‘American Princess’ Boss on Ensuring Renaissance Faires Aren’t the ‘Butt of the Joke’

Jewish Journal
Sophie von Haselberg will be playing one of “the Rennies”
MAY 28, 2019

Sophie von Haselberg
Sophie von Haselberg

What happens when a runaway bride becomes the center of a tabloid maelstrom? She becomes a wench-in-waiting, naturally!

In Lifetime’s new dramedy, American Princess, Upper East Side socialite Amanda Klein (Georgia Flood) finds her storybook life upended on her wedding day when she catches her fiance cheating on her just hours before they’re to say “I do.” Enraged by her soon-to-be-husband’s extramarital affair, her violent outburst and nervous breakdown cause her actions to make front-page news in the Manhattan gossip circuit. Forced to re-evaluate her life and priorities, Amanda joins a nearby Renaissance faire where she just may discover her true self.

ET exclusively debuts a sneak peek from the second episode from Sunday’s two-hour series premiere, in which Amanda and David Poland (Lucas Neff), a fellow Rennie (aka people who call Ren faires home), have a heart-to-heart over her previous life as a wealthy socialite versus her new one. (And yes, you’ll get answers about why David is tending to his tender nipple…) 

Singular in concept, the series hails from creator Jamie Denbo (Orange Is the New Black), who took inspiration from her real life as a Ren faire employee in her 20s to construct a world rarely depicted on television. Though American Princess heightens the stakes a bit, all the foundational elements are there.

“It’s a concept I’ve lived. This is a story I’ve wanted to tell for about 25 years, since I went to my first Renaissance Festival showing up for a job I thought was Shakespeare in the Park for the summer and this was just before the internet would have explained it all to me,”Denbo told ET last year before casting began. “I was out of college, very confused about what I wanted to do… I was hired for this thing called the Sterling Renaissance Festival [in Upstate New York]. I thought to myself, ‘This is going to be a little turn,’ and then I wound up exploring a world I did not know existed. I was exposed to a level of commitment and to community and nerd-dom and a little bit of fetishism and a little bit of love.” 

American Princess
David Poland (Lucas Neff), whose Ren faire name is Pizzle Humpsalot, kneels before Amanda Klein (Georgia Flood) on Lifetime’s ‘American Princess.’Lifetime

“There have been Renaissance faire episodes on TV, but it’s always the butt of the joke. My goal is to acknowledge that it’s pretty funny to people, especially if you have not been as knee-deep in it as I have, but to also treat it with the affection that it deserves,” she added. “It’s one of the last vestiges of communal gypsy, nomadic life that exists in this country. It’s a really special place with a lot of really talented people and a lot of f**king crazy people, but you can say that about every business.”

In addition to Flood and Neff, American Princess stars Seana Kofoed, Mary Hollis Inboden and Rory O’Malley. Guest stars include Denbo, Lesley Ann Warren, Matt Peters, Lucas Hazlett, Sophie von Haselberg, Matt Ehrich, Natasha Leggero, Steve Agee, Tommy Dorfman, Fortune Feimsterand John Ross Bowie.

“American Princess” premieres at 10 p.m. June 2 on Lifetime.

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