Netflix's latest offering brimming with drama, dance, sex and murder perfectly packaged in Tiny Pretty Things promises to be the streaming giant's hottest guilty pleasure yet and star Lauren Holly is excited for viewers to jump in. Described by the platform as Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars, the series adapted by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton's 2016 novel of the same name follows an aspiring ballet dancer as she enters an elite Chicago-based ballet school where a star student has mysteriously fallen to her death.
Holly, who plays the mysterious and ambitious Madame Monique Dubois of the famed Archer School, holds a unique power over the academy while utilizing her dark capacities not only to defend the conservatory but bring out the best in her students regardless of the means. In an exclusive with PopCulture.com ahead of the Dec. 14 premiere, Holly admits that though her character is not in the books, fans and viewers will be in for a big surprise thanks to her enigmatic addition.
"You're going to really go on a ride with her — just you wait until you see what goes on with Madame," Holly teased in our series, PopCulture @ Home, adding how she's "thrilled" to be playing a character like Madame because it's at the "perfect sort of time" in her own life. "I'm not sure that even a couple of years ago I could have played her or I would have understood her, in a way, because for me, she was a prima ballerina. She was a star in an era and she's in a different era and she's got to sort of figure out how to stay relevant and keep things going."
Adding how there are a "lot of parallels" between Madame Dubois and her own life, Holly says it is "thrilling" to have a character that's "so complicated" because it's profoundly reflective of how people usually are in real life. "People aren't all good or all bad. You react to situations with the tools that you have from the experiences that you have," she said. "That is definitely Monique. She is a complicated woman and I just adore playing her."
Though Holly reveals she has not yet read the books by a very "specific choice" she made, she actively worked to build a unique and complicated character all her own. "I didn't want to be influenced, in a way and so I bought the books — I have them, but I'll wait until it's over before I read them."
She goes on to promise Tiny Pretty Things will not only deliver with its tantalizing storylines and characters, but the dancing alone will be a major draw for audiences. "Let's be honest, the dancing is spectacular and just that alone is really worth watching," she said. "But then the naughty relationships of all the characters, and it's sex and suspense and backstabbing and surprises and all of that — I kind of really get involved in that. I love those sorts of shows. You just don't know what's going to happen and who's going to end up with who and all of that."
Praising the young cast whom she lovingly calls her "kids" despite all being young adults, Holly says she adores them all and is proud of their strong work ethic. "A lot of them didn't have a ton of experience in acting and I was worried about that," she said. "But the difference is is that they are all at the top of their craft in dancing, and this is something that took enormous amounts of discipline from when they were very young, and so their work ethic was so incredible and they attacked the written material with the same sort of focus."
Stressing how viewers should just "watch them" as they have worked "so hard," she adds how it was a real "pleasure" to be around them and watch them work alongside their more seasoned cast members. "The show is just peppered with one good actor after another. It was a great team," Holly said, adding how there was one moment that made her very emotional on-set with actor-dancer Barton Cowperthwaite's rehearsal performance that left her bursting "into tears." Sharing how she was overcome with emotion, the Toronto native was floored by the moment. "It was crazy. Just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful."