Angourie Rice talks Honor Society, the cast, and The Handmaid’s Tale

by W. Andrew Powell

Dreams often come at a cost, and top student Honor is willing to do almost anythingto get into her dream school: Harvard University. She’s going to be surprised what it really takes to follow her dream in the end.

Angourie Rice stars as Honor in the Paramount+ film, Honor Society. She’s a smart and sophisticated student with two dedicated best friends. All she needs is a recommendation from her weird and often creepy guidance counsellor, Mr. Calvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), but Michael, played by Gaten Matarazzo, stands in her way.

Honor’s journey is funny, it’s incredibly heartfelt and sweet, and it’s filled with great surprises that make Honor Society wonderfully memorable. Rice is at her best in the role, with a warm, funny, and earnest portrayal of a character who finds herself in the journey.

And the nuances of the character came out thanks to the time Rice had to work with director Oran Zegman and figure out that journey.

Avery Konrad as Emma, Kelcey Mawema as Tailia, and Angourie Rice as Honor Rose in Honor Society
Avery Konrad as Emma, Kelcey Mawema as Tailia, and Angourie Rice as Honor Rose in Honor Society

“It was so important to me and the director, Oran, to map out the character’s arc. Before we started filming we had maybe three or four Zoom sessions together where we went through the entire script, read through the whole thing, wrote down all of our notes, compared notes, compared ideas, and that was important for us.”

“Because she goes through ups and downs, she changes her mind. She she doubts herself. She doubles down. So it was important for us to map that whole arc.”

Throughout the film Rice also breaks the fourth wall a lot as Honor talks to the audience, like their an accomplice to her plans. Breaking the rule of never looking into the camera came easy for Rice though.

“The camera is always there and it’s like a person and looking at you. It’s just that thing of, ‘Don’t look at, don’t look at it, don’t look at it, don’t look at it.’ So when you finally get to it’s just much fun. It was great.”

“Now I have to retrain my brain to not do this anymore.”

Author Margaret Atwood’s incredible novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, also comes up a number of times in the story and Rice made a point to read the book before they started filming.

“I loved it. I think that there’s so much in there that relates to life, that relates to me and my life and how I move through the world. And then there were, of course, many, many quotes about performance and protecting yourself and vulnerability that relate to Honor as well. So I went through and I underlined all these quotes that I thought related to Honor, but a lot of them were for me as well.”

“I think it’s a fantastic book.”

Honor Society streams on Paramount+ starting on July 29. Watch the full interview above and watch our interview with Armani Jackson and Amy Keum on YouTube.

Photos: Michael Courtney/Nickelodeon/Paramount+

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