It’s been a long few weeks for actors Ana Yi Puig (Gossip Girl) and Isa Briones (Star Trek: Picard). Their latest TV series Goosebumps debuted on Disney+ and Hulu in mid-October, but because of the SAG-AFTRA strike, which officially ended earlier this month, neither of them were allowed to promote it.
“Now, we get to talk about what we’ve done,” Briones, 24, told MySA during a recent interview. “It’s been weird to see people reacting to the show on social media and not being able to interact at all. So, it’s very exciting to have that lid off now.”
Goosebumps was inspired by R.L. Stine’s bestselling book series of the same name. As a 10-part series, the storytelling format of the new show is different than the original TV series released in 1995. In this new retelling, Puig and Briones play Isabella and Margot, two of five teenagers who embark on an eerie journey to investigate the death of another teen three decades earlier.
“When you hear that they’re reimagining a classic, you wonder if they’re going to do it justice,” Briones said. “But as soon as I read the first episode, I immediately knew it was going to be different. It wasn’t like anything I had seen on Disney+ before. I really think it bridges the gap between the original fans of Goosebumps and a younger audience.”
Unlike Briones, Puig, who graduated from Texas State University with a degree in musical theater, didn’t know she was auditioning for a role in an updated Goosebumps series. The part of the script she was given had a codename. Plus, she was asked to sign paperwork swearing her to secrecy.
“I remember thinking that it was such an intriguing [script],” Puig, 25, told MySA. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Once I found out it was Goosebumps, I was floored because it is one of my favorite franchises. I feel so privileged to be a part of it.”
Puig, who is half Chinese and half Puerto Rican, also explained that she felt privileged to study musical theater at Texas State. She said the program saved her life and taught her that it’s not worth “suffering to make good art” if your overall health doesn’t come first.
“It really transformed what performing meant to me and taught me that to perform well, you have to be well,” Puig said. “That was the most profound thing I was taught as a young woman.”
Looking ahead in their careers, Puig and Briones, who also has a background in musical theater, hope to expand their talents into other genres and projects. Both would like to get back to the stage sooner than later.
“Ana and I are both theater girls,” Briones said. “That’s where my heart is. It’s in my blood. So, I would love to be a part of creating a musical or play. But the beauty of this profession is that we have a lot of opportunities to try new things and become different people and access different parts of ourselves. There’s no limit to that.”
Although Puig admits she “would be happy doing gritty, thought-provoking, off-Broadway plays for little to no money,” she can no longer imagine a career that doesn’t include working in the film and TV industry.
“Why don’t we just do it all?” Puig said. “I think Isa and I are similar in that way. Anything that passes our desks that truly has something to say would be delicious to both of us.”
The entire first season of Goosebumps is currently streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.
This interview was first published at MySA.com.