Katherine Heigl, who is also an executive producer, and Sarah Chalke star as Tully and Kate in Netflix’s Firefly Lane. The final episodes are now streaming. This interview will contain major spoilers for Season 2.
I had the opportunity to speak with the talented duo over Zoom and ask them about their takeaways from this experience, which scene was the most emotional for them to film, and their thoughts on how the series ended. Keep reading for everything they shared!
What are you going to take with you from this experience either going forward in your personal life or acting-wise?
Sarah Chalke: I think, for me, what I loved about this project since the beginning was the friendship between Tully and Kate, and what we heard from people afterward was like, “It made me call my best friend,” or “It made me call my sister,” “It made me reach out to someone.” I’m lucky enough to have really close friends, and it’s just such a reminder of how important it is and how much your life wouldn’t be the same without them. So, I feel like it makes you think about it, recognize it, and really take it in, and makes me feel like I just wanna instill that in my kids, and my biggest wish for them is that they’ll have the incredible friendships that I’ve been lucky enough to have.
In terms of acting, I just feel lucky to have been part of this job. It’s so rare and unique to get to be part of a story that you love and that you believe in and that also, at the same time, challenges you and stretches you — we got to do drama and comedy and play ourselves at 20 and at 40. Every day, there was something that was like a little hard, fun, interesting, different, or something you had never done before. And so, that piece of it was kind of really lucky.
Katherine Heigl: Yeah, I think just what Sarah’s saying, the takeaway for me from this was, it was such a beautiful reminder of what really matters in life and what really makes life feel purposeful and important, and it’s not necessarily your ambition or your career. Not that those things aren’t important or shouldn’t be a priority for you at different times in your life, but to never forget that the most important thing about this particular existence, in my opinion, are those relationships that you form, the ones that inform you, the ones that you find yourself, your essential self within, and that you give back to them as much as they give to you.
So, that’s why I always so deeply loved the book and loved the story, and I’m so grateful to have gotten to be a part of it and to have told it because these are the stories in my opinion that matter the most, that I love the most, that I relate to the most and that I find… well, I hope that others relate to the most.
There were so many emotional scenes in this final part. Which one was the most challenging for you to do and why?
Chalke: I mean, I think the most emotional scene, for me, was when Kate accepts that there’s nothing more that they’re gonna do when they’re in the hospital and then, she has to relay that information to her best friend. That was the most painful scene to shoot.
Heigl: I actually think that was the most painful for me too, and I think because I understood how hard, like as a person who is not Tully and who isn’t Kate, I had such compassion for both in that particular situation because I could so deeply understand how hard that was for Kate to do but that it was necessary for her to do it. I felt so bad for Tully because it was so hard for her to hear it and accept it, and just even the lashing out at Johnny because she just couldn’t hear it, would not accept it until she looked into her friend’s eyes and knew like, “I can’t keep forcing her through this for me.”
I want to ask you both about the last scene. I think it is such a powerful one. I mean, Sarah, we have you narrating Kate’s letter and then Katherine, we have you dancing, which is a full circle moment after seeing the younger versions of your characters dance to the song together earlier. Can you tell me about shooting that and what was it like when you watched the final version of it?
Heigl: For me, shooting it was… I knew it was a very important scene, love the scene and I love that it is exactly as written in the book. I loved that about it. I love that that’s how it ends. It felt very right to me. I wanted it to obviously resonate as much as it did with me when I read it, so I wanted it to be wonderful.
But it was brutal. It was heartbreaking, listening to Sarah’s — because they played her voice-over for me so that I could really get into it, so that was brutal. Ben’s face, like walking up, and the whole thing, it was brutal. But I love it, I think it’s beautiful, and I think it’s a beautiful way to end it and I’m very grateful that that’s what they chose to do to tie it into all of the joy. Everybody knows or you hopefully know and if you’re going through it, you will know that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but I think it shows all of that. I think it shows how much they loved each other and that it was worth it to Tully.
Chalke: I love the ending and I loved it when I watched it because I wasn’t there on that day. I was actually nearby and someone was like, “Oh, come by,” and I was like, “No, I don’t want to come by,” because what if I drove by and it was right at the minute that Katie is like dancing in the middle of the scene?
Heigl: “Wait, Kate — she’s alive!”
Chalke: I love it [the ending]. I love that you don’t go inside the funeral, you stay outside with Tully and you see this moment of her opening what Kate has left for her. Katie did such a beautiful job of it, it was so heartbreaking. I cried when I watched it. In terms of just your question before, what was the hardest scene to film, when we filmed that scene, we were holding each other in the hospital and just the way that schedules work in filming, they were like, “Okay, cut, everybody go home. That’s a wrap. Sarah, let’s go record the voice-over for the letter,” and it was right after.
And so, we were literally like holding each other and sobbing, and then I go to read this letter and I didn’t want to be crying, obviously, reading the letter because that’s not what Kate would have done to Tully. So I’m reading the letter and I’m just holding in the emotion and every time I got into the part in the letter that says, “Take care of Marah for me,” I couldn’t make words. They would not come out. I would get so choked up, and so I was like, “Guys, just give me two seconds, let me just do a couple of dance moves and just recalibrate and get back in it.” But yeah, I loved the scene.