‘Spinning Out’ premieres Jan. 1 and it’s the new show to binge right away in 2020. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Kaya Scodelario about what to expect in the Netflix show, her intense figure skating training, and more.
The new year means new shows are coming to your TV screen. Spinning Out will make its big debut on New Year’s Day. The figure skating drama stars Kaya Scodelario as Kat Baker, an up-and-coming elite skater who is ready to hang up her skates after a devastating fall during a routine. However, she just can’t give up something she’s loved for so long that easily. This kickstarts a journey that has her working in pairs with the talented bad boy Justin Davis (Evan Roderick). Not only is Kat trying to jumpstart her career again, but she’s also dealing with a very complicated family life.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Kaya about Kat’s mindset after her terrible skating injury and her journey to overcome her “severe PTSD.” Kaya discussed Kat’s tumultuous relationship with her mother, Carol (January Jones), and how it impacts her relationship with her sister, Serena (Willow Shields). Kaya also chronicled her figure skating training and revealed she actually collapsed the arch in her heel during training. Check out our Q&A below.
Kat has suffered a really traumatic injury and is trying to get her career back on track on the ice. Talk me through what’s holding her back. Is it more than just fear?
Kaya Scodelario: I think what she’s dealing with is a complex mental health issue. She’s dealing with severe PTSD from the incident. I think she feels as though she’s let herself down and instead of admitting to herself that she’s stronger than this and she could overcome it and that can happen to anyone, she blames herself. I think she’s quite genuinely petrified, but she still has this undying love for skating. It’s like she says, it’s like breathing to her. It’s the thing that she knows she can do, she knows she’s good at, and she knows she loves. So when we meet her, she’s really trying to balance those two things. She was an athlete who could have been at the top of her game, but because of this incident, she feels as though that is unattainable. We follow the journey with her as we will her to want that again and to fight for it again and to overcome that.
There’s that scene in the trailer between Kat and her mother where her mother tells her that she’s just wasted potential. What can you say about Kat’s relationship with her mother and how it’s going to evolve over the course of the season?
Kaya Scodelario: I think it’s a very complicated relationship, which is kind of what I love about it. I hate seeing these kinds of show-and-tell relationships between mothers and daughters because I know for me, personally, that hadn’t been the case. There’s a beauty in a mother-daughter relationship in that it can be complicated and you’re not always best friends and at times you are really kind of at each other’s throats. Carol and Kat have never really gotten on. Kat feels as though Carol always pushed her and also blamed her for Carol not being able to have a career. But at the end of the day, what kind of threads these two women is that they do love each other and that they do need each other. No one else in the world understands the circumstances they’re in quite like the other one does. Kat is trying to navigate being a good sibling to her sister, but at the same time, having some very natural jealousy and sadness that her sister is now going along the path that she could’ve gone on. At the heart of it is a story of three women and how they are family and how no matter how difficult things are between them and how much they bump heads, they have to be there for each other and then they have to find each other at the end.
I feel like with mothers and daughters, they have the ability to push each other in ways that no one else in their lives can, especially in a situation like this. With Serena, there’s obviously so much love between these three women, but where does Serena fit into this dynamic?
Kaya Scodelario: I think she’s definitely in the middle. For me, one of the storylines that I find most heartbreaking is her storyline because she is a young girl. She’s 16 in the show and she’s just trying to be a normal teenager. She’s got talent at this sport, and she’s dedicated hours and hours and hours of her life to it. She’s seen her older sister be great, and then she’s also seen her fail terribly. But outside of the sport, she also lives with these two and she knows them inside out and it’s probably not the best environment for her. She doesn’t have any other outlet other than skating, and I think Kat feels very protective of her because Kat’s been through it, too. She knows what it’s like to have skating be your world and have power over your mother. I don’t have any siblings myself but when I met Willow we kind of had enough of each other like siblings and she is now my sister, whether she likes it or not. I became super protective of her during filming, almost instinctively. I would always make sure she was drinking enough water, eating, sleeping okay, and that she was comfortable with everyone around her and no one was upsetting her. I have this urge to just want to look after her because I saw a lot of myself in her when I was 18 on my first film sets and movie sets and navigating the craziness of it. I think, perhaps, Kat feels like that towards Serena, too. She’s protective of her, but a 16-year-old sister is probably quite annoying.
What kind of training did you do and how much is that of you on the ice?
Kaya Scodelario: I began but at the lowest possible level. I mean, I was the person that would be like, “Oh, I want to ice skate at the Camden Market.” And then spend the whole time holding the barriers and moving at a snail’s pace around the rink. So, I have a long way to go. But I had an incredible coach here in London who I did an hour every day with for a couple of weeks before I flew out to Canada to begin pre-production. She kind of basically got me standing on two feet in the middle of the rink. Then when I got to Canada, we had three weeks pre-production and a really intense skating schedule. We’d do four to six hours a day in the ice rink with coach Sarah Kawahara, who’s incredible. She did I, Tonya and Blades of Glory. She’s kind of the go-to person for that. She really just helped me focus on my fears of it. I’m one of those people that doesn’t like doing something if they’re not good at it because I get really insecure that everyone’s going to laugh at me. She kind of made me get out of my own head and focus. It was great working with Evan [Roderick], too, because he’d skated before. He played hockey and I’m learning now that every Canadian just instinctively knows how to skate. But he really helped me and he was really patient with me. We did a lot of training leading up. I actually collapsed the arch in my heel during training because I have hypermobile joints and I didn’t know because we were doing so many hours and I was pushing myself so much that my mindset was just like, “What are you doing? This isn’t normal.” So I had to overcome that. But the production was really, really great with that and we just trained our asses off quite literally.
Speaking of Evan, there’s the Justin dynamic of everything. Kat does decide to get back on the ice for pairs. What can you sort of say about their dynamic as they work together over the course of the season?
Kaya Scodelario: They know of each other because they train at the same rink. I think Justin has a bit of a reputation. He’s kind of that guy, you know, you roll your eyes at and you see him laughing with the dudes. Slowly we realize that skating is really important to him. I think that Kat recognizes that in him. There is a turning point where she knows that he’s really good and she knows that he has something special, too. They may not make sense on paper, but something happens when they skate together and when they work together. That’s what’s so special about pairs. It’s essentially like a marriage. You’re training every day with someone. You’re going through such highs and lows with that person. You have to have a kind of unspoken communication, a way that you understand each other thoroughly. Kat’s trying to build that. She really wants to go there, and at first, Justin isn’t so keen on building that. He likes keeping people at a distance. As they progress, we start to learn why. I think the story is really quite lovely.