Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse star in ‘Lisa Frankenstein,’ the new “zom-com” from Zelda Williams and Diablo Cody
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the Disney Channel series that starred a young Cole and Dylan Sprouse, “was a big part of my life,” the actress, 26, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“I was a really big fan of him growing up,” she says of her romantic interest in the new film Lisa Frankenstein (in theaters Friday).
“I actually met him when I was around seven years old at Bob's Big Boy,” Newton reveals with a grin. “I asked him and his brother for a photo, and they said yes.”
Sprouse, 31, played straight-A student Cody Martin on the Disney sitcom, which aired from 2005 to 2008. He and his twin brother then reprised their roles in spin-off The Suite Life on Deck and 2011’s The Suite Life Movie.
But Newton’s time with Sprouse before Lisa Frankenstein was not limited to a photo op in a California restaurant as kids. “Then I met him on Riverdale while I was shooting Supernatural in Vancouver,” she tells PEOPLE. “And I had Halloween with their cast, who were so nice to welcome me, to let me hang out with them.”
After breaking out in 2012’s Paranormal Activity 4 and stealing the show in Big Little Lies, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, The Society and more, Newton got in touch with Sprouse again — this time to tap into the multihyphenate’s passion for photography.
“He always asked about photographing my poodles. And one day I just called him and was like, ‘Hey, do you want to do a shoot?’”
The “super low-key photo shoot” that followed, says Newton, involved her dogs, couture gowns and elaborate wigs. Sprouse “created a narrative where my character killed all her husbands and collected the dogs.”
As it turns out, that collaboration “was a precursor to a film, because it's very camp and similar narrative to Lisa Frankenstein.”
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The new film, which Newton refers to as a “zom-com,” is directed by Zelda Williams and written by Diablo Cody. Opposite Sprouse as a reanimated Victorian-era corpse, Newton plays Lisa, an awkward high schooler in 1989 looking to fall in love by any — morbid — means necessary.
“You know when you're little and you were with your best friends and you perform and make up a dance and then show everyone in your living room and make them watch you?” asks Newton. With this “insane” movie, she says, “It kind of feels like that's what we were doing.”
Sprouse, she adds, is “an incredible actor, just a really great guy.” When Williams first approached her with the role of Lisa, Newton says she had to “sit with the fact” that Sprouse’s monstrous character is mute for much of the movie.
“All that meant is I had to really assess that I could do what it takes to bring this role to life, because I felt like you couldn't hold back.”
Lisa Frankenstein will be brought to life in theaters Friday. It costars Liza Soberano, Henry Eikenberry, Joe Chrest and Carla Gugino.
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