Actress Amber Coney’s Side Career Is Writing Scripts For James Franco

The Dead of Summer actress Amber Coney casually mentioned the fact she writes scripts for James Franco towards the end of our interview. “This is ninth script I’ve worked on this year for him,” she said, laughing.

“Back up,” I said. “How’d that happen?”

“I met him at USC during an event, and he found out I was an actor, and he asked me to be a part of this project in a small capacity,” she explained. “Then he found out I could write, so he asked me to do an adaptation of this gothic novel we were both reading, which was kind of just to see if I could do it.”

She was able to do it, and now, two of her most recent scripts she’s written for Franco are soon to be made into films. Stay tuned to hear about those projects, and in the meantime, read about Amber’s experience filming Dead of Summer, the summer camp horror drama soon to be released on Freeform.

Where are you guys filming right now?

We’re in Vancouver. It’s great, it’s beautiful city, and it’s cool because there are city vibes, but also mountains and trees, and all that. A lot of our shooting takes place at the bay, and they built the entire camp with cabins, and there’s a peninsula, since the lake is the main reason why they chose to shoot there. The whole thing is about the lake.

So are you swimming a lot?

No, that’s mostly our stunt doubles [laughing]. We did a shoot in this water tank for this pilot, though, which was crazy.

So you guys had to do acting stuff in the tank?

It was pretty warm, it was okay, and much better than having to swim in the actual lake. We had this overnight shoot, and we had to strip down and run to the lake naked, and if we had to go in the water, we probably would have gotten hypothermia.

It’s so weird to think about how when we watch television, it’s without knowing about all the work that goes into shooting it.

I was thinking about that the other day! Watching the episodes of our show just feel like such concise, contained versions of what we’re doing.

Does shooting feel like summer camp?

The environment, and being away from home, and meeting all these new people definitely feels like summer camp. And the environment. The activities and relationships and story and some of the horror aspects that start to appear are the main aspects of the show.

Are you guys all around the same age? Are having peers you relate to, or mentors in your profession important to you?

I felt that way about the creators, Ian Goldberg, Adam Horowitz, and Edward Kitsis were our mentors in the first episode, because they were there and directing, and I feel like that they offer that sort of mentorship and guidance. I’m definitely super challenged by my peers. We’re all doing our best to tell this story together.

Did you go to camp?

I went to theater camp, and we would do these musical productions, so I went as a performer, and be just so excited to do things like perform Beauty and the Beast. And I went back after my first year of college as a counselor. So I know the counselor vibe, which was helpful.

Remember when everybody would go to camp and lie about having hooked up with people?

Definitely [laughing]. I feel like that age, you’re doing a lot of exploration, and you’re just lying about it. It’s good to get street cred with your crew.

Are actors like that? Or are they actually all having sex with each other? 

I hope not! [laughing]. We’re like a really good troupe. During the pilot shoot, we were all staying at this hotel, I would host movie showings in my apartment, like 80s movies, and horror movies, just to get a feel of the vibe. And it turned out we work as friends really well, which is important, because it’s an ensemble show. After shooting two episodes, it’s like, okay, I trust these actors, and they have my back. That’s been awesome.

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