Shining Vale: Gus Birney & Dylan Gage Discuss STARZ Series [Interview]

STARZ's upcoming horror-comedy series Shining Vale stars Gus Birney and Dylan Gage as the two Phelps siblings, Gaynor and Jake. The characters move along with their parents, Pat and Terry, played by Courteney Cox and Greg Kinnear, to a large and old house outside of the comforts of their former home in Brooklyn, NY. In a roundtable interview setting, I got to ask Gus and Dylan some questions about their characters and how they connected with their on-screen parents.

Shining Vale: Gus Birney & Dylan Gage Talk Starz Series [Interview]
(l-r) Gus Birney, Dylan Gage, and Courteney Cox. Source: Starz
Shining Vale premieres with two episodes Sunday, March 6, 2022, at midnight on the STARZ app, all STARZ streaming & on-demand platforms, and internationally on the STARZPLAY premium streaming platform across Europe, Latina America, and Japan. On linear, it will debut on STARZ at 10:20 pm ET/PT in the U.S. and Canada.

Shining Vale: Gus Birney & Dylan Gage Talk Starz Series [Interview]
Gus Birney as Gaynor Phelps. Source: Starz
Gus is Pat and Terry's 16-year-old daughter who is going through that awful phase where she's smarter than everyone and angry at the world—and by the world we mean her mother, whom she (rightfully) blames for uprooting the family from Brooklyn to suburban Connecticut. She spars with Pat over sex, drinking, school, drugs, the weather—everything, really—mostly because she's exactly like her mom was when Pat was her age. Jake is the Phelps's pubescent son who is always glued to some sort of screen.  He has severe ADHD and OCD so he quickly forgets what he's obsessing about. Deeply quirky, and deeply sweet, he has his father's temper which, like everything else about Jake, comes out at the oddest moments. A sensitive soul, Jake attracts other sensitive souls– some of whom died years ago in the house.

Shining Vale: Gus Birney & Dylan Gage Talk Starz Series [Interview]
Dylan Gage as Jake Phelps. Source: Starz
Bleeding Cool: Do you have any past experiences in your own life or personal things you may have brought to the role, such as past experiences or your moments from your own childhood?

Gus Birney: I admired Gaynor so much because, at 16, I was not as outspoken and confident and edgy as she was. I was much more introverted and I was really close to my mom, ironically, and was not through me at her. But, but I think she's like this alter ego of myself that I never got to experience. And so I learned a lot about myself through her. And yeah, I don't know. It was such a blast to play her, and she's much more complicated than I think. You know, you meet her at first glance, she's just has a lot of layers.

Dylan Gage: I can definitely relate to Jake of just like having a lot of experiences of just like being doing video games and stuff and kind of being a little bit nerdy and weird. But I think that there are some differences because Jake definitely takes it to the next level of just like tuning everyone out around him. I think I'm a bit better about that, hopefully. But yeah, there's definitely a lot there that I can relate to.

BC: You've talked about working with Courtney Cox, but I was wondering what it was like working with Greg Kinnear and connecting with that person who was playing your characters' father?

GB: I don't know if you've seen Little Miss Sunshine, but that's like my favorite movie ever wholeheartedly and I have told him this. There was a moment where we were in the car, I think shooting the pilot and I was like, "Oh my god Greg Kinnear is driving me in a car right now. This is the coolest thing!" So that was awesome. But other than that, I mean again, he and Courtney both are hilarious on and off-screen, and I think he just has this brilliant mind and is a one-of-a-kind person. And really, it was just such a gift to watch him period, but I feel like he might disagree. There are parallels kind of between his character in "Shining Vale" and the character in "Little Miss Sunshine," just trying to keep everything together and keep going and be this perfect dad. And so, yeah, I just thought that was awesome.

DG: Working with Greg, I feel like all the scenes where it's just me and him are my favorite. There's this scene, one with like me and Greg in the car with a magazine and stuff where that is probably, definitely my favorite scene. It's just so funny, and it's the two characters being just so utterly themselves. It's just such a joy because he brings an energy to the table that really resonates and that you can really work with. 

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About Brittney Bender

In love with media, from TV to film, you'll find me writing recaps, reviews, TV news, "Top 5" content, opinion pieces are everything and anything, and more! Bisexual creative mess with a love for dark humor, promoting important projects, and sharing interesting finds.
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