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Netflix’s new drama Firefly Lane tells the decades-spanning story of BFFs Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke). We watch as they go to college together, pursue careers in the Seattle news market, and struggle with heartache into their early forties. However the only reason why we care so much about Tully and Kate’s friendship is because we fall in love with their younger selves. As the teenaged Tully and Kate, Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis not only have to play convincing younger versions of Heigl and Chalke, but they have to show us the pure roots of the women’s powerful bond.
Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis might be fresh faces to Netflix audiences, but the Firefly Lane stars have been showing up in film and on TV for ages. Ali Skovbye, formerly known as Alissa Skovbye, was recently in the film Breakthrough, the hit show When Calls the Heart, and played Sebastian Stan’s daughter in two episodes of the ABC hit Once Upon a Time. As a child actor, Roan Curtis played the young version of Chloe Sullivan on Smallville, but you might best recognize her from arcs on Hulu’s Shut Eye and Syfy’s The Magicians.
Firefly Lane is probably the show that’s going to put Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis on your radar for good.
“I would say I am a Kate, you know, in the dichotomy of Kate and Tully.”
Kate, of course, is the shier of the two best friends. The baby of seemingly perfect Irish Catholic family, Kate is bullied by former friends and left to her own devices before Tully arrives in town. The girl Tully meets across the street might be awkward, but she is also kindness incarnate. Over the course of Firefly Lane Season 1, we watch as Kate learns to love herself more in every era we meet her in.
“[W]e were becoming friends as well in real life.” — Firefly Lane’s Ali Skovbye on working with Roan Curtis
“I think that Kate has a really beautiful character arc of coming into her own and realizing her value as somebody who is unique and who brings what she brings to the table, and brings only what she could bring to the table,” Curtis said, before adding she, too, had a similar journey of “greater self love and self acceptance.”
“You don’t have to be a ‘Tully’ to be worthy and valid, and deserving of love and worth knowing. I think that that feeling and kind of the way that Kate navigates the friendship at times, was super resonant with me,” Curtis said.
From the moment she arrives on Firefly Lane with her hippie mother Cloud (Beau Garrett), Tully grabs the attention of boys, girls, and everyone in between. While Tully may appear to be unflappable, her confident armor hides a true aching pain. In fact, Tully may be more jealous of the stable and loving family Kate comes from than Kate is of Tully’s natural charisma. When Tully is confronted with true trauma and pain, her mother isn’t there for her; only Kate is.
Ali Skovbye told Decider, “I think the most challenging thing for me was probably all of the different things that Tully goes through. I think that similarly to myself, I often don’t open up to people very often and have a hard time being vulnerable and I often think my emotions are invalid, which I think Tully does a lot.”
As young Tully, Skovbye had to deal with the painful experiences that shape adult Tully’s seemingly cold approach to life. She told Decider that it was not only difficult “really diving into all the trauma,” but being able to let Tully be truly vulnerable with the character of Kate. Skovbye shared that she, too, had to learn how to be “open” within those scenes.
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“I was like, ‘Okay, I really need to be vulnerable with Roan.
Ironically the process of playing best friends who can share anything with each other seemed to filter into the actors’ offscreen life.
Skovbye said, “I think that we’re super, super close now. And so it made doing all [those dramatic scenes] really easy as we were becoming friends as well in real life.”
Sounds like Tully and Kate’s rallying cry of “Firefly Lane girls forever” applies to Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis, too.
Watch Firefly Lane on Netflix
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