The upcoming Tallulah, starring Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard and Uzo Aduba, was written and directed by Sian Heder. In a recent interview, she discussed various aspects of the film, as well as touching on the topic of diversity.
Diversity in both films and television is a bit of a hot button topic as of late, and Tallulah provides a nearly all female cast and crew. According to Sian, this was not something she planned.
“I didn’t really concentrate on that or even realise it until I looked around on set one day and saw so many female faces. I’m used to Orange Is The New Black so it’s normal for me. But we had quite a few women within the technical crew too.”
“What’s more important to me is that I’ve created three women characters who are fully rounded and often, pretty dislikeable. Ultimately, Tallulah is a story of female identity and questions whether every woman is designed to embrace motherhood. Parenthood is incredibly complex.”
Here’s hoping that that question, the one of whether or not every woman should be a mother, is a key compontent. Too much pressure is placed on both women and men to start a family, whether or not they are actually capable, mentally or financially, to care for the child.
The catalyst for Tallulah’s story is when Ellen Page’s character impulsively kidnaps a toddler from a negligent mother. Sian believes that the film “glorifies nor trivialises” the taking of a child from it’s mother, and is “very much about a woman’s identity, and about looking for a mother and becoming a mother”.
She continued: “”Deeply flawed human behaviour doesn’t stop just because you become a parent. Tallulah explores the blurry lines of morality, but I wanted to approach it with a sense of humour as these conversations can be such a downer it can almost be inaccessible.”
As for Page, who really rose to fame with her role in Juno, says that the character of Tallulah is something “brand new”.
“Tallulah, or Lu as we call her, has had a lot of trauma in her life when she was small and has spent her life since then running from it, becoming seemingly footloose. Yet when she sees this perfect little baby, who hasn’t had everything spoiled for her yet, she bonds with her and she wants to protect her.”
“My main co-star was the baby. And having most of your scenes with a 15-month-old changes your performance because your first impulse isn’t to act, it’s to take care of the child. You have no choice but to be in the present moment in every single scene because you have no idea what your co-star is going to do or how she’s going to react.”
And, according to Sian, even though the mother Tallulah takes the child from started in Sian’s mind as the “villain of the piece” she believes that both her and Tallulah’s portrayal will be more equal by the end of the film.
“Even though I supposedly turned the order of things on its head – the ‘kidnapper’ Tallulah, is the heroine, and Carolyn the ‘bad mum’ is the villain – I feel the audience will end up rooting for them both.” She said.
Read the rest of the interview here.