Wonderland.

ALI SKOVBYE

The star of Firefly Lane talks the gorgeous 70s wardrobe and shining a new light on female friendships.

Ali Skovbye in purple fur top
Ali Skovbye in purple fur top

It might feel like you’ve seen everything on Netflix this past year, having binge-watched everything in the midst of a pandemic. But if you’re in need of a new show for those lazy Sunday afternoons, Netflix’s Firefly Lane is looking like a must-watch. Based on the best-selling 2008 novel by Kristin Hannah, we’re taken through the decades-long friendship between Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) and Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke), two childhood neighbours who live on Firefly Lane. While it might not be as tear-jerking as Beaches or as feisty as Gossip Girl, the series offers us a light-hearted approach to some of the difficult choices friends have to make and how they come to terms with their decisions. We start at the beginning of the friendship in the 70s, with Ali Skovbye starring as a young Tully and Roan Curtis as a young Kate.

“I hope that viewers will see how important and vital friendships can be in your life,” Skovbye candidly explains. “Oftentimes female friendships can be portrayed as very catty and drama-filled in TV and movies, but I love how well our show represents a healthy, inspiring, strong, motivated and loving relationship that is such a big part of most people’s lives.”

Hailing from the filming capital in Vancouver, 18-year-old Skovbye isn’t new to this, having had a string of television roles in sci-fi favourites Fringe, Smallville and Supernatural before starring in FOX feature film Breakthrough with Chrissy Metz. With her role in Netflix’s latest series praised for creating a genuine bond with the character, we sat down with the star talking the gorgeous 70s wardrobe and shining a new light on female friendships.

Check out the interview below…

Hi Ali – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your work and creativity? Congratulations on Firefly Lane!
I’ve been well. I went from working, school and graduation to the industry shutting down and all of a sudden I had nothing to do… which was definitely an adjustment. I think my creativity has been impacted by not being able to be around my friends and the people I love, which is what inspires me the most. But I’ve learned to make the best of it, create a routine, still make an effort to keep up with my friends and family who I can’t see … as well as remembering that I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Will you tell us how you first got involved and heard about the script?
I was sent the audition request and read the limited material I was given and immediately loved it. Once I got more involved with the show, I read the book and within the first 10 pages was completely In love with it all over again. Kristin Hannah created such an authentic story about two badass women and I couldn’t have been more mesmerized and in complete awe of everything she wrote.

What drew you to the character of Tully?
I think I saw a lot of myself in Tully, which is what originally drew me in. She’s fiercely motivated and will stop at nothing until she gets what she wants. She also has a really hard time letting people in and being honest, open and vulnerable with people, which is something that I’ve also struggled with. She often thinks her emotions are invalid and that she can just brush everything off which stops her from confiding in people and ultimately getting the love and support that she often needs. It’s also really fun to explore the dynamic of playing a character who is seen as cool, collected and popular but who’s actually struggling at home and feels extremely lost and lonely. It shows no matter how someone appears on the outside, you have no idea what’s going on on the inside.

Ali Skovbye in pink fur dress
Ali Skovbye in pink fur dress

You play the teenage version of Tully, while Katherine Heigl plays the adult version – how did you work together to make sure the transition was seamless?
We talked about our general understanding of the character. I was able to see footage of scenes Katherine and Sarah had shot as we filmed each episode. Watching those scenes really helped me I pick up on and learn Katherine’s little mannerisms. I was able to then take what I saw and incorporate it to my character in the 70’s.

The show is about an incredible, enduring friendship, through ups and downs, over four tumultuous decades – did you relate to this kind of connection at all?
100%. Most of my friends I’ve had since I was really young and as you get older you either grow apart or grow together. I’ve been lucky to have the same few friends for my entire life. I’ve grown up with them, they’ve been there through the best and worst parts of my life and I think they probably know me better than I do at this point. I also think the friends you make when you’re so young and impressionable really shapes who you are and you build a much deeper connection with them than the friends you make later in life. I also have a sister, Tiera, who I’ve obviously grown up with and is easily my #1 best friend and built-in life partner.

The premise of the series is so touching – what was the most emotional day of filming?
The most emotional day of filming was episode two when we shot the sexual assault scene and the scene where Tully confides in Kate about what happened. We actually shot both those scenes on the same day and I think it goes without saying that it was easily the most difficult and emotional day of shooting for me.

You have this gorgeous 70s wardrobe on the show – are there any pieces you begged to keep?
I’m not even joking, I wanted to keep pretty much everything. There’s a long jean skirt that I wore in episode 1 that I absolutely loved and a pair of black flared jeans that I believe I wear in episode 8. Our lovely costume designer, Alissa Swanson, custom made just for me, so they fit perfectly which just made me love them even more. I kind of acquired a whole new style after we finished filming, but I’m not mad about it.

In a time when most of the world is in lockdown/everything feels so uncertain – what do you hope viewers will take from the show?
I hope that viewers will see how important and vital friendships can be in your life, and that even though you may not be able to physically be with your friends right now and can’t actually hug them, they are other ways to connect. You can still be there for friends virtually and tell them everything thats going on in your life. No matter how much time you may spend apart from a really close friend, they’re always gonna have your back and be there when you need them the most. Oftentimes female friendships can be portrayed as very catty and drama-filled in TV and movies, but I love how well our show represents a healthy, inspiring, strong, motivated and loving relationship that is such a big part of most people’s lives.

All your roles have been so different and nuanced – what do you look for in a character?
When an audition presents itself, I always look for characters with a lot of levels and dimensions so that it gives me lots to work and play with. The more complex a character is the more you get to work on really understanding who they are and why they do the things they do and really immerse yourself in a whole new and different way of thinking.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Travelling? Hopefully? Maybe? I’m looking forward to possibly having a bit more normalcy and maybe getting to do a bit more travelling which is easily one of my favourite things to do, and of course the release of Firefly Lane on Netflix!!

Photography
Megan Toriglia.
ALI SKOVBYE

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