Virginia Williams was the only cast member to know about the ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’ twist ahead of time. She spoke EXCLUSIVELY about transforming into Debbie and Dana, season 2 hopes, and more.
Teenage Bounty Hunters dropped a bomb on fans when it was revealed in the season finale that Sterling and Blair are not actually twins, they’re really cousins. Dana, Debbie’s twin sister, is actually Sterling’s mom. Virginia Williams knew about the twist before the first table read, and she admitted to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that she was “floored” by where the story was going.
Virginia opened up about transitioning from Debbie to Dana. While Debbie’s transformation was more intense, Dana’s couldn’t have been easier. She admitted that she’s “mostly in the dark” about what happens after the finale, but she hopes to see Debbie continue “fighting for her kids” in a potential season 2. Read our Q&A below.
What was your reaction when you learned about the twin twist?
Virginia Williams: I was beyond excited. It’s an actor’s dream to get to play both women. It’s the craziest, most amazing twist I think any actor could ever hope for. I was actually told about 15 minutes before the first table read. The cast had just flown in town. Everyone had gotten in within the last day or two. Kathleen [Jordan], the creator, and Jesse Peretz, our director of the episode, and Rob Sudduth, who is also an EP, they all sat down with me and said, ‘Okay, I know we’re about to go in for this very first table read, but we wanted to give you some information about your character and where it’s going.’ When they told me what was going to happen by the end of the season in the arc, I really was just floored. Actually, my first thoughts were I cannot believe that this was not given to some super high profile celebrity because this is the kind of role that actors dream of. I just was really honored that they trusted me enough to be able to portray these two characters especially since I didn’t audition for Dana. They didn’t see me as this other person. They just trusted me to create this character who’s the polar opposite of Debbie, so I was I had four and a half months of knowing it and kind of creating the character and doing my research and finding the right pace that I wanted and all of the things that create Dana.
What was that transformation going from polished Debbie to Dana?
Virginia Williams: We worked with the makeup, and interestingly, what we ended up landing on was just doing as little as possible. My makeup artists actually used some kind of reddening makeup to make my skin look a little bit worse than it actually is, to give me some sunspots and make my cheeks a bit redder. I didn’t have any foundation on. There was obviously nothing to try to make Dana look prettier. We just tried to kind of take my skin and make it a little worse, and then do really bad black eyeliner, mascara, and that was it. I mean, that was the entire look. With my hair, every morning I would wash it and spray a bunch of that salty sea spray stuff and just kind of get it tangled and let it dry naturally. My hair person would say, ‘Okay, when you’re done just run your fingers through your hair and make it kind of gross as you can.’ Dana took three minutes to get ready for in the hair and makeup chair, and Debbie took about an hour and a half.
The finale stops right in the middle of the action. Dana reveals that she’s Sterling’s mom, and the police are on their way. Do you know what happens next?
Virginia Williams: I am mostly in the dark. What is wonderful about Kathleen and the whole team is that they really let you know on a need to know basis what’s going to happen. For example, I found out before we even had our first table read what was happening with me, but I was the only cast member. I was the only cast member who knew until they read it in episode 10. What was really exciting for the cast was they got to go along for the ride and go, ‘What is mom’s secret? What is your secret?’ It was the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep after getting so close with the cast and having to keep my mouth set through all those months about what was going to happen. But they got to really go along for the ride. So obviously, I’m going to need to know about both of my characters’ past, I will know, but surprises that happen in the story that I wouldn’t have known about before I think they’ll let me be surprised as it happens. I hope they do because it’s more authentic to the character to not have months and months of preparing something if you already know the answer before you start playing it.
Do you think Dana wants to have a relationship with Sterling?
Virginia Williams: I think she does want a relationship with Sterling. I think she always wanted a relationship with Sterling, and the deal has been that I believe that Debbie and Anderson, when they bailed Dana out and really tried to get her back on her feet and have been trying to help her all these years, they said, ‘We’re going to take this girl, and we’re going to raise her as our own. She’s our daughter now, and you have to stay out of the picture.’ Given all of Dana’s mental unsteadiness, I believe Debbie and Anderson are 100% acting in a way that they feel is best for their daughters. Like any adoptive family, I think that once your child is your child, you don’t look at them as anything but your child. I think that Dana has had moments in and out of wanting a connection with her daughter but has been prevented from doing that since she wants to keep getting the funds. But as Dana gets unreasonable and starts asking them for more and more money, and then Anderson loses his job and the money isn’t flowing like it was… All of these roadblocks come up. I think that the final straw was telling them to go to Mexico and get completely out of our lives. I really do think it’s a last-minute decision. We see Dana’s eyes in the rearview mirror in episode 10 when she gets in the truck after she gets off the phone with Levi. You see her scrolling throughs Sterling’s Instagram. I think she’s followed her and kind of stalked her through the years. Sometimes it’s too painful and she puts it away, and sometimes she pulls it out and sees what her daughter is up to. I think that she makes that decision then and there because she’s clearly a bit mentally unstable. I don’t think she had planned that she was going to kidnap Sterling.
Now that Sterling knows that she’s not Debbie’s daughter, do you think this will change their relationship?
Virginia Williams: I think that Debbie certainly hopes not. I think that nothing has changed for Debbie. The only person that’s changed in that relationship is Sterling, and how Sterling deals with that new information. I can’t imagine finding out you’re adopted at 16 years old and how that changes your worldview. But this is still blood. It’s not a completely different adoptive family. All of the quirk, all of the physical similarities, all of the medical issues, it’s all still blood. I’m so curious to see how Sterling will react. I do think that Debbie overcompensated for many, many years in showing Sterling love and attention and being scared that she might show her own child Blair more attention. Sterling ends up being the child who’s much more on the outside like Debbie, so I think that’s one of the reasons why those two women are so close, and there’s more of a challenging closeness in the relationship between Blair and Debbie.
Is there anything you would want to explore in a potential season 2?
Virginia Williams: I want to continue to see her fighting for her kids and continue to see her struggle as a woman of faith who is going to continually be challenged by a lot of her daughters’ choices and a lot of the circumstances that happened to her. One thing I’ve really loved about Debbie in the way I describe her is she loves Jesus, and she loves white wine. She cares about what other people think, but she cares mostly about what God thinks. She is a fully three dimensional, beautiful, interesting, human, so I really want to see how all of these new circumstances, some of the things that have been going on with her girls that she’s not aware of that may come out in season 2, and how she handles those things. I hope and pray that she is able to put her faith at the forefront and handle them in a way that she can be proud of.