In addition to looking every bit like the Sabrina Spellman from the Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa comic upon which the series is based, 18-year-old Shipka nailed feisty teens before. In addition to her breakout role of Sally Draper on AMC’s award-winning drama Mad Men, Shipka also had a stint on Netflix’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, where she portrayed the titular character’s surly half-sister, “Kymmie,” and on Feud, where she played the willful daughter of silver screen star Bette Davis.
However, when Refinery29 caught up with Shipka on the red carpet at the October 19 premiere of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in Los Angeles, the actress admitted she was a bit “frustrated” before scoring the titular role in the upcoming Netflix series.
"I was a little bit, down in the dumps, frustrated actor for a second," Shipka said. "It wasn’t like things were flying my way, left and right. I was sort of hustling, and [the role of Sabrina] came my way, and I knew I couldn’t give it up. I fought really hard [for it] and put a lot of work in."
Not that Shipka wasn't already a favorite. Showrunner Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly that he had considered the Mad Man alum for Betty Cooper on Riverdale, his other series, and was thrilled when she was interested in Sabrina.
"There was no script at the time, but from the second [the casting director] said that [Kiernan was interested], for me it was sort of like, 'Okay, she’s Sabrina. I’m writing this for Kiernan,'" the TV writer told the outlet.
That’s not to say that Shipka would have jumped at any role offered. It was the feminist take on the classic Archie Comics character that really intrigued her.
"I’m not going to take on anything that I don’t resonate with, and I don’t think I would resonate with something that wasn’t feminist in nature," Shipka revealed to Refinery29 at the premiere. "Just portraying a multifaceted woman on television is inherently [feminist], but the added layer of Sabrina being outspoken in feminism, and specifically intersectional feminism, was such an added bonus. Not only is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina a show that represents people fairly and beautifully, it's also talking about [issues.]"
Shipka's feminist witch will put a spell on us all October 26.
Looking for more theories, recaps, and insider info on all things TV? Join our Facebook group, Binge Club. The community is a space for you to share articles, discuss last night’s episode of your favorite show, or ask questions! Join here.