Kansas City which is where I was born and raised; I started taking acting classes, in Kansas. It all stemmed from there.
You play the role of Lake in Hulu’s Love, Victor which premiered in June 2020. For anyone who may not have seen the show, how would you describe Lake and her role in the story?
BW: So, I think the best way to describe Love, Victor is that it takes place in the same universe as the book [Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda] by Becky Albertalli and also the film. I think our show retains the same amount of warmth and vibrancy that are attached to Becky’s stories. I think she’s such an incredible writer and all of the universes she creates are so suitable for telling young adult stories.
[Victor’s] group of friends go to the same high school that Simon and his friends went to, in his story. In the first season, Victor is struggling with his sexuality and in the second season, he is sort of living it. He’s navigating his life now that he is out.
Now that you have a season under your belt, is your approach to playing Lake at all different compared to Season 1?
BW: Hmm, that’s a good question. She’s definitely changed, I think the one thing I wanted to keep was that even though she is more grown-up, she’s still the fun and fabulous Lake that she’s always been. When I got the scripts, I was overjoyed because I think there’s a lot of fun little bits for Lake to play out and funny little things for her to say. A few of which were in the trailer for Season 2. Sort of quippy and has her one-liners, even though I do think she’s maturing more.
When you first read the character on the page, could you see yourself playing the part? How similar was Lake to other characters you had played up to that point?
BW: Lake was really different, I think, from the parts that I had previously played. In that, I think it really intrigued me. I was really busy at the time I auditioned for the show. It was early summer of 2019 and I was working on my record, which should be coming out later on this summer. I was in the studio… any time you’re making a record, I think you’re inundated with that. You’re there from 11am to 1am, it’s very much a life of its own.
The first week we started recording the record, I got a whole bunch of auditions. It always works like that, I feel like. You’re not doing anything and then suddenly, you’re busy and that’s when all the auditions come. Because I had other priorities, I only chose one of those projects to audition for. I looked at all of them and one was untitled Love, Simon project.
I was like, “Oh, hmm, okay. Let me check this out.” I was a fan of Becky and a fan of the film. I looked through the sides that they sent and was like, “If I’m going to pick one of these to audition for, I’m going to choose this one.” I sent in a tape and was very excited about it. Then, I sort of let it go, forgot about it and continued making the record.
A couple of weeks later they were like, “Hey, want to tape for it again?” They gave me more sides, I sent another tape in and they called me… I got a call from Isaac Aptaker saying “I’d love for you to be a part of this.” It was really, really cool. I was overjoyed. It was really, really fun.
In the show, Lake develops an unconventional relationship with Felix Westen, played by Anthony Turpel. When I spoke to Anthony, he said that this storyline direction took him by surprise. Did you have the same experience?
BW: It’s funny actually, no one’s ever asked me that specifically. When I was first brought on to the project, they told me my love interest was going to be Mason Gooding, who obviously is Andrew. For the first 3 or 4 episodes of Love, Victor Season 1, I guess that is the case, right? Andrew and Lake are sort of seeing each other, but he clearly could not care less.
When I started seeing the direction it was going, I think I was really excited because working with Anthony is so much fun, we get along and everyone is just fantastic. It is really, really fun to do scenes with people you like working with. That’s why the show is a joy anyway. It was exciting and really, really fun to do.
Addressing the elephant in the room, how has the worldwide pandemic affected production on Season 2?
BW: It certainly did, let me tell ya! I think all of us were just so lucky that we were able to get back to work. It was certainly unexpected, I truthfully did not think I would be working at all in 2020. So, that was wonderfully exciting and also really scary because I had no idea what that would look like. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I think sort of have a routine when it comes to set life. I’ve gotten very used to that. All of that was turned on its head, so it felt like I was re-learning how to do things, which was a really wonderful challenge.
Especially as they’ve been doing it for so long, having a refresh moment was really nice but I truthfully don’t think I have ever understood what a Jane Austen heroine must have felt like. The main group of actors, we always had to be chaperoned and escorted everywhere. I really did feel like I was in some sort of Jane Austen novel because if I wanted to get a glass of water, I couldn’t go on my own. I had to go with a PA.
They really wanted to keep the actors healthy because without the actors, you’re not filming anything. So, anytime we went up to go anywhere, they were like “Actors on the move, get out of the way!” We could never be alone and so I truly felt like I was in Bridgeton or something.
Considering the long history leading up to Love Victor – Becky Albertalli’s original novel Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda, the film Love, Simon as well as Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger being the showrunners, how much pressure was attached to Season 1?
BW: You know, I don’t think I necessarily felt any pressure. I think I was just excited to be a part of such a wonderful universe. I did not have any expectations to meet Becky, being such a fan of hers, that never really crossed my mind. One day, she showed up to set and was like, “I’m Becky!” We had a lovely conversation, it has grown into a really wholesome friendship, she and I are chums now.
She even asked me to do the audio book for her newest book that just came out a couple weeks ago. It’s called Kate In Waiting, it’s so good! I’ve read the book 3 times, so I have to like it, I think. I don’t “have” to like it, but I mean… all I’m trying to say is it’s fabulous and I know it’s good because I read it 3 times. I did that with her and she’s just so sweet and supportive. I don’t know about pressure, but certainly a lot of excitement.
The show also has a large, ensemble cast. Going into Season 2, were you hoping for more scenes with anyone in particular?
BW: Yes! She and I don’t have many scenes together in Season 2 either but Bella [Isabella Ferreira], who plays Pilar on the show, she is a very good friend of mine. I love her so much; I think we’ve had one scene together and our characters didn’t even interact. So, I would love to have a scene with her in the future because she’s such a good friend and actually coming to visit me next week, which is very exciting.
Away from acting, you’re also a musician. How are things going in that creative arena?
BW: Things are good, I’m excited. We are releasing my first single at the end of this month and I’ve just been counting down the days for that. Especially since I’ve been sitting on it for so long. I think I’ve said this in the past, but if acting is like my passion, I think music is my soul. It’s something I’ve been doing for way longer than I’ve been acting. I’ve been playing instruments and singing since I was ‘little little little’.
When you’re acting, it is therapy but just in a different way. You are saying other people’s words and playing a character. It’s hard to play a character, I think at least in terms of my music because for me there’s no character there. I’m just myself and it’s very fulfilling like that. The EP will probably come out around the end of the summer, we have 2 music videos that are ready to go and I’m just looking forward to having it out there. Mostly, so I can have an excuse to start working on the next record.
Why do you think people will enjoy Love, Victor Season 2? What would you say to anyone waiting in anticipation for the season to drop?
BW: I think something very exciting for me is along with these characters, the content and the stories themselves have aged up a bit. Matured and just grown-up. I’m really excited for people to see certain things that happen this season. We’re given more time to have certain conversations that were started in Season 1. We’re able to explore those topics more. It’s really got something for everyone, I think.
We talk about everything from marital issues, mental health, bullying… self acceptance, something that I relate to and really happy that we’re talking about more in Season 2, just as the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants. In Season 2, we talk a lot about these crazy pressures that are put on first and second generation Americans. I think it’s wonderful, I think it needs to be talked about more. I’m really excited for people to see the season.
Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
BW: That’s a great question. I want my record to come out, I want to continue working on all of the songs that I’ve been writing over the last year. It’s a funny thing, because I am so buzzed about this EP coming out, there’s 6 songs on it. I feel like for any sort of creative process, to delve into any new creative process, you need to let go of what you were working on.
Once the EP is out and those 6 songs are for everyone to listen to, I think I’m just excited to delve into all the new material and really get my hands in there. Hopefully, record some stuff because I am almost even more excited about the stuff that has not been recorded yet.
That and I miss my friends a lot. I really want to see my friends. So maybe, hopefully, by the end of the year… some of my best friends live in Ireland, actually. They’re not vaccinated yet, that they’ll be vaccinated by the end of the summer or by Fall, because I miss them terribly. I just want to see them. I think music and visiting my buddies would be really nice.
Thanks again for taking the time, Bebe. Take care and stay safe!
BW: Thank you, thank you, same to you. I mean, I hope everything is lovely and safe. I know that things are reopening in the UK. So, thank you for having me.