Hold on to your hats, Wildcats! Sofia Wylie is gearing up for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ season three final two episodes – and fans should prepare for the love triangles to get even messier.
“[It’s a] drama bomb!,” Wylie, 18, exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, August 29, ahead of the impending final two episodes, which are set to air on Wednesday, September 7, and Wednesday, September 14, respectively. “There’s already been so much drama this whole season, but I swear it gets 10 times more.”
The show — called HSMTMTS for short — made its debut on Disney+ in November 2019 and is set at the now-iconic East High School Salt Lake City, the same campus where the iconic High School Musical franchise was filmed. The mockumentary-style comedy follows fictional students Ricky (Joshua Bassett), Nini (Olivia Rodrigo), E.J. (Matt Cornett), Ashlyn (Julia Lester), Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) and more as they navigate through adolescence — and the ups and downs of being a theatre kid in high school.
Wylie, for her part, plays Gina Porter — a new student who’s ready for the spotlight. Introduced as an antagonist, the character does a complete 180 over time — something the Andi Mack alum appreciates about the role.
“I think my favorite part [of playing Gina] is how unpredictable is, or how human she,” the Arizona native explained to Us. “Because as humans we are very unpredictable, and a lot of times in television or in movies, characters can become very stereotypical because we like to put people in boxes. But in the real world, we are all so malleable and changeable and we grow and we fall.”
Change is certainly something Wylie’s character is facing in season 3 of the musical drama. In addition to stepping into the leading role of Anna of Frozen — the show within the show — Gina is also facing a love triangle, finding herself torn between boyfriend E.J. and longtime crush Ricky.
“I think Gina is confused right now. I think she’s fighting really hard to make this relationship with E.J. work and she wants that,” the Shook alum revealed to Us. “I think she really is falling for E.J., and that’s why she gets so easily frustrated or angered or upset when she feels as though he’s pulling away or he’s distracted. Because she wants this to work, and she really does care for him.”
While Wylie said that E.J. is “a great guy” and is “trying his best,” the actress admitted that there is still a dynamic with 21-year-old Bassett’s Ricky that leaves Gina in a difficult position.
“Ricky is in a confused state where he’s put in this position of liking a girl who is not available at the moment,” she explained. “And that’s kind of where Gina was in season 2, so he’s definitely now probably understanding how she felt.”
She added, “I think these three characters are all just being pulled in so many different directions and I don’t think any of them know where it’s headed.”
Despite the tension in front of the camera, Wylie revealed that she couldn’t ask for two better costars than the “Smoke Slow” singer and Cornett, 23, noting that her different dynamics with the actors help to make each onscreen relationship feel unique.
“Matt and Josh, who play those characters, are very different guys. So, my dynamic as Sophia is already different with them just as ourselves,” she shared. “When we start to act, that can translate sometimes. With Josh, I tend to be a little more bantery, but with Matt it’s a little less [so].”
Wylie added that she takes “different pieces of people that I know” who have been in romantic relationships to “act as girlfriendy as possible” when she’s starring opposite Cornett, For her scenes with Bassett, however, she focused on the “level of forbidden flirtation” and “strictly platonic banter” that occurs between them.
Wylie may have a different rapport with Cornett and Bassett, but she has no hesitation naming her favorite standout moments between each character.
“My favorite Portwell moment was the scene that started it all, the scene on the couch in season 2,” she revealed. “Where E.J. and Gina kind of have that heart-to-heart. It’s the first time that we see them truly being vulnerable with one another, which I thought was so beautiful. And I just really loved filming that scene. I love scenes that are just human and sweet, and there’s not this big climax to the scene or something super dramatic happening. It’s just like, ‘Wow, we can breathe with these characters as they’re breathing and relaxing for the first time in a while’”.
As for Gina and Ricky’s best scene, Wylie didn’t have to think twice. “I love the flashback scene that was seen in season 2 where Gina says to Ricky that she wouldn’t give up on them if she wasn’t moving away,” she said, revealing that the moment was actually shot the year prior, during season 1.
“I just had a blast doing it, and I was an emotional wreck afterward because it was also one of the last things that we ever shot for season 1, and so a lot of my tears were real,” she gushed. “So while I’m saying to Ricky that I wouldn’t give up on us, it was truly also Sophia saying that she didn’t want to give up on any of the cast members and this whole show.”
Wylie concluded: “It was just a wonderful scene that I got to do with Joshua.”
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series airs on Wednesdays on Disney+.