Griffin Gluck Discusses Cruel Summer Season 2 and His Role in the Anthology Series

May 22, 2023

Cruel Summer emerged onto the scene in 2021 with the first season of the anthology series created by Bert V. Royal. The show follows Kate, a popular teen abducted from a small Texas town, while a seemingly unrelated girl, Jeanette, goes from being the loner to the most popular girl in school.

Cruel Summer was met with positive reviews, commending the final episodes for delivering twist after twist. With an unconventional method of storytelling taking place over three summers with frequent time jumps, the Freeform series proved it was different enough to earn its spot among other teen dramas with a distinct approach to the genre.

Now, Cruel Summer is back for more with season 2 of the anthology series, featuring an entirely new cast and a new location. This time, the show will look at Megan (Sadie Stanley), a small-town computer genius who resents the arrival of a mysterious foreign exchange student Isabella (Lexi Underwood). What follows is yet another season of dramatic twists and tension-filled scenes between the dynamic cast.

Griffin Gluck plays Luke and is at the center of it all in Cruel Summer season 2. Whether it’s a love triangle or a mysterious death, Gluck’s character can’t seem to find his way out of the drama. The actor recently spoke with MovieWeb to discuss the upcoming season, sharing his relationship (and reunion) with some of the cast and the transition from a primarily comedic actor into a dramatic role.

Griffin Gluck’s Transition Into Drama

For an actor known primarily for comedic roles, Cruel Summer presents a unique challenge to Gluck. The actor has notable roles in projects such as American Vandal, Why Him?, Silicon Valley, and Netflix’s Locke & Key. However, with various timelines and drastically different circumstances in each one of them, he delivered a dramatic performance in Cruel Summer that is quite different from his past roles.

When asked about the difficulty of his part as Luke, he specifically mentions the Winter sections of the series. “Well, I mean, the Winter timelines are far more dramatic. I don’t know. I relied a lot on everyone else in the scenes to kind of help set the tone. I think we all rely on each other.”

What made it more challenging? A quick turnaround between receiving the scripts and filming the scene. “It was a tough show to shoot because we didn’t know all the information. We got the scripts every week, like three days before we started. They were pretty tight-lipped about what was gonna happen because they didn’t want us to focus on any one storyline just for it to change.”

Related: Cruel Summer Season 2: Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know

Of course, Gluck welcomed the challenge and turned in an excellent performance as Luke. “I do think it was a really good acting challenge. Because in each scene, we had to readjust and be like, ‘Okay, well, we might not know what happens next, and we might not have all the information, and that information might change. So our motivation and our performance could totally change. We really just try to rely on each other and try and be present in the scene and do it.”

The Cruel Summer Cast Leaned on Each Other


Griffin Gluck is joined by a few fresh faces in Hollywood, with Sadie Stanley and Lexi Underwood serving as the two additional leads in Cruel Summer. Stanley plays Megan, with Underwood joining her as Isabella.

Gluck shares the screen with both actors throughout the series, developing a close working relationship with the two. He applauded their dramatic performances and may have leaned on them for some guidance toward his role.

“Obviously, this is a very dramatic show. And I think Lexi and Sadie are phenomenal at drama. I’m still convinced I’m robbing these studios with dramatic roles. I mean I don’t think I’m a bad dramatic actor, but I’m a better comedic actor. At least I hope so. But Lexi and Sadie are so so so good at dramas. I don’t think there was anything I could really teach them or impart to them for the show. They were holding my hand through this and through a lot of these dramatic scenes.”

Luckily, Cruel Summer served as a reunion for Gluck with Paul Adelstein and KaDee Strickland, two actors he had the pleasure to work alongside early on in his career. “The cool thing is Paul, who plays my dad, I worked with him over 10 years ago on my second project ever right after Just Go With It on a show called Private Practice which was a medical drama. And he played my dad in that for two seasons. And what’s even funnier is, bigger coincidence or not coincidence, is KaDee Strickland, who plays Sadie Stanley’s mom. She played my stepmom.”

However, that’s not all, as director and executive producer Bill Purple has experience with Gluck as well. “Even further, Bill Purple, the executive producer, directed an episode of Private Practice I did. First time crying on screen. It felt really good to see everyone again and work with everyone again.”

Related: Cruel Summer Season 2 Trailer Teases a New Mysterious Secret

Carrying on the New Legacy of Cruel Summer


There’s a familiar pressure with every anthology series to live up to the prior seasons. And although this is just the second season of Cruel Summer, Gluck revealed he still felt he didn’t want to disappoint audiences as they are likely coming in with high expectations.

“There was a lot of pressure because season 1 was fantastic. And we really wanted to live up to it, if not try to be even better, which is a scary thing to try and live up to because they did so so well. But thematically, I think when we started our season, we wanted to be different than season 1 in a lot of ways. And the pressure of trying to live up to season 1 was too much. I think for all of us; we didn’t want to try and copy that. We didn’t want to try and do what they did. We wanted to do our own thing with our own storyline.”

Fortunately, Gluck feels as though they achieved the goal they set out with when filming began. “It’s wildly different. We wanted to try and bring a new fresh feeling to it. Which I think we did. I’ve been rewatching some of the episodes in anticipation of it coming out. Yeah, it’s a good one.”

Fans can dive into the latest season of the highly anticipated anthology series when Cruel Summer returns on June 5 to Freeform with a two-episode special at 9 p.m. ET. The episodes will be available to stream on Hulu on June 6.

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