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'A great win for representation': Calgary actors play Bobbsey twins in Nancy Drew TV series

·4 min read

The CW'sre-adaption of Nancy Drew will feature some faces from Calgary.

Praneet Akilla and Aadila Dosani have been chose to play the Bobbsey twins and will take on the roles in the series' second season, which begins airing this week.

This version of Nancy Drew has been darker than the 1930s mystery books, but nonetheless popular with the audience.

Dosani, who will play Amanda Bobbsey, and Akilla, who will play her twin brother Gil, spoke with The Homestretch about being cast in the series.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Question: Praneet, what was it like to get the news?

Praneet: I had always been a fan of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books growing up. I hadn't quite read as much about the Bobbsey twins, but I was familiar with them.

And when I found out that we were actually playing the iconic twins I was incredibly excited.

Aadila: Oh, man. I was in shock, but very stoked. You know, my mom actually was more excited cause she is a massive Nancy Drew fan and she has all the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins books.

Q: How are the characters interpreted for modern-day TV?

P: In terms of the books, obviously we've taken a slightly different direction. So just in terms of the ethnicity as well, you know, making them from Caucasian to South Asian characters now in the show.

A: I mean, it's such a great win for representation. And so we've definitely been able to give it our authentic flair, which I think has been so incredibly wonderful and important.

Q: Can you tell us anything about the plotline of the series?

P: Well, I think in this rendition of the show, it's a darker show with a supernatural element. And there is a darker twist on the Bobbsey twins, you know, they have grown up on the wrong side of the tracks.

It's a darker show, darker characters. They have a sordid past that they have to come to terms with.

A: I feel like there's still, you know, little elements of them in terms of their curiosity and just having that twinning energy, where it's the yin and yang.

Q: Is it a family show?

A: I do think it's a family show. I feel like this version of the show deals with a lot more supernatural elements and psychological elements and things about self-identity and relationships.

If you are terrified of the supernatural, our effects team is so great, so maybe watch it in the daytime.

Q: What sort of stuff do your characters explore?

P: I think an interesting thing that gets explored in the series is certainly codependency. How healthy or unhealthy it is and so that's what they're kind of exploring in the show with both of the twins.

Q: You both grew up in Calgary. Did you know each other prior?

P: We didn't know each other. We'd run into each other a little bit just before. I'm pretty sure we met in early 2020.

I heard of Aadila just being in Calgary and then having lots of mutual friends. You sort of travel on a film and TV or theatre circles. You kind of get to know people by hearsay.

Q: So what's that like to be cast as a twin with someone who turns out to be from the same city?

P: There's an understanding there we don't have to speak at all about, you know, we know what quadrant we grew up in, what schools we went to.

It's effortless between us now because of being from a city that we're both proud to be from.

Q: How did you both get into acting?

P: I sort of grew up doing lots of theatre in junior high and high school, always wanted to be an actor and knew that that's what I wanted to do with my life. Just didn't have the courage to fully pursue it.

I got my engineering degree and then came back to Calgary and started working with Storybook Theatre, Front Row Centre and community theatres.

A: I feel like my parents needed that weekend time and they threw me into community theatre. That was in elementary.

In junior high, I started doing all of those, you know, productions and then went into high school. I always say I feel like acting is my only marketable skill because I've been doing this my whole life.

Q: What was filming like? I imagine things are much different than either of you have experienced before on a set?

P: The whole cast and crew get regularly tested twice [for COVID-19]. And we have very, very strict protocols from both CBS and CW. We always get checked in the mornings, do our health screenings before we start and try to keep masks on as much as possible.

A: Once we got in there, I mean, the team has done such a brilliant job of keeping it so safe. And once, you know, I was able to fall into that and really trust that, it just became smooth sailing.

With files from The Homestretch.