NYCC 2019: The Cast and Creators of ‘Nancy Drew’ Talk Bringing the Iconic Character to Life

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Nancy Drew - The CW
CR: The CW

A beloved 90-year-old franchise is about to be brought to life on The CW. The network’s newest series Nancy Drew is bringing the brainy, teenage detective to life premiering on October 8th.

The series description reads as follows:

“Nancy Drew is a brilliant teenaged detective whose sense of self had come from solving mysteries in her hometown of Horseshoe Bay, Maine – until her mother’s untimely death derails Nancy’s college plans. Devastated by her mother’s passing, Nancy swears off crime-solving, but when a socialite is murdered, Nancy finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation. A supernatural presence begins to haunt Nancy’s investigation, and she discovers that the current crime has an astonishing connection to the unsolved murder of a local girl. Whether the ghost is here to help, or hinder Nancy remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: Nancy’s going to have to unravel the clues from both the living and the dead to solve the crimes.”

This past weekend at New York Comic Con, we got the chance to chat with the cast and creators of the upcoming series, which will be taking the classic character and giving her a modern upgrade for television.

Executive producer and showrunner Melinda Hsu-Taylor told us that Nancy Drew is a character that the team behind the series has been trying to bring to life for a long time. Eventually, the stars aligned for her and the team. She said:

“I grew up reading Nancy Drew, and I’ve always wanted to bring it to TV. Then, I found out that the Rights were actually available. A lot of people have tried to develop this into a TV show before to no success. I mean, the last time it was on the TV was the 1970’s, so yeah. I found out it was available, and I’ve partnered with Steph [Savage] and Josh [Schwartz], Fake Empire Productions, their production company. We developed the show, and we found the perfect network for it, the CW, and we’ve been very lucky.”

The CW - Nancy Drew - Melinda Hsu-Taylor, Noga Landau and Larry Teng
CR: Denise Caputo/Fan Fest News

Co-executive producer/director Larry Teng told us that the series has a higher level of maturity to it than other shows airing on the network; a subtle difference that will help the series stand out and feel timeless. He said:

“Stylistically, part of the goal is to create something that fits on the CW that you know belongs, but yet it stands out from all the Berlanti shows. So, I think we aimed to make something that was, presentationally, a little more mature. Movies from the 70s, stylistically, were a big influence. We used David Fincher as a role model, and in terms of just coverage and presentation and framing, Edgar Wright style montages. I think that combination helps give it that modern feel and, when you think about the way we’re shooting, we’re shooting anamorphic lenses with a wider aspect ratio, which is the Netflix aspect ratio. It’s two to one. So, that, along with again, very modern lighting, I think, allowed us to have a timeless feel to it, which I think is kind of cool. And again, if it feels more mature than some of the other shows on the network. So, I think we stand out in that way.”

As for the classic character, executive producer Stephanie Savage believes Nancy Drew is something we need in our lives right now. She said:

“The thing about Nancy Drew is she’s a girl who believes in truth and justice. She doesn’t stop until she gets to the bottom of something. She doesn’t take no for an answer. She’s fearless; she speaks her mind; she stands up to people. That’s definitely someone that we still need in our lives in these times, perhaps more than we have in a while. She’s definitely very persistent, and I feel like that’s something we need.”

The CW - Nancy Drew - Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage
CR: Denise Caputo/Fan Fest News

Kennedy McMann, who plays the titular character, says this version of her is really something special. McMann gave some insights into this modern take on the character by saying:

“She is Nancy Drew as she’s always been in a lot of ways. She’s willing to do anything to pursue good and right wrongs and be extremely fearless and bold in the pursuit of that, but we’re seeing her in the confines of the modern world. We’re watching as she’s navigating blossoming into a young adult. I mean, she’s just graduated high school, and she’s sort of in that gray area that we all know and love and hate that you’re trying to figure out who you are. I think that there’s a lot of that in regards to her detective work. She’s figuring out who she is, what she’s capable of, how far she can push herself, and then, as a person, what her needs are as her life is just radically changed with the passing of her mother. It’s unraveling her college plans and all of that. She’s saying, “what is my life now? Who am I? If I’m not my mother’s daughter and I’m not this perfect student? Who am I?” She’s fiery and commanding. She’s not afraid to stand up to authority, but she’s also emotionally numbed a little bit in her emotional jury that we get to witness throughout the season. I think it is really special.”

The CW - Nancy Drew - Kennedy McMann and Scott Wolf
CR: Denise Caputo/Fan Fest News

The CW’s Nancy Drew star Kennedy McMann, Maddison Jaizani, Leah Lewis, Tunji, Kasim, Alex Saxon, and Scott Wolf. Stephanie Savage, Josh Schwartz, Melinda Hsu-Taylor, Noga Landau, and Larry Teng executive produce.

The series premieres Wednesday, October 9th at 9 PM on The CW. Check out the show’s trailer below.

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