Nile Bullock is joining Freeform’s phenomenon, Cruel Summer, for its second season of intrigue, mystery, excitement, and drama. Season one shook the audience, following the slow-building unraveling journey between Kate Wallis and Jeanette Turner. With Cruel Summer taking on an anthology formula, season two will follow a new story and characters, including Nile Bullock’s role as Jeff.
Season two follows how a once-fun friendship transforms into a dangerous love triangle. Jeff is an aspiring director, and his role is bound to affect the overall story. Nile Bullock discusses what to expect of season two’s tone and how the new installment strove to keep what worked in season one while crafting a unique, distinct, and original story.
Culturess: How does Jeff fit into the mystery surrounding season two?
Nile Bullock: Well, I can’t give too much away. So, well, I want to say Jeff is definitely a really unique character. Jeff is an aspiring director. He really wants to go on to make films. He wants to go to school to make films. He’s obsessed with horror movies. He’s definitely a film geek. So one thing that you definitely will see, I feel like with Jeff, is there’s a lot that his camera’s going to pick up. That’s all I’m gonna say. He’s literally recording all of the time.
Any time that he’s around with the group, his camera is on, and he’s just trying to get as much content as possible. But what that camera picks up is the big question behind the mystery, so are we gonna see through those lens? How is it gonna tie into the storyline? But I’m gonna stop there because I can’t give away too much information. But Jeff definitely plays a big role in what we’re gonna see happen in this season two of Cruel Summer.
Culturess: Does season two continue the slow unraveling of the story that season one did so well?
Nile Bullock: Oh yes, most definitely. It’s going to be a very tedious process just watching everything kinda come together. It’s gonna highlight and follow that same pathway.
Culturess: What drew you to the show?
Nile Bullock: Season one. Absolutely. Cruel Summer, I can honestly say, season one that is, is the last show that I binge-watched all the way through. Not just because I booked the role in season two. The show is just so freakin’ good. It’s a lot for me sometimes to sit down and binge-watch a series, even being an actor, because I do so many other extracurricular stuff. So sometimes it’s hard for me to sit down and get into the show.
But that show was so freakin’ fire, in my opinion. Everybody was super talented. It was a super unique storyline. It was my first time watching an anthology series too. So I just feel super blessed to be a part of this continuation of the story because season one had me at the edge of my seat as well as it did for thousands of other people. I say everyone get pumped up for season two because it’s gonna be a banger.
Culturess: When you were developing Jeff, what part excited you the most?
Nile Bullock: Any time that I approach a character, I feel like, for this, this is my first longest role on a TV show. So this is my first full season being on a show which is a huge blessing. But aside from other shows, I’ve had shorter periods of time to sit and really build layers with characters, so I’ve had shorter periods of time to really execute that. But, when it came to developing Jeff, I just love Jeff overall. He was a dope character to play. When I got the role of Jeff, there was a lot of relativity to what was going on in my life at the time to compare to Jeff in the show. There were just so many traits about the character that felt super natural to me.
So I felt like that made it a bit easier when it came to developing Jeff. There’s a lot of different sides and layers that you’re gonna see in the show. Over the time of recording, I really got to sit and try new things and different things when it came to developing that character. But I don’t even know what to expect. I have not seen anything when it comes to the show so far. So it was a really dope role to play. I think that people are really gonna like Jeff.
Culturess: For people who did not tune in during season one, why should they watch season two?
Nile Bullock: Because season two is gonna embody that same energy of season one. People might even like it a little bit more than season one; who knows? I don’t know. For one, actually, even though season one doesn’t tie into season two, I think you should definitely go and watch season one, for those who are tuning in to season two, just because it’s so dope and it really gives you an idea of the vibe of the show.
But I feel like season two has a more diverse and just super unique cast. It’s gonna be a completely different theme. It’s gonna raise conversations about different topics that weren’t discussed in the first season. It’s a banger. There’s mystery, there’s drama, there’s suspense, we got a little bit of comedy in there. We got everything. So that’s definitely a couple of reasons for y’all to tune in to season two.
Culturess: Cruel Summer takes place over the course of years. What was it like to track characters through time?
Nile Bullock: It was interesting. The way that it was shot, we would do a lot of jumping around when it came to the episodes. It was a lot of bouncing around. Every episode, especially with the back-and-forth that you’ll see, which is the same concept that you see in season one as well, between the different dates and the different years, there’s a lot of different emotions going on. Each year there’s a different thing going on, and that ties into the outcome of the show.
It’s a lot of back-and-forth, so it was interesting just playing all those different emotions and watching the characters develop over the time in the script. Shout-out to all of the writers of the show. It gets really surgical, and it’s a tedious process. But we all locked in, and everyone was super focused, super excited to be working on the project. So you definitely see, especially with the way that it’s shot, the super cool transition between each time period in the show. It’s something really special.
Culturess: What was the most challenging part of working on Cruel Summer?
Nile Bullock: Personally, I feel like for me, it was my first time actually being away from home, the longest for me as a young adult. I’ve never lived in a space by myself for over a month. This was a full summer. A full summer shooting Cruel Summer. That was my longest time being alone and away from my folks. So I did get a little bit homesick at times, but other than that, it was a great experience.
The cast was super dope, everybody was super chill, and we all bonded over time. We got to know each other, and that was a super dope part about the experience. All the actors and actresses and the dope crew made it easy when it came to the performance quality and just getting stuff done. Shout-out to them. Shout out to the amazing cast and crew.
Culturess: What made the experience of working on Cruel Summer unique from other projects you have worked on?
Nile Bullock: The longevity that the character had on the show. It was my first and longest role on TV. Not my first role, but this is my longest role on TV so far. Just being able to play with different things over the months and different practices, and just being able to sit and create with the character Jeff, and having that time to do so was really helpful to me.
It was interesting to be able to watch not only me but the characters develop, and even if we had a quick change in the script or we had to go back and redo something, it was interesting to just watch all those pieces come together. But I feel like the fact that I had this much time. Also, I was in a completely different area. We were shooting in Canada. Being in Vancouver was a whole new experience for me, so it all played into just inspiration of being in a different place in my life. It was just super dope being able to tie all that stuff in and bang out this show.
Culturess: How did season two work to make itself distinct from season one?
Nile Bullock: I honestly feel like that question is more for the fans to answer because I see a lot of elements from season one that’s definitely in this season. But I don’t wanna give too much away. There’s a lot of different topics in this show.
A lot of different themes that we didn’t see in season one. New characters, just new faces in general. Just a whole new vibe. We still have the same suspense and the same drive as season one. But it’s super unique, and you just gotta watch the show to find out. Make sure you guys tune in.
Culturess: What are you most excited about for audiences to see?
Nile Bullock: I’m super excited for the audience to see the new faces that we have on the show. We have a lot of actors and actresses that are newer powerhouses in the industry. We have a lot of powerhouse talent on this show. Super dope, super cool, beautiful people.
So I’m really excited for the industry to see all of us, for the audience to see all of us because we each have something special that we bring to the show, and there’s so many people on the show that you’ll be seeing a lot more of just going forward in the industry. They’re gonna be popping up on your big screens a lot, so I’m super excited for the audience to see that.
Season 2 of Cruel Summer premieres June 5th on Freeform at 9/8c.