The Everything, Everything Stars Stress Importance of Interracial Love on Screen
If there were ever the perfect time to head to the movies, it’s this weekend. Not only is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 currently dominating the box office (and for good reason), but your next favorite romantic book-turned-movie is tapped to hit the big screen on Friday, May 19. And that movie is… Everything, Everything.
The story, based on Nicola Yoon‘s YA novel of the same name, focuses on Madeline “Maddy” Whittier (Amandla Stenberg), a teen girl who lives a sheltered life because she’s allergic to, essentially, everything. Despite her inability to leave her home, the boy next door, Olly (Nick Robinson), befriends her, and the two begin to message each other over the Internet.
A lot of events come into play in the tale: Not only does Maddy suffer from severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), but abuse, smoking problems and deception are involved as well. Through it all, though, one thing remained: the love between the two teens. And, thankfully, we got the chance to talk to the film’s leading lady and man about ALL OF IT.
“I love the dreamlike quality to it and how whimsical and how it’s not really based in reality,” the 18-year-old Hunger Games alum said of the story during the Everything, Everything junket in NYC. “I also really like the characters because I don’t think you could to see the story very often with an interracial couple.”
And that’s very true — you don’t often see interracial relationships in YA movies. So, we asked the pair how important it was for them to show a relationship such as this. Needless to say, the two did NOT disappoint. “Very important,” the 22-year-old cutie from The 5th Wave exclaimed. “I think that was the point of the book. Nicola wrote the book for her daughter, who is biracial and isn’t always represented, so she wanted to make something for her and have her story be told. […] I think it wouldn’t be the same story if it wasn’t for that.”
“Yeah, I don’t think I would have done the film if it hadn’t been based on the book,” Amandla chimed in. “I wouldn’t even have been cast. […] But that was something that was really cool to me.”
“It was really special to see this black teen girl carry this [relationship] without it even being a thing,” she added.
Since deception, as we mentioned, was also part of the project, we asked the main pair about lying IRL. “I think probably the first big lie I told my parents was that I was going to sleep over a friend’s house,” Amandla admitted, “but I was actually going to a punk venue.”
Nick’s was along the same lines. “Biggest lie ever told my parents was probably a similar thing,” he said, “going to a going to a friend’s house and not doing that at all!”
Then, of course, there was the abuse aspect. “It’s dealing with really serious subject matter,” Nick explained, “so we tried to treat it with as much and give it as much respect as possible.”
“It was pretty heavy, heavy stuff,” he added. “No one should have to go through that.”
Everything, Everything hits theaters this Friday.
Everything, Everything, plus nine other awesome YA books that feature interracial couples:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A cult-classic set in the late-'80s, Eleanor & Park tells the story of two outcasts bound together by a friendship too good to be true and relationship they know will never last. This story deals with Eleanor's insecurities — her curly red hair, her imperfect body, etc. — as well as Park’s inherent struggle with his Korean heritage.
Over the course of their awkward, endearing friendship-turned-relationship, the boy helps the girl grow into a stronger version of herself, while the girl returns the favor by listening to his mix tapes, making him feel a little less invisible. Eleanor dresses wrong and Park feels wrong, but their differences collide in an all-consuming, volatile first love, toeing the line between finality and forever.
Photo: St. Martin's Griffin
Original reporting done by Lindsey Smith.