In the new “Nancy Drew” series, Nancy does double duty; she’s a waitress who solves crimes.
That seems like a lot … except to aspiring actors. They’re forever leaping between day jobs – waiters and waitresses, usually – and auditions.
Kennedy McMann (shown here), the new Nancy, varied slightly, working as an afterschool nanny. “I would be, like, ‘Hey, guys, you know what’s a fun playtime? Help me learn my lines.’”
And then it all worked out. Just shy of her 23rd birthday, she landed a character she knows well.
“I have quite a long history with Nancy Drew,” McMann said. “I come from a super literary family. My mom’s an author. I grew up reading the books.”
That was in Holland, the tulip-strewn city in Michigan. Her mother, Lisa McMann, had written short stories for adults, then, in her early 40s, scored with young-adult novels.
Yes, the Nancy Drew novels are also young-adult, but there’s a difference. “I think there is just a little more risk now,” Kennedy McMann said.
The first Nancy novels, going back to 1930, had a sweet teen tackling mysteries; by comparison, Lisa McMann’s first novel, “Woke,” had a teen seeing other people’s dreams, some of them overwhelming.
“Woke” was published in 2008 (just as Kennedy was nearing her teens) and was translated into a dozen languages. Lisa McMann wrote two sequels and has writen more than 20 other books, many in series — “The Unwanteds,” “Visions” and “Gone Wild.”
Meanwhile, Kennedy McMann remained a Nancy Drew fan. “I played the computer games all through college,” she said.
That was Carnegie Mellon, with its strong theater program. Then came the grind actors are used to. “It’s a lot of budgeting and living in tiny, tiny studio apartments and having the same clothes you’ve had since you were 15.”
The apartment, which she shared with her fiance, was in New York; the nanny job was in suburbia. “I had quite a long commute to work,” she said. “I would read scripts and work on stuff on the train. (I) probably looked like a crazy person as I’m talking to myself on the train.”
She got a couple guest roles and the “Nancy Drew” audition script. The “kids were eating dinner and watching some show, and I was, like reading through everything …. I was just so pumped.”
McMann already had a good shot at the role, producer Stephanie Savage said. “Our casting director … had seen her in a showcase at school and thought she was just wonderful. (She has) this real sense of confidence and maturity and intelligence …. You felt this girl is going to be able to solve a mystery.”
— “Nancy Drew,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays, CW, debuting Oct. 9