Kylee D. Allen can be seen in The Underground Railroad. This series was released on Amazon May 14th. The Underground Railroad is a historical fiction narrative about a woman’s journey escaping slavery. Kylee portrays the character of Molly who is one of the three children featured in the story. YEM was able to speak with Kylee about her experience filming, the casting process, and her character Molly.
Young Entertainment Mag: The Underground Railroad is your acting debut, what was the filming experience like?
Kylee D. Allen: When I first got to the set of The Underground Railroad, I saw how everything was so organized and how so many people were doing so many different things at the same time, I got really nervous. But at the same time it looked super cool. Everything was moving at a very fast pace. But the directors and assistants always made sure that I was cool and explained every step of what was going on. I learned A LOT about filming.
YEM: Was it a hard casting process?
Kylee: When I first auditioned for The Underground Railroad, it was for a different role. I worked super hard on that audition tape and felt really good about my performance, but I didn’t get it. At first, I was disappointed, but I ended up getting another audition for the same show! I was really excited because this audition was in person, and I feel more connected to the casting director when I’m right in front of them. A few days later, I found out that I booked the role!
YEM: What was your reaction like when you heard the news that you were cast?
Kylee: Of course I screamed and my heart was beating so fast because I was super excited. I just couldn’t believe it because I had worked so hard and this role was the hardest audition I had ever auditioned for! It was definitely meant to be. The role of Molly was the perfect fit for me.
YEM: How would you best describe the film?
Kylee: The Underground Railroad is a limited series based on a book written by Colson Whitehead. It tells the story of a slave from Georgia, named Cora, and her journey to freedom while making stops on the railroad. Each stop tells a different story.
YEM: What was your favorite thing about working on The Underground Railroad?
Kylee: I had some of the best castmates on this project. Literally everyone on set was like a family—the cast and the crew. On the weekends they would all arrange a bowling night for everyone to hang out together or even karaoke sometimes. All of the kids on set got along and had fun in between the scenes. Filming the scenes was very interesting for me because it was my first experience on a set of a big TV series. I loved having my own trailer! I really formed a bond with my make-up artist and hair stylist. They were one of the first people that I would get to chat with every morning and they always made me laugh and encouraged me if I was nervous. One of my favorite things on the set of UGRR was crafty! They had the best snacks and would switch it up every day, so each time I had a second to sneak to crafty, I was always surprised with a new treat!
YEM: What can you say about your character Molly?
Kylee: Molly is a young, educated girl living with her mother on a grape vineyard farm in Indiana. Her mother escaped slavery to freedom to give a better life to Molly. When Cora moves into their cabin, Molly builds a special bond with her. Molly is like Cora’s little sister.
YEM: What are some similarities you have with Molly? What are some differences? How much of Kylee is in Molly?
Kylee: My character, Molly, is one of the top students in her class and is very close with her mother. I also have a strong relationship with my mom and am always on the honor roll at school. Molly can also sew and my grandmother taught me a few years ago. But I’m not sure if I am as brave as Molly. I don’t think that I could go through everything that she had to in the series. This role was a perfect fit for me because I feel that there is a lot of Kylee inside of Molly.
YEM: What is something you learned from being a part of this film? Both in life and in your acting?
Kylee: Being a part of this series helped me understand how our country was hundreds of years ago. I learned how hard black people had to fight for freedom and the rough experiences they had to go through. I also gained so much confidence in my acting while working on this series. Getting advice from Barry Jenkins and Thuso Mbedu helped me get through my scenes, but the best feeling was when they complimented me on my performance.
YEM: What is some advice you have for someone who also wants to get into acting?
Kylee: I would tell upcoming actors and actresses to believe in themselves and the key thing to do is be confident. Acting can be very stressful sometimes and you may feel like giving up but just think about all of the hard work that other famous actors and actresses have done to get to where they are now. You also have to have someone by your side to keep pushing you when you’re ready to give up and throw it all away. For me, it’s my mom!
YEM: Who are some of your acting inspirations?
Kylee: Now that I have worked with Thuso Mbedu, she is definitely one of my inspirations. Many of my scenes in The Underground Railroad were with her and she’s such a FANTASTIC actress. I learned a lot from her and sometimes I was so blown away at how she could be so goofy and funny off camera, but do such a good job playing her character who goes through a lot of rough situations. When I was younger, I used to love all of the shows with Skai Jackson, like “Jessie” and “Bunk’d”. I always wanted to be just like her. I used to think that if she could make it in this business, then I could definitely make it too.
YEM: Was there a particular scene in the film that was your favorite to shoot?
Kylee: My favorite scene was the corn shucking contest on Valentine Farm. Most of the cast was in that scene and it was super fun to shoot. I don’t think that any of the actors had to “act” like we were having a good time! I specifically remember laughing and dancing with my mom in the series, Sybil (played by Deja Dee).
YEM: Is there something you hope the audience takes away from this film?
Kylee: Even though there was no real train or railroad to help slaves escape in America’s actual history, I definitely want the audience to understand everything that Cora went through during all of her rides on this underground railroad. This is only focusing on one slave that tried to escape and her story, but there are so many more. Black lives mattered back then just as much as black lives matter today!