They may look nothing alike, but Teenage Bounty Hunters stars Maddie Phillips and Anjelica Bette Fellini totally have that twin thing going on. Their new comedy, which debuted on Netflix on Aug. 14, stars the two actors as fraternal twins who accidentally fall into a part-time job of rounding up bail skippers. And believe it or not, this wacky premise is only one aspect of a surprisingly touching story.
Phillips and Fellini had no idea what to expect when they signed on for this project. "When I got the audition, [the show's working title was] Slutty Teenage Bounty Hunters, and instantly I was just so excited because it felt so fun and quirky and nuanced and ironic and edgy," Phillips tells Elite Daily. Fellini adds: "I was a little bit like, 'I don't know what this means, but go on.' It was a very ‘yes and' moment for me."
Upon reading the script and getting to know their characters, both actors were hooked. But it wasn't just the story that had Phillips and Fellini invested. From the moment they met during chemistry reads — part of the audition process in which different actors are paired with one another to see who works best together — the two women realized they were destined to play sisters.
"There was something distinctly eerie when Anjelica walked in," Phillips recalls of their first meeting. "I was like, 'We're from the same planet. We are operating on the same frequency.' ... I honestly had a vision of Angelica and [I] cuddling together and having people around us going, ‘Oh look, they really are sisters.'"
That night, the pair decided to get dinner together, where Phillips says they manifested getting cast, then sealed their fate by following each other's Finsta accounts. "As soon as you're on somebody's Finsta, that's like a next-level kind of friendship," Phillips explains.
Warning: Light spoilers for Teenage Bounty Hunters Season 1 follow. Though their characters' bounty hunting side-hustle is what makes the story so unique, it's the "teenage" part of the show's title that drives most of the storylines. Sterling (Phillips) and Blair (Fellini) Wesley are wealthy, white, private school girls whose lives are dictated by their religious parents and their conservative, tight-knit community. But the teens aren't as sheltered as one might think: From the series' opening scene, which depicts high-achieving Sterling having sex for the very first time while quoting Bible verses, Teenage Bounty Hunters explores an interesting dichotomy between Christianity and sexuality in an open-minded, if a bit simplistic, way.
The show's social commentary isn't always so obvious. In Episode 5, for example, when Sterling kindly tells a woman she doesn't look like she'd recently given birth, Blair immediately apologies corrects her sister: "We would not presume to know what a body should or shouldn't look like," she exclaims in the scene.
Phillips and Fellini love these quick, check-Instagram-and-you-miss-them moments. "I think that's such a wonderful thing about the show, where the show doesn't force any messages down your throat or anything, but it does make you think, and it makes you reconsider what maybe you had been thinking or believing before, which I think is just so beautiful and such a great vehicle for change," Phillips says.
Fellini concurs. "When actors get the honor of working on a show that touches on important topics, there's really nothing more that you can ask for," she explains. "We were lucky enough to have this be sort of our first 'big thing.' I think that a very few percent of actors get that opportunity a lot ... but it's really so fantastic when you get to tell a story that matters and that can touch a lot of people while also being funny."
Of course, whenever a show covers topics like sex, religion, race, class, or politics, there's bound to be some backlash. Teenage Bounty Hunters addresses all of the above and then some. But the stars aren't too worried about naysayers.
"We should be so lucky to get a negative response," Fellini says, laughing. She's right; if people are talking about their series, that means they're watching it, which is pretty much the entire point of making a show. Speaking specifically about the girls' exploration of their sexuality against the backdrop of religion, Fellini adds: "The writers of the show did an extremely incredible job of narrating two young girls' individual experience with faith and how they incorporate it into being a horny teenager ... Having sexual experiences and sexual desires, especially as a girl, can be scary and traumatizing. It was awesome to go back as a young adult now and portray this teenager who knows what she wants and can express herself very clearly."
If you've seen all 10 episodes already, you know Teenage Bounty Hunters leaves fans on a major cliffhanger. Though as of Aug. 14, there's no word on whether the show will get picked up for a second season, Phillips and Fellini are just as eager to continue Sterling and Blair's journey as fans are.
"It was just such a dream and it would be so amazing to get back and continue to tell these important stories," Fellini says, with Phillips adding: "It was truly the epitome of my wildest dreams ... to get to do that again will be absolutely mind-blowing."
Hopefully Phillips and Fellini can use their trusty twin powers to manifest a Season 2.
Teenage Bounty Hunters in on Netflix now.