The Cast of The Preppie Connection on the Pressure to Fit In
Take a buzzy young cast from our favorite indies, put them in a prestigious prep school, and throw in a heady dose of, um, illegal activities, and you’ve got The Preppie Connection. Starring Vampire Academy’s Lucy Fry and Me Earl and the Dying Girl’s Thomas Mann, the true (!!) crime story follows a group of boarding school students who get caught up in a cocaine drug ring. You can catch the film now on iTunes and Amazon—so we won’t spoil the epic ending—but let’s just say it’s seriously worth watching. And though it may center around a Colombian drug cartel, this flick is far more relatable than you’d expect. Just take it from Fry, Mann, and their co-star Logan Huffman, who filled us in below.
What first drew you to The Preppie Connection?
Thomas: I've always been interested in true crime stories, and I thought this one was too ridiculous to believe. I was fascinated with the type of kid that would attempt to pull this off.
Lucy: I loved the adrenaline of the first half of the film—the sense of freedom and possibility. It really takes you on the ride of what it felt like to be young and reckless in the '80s, and then I love the way it gets very serious, very fast towards the end.
Logan: A lot of scripts don’t show the real consequences of drugs and that’s what stood out about The Preppie Connection. The film gave a really realistic view of the drug lifestyle and scandal of the 1980’s.
What sort of research about the real-life incident did you do for the role?
Thomas: I read about the actual incident, and started to imagine what I would do under his circumstances. Could I actually muster the courage to smuggle drugs into the U.S.? If so, what would drive me to do something like that? That's how I started thinking about Toby.
Lucy: I watched the 60 Minutes video [about the incident] and then had long conversations with the writer and director, who extensively interviewed the man who this story originally happened to.
What was it like to star in a film with such a young cast?
Thomas: While it was a relatively short shoot, we made the most of it. Logan and I lived in a house on Staten Island where we were shooting, which was a great bonding experience for us. Lucy, Jessica, and some of the other cast members stayed with us off and on for fun.
Logan: I lived in Staten Island when I was in my late teens and always admired this old sailor’s retirement home, which Thomas and I ended up getting to live in while we filmed. It was so surreal. We all hung out and bonded during filming and I formed a close friendship with Thomas. I hope I get the chance to work together with him again, I really respect him as an actor and friend.
At its heart, this movie is really about the need to fit in more than anything else. What's your experience with this?
Thomas: I think those insecurities apply to everyone, not just teenagers. I can definitely relate to Toby, feeling like a fish out of water when I first moved to L.A. from Texas. In high school, especially, you're more inclined to do stupid things in order to impress someone else.
Lucy: I kind of enjoy being a bit weird. I was always doing plays and finding edgy theaters to perform and train with.
Logan: Growing up I was very dyslexic, which was challenging especially in middle school. I had an epiphany in 7th grade when I looked around and realized that instead of sitting at an empty table, I could fill those eight seats with all the other kids sitting by themselves. I convinced all the kids to start sitting with me and we called ourselves the Village Idiots. We hung out from then on until high school graduation.