Nancy Drew’s Tunji Kasim Dishes on Season Three, Mental Health, and moreBy Truth Hawkins
Nov. 17 2021, Published 6:11 p.m. ET
Fall is here and television’s hottest shows are packing a punch – of drama! Among them, is none other than The CW’s supernatural sleuther Nancy Drew, based on the iconic mystery series created by publisher Edward L. Stratemeyer.
In case you missed it, in the season two finale, titled “The Echo of Lost Tears,” Nancy’s mystical and terrifically terrifying relative, Temperance Hudson (played by Bo Martynowska), returned to wreak havoc on Horseshoe Bay, further signaling how one’s past cannot be erased – as well as the mental toll one is faced with when forced to take a deep look inward. Sprinkle in a nasty breakup, daddy issues, and a dark ritual-reincarnation and you could say the second season went out much like it came in…with a bang! So, what can we expect come season three?
We caught up with one of the show’s standout stars, Tunji Kasim, known to us on the show as Ned “Nick” Nickerson – a former teenage convict (also Nancy’s ex-boyfriend) – who dished on all things the Drew Crew and so much more!
How excited are you to reprise your role as Ned “Nick” Nickerson?
“It’s very exciting! It’s great to be back for season three. I’m fairly new to the U.S. So, this is my first show here. But, from what I hear, it’s an accomplishment just to get a third season. So, it’s fantastic we get to continue telling these stories. The cast and crew are fantastic.”
Agreed. Now, though told through the lens of Nancy – one of the many components that stand out about the show are the relationships, specifically, your unique relationship with the starlet. That being said, what can you tell viewers about the dynamic of your relationship with Nancy moving forward?
“It’s really cool I get to explore Nick and tell his story because there is a lot left unsaid,” said Kasim.
“I think Nick and Nancy have a history – a very interesting dynamic. How do you – especially because they are so young right – get involved – and Nick was quite emotionally involved with Nancy and very open to that being a serious thing and it didn’t work out.” He continued, noting the poor timing.
“But, how do you then continue to stay connected to that person in some kind of way? That’s a very mature approach for these characters to take – that, while they’re not together anymore – they’re still connected. There’s still a friendship there. There’s history there. But, of course, Nick’s involved with George now and George was connected to Nancy before Nick was connected to Nancy or George. So, how do they navigate that and keep the relationships as positive with each other as possible?”
Now, if you’re wondering why this scenario sounds all too familiar – as though the hit supernatural drama ripped a page straight out of your diary (Just me?), that’s because, “We’re portraying a very positive version of those relationships and how they can function,” said Kasim. “But, of course it will be really interesting to see when they don’t function and what that looks like – delving into that – that’s very rich terrain to explore,” added Kasim, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in storytelling.
And, much like any young adult drama, Kasim promises “there will definitely be flare ups – flare ups suggest a negative connotation – but there will definitely be moments of intensity that bring past emotions to the forefront. Especially for Nick. I think in season three we’re going to see him very much exploring his life before coming to Maine – the Nick of the past and the Nick of the present and how does he make those two match up. And, of course, his relationship with Nancy is kind of vital to that and also his relationship to George.”
Photography by Noah Asanias
When viewers interact with your character (Nick) or the show itself – being one of the most diverse series on television today – what message would you like them to walk away with?
“I think it’s fantastic we have diversity – ethnic diversity and also cultural diversity within the show. I think it’s something we try to lean into as much as we can. And I hope, ultimately no matter what ethnicity people are watching, no matter what culture the characters come from, people walk away feeling empathetic towards the characters and what they’re going through.”
Furthermore, Kasim’s desire is that “People aren’t just put in boxes” but looked at as “Whole, 360 human beings with as complex emotions and complex lives as anyone from any other ethnicity or any other group. Hopefully our audience, young and old, are coming away like ‘Yes there is diversity in this cast but just as importantly there is also a richness of character and personality within each of those characters and people.’”
And to his fans, for tuning in:
“Thank you for being a fan to begin with” he chuckled. Adding, “It might sound simplistic but I can only go back to what I said before. If you like Nancy Drew and you like Nick in particular or any other character in particular in the show. Hopefully that’s because we are telling their stories right and you feel something for them – it’s a genuine connection rather than something simplistic and superficial because all these characters have very complicated histories and pasts – Nick especially.”
“Nick is a young Black man in America and he’s been through the juvenile correctional system. That might sound like a cliche of a character but when I signed up for this job – it was very important to me and in speaking with them – it sounded equally important that even though we might be following this cliche – and you might call it a cliche – but unfortunately there are far too many young minority men – ethnic minorities in America – that do see the correctional facilities in some way. If we’re going to go there with a character then we’ve got to make sure that we explore the complex consequences of having to go through a prison system in America and the effects of that on the person,” he elaborated on the power of being intentional.
As for spoilers, you won’t find any here! However, per Kasim, we may be getting some clarification around a very important question dropped at the tail end of season two.
“Relationships that are ongoing need some kind of resolution – some answers. I think Nick got asked a pretty important question at the end of season two. So, it would be nice to explore his answer to that and the repercussions of that – negative and positive”
Meanwhile, when he’s not filming, you can likely find Kasim challenging his friends and family to a battle of the mind and body, noting that he spent much of the pandemic (beginning with the initial lockdown in London) picking up running (though not a “gifted runner”) – including 1000 kilometers by the end of 2021 – urging those close to him to walk it out or grab a bike – anything to get moving.
“I think physical activity is vital and important – the benefits of it are so wide and varied. One of the best ways is mental health. I think if you’re physically healthy – you’re physically active – not all the time – but oftentimes the body and the mind are connected. And, if the body is healthy, the mind is healthy.”
Now, if that doesn’t have you running to dust off your snuggy (or running shoes) and stocking up on pumpkin spice lattes in preparation, we don’t know what will.
Season three of CW’s hit series “Nancy Drew” is slated to premiere on October 8, 2021.