Interview: Haley Lu Richardson Shares What Makes “The Edge of Seventeen” Feel So Authentic
e were recently part of a roundtable interview with fellow Arizona Native, Haley Lu Richardson, who co-stars in the just released “The Edge of Seventeen” A Teen-dramedy that may appear to rehash familiar storylines but is actually delightfully fresh. It’s a very touching story that pairs a great script with a perfect cast. We highly recommend it.
You can read some of the highlights below, or listen to the full interview on our Soundcloud channel:
TCF: We know the choice your character makes in the film, but do you think that friendships are more important than an potential boyfriend or is “all fair in love and war?”
HALEY: That’s a tough one because I don’t know if it’s like not kosher, not friendship code to do that? I know they’re obvious things like dating an ex-boyfriend you don’t do, but like dating a best friends sibling it’s kind of on the line.
[Fremon Craig] we both were on the same page that we didn’t want to make Krista the stereotypical villain that ruins the protagonist’s life. She had reasons for what she did and she was not a bad person and wasn’t even doing anything that bad because she has been such a selfless friend for so long and she realizes that she could possibly have this really good connection with this guy and it’s kind of like you to have to do something for yourself at some point. I don’t view it like there had to be a choice between a relationship or a friendship I feel like in the end it actually could be a great thing if you are looking at the big picture because if this does end up working out, then we could just all be one big happy family.
How much input did you and your cast mates have on the dialogue? It sounded more realistic and people at this table can attest that it sounded more realistic to me than say “Juno.”
Kelly, the writer and director, literally spent a big chunk of time going around to high schools, interviewing kids in high schools, and observing kids. She really wanted to catch this generation and how things actually are. So she spent a lot of time doing that and literally just sitting there and watching all the kids interact at lunch. There’s this one scene where Hailee [Steinfeld] is walking after her friend break up, just walking through the cafeteria. She just looks around and there is this wide shot of her just looking around the cafeteria and kids are sitting on tables. It looks very real and I so appreciate that she spent the time and did that. We had two weeks of rehearsal time where I literally just spent time with Hailee and we just did our scenes. Kelly was super open to improvising in those rehearsals. Like what happens before the scenes and after and not being stuck to the page, but to really figure out what’s going on in the scene and how people actually say that. So I didn’t do much improving actually on the day on set. But all the work we did in the rehearsal period kind of changed. You could see the scenes change a little bit to how we would naturally do it.
When Krista and Nadine have a falling out in the second act, we saw Nadine’s story but we didn’t see your story. How was Krista feeling during that time? Were there any thoughts of Krista reaching out during that second act?
That’s a really interesting question. It sets up different challenges when you are playing a supporting character because you do not have all of the pressure of carrying the movie. You also have different pressures of making your character well-rounded, even though the audience does not see all of that person’s life.
There were a couple of cut scenes with Blake [Jenner] who plays Darien that I really liked. One was this quick little thing where we were playing foosball in his bedroom and hanging out. Then we hear Nadine coming in downstairs and we both stop and look at each other and wonder “are you okay?” This moment I feel sums up where they were emotionally. Both so badly wish that this wasn’t happening but they had to follow their hearts and do something for themselves. I’m sure Krista initially reached out to Nadine, Nadine didn’t answer and then I think she just knew that she needed to give her some space. If it was going to actually get resolved their need to get space before they came back together.
Haley Lu Richardson & Blake Jenner
This is one of those movies that kind of define a generation like the “Breakfast Club” or “Can’t Hardly Wait.” You personally, what were some of your favorite teen movies using the term generally.
You have your own fashion line, Hooked by Haley Lu. Can you tell us about your line, and did you bring some type of style influence to the set?
Yeah! There is a quick scene when we go to the party I start playing beer pong and when I take off my jacket I’m wearing one the tops I crotched! I’m really proud of that, almost prouder of that than my performance.
Do you plan on growing your line?
Yeah, I do. It’s something that I do that I literally feel no pressure with. Which I feel is a really good thing to have in a world where there is like so much pressure, it kind of feels like therapy. My mom taught me to crochet when I was 8 and I have just been doing that ever since. I like coming up with patterns and different designs and everything. I sell it on Etsy, I get a couple orders now and then but yeah, I want to grow that at some point.
What it was like to work with M. Night Shyamalanon the upcoming “Split“, and can you reassure us that the twist is a good one?
Night,is the most specific director that I have ever worked with. It was really interesting because I realized while working with him that all of the other directors that I have done films with have been first time directors. Night you know has been so in control of all the movies he’s done and has such a specific tone on all his things so he was very specific. It was really easy to trust him and trust that we just go along with his vision because he knows what’s up and what he is doing. I just saw “Split” last month and it is so twisted. James McAvoy is great in it. I think it’s one of the best male performances I have seen in a while. Working with James, there were times where I would be off camera with friend Jes[sica Sula] who is one of the girls who gets kidnapped and we would just look at each other with tears in our eyes. We’re sobbing and would have goosebumps and we weren’t even being filmed! We were just so affected by what he was doing!
Don’t miss our REVIEW on “The Edge of Seventeen” in theaters now!