When Havana Guppy first started acting, she did it because it was a “lot of fun.” The young talent quickly amassed an impressive list of credits on series such as V, Fringe, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, and more. About five years ago, Havana did some commercials for major brands such as Tylenol and Staples. After doing a few films, she found her way back to television in Colleen Ballinger’s (a.k.a. Miranda Sings) Haters Back Off! and Syfy/Space’s Aftermath. Additionally, she landed the role of Drina Marks in Hulu’s acclaimed Shut Eye. [Season 2 of the hit series will be released on December 6.] With her return to television, Havana began feeling there was something deeper to be mined from acting than merely having fun.
“When I started out, I was just a kid,” Havana told Entertaining Options. “Now, I’m getting more into the emotion behind it. If a film can bring me to tears or make me laugh or make me angry, that’s what I want to do for other people, I want to make them feel a strong emotion like that from my work. Life can really suck sometimes, but if you can go to a movie and it can make you happy, that’s awesome! That’s a big part of it for me.”
When asked if there’s an actor she admires and draws inspiration from, Havana immediately replied, “Definitely. Isabella Rossellini!”
Isabella is Havana’s castmate on Shut Eye. She plays Rita Marks, Drina’s grandmother. Rita is a ruthless Romani crime lord who runs a Los Angeles fortune-telling racket. She’s also a warm, loving family woman who is always exquisitely adorned in the most sophisticated fashions.
“She’s an amazing actor. She’s an amazing human. I would love to be like her one day because just everything about her is amazing,” Havana expressed. “She’s so kind and she helped me grow so much as an actor. It was really special to work with her.”
Havana’s character, Drina, is a rebellious teen who is trying to figure out how she fits in with this bizarre family.
“On the surface, she may just seem like a rebellious teenager,” Havana explained, “but look at her family, she’s going through a lot. She was forced into marriage, not a lot of kids have to go through that! Drina is someone who feels alone a lot of the time and she is confused about who she is. There’s also this struggle to be independent and to break free from her family tradition.”
“I think she’s a character that adults can relate to, as well,” Havana continued. “Besides going through what teenagers struggle with — ‘Who am I? Where do I belong? How do I become independent?’ — Drina is struggling with ‘What should I do and what shouldn’t I do?’ She’s trying to find what’s best for both her family and herself. This season, I think you’ll see her grow a little more and maybe see that she’s not just this terrible angry teenager. Maybe you’ll even see a little part of yourself somewhere in her.”
Havana took a moment to reflect on real life. She pointed out that being a teenager these days is a “hard and confusing time.” Sometimes, what adults perceive as rebellion is merely the struggle of a kid trying to figure out who she is.
“With social media, I think it’s easy for people to put up that mask and pretend ‘My life is perfect,'” she noted. “I think that actually causes more of an issue because you are able to hide your real feelings. If you are feeling sad one day, just pop a selfie up there and bring in the likes and feel better. I don’t think that’s a good thing to do, but I know I’m guilty of doing that myself. I think a lot of people have done that. We should find other ways to feel good about ourselves that don’t involve posting a photo for people to like.”
“Maybe you can go out and be with friends, hang out with your family, find a hobby, or just do something that you love,” she offered. “It can be as simple as going out for a walk by yourself. For me, it’s coffee,” she laughed. “If I go out and get a coffee, it helps me feel pretty good because I really like coffee!”
Besides drinking coffee, Havana enjoys playing alto sax.
“I picked that instrument when I was 12 because I thought it was such a beautiful instrument. One of my music teachers in elementary school played it and I thought she was so cool! I really wanted to be like her, so I started playing the saxophone too.”
Back in May, Havana received the exciting news that in Season 2 of Shut Eye, she was going to be upped to a series regular. With her character already appearing in 7 of the 10 episodes in Season 1, what did that actually mean for Havana? Did it feel any different filming Season 2?
“I moved to LA from Vancouver for four months, so it definitely felt different,” she replied. “It was all so new to me. I was able to get a much better sense of that feeling of family on set. The whole experience was a little more special because I was part of something that I felt so strongly about.”
As previously noted, on Wednesday, December 6, Season 2 of Shut Eye will be available on Hulu. Fans of the hit series about a fake psychic with real visions have already adjusted their schedule to make room to binge watch all ten episodes as soon as they are released.
“I love to binge watch! I’m so excited that I don’t have to wait a long time to see all the episodes. My family is excited to watch too.”
Fun Fact: Havana’s current binge watching obsession is 24.
“I think Shut Eye is really neat,” Havana concluded. “It’s really funny and it’s edgy, so if you like dark comedies, then you’ll really like this show. Personally, I haven’t seen anything like it before, and I think the psychics and the visions are a really cool aspect.”
Featured photo by James Branaman.