Interview: Jessica Sula Previews Recovery Road – Exclusive
Jessica Sula stars as Maddie in the highly anticipated new series Recovery Road, one of the first to premiere under Freeform’s wing. Based on the novel of the same name, this show is centered around a group of young adults staying at a sober living facility.
We had the chance to chat with Jessica Sula about what attracted her to the role, the challenges and ups and downs her character will be facing in the upcoming episodes, and why it’s important to show the darker side of addiction.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Jessica Sula below:
I love the show so far, so I’m excited to talk to you.
Jessica Sula: I’m glad. Thank you!
Tell us a little about Maddie and what originally attracted you to the role.
I was just auditioning and auditioning. I was at a point in my life where I can say I want to do this role. I only got to see the full script during the screen test. I just thought out of a lot of teen television shows that you go up for, this was the one that had a storyline that people want to stay sober — and going through the process and what it is to be an addict. I don’t think it’s something you see every day. That attracted me to it.
Did you read the book beforehand or do any other kind of research to help you prepare for your role?
I read the book and I watched documentaries. You try to do as much as you can. I tried to go to a rehab facility and I understand that I’m not qualified to do something like that, but I wanted to like maybe work in the office or something to be part of it. However, Maddie doesn’t think she’s an addict and she’s figuring that out, her storyline. So she wouldn’t know anything. She’d be learning as she goes along. I did as much as I could and researched different drugs and how it affects the brain and teen addiction.
From the episodes I’ve seen, it seems that the show definitely doesn’t shy away from the darker side of addiction. Did you feel that that was an important story to tell?
Yes, I think you have to have that. But at the same time that you have that element of it, that dark element, I think it’s good that they show a lot of humor in their lives. That’s normal. I think they were good at showing the whole balance and softer times and the darkest of times and they can find people that really care for you and care about you. You really do need everything in order to show how it affects everybody’s life. Otherwise, if you see a show where everyone is happy and no one is sad, it’s not interesting anymore. You don’t really get that aspect or get a grasp on what’s happening or what the situation is. If you get everything and you see the whole picture, then you can understand how it affects somebody’s life.
The cast is a great bunch of actors and actresses. How has it been working with them?
It’s been a lot of fun. The great thing about the job is that there are people that you become close to in a very short period of time. They become your family. Luckily, everybody is really kind and warm, which is good.
It seems like Maddie has gotten to a point, or at least started to accept the fact that this is the right place for her. But she’s also struggling with the events she can’t remember. What can you tease about her ups and downs in the upcoming episodes?
Yes, that’s the thing. Is she an addict or is she just like every kid going out and experimenting and drinking? I think that’s the whole thing — there are little things that don’t add up and worry her. It goes back and forth from “I think everyone is overreacting around me” to “Actually, I think I really do have a problem.” That’s what the whole season is. You get different parts of that story building up and her trying to figure things out, which is worrying. It’s what makes her stay in the home because she ultimately can’t remember something that is extremely important. It’s troubling that she can’t remember that.
Thank you so much. I think the fans are going to love the show.
Thank you, I’m so glad that people are being so supportive.
Thanks so much to Jessica Sula for taking the time to chat with us! Be sure to keep up to date with her by following her on Twitter: @JessSula.
Recovery Road premieres tonight on Freeform following the premiere of The Fosters.
If you haven’t already, check out our Recovery Road review of the first three episodes.