Author, screenwriter and actress Katie Boland takes a seat in the director’s chair for the first time while simultaneously playing twins in the film, “We’re All in This Together.” After a recent showing at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Boland talked with Fabulous California what why she was attracted to the story–which explores the complexities of family and how to navigate having a member who struggles with mental illness–and how her life prepared her for each role.
The film was adapted from a novel. What was it about the novel that intrigued you?
KB: I had been looking for a long time for a novel to adapt that I could star in and also direct. What intrigued me about this novel was really the twins’ storyline. I thought, what an exciting challenge and that really got my creative juices flowing, and I’m very interested in flawed characters and dynamics within a family and how we can love and hate people that we’re so close to. And, I like characters that are haunted by decisions that they both did or didn’t make. All of that was really interesting to me as well as the commentary on mental health that the novel provided. I liked it tonally, I thought it was really smart and funny and a lot of room for sort of gritty drama. So, it sort of ticked every box. Amy Jones, the author, is just a phenomenal writer and so famous and respected in Canada, so I felt really lucky to get the rights to it.
As your directorial debut, was the experience what you expected it to be?
KB: I feel like no film is ever what you expect going into it. In fact, this was a much more fun experience than I thought it would be. And I had a really phenomenal time, and I found it actually a little bit easier than I thought it might be. I was very, very anxious going into filming and very nervous during prep, but then once we were on set, it’s just the magic starts happening. The other actors were phenomenal. I had such a great crew, so I had a better time than I had expected to.
How did you approach playing twins who were so different from one another?
KB: The twins are really finely drawn in the novel, so I felt like I had a great blueprint. I worked very closely with the hair and makeup and wardrobe team and they were phenomenal, so that really helped. Once I got into Nicki’s wig and her teeth and the big, padded bra and all leopard print, I sort of felt her a bit more. But, to be completely honest, I got sober about a year before I filmed this movie, so the easiest way to dissect the characters was Finn, was who I was when I was still drinking, an avoidant person who was afraid of the truth, and Nicki reminded me of who I was when I had just first gotten sober, so very raw, but really willing to confront. So, that was really the easiest way for me to make sense of the characters.
What do you hope audiences take away after viewing the film?
I hope what audiences can take away is that people make bad choices but not always for bad reasons. There might be someone in your family or someone you love or at odds with, but maybe you haven’t been able to see the full picture of what was going on behind the scenes for them. I always hope that things I make can de-stigmatize mental illness a little bit. I think with the Kate character, Martha Burns who plays my mother, she gives such a sensitive performance that I hope people can look at someone who might be bipolar or struggling with an episode and see there is a lot of humanity underneath that.
What’s next for you?
KB: I’m currently directing a movie of the week for Lifetime that’s based on the Toby Dorr story, which I’m very excited about. And I have a lot of television series that I’ve created that are in development at different networks and with different, exciting producers. I am reoccurring on an Apple Plus series as an actress. It’s called “Five Days at Memorial”; it’s based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. It takes place during Hurricane Katrina and it also stars Vera Farmiga and Cherry Jones.
Look for “We’re All in This Together” in theaters Spring or Summer 2022. Follow @katieboland13 on Instagram for festival screening updates.