'Riverdale's Tiera Skovbye on Playing Not Your Ordinary Girl Next Door in 'Summer of '84'

In the new thriller Summer of '84, a group of teenage boys discover that 'even serial killers live [...]

In the new thriller Summer of '84, a group of teenage boys discover that "even serial killers live next door to somebody". But it isn't just murder that the boys find in their suburban Oregon neighborhood in the film. There's also the slightly older object of the boys' affection, Nikki, and according to actress Tiera Skovbye there's more to the "girl next door" character than meets the eye.

Skovbye recently spoke with ComicBook.com about Summer of '84 and explained that what makes Nikki so special is that she's more than just a love interest or a damsel in distress.

"I think what made Nikki so special and made it not just your classic girl next door was that she ... you actually end up seeing a bit of her layers, and a bit of her vulnerability, and things that she's dealing with," Skovbye said. "So sometimes when I find, you know, you're like classic girl next door, they're kind of more idolized and seen from afar. You don't get to know much about their personal life, and what they're going through? And I think that's what makes Nikki so special. And I think that's why when she decides to go on the journey with Davey at the end, that she says that she believes him and wants to help him figure out what's going on. I think that's what makes the relationship so special."

In Summer of '84, Davey (Graham Verchere) and three of his friends begin to suspect that the friendly, gardening-loving cop who lives in the neighborhood might actually be a vicious serial killer behind the disappearance of several area boys. Mixed with this concern that there could be a killer in their midst, the boys also have a bit of a fixation with Nikki -- particularly Davey as she used to be his babysitter. But instead of Nikki being just the object of the boys' teen fantasies, Nikki actually has a real friendship with Davey. For Skovbye, it's one of her favorite parts of the film with Davey truly respecting Nikki and even helping his friends see her as more, too.

"I think my favorite part was that there is a lot to more to her than meets the eye," Skovbye said. "And that her relationship with Davey is very friendly. It's a very non-sexual. Even though he does idolize her, and [his friends] do try to talk about her. But Davey defends her and helps them not to talk about her in that way, and not to sexualize her."

It's an interesting approach to the girl next door stereotype, but for Skovbye it's not the first time she's played a character who doesn't quite fit the mold. On The CW's Riverdale, Skovbye plays Polly Cooper, Betty's older sister who has been living in her own version of a thriller. Sent to a creepy convent by her parents for getting pregnant, Polly has to deal with the murder of her boyfriend (by his own father, no less) as well as her own dysfunctional family drama something that only gets more serious when it turns out that her own father is a serial killer. It's an unusual coincidence that both Nikki and Polly are dealing with serial killers in their midst, but Skovbye sees each of the characters of dealing with things in very different ways.

"It's kind of weird... it's a weird coincidence that both Polly and Nikki are dealing with a serial killer," Skovbye said. "I think that they deal with it in very different ways. I think with Polly, maybe it's more mature in the way that, you know, a lot of what she does, and a lot of what drives Polly is that she's driven by trying to protect her family, her twins. Whereas, I think Nikki is still kind of trying to figure it out with her friends, and you know, I think it's more of a wanted happening in my world, as opposed to Polly being like, 'How do I protect these people ... you know, the people that I love.'"

Starring Graham Verchere (Psych, Once Upon a Time), Judah Lewis (The Babysitter, Demolition), Caleb Emery (Goosebumps, Dear White People), Cory Grüter-Andrew (Fargo, The 100), Tiera Skovbye (Riverdale, Once Upon a Time), and Rich Sommer (Glow, Mad Men) and directed by filmmaking collective RKSS, Summer of '84 is in theaters now.