You might remember Haley Ramm from her previous roles in Disconnect, Without A Trace and Worst.Prom.Ever, or her numerous guest appearances on acclaimed shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and ER. Currently, she plays Brenna Carver, the rebellious teenage sister of Chasing Life protagonist April.
Even though Brenna isn’t the show’s main character, we’ve still seen a lot of her so far this season. We chatted with Haley Ramm about her character’s blossoming romance with classmate Greer and how Brenna will navigate the unfamiliar waters of same-sex attraction.
Are we going to see Brenna’s reluctance toward relationship labels change throughout the season?
She’s never really too pressured by putting a label on anything. The thing that I love about Brenna is she really makes it clear that she is bisexual. She doesn’t need to be anything so she doesn’t attach herself to anything. It’s really cool that she can be a free bird like that. I think everyone wants to be a little bit like that.
Do you think the writers were conscious of turning that lesbian dynamic upside down? Has it been a fun dichotomy to explore?
I think the writers avoid any stereotypes, which I love. It’s a great show about people being themselves, and doing their thing. I do like that they didn’t stereotype Brenna and Greer in that way.
On the conference call, Haley Ramm went on to discuss what Grenna fans can expect in the rest of the season, as well as the challenges that come with playing such an intense role.
How does the relationship between Brenna and Greer progress through the season?
It’s definitely progressing! I’m looking back on filming those episodes; it was really fun to see how they were leading up to what was going to happen. It was like every episode it was almost going to happen, and then in the sixth episode it was really almost going to happen, and then seventh it finally happened. I think a lot of people were really happy about it, and that made me really excited. It’s a really fun TV relationship to be a part of, just to play a young girl who is going through that and is trying to figure out herself and her sexuality. It’s really cool to be that voice for younger teens. Hopefully if someone is watching it and they don’t feel comfortable or sure of who they are, they’ll watch it and know they aren’t alone.
What’s been the reaction from the LGBT community? How does it feel to be a bit of representation and role model for that community?
The LGBT response has been so exciting and so supportive. I love how much they love this relationship. They’re all so sweet; they’re all so nice. That’s the best thing about it because sometimes when you get responses from people over the internet, people can be mean because they’re hiding behind a computer and they say mean things, but this is the opposite. There’s so much love; it’s a really great response.
What do you find most challenging about playing Brenna?
I think the most challenging thing about playing Brenna is I’ve never really been through a rebellious phase like that. I was home schooled as a teenager because of acting so I didn’t go to high school and I didn’t have those experiences, so that part can be kind of hard sometimes. I think that would be the most challenging part.
She’s a really fun character to get to play, and the dramatic scenes are hard sometimes because of the subject matter of dealing with cancer and how emotional that can be. I think that, especially in Episode 5, the scene where our family confronts April and wants to know what’s happening, that was really hard. Scenes like that where we’re all together and it’s really emotional, you can only think what it would be like to be in that situation and a lot of us have been in that situation. Either going back to our experiences with that, or making it up; I think that both of them are hard.
Is Brenna going to continue on this straight & narrow path that she’s been on since finding out about April? Or is she going to fall back into her more mischievous ways?
I don’t think she’s going to be entirely straight and narrow path, but she definitely does step up for her family. Before I knew where any of the scripts were going I thought maybe they would send her down an even darker path since she was a little rough to begin with, but they didn’t. She keeps stepping up for her family, and I think a situation like that really makes you realize the important things in life, and not to dwell on the little things. Even her little high school problems, she doesn’t really see as big problems anymore. She can get past it because there’s more to life than those little mundane dramas.
Are we going to see more of Brenna and April’s half sister Natalie throughout the season?
Natalie will come around a lot more. She will cause problems, but not with everyone. When we first got to know Brenna, nobody really loved her that much. She was kind of annoying, bratty teenager and I think that Natalie’s kind of the same way. One of my favorite things about watching the show is getting to know all of the other characters, and see how they unfold. I don’t see the other stuff that they film, I’m not there when they’re filming it so I like to watch it as a fan. I like seeing the other characters and where they’re going.
Chasing Life airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on ABC Family, following Pretty Little Liars. Keep up with Haley by following her on Twitter: @halesbells.