May 2024

Screened | Izzy G

Getting Into Character With Under The Bridge's Izzy G

Photos Martin Rusch | Words Tamara Rappa

Playing "Killer" Kelly Ellard is 'double-sided' for newbie actor and one-to-watch Izzy G, who stars in the Hulu adaptation of author Rebecca Godfrey's 2005 book, Under The Bridge. 'I'm really happy we've gotten this work out there, and that it's been a great success', she says, 'but it's definitely tragic and heartbreaking.' The series receiving acclaim and buzz just dropped it's nail-biter season finale, showcasing a barely 16 year old Izzy, who is a personal fan of the backdrop of 90's music and culture that is ever-present in every episode. She tells us she's completely comfortable in her own skin, currently living life in LA, at around her own callous character's age, and after adeptly playing courtroom Kelly with the kind of nuance that is beyond her years. By episode eight, viewers are veiled in what the troubled teen would spend years becoming known for through adulthood. The story of the murder of Reena Virk, an awkward high school outsider tragically caught up in a brutal crowd, was the basis for the book Godfrey felt compelled to pen, becoming this season's heralded Hulu series starring Riley Keough and recent award-winning actor, Lily Gladstone. An avid lover of music, Izzy dreams of working with La La Land's Damien Chazelle, and previously starred in Chuck Lorre's B Positive and as AJ in the Netflix series AJ And The Queen from none other than Michael Patrick King and RuPaul. In her current high-profile project, it was the the character of Reena that most caught her attention while reading the script. She felt instant connection and compassion because a friend had gone through a similar situation with a thankfully vastly different outcome. Here, Izzy shares what it was like to help tell a terrifying story, and more.

Where did you go first, in terms of your prep for portraying a murderer and a notorious one, at that? Where did you begin?  In playing Kelly, it was kind of like a mountain that was very scary, but it was something that I knew I wanted to climb. If f I could do it, I knew I'd do it to the best of my abilities. I searched online but it really was difficult because I couldn't find anything other than 'Killer Kelly, Killer Kelly, Killer Kelly.' It was hard to figure out how to make her a three dimensional person, how to humanize her, and to find something to relate to.I  found that I can't play Kelly Ellard; I didn't know who she was. I don't know people who knew her. I don't want to meet her. But really I was playing a 15 year old girl who is troubled and disturbed.

What did you find challenging, and what did you find thrilling about playing Kelly Ellard?
Challenging? Humanizing her. Finding her. And not only those things, it was a difficult role. It's a hard story. I'm not gonna lie, I'd lost myself so much into my character that even when I watch it now I don't see me. I just see Kelly. i don't watch it like it's my show, I watching like it's just on Hulu. When I first got the role I was looking for something meaty and good and juicy, something I could sink my teeth into, and I definitely found that. To really lose myself in a character again like that was thrilling for me.

When diving into the script or doing any exploration or research, even in your learnings while shooting and exploring your character on set---what did you find needed to be conveyed most about Kelly?
She is twisted. She did something awful. It was important to me to remind people of this tragic story, that happened because of this love she had for her best friend, Jo. And Jo really let her be herself.

How do you interpret Kelly's attraction to the friend group she was a part of as a 15 year old and at the time of her first trial? Why were these the people she wanted to surround herself by?
  It's not the friend group---it's just Jo. Point blank, it's Jo. She deals with everyone else only because Jo likes them. The only person she wanted to protect was Jo. She also wanted to protect the love she had for Jo. They'd known each other since they were little kids, and Jo still loved her for how twisted and corrupt she was. I'm not gonna say that this is true because it's a rumor. Kelly Ellard might have been a victim of abuse. She might've witnessed her biological father being very abusive to her mother. She might've dealt with abuse from her stepbrother, and her stepfather was not very present in her life. Because of that she really related to Jo. She related to the loss and the pain.

A number of people contributed to the murder of Reena Virk on the fatal evening, but it was Kelly who finished the job. Why exactly did Kelly kill Reena?
I can't answer for Kelly Ellard, but in terms of what we portrayed for the series, Kelly did it for Jo. One thing that is very much at the truth of this story is that hurt people hurt people. Sadly, Reena was there for Kelly to take her anger out on. It's so upsetting and heartbreaking to hear, but it's the truth.

What did Kelly's behavior in court, the behavior we see in the finale; her emotions, her use of an accent, indicate? I'm so happy you asked this. That was my audition scene. I'm pretty proud of it. It was such a good scene to dive into, to really get into. The British accent? She did do that. I decided that it was to claim insanity, and so she could manipulate her way out of jail time. That was a huge thing with Kelly on our show---she will always try to manipulate to get her way, in any and every situation. She was raised that way. Her entire breakdown in that scene stemmed from the fact that she had gotten caught; from the fact that someone really saw through her. As long as she was home on time and had the good attitude of a good little girl, her parents were fine with her behavior. And she knew that. She knew it, so she used it to her advantage. She could get away with anything. And she did.

hair erika vanessa | makeup kendal fedail

"I love Billie Eilish's new album. Oh my God. It's so good. It's so good. It is so good. Every single song is my favorite."

"I've become obsessed with drinking water. It's very healthy for you! You should drink water! I drink water from mason jars, they are the cups in our house. Or I'll do a Hydro Flask or something, to remind myself to drink water."

"'I'm into my mindset. I am really proud of how far I've grown as a human being. I've definitely matured  and learned a lot, as you do as you age. I feel I'm at a very comfortable place right now, really loving who I am."

"I love my animals...Lily, Niomi, Zuzu, and Mochi. I have two cats and two dogs. "

"I'm obsessed with my guitar. I can't live without music."

"I have been obsessed with plants. I just went to Home Depot today. I went to Home Depot today to buy plants and I bought a fern. I love greenery. I'm currently decorating my bathroom and it's gonna be plantville. My house is very boho in style ."

watch izzy g in under the bridge
now streaming on hulu