STARZ’s brand-new series Hightown features an incredible ensemble cast, which includes Riley Voelkel and Amaury Nolasco. They play Renee and Frankie, two characters connected to a murder in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Renee and Frankie are in a relationship and share a child together, Frankie Jr. Despite Frankie being behind bars, he is still pulling the strings with his opioid ring on the outside. Needless to say, Renee and Frankie don’t have a typical relationship. Riley and Amaury talked with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about Renee and Frankie’s complex and multi-layered relationship.
“I think it can go two ways. I think there’s moments with them where they almost seem like a normal, domestic family,” Riley told HollywoodLife during the show’s virtual press junket. “They have these conversations and you think you’re just watching this normal family for moments, and I think there is love there. Frankie is all Renee has known for many years, and he took her in and took care of her. But at the end of the day, they’re ultimately partners in crime that are forever bound by their son.”
Amaury added: “I definitely agree. I feel like I am the Clyde to her Bonnie or she’s the Bonnie to my Clyde. Even though it’s a dysfunctional family, I truly believe there’s a love for each other there and, of course, their son is the most important thing. Frankie, of course, he’s a very charming guy. He’s ruthless and, of course, his opioid ring is the most important thing and his family… They’ve been together for so many years and they know each other. They have a camaraderie. They’re partners in crime.”
Although he’s behind bars, Frankie is still a very powerful and dangerous man in Provincetown. “He is the puppeteer. He is the mastermind. Everything is planned. Everything he’s done, every move, it’s like playing chess,” Amaury revealed. Frankie even asks Renee to get close to Detective Ray Abruzzo. What he really means by that and what Renee does after that remains to be seen.
No matter the situation, Renee is always walking a tight rope with Frankie. For Renee, there’s “definitely a level of fear” she has with Frankie. “He took care of her when she was an addict, and she’s definitely fearful of what he would do if she crossed him,” Riley revealed. “Even though there’s a level of trust between the two of them, I don’t think she’s safe when it comes to crossing Frankie, so I think it is in the back of her mind what’s going to be best for me and my son, what decision is going to be best. But she keeps her friends close and her enemies closer, and there’s more to her than meets the eye. She’s a strong one, too.”
Couple this fear with being in a relationship with a drug lord behind bars, it’s no surprise that part of Renee yearns for a normal life. “I think there’s a part of Renee that kind of wishes she had that normal mom life,” Riley told HollywoodLife. “I think when she’s like on the field trip with the other moms, she wants to be seen as a normal mom and she knows she’s not and the reality is she’s not, but I think she kind of fantasizes about finding maybe something more domestic and something more normal for sure.” Hightown premieres May 17 at 8 p.m. on STARZ.