If there's one thing you can take away from the new USA drama Dare Me, it's that cheerleading is intense. The show is filled with emotionally and physically intense scenes that show just how much of their bodies and souls cheerleaders put in to their sport. And while the cheerleaders on the show might be the fictional kind, they still fully commit — just ask one of the members of the Dare Me cast, Erika Prevost.
Dare Me, which is based on the Megan Abbott novel of the same name, follows a group of high school cheerleaders in a small Midwestern town. Their sport means everything to them, so they run their bodies ragged in order to be the best. The actors on the show learned this firsthand.
"We had a cheer camp before we started filming and before we got into acting rehearsal," Prevost, who plays cheerleader Brianna Bradley, tells Elite Daily. "I think it was, like, three weeks to learn the skills and learn all the routines that we would be doing during the season. That’s when our choreographer Amy Wright would take the lead to show us the choreography, of course, but also to teach us the stunts."
In addition to the actor-cheerleaders, the Dare Me squad was filled out by a professional cheerleaders. "They’ve been super supportive and helpful with us learning the cheerleading skills," Prevost says of the pros. "They’re real athletes, and they were there to teach us different skills, and show us to keep your body rigid or how to lift up the girls."
Even in lifts and pyramids, the actors were fully participating, often getting hooked up on harnesses for safety. The only cheer moves Prevost and the rest of the actors didn't participate in were the tumbling passes; that's when the body doubles stepped in.
But one aspect they definitely did not have any outside assistance in was the performance of the intense emotions of their teen girl characters.
"It really reflects the reality of how complicated relationships can be, especially between women," she says about the series — and her character Brianna definitely fully embroiled in all that complexity. As one of the cheerleaders on the squad, Brianna is equally eager to climb to the top of the pyramid as she is the social hierarchy of the team.
"Brianna is definitely thirsty [for acceptance and attention]," Prevost explains. "She’s already a popular cheerleader. Things already tend to come easily to her." But there's more to Brianna than meets the eye. "Underneath there is that need for approval from Beth, who is the 'it girl' of the school." It sounds like she'll need to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to get it.
Dare Me airs on Sundays 10 p.m. ET on USA.