Don’t Tell Mom’s Simone Joy Jones on Playing Christina Applegate Character (Exclusive)

After stepping into Christina Applegate’s fashionable shoes for the remake of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, star Simone Joy Jones says she’s eager to get feedback from the original star.

“I haven’t heard from her, but I can’t wait until we do,” Jones, 25, tells PEOPLE.

The new version of the comedy updates the 1991 classic, in which a working mom (Concetta Tomei in the original, Ms. Pat in the remake) goes away for the summer, leaving her underage kids behind in the care of stern, elderly babysitter Mrs. Sturak (Eda Reiss Merin in the original, June Squibb in the remake).

When the kids find Mrs. Sturak dead, they decide against telling their mom, who’d surely cut her trip short. But without any money to fund their summer of fun, the eldest Crandell child (Applegate, whose name was Sue Ellen in the original; Jones, whose name is Tanya in the remake) gets a job at a fashion company after fudging a résumé.

Simone Joy Jones in ‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’.

Rotten Tomatoes Trailers/Youtube


More than three decades after it first debuted, the original remains a fan favorite, but Jones herself wasn’t very familiar with the movie, which also starred Josh Charles and David Duchovny. “I hadn’t seen the film before I auditioned,” she admits.

Christina Applegate in ‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’.

Outlaw/Hbo/Mercury-Douglas/Kobal/Shutterstock


“Once I got to see Christina Applegate in the movie, I was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so cool. She’s everything I want to be,’” continues Jones. “And just watching her go through life in that film was so cool. So to have her essence in my heart, it was just the best gift that I could have got.”

Jones says some of her favorite parts to film were the scenes in which her character is putting together outfits for work.

“For Tanya, it was really cool because part of her arc is that she has to just kind of step into a fashion role with no time or no money. And so just having her create silhouettes from her closet was just really fun and funky and cool, and I adore that part of the movie,” she says.

A 2021 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Jones has worked on Broadway in the revival of The Miracle Worker and plays Lisa Wilkes on Peacock’s drama Bel-Air, a reboot and update of the Will Smith comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is in theaters on April 12. 

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