The season 2 finale of Chasing Life airs Monday night on ABC Family. In our conversation with Italia Ricci, who plays protagonist April Carver, the actress revealed everything from what’s coming up in the finale to where she keeps her engagement ring when she’s filming. Read on for the full interview.
The first few episodes of this season were very focused on April’s upcoming wedding and the associated preparations. Although April’s engagement was a lot shorter than yours has been in real life, there was a period of time when you and your character were both engaged and planning to get married. Was that weird, or did you feel like it brought you closer to April?
Italia Ricci: I’ve always felt pretty close to April, but when she was trying on wedding dresses, I was looking for them, so I ended up buying my wedding dress from the same store that we shot at! And when we shot the engagement party, I was like, “This could be a nice venue…” It was helping me do some of my wedding planning, which was really convenient, but when it came down to shooting the actual wedding, it was totally weird. They had the church full of people and it was so beautifully decorated. They actually played the music when I was walking down the aisle with Mary Page [Keller] and she was like, “This feels too real.” To turn the corner and not see my fiancé there, I was felt like I was going to be bolted down with lightning or something! I keep my engagement ring safety-pinned inside my bra when I’m shooting because obviously I can’t wear it, and when I turned the corner and saw Scott [Michael Foster] instead of Robbie, I was like, “Oh my God, I’m going to lose a diamond or something.”
The two biggest twists of the season so far were Leo’s death and the revelations surrounding the circumstances of Thomas’ death. When you got the scripts for those episodes, did one development shock you more than the other, or did they both completely throw you?
Leo’s death really got me emotionally. I couldn’t talk to Scott for like four days – I was so angry and sad that I couldn’t even look at him without bawling. I was like, “I just can’t be around you right now.” When I read about Dad, at first you think it’s alcoholism and I was so frustrated at that, and then when I figured out what it was, I had a whole new appreciation for why he did what he did and how that all happened. You’ll see in the finale that there’s more of April’s dad in April than I think she even realizes. You’re gonna see April in a mind frame where you’ve never seen her before.
Traditionally, finale episodes are filled with drama, end with a cliffhanger, or both. Without giving too much away, what would you say we can expect from the fall finale?
You can expect both. Let me break it down for you here: You’re gonna figure out who Beth’s baby daddy is. You’re gonna figure out what she’s gonna do about the pregnancy. You’re gonna see why Olivia is trying to publish the book. You’re gonna get another huge bomb about the night Dad died. You’re gonna get sort of another love triangle for Brenna, and you’re gonna get answers about where April is emotionally with Dom. You’re gonna get to see April in a way that you’ve never seen her before – when I read it, I was so uncomfortable about it, but once I was in that scene for a while and was reading it a bunch and had performed it, I had another appreciation for it and I respected it. I was still sort of angry about it, but I sympathized with it. It’s an emotionally complicated frame of mind and choice and behavior, and I’m interested to see how the fans take it. So it’s a nice, light episode!
Related to what you said about emotional complications for April, in season 2, she’s been learning to open up and share what she’s feeling a little bit more. She said in the last episode that although isn’t ready to move on after Leo, she doesn’t want Dominic to move away and she doesn’t like the idea of him being with other people. How does she deal with all of those complex emotions going into the finale, and what’s different about how the April of today handles everything compared to the April of last season?
I even think it’s different between the April of last season to the first half of this season to now. She’s having to figure out if it’s fair to tell Dominic that she has feelings for him – she’s not ready to get into a relationship, and it’s not fair to do that when you’re not giving 100 percent of yourself because you don’t have that to give – or not say anything and risk him leaving Boston and them never having the chance to see if what they had could have been perfect. So she’s just struggling with how to approach that, and I think she was a little bit more accidentally selfish in the first season because she was trying to avoid hurting him by not telling him [about her cancer] and this season, it’s more about if she tells him, is it going to hurt him?
The #RenewChasingLife hashtag has been popping up all over Twitter. If you had to condense the reasons to renew the show into a few sentences, what would you say?
I would love for the show to be renewed for a full boat of reasons, but I think the way that season 2 ends explores an entirely different side of what it is to live with a disease, and another road to be taken with treatment and the decisions associated with that. We’ve barely touched upon it, and that’s why I’m so curious to see how the fans are going to react to the finale. I was uncomfortable going into it because I don’t know that much about it and neither does April, so I want to know more. There are so many mini-cliffhangers in this finale and I want to know all the answers. The longer the show’s been on, the more people have connected to it. Our fans are so passionate, and we try to be so involved with them that everybody feels like they’re part of the Chasing Life universe. I don’t want that to end.
Tune in to ABC Family on Monday at 9/8c to watch what promises to be a riveting season 2 finale of Chasing Life!