Savannah Lee Smith Discusses the Way She Approached ‘Drunk, Driving, and 17’

Savannah Lee Smith stars as Kim in Drunk, Driving, and 17, which is inspired by true events. The new film premieres Saturday, April 15 at 8/7c on Lifetime.

Drunk, Driving, and 17 tells the story of the tragic consequences of underage drinking and social hosting, where adults allow their children to host parties with alcohol with the belief they are safer drinking at home. 17-year-old Kim (Savannah Lee Smith) is every parent’s dream – she’s an honor student, popular, responsible, and bound for Stanford. But when she sees her boyfriend Dan flirting with another girl, Kim makes the worst decision of her life. In the blink of an eye, Kim wrecks the car, her life, and almost kills a classmate in a head-on collision. While Kim is responsible for her own actions, Dan’s parents, Martha (Michael Michele) and Tim also face scrutiny and liability by the town and police for allowing alcohol to be served to minors at their home.

Lynsey Weatherspoon/Lifetime

“I think it [being influenced by true events] definitely influenced the way that I approached the project just because it is a heavy movie and its subject is one that deserves care and caution. I just really wanted to do the character and the project in general justice and try to relay the message as accurately as it was written on the page,” the actress told me. “I spent a lot of time speaking with the director, Russ Parr, and executive producers at Swirl Films about how we can make it as real as possible while still entertaining. I didn’t want it to become — not cheesy for a lack of better words, but like, I didn’t want it to become so playful that it was lost on the audience that we’re actually saying something and we actually want to leave the audience with what I think is a very important message.”

“This interview is coming at a time where I’m in a very deep state of reflection, so I’ve been thinking about stuff like that a lot, actually. If I could tell my teenage self one thing now I would probably tell her to — I’d probably say it’s not that serious,” she also shared. “I’ve been trying to use that as a practice in my day to day life recently for when I get frustrated or I get anxious or overwhelmed or when something unfortunate happens.”

Lynsey Weatherspoon/Lifetime

We had a wonderful conversation about why she was attracted to the role, the movie’s important message, how she handled the more difficult scenes, her fans, which true stories she wants to be highlighted on screen, and much more.

Watch my full interview below: