Why Blaire From Night Teeth Looks So Familiar
With Halloween fast approaching, what better time to release a new vampire film? Netflix, following this logic, has just released “Night Teeth.” Directed by Adam Randall and written by Brent Dillon, “Night Teeth” follows college student Benny (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.), who, looking to make some extra money, takes a one-off job as a chauffeur to two young women, Blaire (Debby Ryan) and Zoe (Lucy Fry). Benny expects it to be a straightforward night of him driving them around to various parties, but when Benny discovers the true nature of Blaire and Zoe — namely, that they’re vampires — his night is suddenly thrown into the chaos of a vampire war.
The film features a slew of recognizable faces — “Game of Thrones” star Alfie Allen shows up, as does “The Hunger Games” supporting actor Alexander Ludwig. But, for many, it’s the actor who plays vampire Blaire, Debby Ryan, who may strike viewers as tip-of-the-tongue familiar.
If you’re wondering where Ryan has shown up before, read on to see just exactly why she looks so familiar — spoiler alert, it’s very likely from Disney Channel.
Ryan's breakout role was on The Suite Life on Deck
After Disney Channel’s popular series “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” came to an end, the story of the twins who like to get into trouble then moved onto a spinoff series, “The Suite Life on Deck,” instead of coming to an end. The spinoff, which ran from 2008 to 2011, follows Zack (Dylan Sprouse) and Cody (Cole Sprouse) as they begin school at Seven Seas High School, which takes place aboard the SS Tipton and travels to various places abroad as part of the education.
While Zack and Cody are not the only returning “Suite Life” characters — London Tipton (Brenda Song) and Mr. Moseby (Phill Lewis) also board the SS Tipton — Ryan enters as one of the newcomers, a character named Bailey Pickett. Introduced as London’s roommate, Bailey soon becomes a love interest to Cody. The two date through most of the series, with just one short breakup. At the end of the show, it’s revealed that Bailey has gotten into Yale University, while Cody hasn’t. Bailey is initially hesitant to attend without Cody, but Cody convinces her to go and they agree to continue dating long-distance.
As the show was ending, Ryan reflected on saying goodbye to the character in an interview with TV Guide. “All the tears in the goodbye scene, those were real,” she said. “It was the last scene we filmed. You see not only how much the characters are going to miss each other, but how much as actors we’re going to miss each other.”
Ryan starred in 16 Wishes and Radio Rebel
In 2010, one year before “The Suite Life on Deck” ended, Ryan took center stage in a Disney Channel project with her starring role in the made for TV movie “16 Wishes.” In the movie, Ryan plays Abby Jensen, a girl who, on her 16th birthday, finds she has the power to make a total of 16 wishes come true. At first ecstatic at the predicament, Abby soon realizes that some of her wishes come with unexpected consequences — such as when she wishes to be treated like an adult, only to be forced to live on her own and no longer attend high school. As expected with a Disney Channel film, everything works out in the end — but only after several challenges.
In 2010, a young Ryan talked with ClevverTV about her first starring role. She told the hosts, “I’d never been number one on the call sheet before, never been the star … Filming [’16 Wishes’] was amazing.”
A couple of years later, in 2012, Ryan took on another starring role in the Disney Channel film, “Radio Rebel.” This one follows Tara Adams (Ryan), an introverted high schooler who has a secret persona called “Radio Rebel” for a popular local radio show. Tara’s secret identity begins to strain her friendships and eventually causes a schoolwide search for the mysterious radio host because Radio Rebel encourages students to rebel. Speaking about “Radio Rebel” and frequently collaborating with Disney, Ryan told ClevverTV, “Disney, I think knows me by this point. They know the stories I want to tell.”
Ryan played another TV role with Jessie
Continuing to stick with Disney for another series, Ryan took on the titular role in the series “Jessie,” which ran from 2011 to 2015. The show follows Jessie Prescott, a young woman who leaves her Texas hometown to move to New York City, where she takes a job as a nanny for a rich family. With her new job, she moves into a luxury penthouse in Manhattan and begins taking care of the wealthy couple’s four children.
Throughout the series, Jessie comes to really care about the kids, despite them frequently getting on each other’s nerves. She also begins dating the building’s 20-year-old doorman Tony (Chris Galya) and the two go through plenty of ups and downs, including Jessie getting engaged to another man. By the end, Jessie has left New York City and moved to Hollywood to pursue acting.
The project also allowed Ryan to try her hand at producing and directing, making her the youngest person to ever direct for a Disney Channel project (via Teen Vogue). Ryan told the outlet, “Directing is something I’ve always wanted to do, and producing I fell into because I really believed in the character and her story. It was amazing to see that come to fruition.” In a different interview with Shine On Media on the set of the fourth and final season, Ryan talked about getting to be involved behind the scenes of “Jessie” as a producer, stating, “Every step of the way I’ve been so engaged in making sure we get one more episode done, one more episode … Producing is every single aspect and you’re so invested.”
Ryan moved beyond Disney with Life of the Party
By 2018, when “Life of the Party” was released, Ryan had already spent some time away from Disney, but “Life of the Party” marked her first time in a more prominent blockbuster film with a big star, Melissa McCarthy, as her co-star. The film follows Deanna (McCarthy), whose husband tells her he wants a divorce after their kid goes off to college. While reeling from the news, Deanna decides to go back to college at the same university her daughter just started at to finish her degree, having never finished because she got pregnant in her final year and dropped out. While there, Deanna begins engaging in college social activities, such as frat parties, and bonds with the younger girls.
Ryan plays Jennifer, a mean girl from Deanna’s archaeology class, who mocks Deanna for being so much older than the average college student. In one scene, Deanna and Jennifer engage in a dance-off at an ’80s-themed party, leading to Deanna earning the respect of her classmates.
Speaking with Fox 11, Ryan talked about her role in “Life of the Party,” a departure from the nice-girl characters she had typically taken on. She said, “It’s fun to tap into [playing a mean character] and to do something a little bit different.” On the topic of improvising with McCarthy, Ryan continued, “[McCarthy and director Ben Falcone] are so good at creating a space and a framework for everyone to play around within … I felt very encouraged to improvise.”
She recently starred in Insatiable
Ryan returned to comedy with the Netflix dark comedy, “Insatiable,” which ran for two seasons from 2018 to 2019. The series follows Patty Bladell, a formerly overweight teenager who, after she loses the weight and becomes thin, seeks revenge on all the classmates who used to bully her for her weight. The series may have only run for two seasons, but it remains memorable for the conversations it sparked regarding what many called an insulting and fatphobic premise, as is detailed in this NPR piece.
“I think anytime you touch on something that is important and sensitive and hard for us either personally or culturally to acknowledge [it will be controversial],” Ryan told film critic Emanuel Levy. “It made me really thankful that the conversation was stirred upon the trailer release because clearly the things that are stirred in Patty resonate with even more people that we could have predicted, which was both daunting [and we had to] be like well, we have to make sure that this is coming across right.”
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Ryan discussed the Patty character (and the type of roles she’s typically drawn to in general), stating, “I like strong girls obviously. I like girls with a little bit of fire in them, just because I have a fire in me and I’m not a good enough actor to pretend that I don’t. I want to see and play a girl that is a lot of things at one time.”
Ryan will next be seen in the Jeff Baena-directed comedy “Spin Me Round,” opposite Alison Brie, which, according to IMDb, is currently in post-production.