“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” Star Sidney Flanigan Digs Deep


It’s one of the most powerful scenes of the year, in one of the most powerful movies of the year.

A teenage girl answers admissions questions from a sensitive provider in a small Planned Parenthood office. She’s been strong until now. Then some of the standard inquiries, to which she can choose a response from “Never,” “Rarely,” “Sometimes”, or “Always,” unearth wounds that are far from healed. There is no fancy editing, flashy cinematography, or inflated score. Like so many “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” it just looks like the truth captured on the screen. And that requires a lot of the film’s advance: a novice named Sidney flanigan.

“This is the first acting experience I have ever had,” said Flanigan, 22. “When we were doing the admission scene, she [writer-director Eliza Hittman] I made sure I got a private room before doing this as there is usually all this fuss on set. It’s not like we have trailers or anything, ”she said, allowing a chuckle over the aftermarket on the budget indie. “We were filming at Planned Parenthood, so they gave me a desk to sit down and she came in and ran the stage with me. It was little things like the ones that Eliza was aware of.

“Never Rarely” follows Autumn (Flanigan), a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who finds out she is pregnant and decides to have a Abortion. Unable to undergo the procedure in her home country, she travels to New York with her cousin and best friend, Skylar (Talia Ryder, in his own performance in small groups). What the two go through requires what could be described as the ordinary courage that too often is a part of just being a woman.

Hittman met Flanigan while working on a documentary in Flanigan’s hometown, Buffalo, NY, in 2013. The filmmaker followed the nascent singer-songwriter on social media over the years, then asked her to audition for the role of Fall.

Flanigan said: “At first I was very confused because I barely remembered who these people were. I had never played before; I didn’t think it was something I was capable of. Then I have Skype with Eliza and read the script and I felt a lot more interested in the sequel, “Oh, that’s a really great story. ”

“It ended up being a super amazing and transformative experience. It changed life.

Hittman admitted she worried about how inexperienced Flanigan might react to the rigors of a movie shoot, but was sold after her audition: “Her auditions are amazing. They have a tremendous amount of raw intuition and talent.

Raw ability is one thing, but the film – especially this admission scene – requires an emotional availability that both seasoned and seasoned actors crave. And everything is done with a simplicity that reads like honesty.

“She showed an intuitive understanding of dramatic rhythms and turns and intimacy with the camera,” Hittman said. “She had a palpable inner world and a struggle. As viewers, even though we don’t always listen to the dialogue, we read thoughts through the screen. There was always a lot going on in his head.

But there were still more reasons why Flanigan was the choice. Hittman said that after meeting Flanigan at the age of 14, “She was always a point of reference for the character. Anytime someone said, ‘What does the character look like? photos of Sidney. “

Flanigan leaned on her seasoned director: “I felt really comfortable working with her. Entering it without any experience, I was a little scared. “I don’t know if I really belong here. But at the same time, I’m a performer, and I feel passionate about this story. I allowed myself to go to touching places that I had not visited in a while.

“I think everyone is talking about the pivot [intake] scene, ”Hittman said. “She’s so phenomenal in this scene, because she does what the actors do. She’s the most vulnerable character, and she so clearly draws inspiration from her own experiences. It draws from the deepest places.

“Eliza gave me this room to be alone,” Flanigan said. “She told me the questions at the start, the regular medical questions and all that – ‘Does your family have a history of heart disease?’ – I could just answer these questions as I would myself, so I didn’t have to think too much. So I went there and honestly I just hit my most repressed memories and let it play out there. I usually don’t share what it is because they are personal.

“I just, strangely, remember feeling after – I felt really good. Like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s one of the times that made me feel like I love playing because you have all of these emotions and experiences and sometimes you just feel out of control; then being able to use them for something artistic and important to me … It was really cool.

She also sees that the film has an impact on others.

“Girls messaged me on Instagram or friends reached out to me and told me really personal stories about things that happened to them that they bonded with in the movie that made them feel validated, heard and seen, and it was truly amazing. It’s reaching the people who really need it.


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