Ali Skovbye stars as young Tully in Netflix’s newest hit ‘Firefly Lane.’ She spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about Tully’s complicated relationship with her mother, season 2, and more.
Tully Hart is a complex woman. She’s incredibly headstrong and determined, but she’s hiding a lot of scars underneath the surface. In Netflix’s Firefly Lane, there are multiple timelines featuring Tully at different periods of her life. Ali Skovbye plays teenage Tully Hart, who moves to Firefly Lane with her mother, Cloud. Tully and Cloud have a very fraught relationship, with a teenage Tully having to look after her mother more than the other way around. HollywoodLife had an EXCLUSIVE conversation with Ali about the intricate mother-daughter relationship.
“I think that Beau [Garrett], who plays Cloud, is just such an incredibly kind, talented person. I’m just in awe of her constantly,” Ali told HollywoodLife. “We had talked a bit about that kind of dynamic, and the two of us had so much fun exploring that relationship and how Tully tries so hard to be strong, to stand up for herself, call her mom out when she’s doing something wrong, and be really moody with her mom. There are so many times where she tries so hard to have her guard up, but at the end of the day, it’s her mom. No matter what her mom does, she is always going to go back and kind of wait for that loving side of her mom to come out, and then she gets her hopes up. It’s not a great mother-daughter relationship, but it was great as actors to explore that.”
Cloud struggles with addiction when Tully is a teenager, and Tully ends up starting a life without her mother after Cloud is arrested. By the end of the season, adult Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Cloud have reconnected. However, Ali doesn’t think Tully will ever be able to fully forgive her mom for not being a mother when she really needed one.
“I don’t think that she could totally forgive her,” Ali said. “And I say that because I think she grew up seeing Kate’s family, being around Kate’s mother so much, seeing how good it could have been, how you’re supposed to be treated by a mother, and how you’re supposed to feel in a family dynamic. I think she’s always going to have a much stronger connection with Kate’s mom than she will with her own. I don’t think that she’d be able to fully forgive just because I think Tully is stubborn, and she has things set in her head already, so I don’t think that she’d be open to fully forgiving her. I think it could be better, but I think too much has happened. I think it’s a bit late. She’s already been too hurt from what happened when she was younger.”
The majority of Ali’s scenes are with Roan Curtis, who plays young Kate. Ali admitted that they were both “really nervous” before meeting the other. Thankfully, it was friendship at first sight. “We met and clicked instantly,” Ali revealed. “We were at a Netflix meet and greet dinner thing, and we stood off to the corner by ourselves for two and a half hours. We talked and got to know each other at the same time that Kate and Tully were becoming closer and becoming friends. We became best friends immediately. We did everything together. We spent every day together on set. I think that it was pretty easy because we genuinely just love each other so much and created a friendship in real life.”
One of the most heartbreaking scenes is when young Tully and Kate are separated after Cloud is arrested. Kate begs her parents to let Tully stay. As Tully is taken away, a sobbing Kate runs after Tully’s car. For Ali and Roan, the emotions in that scene were very real for them.
“It was our second to last day of shooting the series ever, so I think it was so emotional because the same way that Tully was leaving Kate, we were kind of leaving each other,” Ali said. “In the sense that the show was done, and we weren’t going to be seeing each other every second of every day anymore. I think it was just all around very emotional for us as well. Filming that with all of that emotion together, it became a very sappy, very emotional day. But I really loved filming that episode and that scene specifically. I think that we kind of had come to a point in the show where we were both so proud of what we had done. I think it was just so emotional for the two of us as people that it portrayed on screen as well because we were felt like we were leaving each other in real life, too.”
Tully experiences a number of ups and downs as a teenager, but one moment alters her life in a horrible way. Tully is raped at a high school party in the woods by an older jock named Pat (Michael Taylor). Tully begs Pat to stop, but he assaults her anyway. After it’s all over, Pat blames Tully and leaves her cold and alone in the woods. Ali opened up about the harrowing scene and how she prepared for it.
“We had an intimacy coordinator, so she came and talked to us and explained how to do everything,” she said. “It was honestly choreographed like a dance sequence. Every move, everything that we did, was choreographed specifically, so we knew what was going to happen. We knew what would be going where and all that kind of stuff, so it felt very safe. I wasn’t too nervous about any of that. I have a couple friends of mine who opened up about sexual assault and some things that have happened to them, so I reached out and called them and asked if they were okay to talk about their experiences. I did as much research on the matter as possible because this has happened to so many people’s lives and to represent it as true as possible and give it justice is one of the most important things that I really tried to do. I educated myself as much as I could, and then when I met, Michael Taylor, who plays Pat, we had to talk and prepare for all of it. So it all went pretty smoothly.”
The ending of Firefly Lane season 1 leaves the possibilities wide open for season 2. Ali already has some ideas for what she’d like to see happen to young Kate and Tully. “I think as much as we see Kate and Tully grow their friendship in season 1, I think it’s still very new. I mean, it’s obviously a very strong connection, and you can see it already, but it’s kind of the very beginning of it. I would love to see how can you get more comfortable with somebody and kind of how that affects their relationship and diving more into that,” Ali told HollywoodLife. “I think that Tully when she’s 14 in the 70s, that’s such an impressionable age. She’s kind of a mess, honestly, as most teenagers are. You have so many emotions you don’t even know what to do with yourself. I think Kate should have lost interest, like a key boyfriend for young Kate in there and then Tully tries to help or something like that. There’s so much that they can do. We have such great writers, and I think that the ’70s part of the book is pretty limited, so most of the stuff for our storyline is kind of new and created just for us. They can do anything with it.” Firefly Lane is now streaming on Netflix.