As a half-Korean, half-German actress, Adeline Rudolph is passionate about representing minorities on-screen, telling me during our phone call that since properly joining that acting industry, “I realised how important it is and have become even more proud of my heritage and where I come from and what I look like."
We spoke on the phone with Adeline ahead of the new season of the ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ to discuss her character, her friendship with her co-stars, and more…
I love that I got to come and join this industry at a time where we have that movement of wanting to represent diversity and minorities on-screen. But also off-screen, just in general, being part of a movement of inclusion of everybody...
COUP DE MAIN: How do you feel about the new season of the 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina' coming out?
ADELINE RUDOLPH: I’m so excited. It’s sexier, it’s darker, I think people are really gonna enjoy it. There’s a beautiful love triangle that goes on, obviously as you can see from the posters, and it’s just gonna be really fun and I think people are gonna enjoy it a lot.
CDM: I really enjoyed how in the first episode of the new season, Sabrina challenges the traditional gender norms of The Academy of Unseen Arts by trying to become ‘Top Boy’. Was it cool to see the show take on an issue of gender discrimination so strongly?
ADELINE: I think it was kind of the intent of the show to tackle social issues that are going on, that kind of parallel real life today. To that extent, it's a social commentary, but it’s also just calling on young girls to stand up for themselves. But also, on the flip side, take the show with a grain of salt - it is a TV show, it’s supposed to be encouraging, as opposed to a political show.
CDM: What were your first impressions of each of your Weird Sisters the very first time that you met Abigail and Tati?
ADELINE: I first met them at a chemistry read. Tati had already been cast, so when I first saw Abbey in the waiting room I think my first thought was, ‘Oh my goodness, what a beautiful girl.’ I thought she was so beautiful and unique looking, I loved her red hair. And then Tati, she came in after being her cool self, and I was like, 'Oh my goodness, this girl is so cool.' I think those were my first impressions, and then moving up to Vancouver I started to get to know the girls, not just from the outside - of course, they’re all beautiful girls, but there’s just so much depth. Abbey makes me laugh 24/7, I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had a stomach ache from laughing with her. Tati and I have really nice, deep, meaningful conversations - she’s very wise, very composed, and has great advice. Those were my first impressions and those are still my impressions, nothing has changed.
CDM: What first caught your eye about the script for ‘The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ when you first found out about it?
ADELINE: I knew that it had a link to 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ which is something that even I got wind of - I grew up in Hong Kong and I’m half German, so every summer I’d go to Germany and I’d watch the cartoon in German at my grandparent's place. So for me, it was a show that makes me think of my childhood, at least the theme of it - and when I found out it was gonna be darker, more sinister, but still have that dark humour added to it, I was immediately intrigued. I thought it was a very interesting concept to take it away from the sitcom of the 90s and turn it into something more current for today’s day and age and something that would speak to young girls. I loved specifically the roles that we read for, the Weird Sisters, it’s not just evil and good, I liked that there’s potential for much more depth. I love 'Riverdale' and when I found out that it was the same showrunner, I was like, "I love the writing on 'Riverdale', I can’t wait to audition for this!"
CDM: I talked to Chance Perdomo about his character Ambrose and how he kind of got to reinvent and have a lot of freedom with the character because in the comics Ambrose was a middle-aged man - and it’s similar for you with the Weird Sisters, who are very different to their portrayal in the comics. Did you enjoy having that level of making a brand new character, and set of characters with your fellow weird sisters?
ADELINE: Absolutely. It can be a blessing and a curse at the same time, to not be in the comic. I guess on the one hand I thought that because the characters don’t exist in the comics it’d be hard for us to base off something, it would be hard to go off of nothing. But on the other hand, that creative freedom to stick with my two sisters and be like, ‘Okay, what do we do?’ We all feel a connection in reality, how can we bring that on-screen, as evil. <laughs> So we think of little weird things we can do - we came up with holding pinkies for example or trying to chant in a specific way together, and it was funny because we started doing that off-screen while we were not filming and it would freak people out on set - they’d be like, ‘Oh look, it’s the Weird Sisters, walking!’ It was great to have that freedom.
CDM: What's been your favourite memory or anecdote from filming the 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina' so far?
ADELINE: I’ll tell you two. One is just a more general one, I think one of my favourite memories, in general, is that because we had a lot of time on set in between shots, we would just visit each other's trailers and have deep meaningful conversations, or just have no conversations at all, sometimes we’ll just want each other’s presence. Sometimes we’ll just sit next to each other in complete and utter silence. Or Abbey and I do this a lot, we’ll just mindlessly dance.
CDM: I saw the video on Instagram of you guys dancing to Ariana Grande!
ADELINE: Oh yeah! That is exactly what goes on. That goes on a lot actually. We just start blasting some music and dancing. That’s just in general one of my favourite memories. Another one is, and this isn’t a spoiler, but there’s a scene in Part Two where Aunt Hilda and Agatha for whatever reason are standing next to each other at a party scene and it’s funny because, for Lucy [Davis] and myself, we thought to ourselves that it didn't really make sense for Agatha and Aunt Hilda to be standing next to each other to be having a casual conversation. It was just very fun to shoot because it wasn’t focused on us, so we just ended up having a really amazing conversation for four hours for the scene. Because it wasn’t focused on us so there were no mics on us, so Lucy and I were just talking about real life and it was such a beautiful moment with her. She’s an amazing human being and person. I’m not even sure if you’ll see us in the scene!
CDM: Are there any storylines that you'd like to further explore with your character Agatha on the show?
ADELINE: Yeah absolutely, I think in Part One they kind of establish the relationship between Sabrina and all the other characters, and Sabrina and Agatha - she kind of goes behind Sabrina’s back, and unfortunately kills Sabrina’s boyfriend’s brother. I would love to dive more into the relationship between the three sisters. I think people are maybe curious about that too - why are they so close? What exactly is it that connects them? Minus the fact they were orphans that grew up together and were taken in by the Church of Night. I mean, that’s something I’d love to know more about.
CDM: Actress Lana Condor has said: "I know how many people are looking to me, I’ve had so many little Asian girls and older Asian women come up to me. Because of that, I’m really aware and proud of who I am and what I look like." Do you feel similarly about the representation of minorities on-screen?
ADELINE: Yeah, absolutely! I’ll be honest, I grew up in Hong Kong and I have a Korean mother, so I grew up with Asians around me. I didn’t feel like I didn’t see enough Asians in that sense - there’s a lot of Korean dramas that I would watch, so it never really became something that I was extremely aware of because the country that I grew up in was an Asian country. But I’m half German - my dad’s German - and I went to a German school in Hong Kong and my grandparents are from Germany, so every summer as I was getting older, I was getting more aware of what other girls looked like. As I became a teen I became more aware of my Asian look and my Asian heritage. You’d hear guys sometimes say, "Oh, I’m not into Asians," or "I’m into Asians," and it’s so generalised. So growing up that’s when I started to become more aware of it. Eventually after coming over to the United States, I’d never been immersed in the entertainment industry before - my parents come from business backgrounds - so coming out here and exploring the entertainment industry I realised how important it is and have become even more proud of my heritage and where I come from and what I look like. So I agree with Lana completely, and I love that I got to come and join this industry at a time where we have that movement of wanting to represent diversity, and minorities on-screen. But also off-screen, just in general, being part of a movement of inclusion of everybody - white, black, Asian; it doesn’t matter.
CDM: We know that you're a talented singer! Do you want to one day venture into a music project in your career?
ADELINE: Oh, god! <laughs> That’s very kind of you to say. I would say I can hold a note, I wouldn’t say I’m a talented singer. I love music, but do I think I have what it takes to dive into a music career? Not right now! Would I be open to that idea down the line? Sure, why not? I think for now I’ve truly found my passion in acting. Music is something that accompanies that very beautifully.
CDM: 'Riverdale' has a musical episode!
ADELINE: You never know! Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] is known for his musical episodes…
CDM: Model/actress Cara Delevingne has said that modelling left her unfulfilled: "I ended up feeling a bit empty. Fashion is about what's on the outside, and that's it. There's no searching, it's just creating pretty things." Do you feel similarly or differently from your experience as a model?
ADELINE: That’s an interesting question. I think the modelling industry has changed a lot. I started modelling when I was 21/22, officially with an agency back in London, and when I went to university I was doing it part-time. So for me personally it was my only creative outlet, so I felt very fulfilled by it. For me that was one thing where I could dive into, I could be a blank canvas, I could dive into any attitude that the photographer wanted me to dive into, to show off the clothes that I was wearing, or the product that I was wearing. So for me, I felt it was kind of a taste of creativity for me, which is why eventually I came out to the United States in 2017 on a modelling visa. I think models are very intelligent - there’s a stigma that models don’t have anything in their heads and they just focus on beauty and that’s not true about at least most of the models I got to meet. A lot of them have degrees, I have a degree myself - not that that’s the most important thing at all. I had just got interested in acting a little bit because as a model I wanted to dive more into the acting world, and I remember I was shooting for something, and there was a girl who happened to be with the same acting agency as I was. It was just cool to have that door open because of modelling too. I understand where Cara is coming from with her quote about feeling a little bit empty - it is a lot about what’s on the outside when it comes to fashion, but for me at least it was a gateway into acting. I wouldn’t want to give up on modelling, I still believe that down the line when the right opportunities come up, I would love to do more modelling. I would love to also add some character to it now, I think we’re moving in a new direction, the same way that we are with diversity with acting on screen.
CDM: Aside from 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts, what other books would you recommend as a good read?
ADELINE: Well, you took my one book that I always pull out for this question!
CDM: Now you’ve got to come up with another one.
ADELINE: Last year I made myself a New Year’s resolution, the one and only that I’ve ever actually stuck to, I told myself that I would read a book a month, so I did that last year.
CDM: That’s so good! I envy that.
ADELINE: I know! If you put your mind to it, you can really do it. Trust me, you get in the groove of it! I read one book that I remember I actually lent to Jaz [Sinclair], who by the way has not given me back my book yet. But it was called 'The Power' by Naomi Alderman. It’s amazing. You really should read it - it’s a fictional story about what would happen if women from one day to the next acquired a certain power. So in the case of the book, they get this electrical power, and that inevitably makes them stronger than men and it’s just a very interesting book that flips the gender roles. There’s a part in the book where you hear a father tell his young son, "Hey, make sure you don’t go out at night, you have to be careful of women running around in the streets - don’t go down dark alleyways." It’s just interesting seeing the flip side of it - what would happen if gender roles were reversed. On the one hand, what I also love and I guess is a little controversial, is again, the world wouldn’t be a better place if only women had power, just as the world wouldn’t be a better place if only men had power. It’s a very beautiful story where you see the good and the bad sides and you see the importance of equality more than anything, and the two genders working together. So that’s a great book, I love it.
CDM: We have a question for you from Abbey Cowen, who asks: What’s the weirdest song you have ever heard?
ADELINE: Oh my gosh! Abbey and I drove down from Vancouver to LA, I think we were driving for 11 hours from Portland down to San Francisco, and we were so tired. We got to the Golden Gate Bridge where we had to pay the bridge fee and it was four dollars and we only had three dollars - I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, I probably have a fine somewhere, I haven’t received it yet - and we were kinda down because of that, so we were like, ‘You know what? We’re just gonna go on Spotify and just play a random thing,’ and this song came up and it made us so excited and pumped. It’s called 'My Name Is Mars'.
CDM: That was a test from Abbey! She told us the name of the song and wanted to check that you got it right!
ADELINE: Yeah! Well, there you go. I love it. Now you know the story at least, and how it came up.
CDM: And this is a question from Tati Gabrielle, who asks: Who is the caretaker of the three of you?
ADELINE: You know what? I think it’s me? Is that bad to say?
CDM: No, that’s correct! She gave me the answer.
ADELINE: <laughs> I think we all take care of each other in different ways, emotionally and all that, but I think in terms of like the ‘mama’, if I had to pick between the three, then maybe me.
The ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina' Part 2 is airing now on Netflix - watch the trailer below…