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The Journal Gazette

  • Freeform Olivia Holt, left, and Aubrey Joseph star in “Marvel's Cloak & Dagger,” which debuts Thursday on Freeform.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018 1:00 am

Teens focus of Freeform's new Marvel series

Jay Bobbin | Zap2it

Two very special teenagers are about to become television's latest Marvels.

The comic-book-inspired “Universe” yields its latest series with Freeform's premiere of the adventure-drama “Marvel's Cloak & Dagger” on Thursday. Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph play the title characters whose complementary supernatural powers make them realize they're stronger together ... though forces conspire to keep them apart. Cast regulars also include Andrea Roth (“Rescue Me”) and Gloria Reuben (“ER”) as their mothers.

“I am a bit anxious, yes,” Disney-show alum Holt (“Kickin' It”) says with a laugh after more than a year on the fantasy-convention circuit promoting the coming of “Cloak & Dagger.” Feeling “very excited for people to see it,” she's “confident in it and proud of it. I really feel like the show is a game-changer in many ways.

“Stepping into it, I was a little unaware of what we would be making,” Holt admits. “I knew it would be a live-action version of the Marvel comic, but I had no idea of the tone and the journey that the characters were going to go on. After wrapping the first season, though, I can say that it's really exhilarating.” Having gymnastics in her background “absolutely” helped Holt in making the series.

Fellow star Joseph has found his dexterity as Simba in Broadway's “The Lion King” highly useful for “Cloak & Dagger.” He reflects, “At nine years old, I was on stage for basically the whole first act. Just knowing you have to know what to do to keep the audience invested, and to be nimble and ready, prepared me for playing Cloak.”

Still, Joseph muses he's “kind of not ready” for the level of celebrity a Marvel product typically brings an actor. “I haven't really experienced it yet, so we'll see,” he reasons. “It's just an honor to have that many people looking forward to your work and following it.”

“Cloak & Dagger” opens with impressive caliber behind the camera, since the first hour was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball,” “Shots Fired”). Holt maintains that having her for starters was invaluable: “It was really incredible to learn from her, and I quickly fell in love with the way she wanted all of us to protect ourselves – not just in this show, but in our personal lives. I'm such a big fan of hers, and I have a friend for life now.”