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Exclusive: A Week Away actors Jahbril Cook and Kat Conner Sterling talk about their new Netflix musical

Promotional still from A Week Away.
Jahbril Cook and Kat Conner Sterling star as George and Presley in A Week Away. Pic credit: Netflix

Netflix’s latest musical A Week Away is a fun, nostalgic trip to youth camp — something that was severely lacking this past summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Starring in the teen drama are actors Jahbril Cook and Kat Conner Sterling. The two play teenage love interests, George and Presley. 

Jahbril Cook who plays the friendly and anxious character George is a Black-Filipino performer from Alaska. He studied acting and playwriting at Columbia University.

Following this movie, Cook will be starring in the upcoming Disney movie Spin.

Tennessean Kat Conner Sterling, who plays the quirky and fierce Presley, has dominated the stage and screen since she was 13-years-old.

Major roles of hers include starring in Marvel’s The Gifted and the FOX drama 9-1-1. 

Both of these actors flawlessly wooed over hearts playing their respective characters in A Week Away. Netflix writes, “A Week Away is the first faith-based musical of its kind. Troubled teen Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn) has a choice to make – go to juvenile detention or attend a Christian summer camp.” 

While Will is at camp, sticking side-by-side with his new friend George (Cook), he discovers “the healing powers of kindness, forgiveness, and faith can be found in the most unlikely of places.” 

Will ends up quickly falling head over heels for camper Avery (Bailee Madison) — whose closest pal is Presely (Sterling), and the group of four begins to tackle all of the fun adventures that come with spending a week away at camp. 

Monsters & Critics recently spoke with Jahbril Cook and Kat Conner Sterling to get to know the two actors making their fabulous Netflix debuts.

We chatted about their filming experiences and what they are hoping comes next for A Week Away.

On switching from stage to screen 

Monsters and Critics: Both of you have theater experiences; talk to me a little about the difference between doing these big dramatic musical numbers on a camera-screen rather than on a stage. 

Kat Conner Sterling: With certain camera angles, it’s a little bit more difficult. I know when we were filming The Great Adventure [song], I got run over by our camera guys so many times [chuckles]. It was my own fault; I should’ve gotten out of the way faster. 

But we hadn’t really rehearsed with the cameras while we were in those three weeks of rehearsal, so just adjusting to that – because when you’re in a theater, you kind of know your space a little bit better.

Jahbril Cook: Learning from Bailee [Madison], she always knows where the camera is. She knows her angles like the back of her hand. Having to negotiate between the direction that you’re acting in and where the camera is was definitely a thing that I had to learn. 

But, on the other hand of that, we get to do it again. Like, if we mess up, we can get another take. That’s a luxury that you don’t have in theater. 

On A Week Away 2 

Monsters and Critics: All of the best teen musicals, High School Musical, Camp Rock and Teen Beach Movie, have sequels. Are you both holding out for A Week Away sequel? 

Sterling: Yes! Me and Jahbril have been campaigning for an A Week Away sequel overseas — Scotland, the Caribbean, we’re ready for anywhere they want to take us. 

Cook: I think that an earlier version of the script had something summer-camp-esque in the title, and I’m really glad that we moved away from that because “A Week Away” is so open-ended. It doesn’t place us at a summer camp, so we could go to Scotland. We could go to Spain. 

Sterling: We just want to travel, that’s what we’re saying [chuckles]. 

Favorite musical number and more 

When asked about their favorite musical numbers, the two had great answers! Cook credited Dive as “the most fun” because of the high energy on-set (“that day had the highest energy).

He described splashing in the water and just having an enjoyable time filming on the beach. 

Sterling answered Baby Baby and shared that “Jahbril kills it” in that musical number. Cook encouraged fans to listen to that song on the movie’s soundtrack as the track is extended beyond what is seen on-screen. 

He said, “Stream the soundtrack because the soundtrack version of Baby Baby is chef’s kiss.” 

They went on to agree that the scene was amplified by the “eighties glam” that their characters embodied, and we all agreed that “Netflix is bringing the eighties back.”

Watch our full interview below, where the duo answer more questions and share words of wisdom that they’d like their audience to take away from the musical.

Read more Netflix news here.

A Week Away is currently streaming on Netflix.

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