The Young Kieslowski, starring Ryan Malgarini from Freaky Friday and Haley Lu Richardson from Ravenswood, is a coming of age film written and directed by Kerem Sanga and produced by Danny Leiner, who directed Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle and Dude, Where’s My Car? It opens today, June 24th and is recommended for older teens (it is rated R, but probably should have been PG-13).
The film centers around Brian (Malgarini) and Leslie (Richardson), two somewhat socially-inept teenage virgins who meet and hook up one night after a typical college party. Unfortunately, this results in an unplanned pregnancy – of twins. Faced with this life-changing situation, Brian and Leslie have to deal not only with the trauma of telling their parents, but also of dealing with whether or not to keep children formed from a mere tryst rather than an actual loving relationship.
Fortunately, this rather serious situation is dealt with with a lot of warmth, humor, and humanity thanks to the excellent writing and direction of relative newcomer Kerem Sanga and terrific acting by the cast. Malgarini’s reactions and facial expressions are hilarious, and watching him and Richardson play off each other is engaging because they seem so real. Check out this clip from the film below where Leslie breaks the news to Brian that she is pregnant with his twin children…and tell me you couldn’t imagine the same cringeworthy reactions from people you know in real life:
Richardson is particularly impressive. I got the chance to ask her a few questions via email, and of course get a selfie. Check everything out below!
Hi Haley, nice to e-meet you. First off, tell us how you got involved in The Young Kieslowski.
Hi! Nice to e-meet you as well! I was working on the film, The Last Survivors with Seth Caplan and he told me about the script. When I read it, it was really everything I was looking for. Very real and imperfect people in sort of screwy situations and that’s what makes it so much like actual life and so entertaining! Leslie Mallard was unlike any character I had played so far so I was super crazy nervous but equally excited to bring her to life from the beginning!
What similarities do you have to your character, “Leslie”?
It’s the natural thing to do for me to ask myself this exact same question whenever I’m faced with a new character. It’s my job to find pieces of every character I play in myself and vice versa. Like when I first read the script I was intimidated by Mallard, cause she’s so smart and collected but also a little bit nuts and I just had to put myself in her shoes then layer on things specific to her over my natural instincts.
So I don’t really know if that has anything to do with the question you asked hahaha but I think there’s quite a bit in common. We’re both pretty trusting.
Your performance in this movie is terrific, and I even rewinded it a few times just to rewatch some scenes where you seem to really dig deep into Leslie’s conflict and pain and the emotion feels so raw. Yet, you are only 20…so where did you draw all that angst from?
Thank you so much, that is really cool to hear that! Thank you!
The movie really is a roller coaster for both characters but in completely opposing ways. Mallard is so desperately searching for someone/something to latch on to. I think that’s something most everyone can relate to. So when you just picture yourself in those extreme situations and say the words written for you it all kind of comes out the way it should…
What lesson do you think the movie teaches, if any?
Don’t lose you’re virginity drunk at a party. Kidding! (But also serious) hahaha
What’s so awesome to me about the movie is that Kerem didn’t write it and direct it in a way that made us feel like we were advocating for some particular thing or even teaching any lessons. It’s just about two kids, and what happens when life hits them in the face. Hard. And as an audience watching how that plays out I guess you kind of unintentionally learn some lessons along the way… about what it means to truly be there for someone and also how you can be there for yourself even when you feel most deserted.
What was the most difficult scene for you to film and why?
The birth was pretty tough. I had never done that before and I got super into it so I lost my voice after and all the producers were freaking out!
What was the funniest or most memorable moment on set?
Watching Ryan fall into the fountain at the college was pretty darn tootin great! Like we were all there for that shot laughing at him…
Poor guy. Haha
What do you think you would do in real life if confronted with the situation your character is in?
What a loaded question. I really have no clue.
I think as women we generally all like to think we could be strong enough to handle it a certain way… I couldn’t imagine knowing that a life was in me, and choosing to end it. It does help that I have a great boyfriend and supportive parents though. That is probably what Mallard was missing the most, someone to 100% lean on and share the experience with.
Why do you think teens should watch this movie?
This movie is such a warm and yummy mix of every emotion possible. I really loved filming it and learned a lot from the other actors and through Leslie and Brian’s journey together. I think watching it lets you forget about your life and step into the shoes of these two kids.
And in the end hopefully you leave feeling better than when you came.
Are you still dancing these days?
I will never stop dancing! I swear one day I will be 92 and still dance.. Like down the aisles of the grocery store.
On your Wikipedia page it mentions that you have your own hat and accessory line, can you tell me some more about that?
Yes, I have an online Etsy store called Hooked By Haley Lu. It’s all one of a kind, hand crocheted items by me! My mom taught me to crochet when I was 8, so since then I’ve developed a bit of an obsession.. Just a bit… I’m designing some cool spring and summer tops that I will be posting soon!
Tell us something your fans would be surprised to know about you.
I can walk on my hands across a soccer field!
Well, a middle school sized soccer field.
Anything else our readers should know?
You are capable, everything passes and you are NEVER alone! I came up with this about a month ago and it applies to everyone and everything. It’s the truth!
What’s coming up for you next?
I am currently filming a new show for ABC Family called “Recovery Road.” I think it’s a really special show for the network cause it touches on such real, deep subject matter that most kids don’t have exposure to, and they should.
I also have two movies coming out along with this one, “The Last Survivors” and “The Bronze”!
Can you please send a selfie of whatever it is you are doing right now?
Follow Haley on Instagram: