Megan Park Breaks Down The ‘Difficult’ Ending Of ‘The Fallout’: ‘I Knew It Had To End With That’

3 months ago
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‘The Fallout’ is simply a circuit de unit astir the aftermath of a schoolhouse shooting. Director and writer Megan Park spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL astir the movie’s almighty and unexpected ending and more.

Megan Park returned to the hallways of precocious school, this clip arsenic a director. Megan, who roseate to fame connected The Secret Life of the American Teenager, is the manager and writer of The Fallout, now disposable connected HBO Max. The poignant movie follows a precocious schooler named Vada (Jenna Ortega) who struggles to header and determination guardant aft a shooting astatine her school. She forges friendships with Mia (Maddie Ziegler) and Quinton (Niles Fitch) successful the aftermath, bonded by the trauma they experienced successful the bath during the shooting.

HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Megan astir the travel to bring The Fallout to audiences astir the world. She explains her determination to extremity the movie with Vada having a panic onslaught aft learning astir different schoolhouse shooting and wherefore nary different ending was ever considered. Read our Q&A below:

Megan ParkMegan Park is the writer and manager of ‘The Fallout.’ (Photographer: Alex Evans)

School shootings are each excessively communal these days. They hap truthful often. What was the spark that prompted you to privation to constitute and nonstop The Fallout?
Megan Park: I deliberation I was initially conscionable truthful frustrated and felt truly helpless. It was a truly tricky taxable substance to tackle successful a mode that I felt was due and a mode that could bring an affectional broadside to the communicative that hadn’t been told before. I’m Canadian. I didn’t turn up successful a clip erstwhile schoolhouse shootings were a thing, and I didn’t truly consciousness this threat. So I thought possibly I’m not the close idiosyncratic to archer this story. But I conscionable continued to beryllium truthful sickened each clip different 1 of these atrocious events happened, truthful I conscionable honestly couldn’t halt reasoning astir it. I benignant of imagined that I was Vada successful a batch of ways, however I consciousness I would perchance respond successful a concern similar this. I felt similar there’s got to beryllium truthful galore kids retired determination who consciousness truthful near down and truthful unsocial and conscionable near to woody with this grief for years and years and years. There indispensable beryllium truthful overmuch disorder and guilt astir however to process thing similar this. So it genuinely was specified an affectional decision. It wasn’t based connected 1 peculiar event. Unfortunately, determination are acold excessively galore to take from. It was conscionable a culmination of truthful galore emotions astir each sorts of experiences.

Vada and Mia are astatine the bosom of this. Jenna and Maddie are unthinkable successful this film. What was the process of uncovering these 2 talented young women who were besides precise overmuch successful that property range? You could person easy formed 20-somethings to play teenagers.
Megan Park: That was important to me. I deliberation I spent a batch of clip successful my early, mid, and precocious 20s playing a teenager. It’s done for a reason. A batch of times, it’s a moving hours reason. But I felt similar for this communicative to person the authenticity, it was truly important to person actresses who were that existent age. That was similar a fig 1 happening for me, and I truly wanted the actresses to truly embody who these radical were completely. I deliberation that’s 1 of the astir important things you tin bash arsenic a manager is to find the close radical to play a relation and not trying to beryllium fitting a quadrate peg successful a circular hole. I’d heard astir Jenna. I’d seen her work. I was a monolithic fan. We had immoderate communal friends, and we conscionable got unneurotic for coffee. She work the publication and liked it. We sat down and conscionable talked astir Vada. Within 2 minutes of gathering her I was like, “Oh my gosh, she is Vada.” She conscionable blew maine away. She’s truthful astute and truthful well-spoken and conscionable embodies the tone of not lone Vada, but I felt similar this procreation successful truthful galore ways. And past we benignant of built the remainder of the movie astir Jenna erstwhile we had her successful place. It was truly chill to spot her and Maddie together. They’re similar besties now, which is truthful amazing. But Maddie, again, I was acquainted with her work. The quality Mia is simply a dancer, truthful determination are a batch of things that could marque consciousness with that. We talked connected the phone, and past she came successful and work and conscionable blew maine away. She truly is simply a batch similar Mia. She is precise shy and precise reserved successful existent life, which I deliberation a batch of radical don’t know. It was specified a amusive accidental to spot her play this benignant of character, which I hadn’t seen her bash before. I’m truthful excited for radical to conscionable spot their performances. They’re some truthful talented.

Maddie Ziegler Jenna OrtegaMaddie Ziegler and Jenna Ortega arsenic Mia and Vada. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The shooting country was an implicit gut-punch. We’ve seen shows and movies tackle schoolhouse shootings implicit the years and amusement the shooter oregon the existent shooting itself. The Fallout conscionable focuses connected Vada, Mia, and yet Quinton successful the bath stall. How did you determine connected what to amusement and not to show? The bath stall was truthful claustrophobic. It seemed similar determination was nary mode out.
Megan Park: Well, those were the past 2 scenes that we filmed successful the movie, each the worldly successful the bathroom, which was truly conscionable due to the fact that of locations and worldly due to the fact that it was truly tricky. It was a precise affectional 2 days for the actors, obviously, but it was a tricky happening due to the fact that I really got a batch of radical telling maine that I should movie thing extracurricular of the bath arsenic well. I was very, very, precise adamant that I didn’t privation to bash that. I didn’t privation to amusement immoderate of the violence. Unfortunately, we’re each excessively acquainted with that. I deliberation it was a tricky enactment to locomotion due to the fact that I didn’t privation the movie to beryllium triggering for people. I didn’t privation it to beryllium excessively hard for radical to watch, particularly radical who had been done thing similar this. But astatine the aforesaid time, you had to truly consciousness the existent fearfulness of it, to acquisition it, to recognize Vada’s absorption to it, truthful it was truly tricky to locomotion that line. But I’m gladsome that I stuck to my gut and stayed successful that bath stall due to the fact that I deliberation conscionable proceeding the audio is horrifying enough. That was the last happening we were tweaking close up until we sent the movie disconnected to South by Southwest was getting the audio close for that infinitesimal and truly walking that enactment was precise important.

One of my favourite scenes successful the movie was the country betwixt the sisters successful Vada’s bedroom. Lumi [Pollack] was incredible. 
Megan Park: This is her archetypal movie.

Lumi PollackLumi Pollack arsenic Amelia. (Warner Bros./Everett Collection)

It blew my caput however bully she was. Walk maine done that country due to the fact that I felt similar it was specified a turning constituent successful the film. It’s specified a bonding infinitesimal for them and a mode for Vada to move
forward.
Megan Park: I loved penning the narration betwixt Vada and her small sister due to the fact that I deliberation Lumi, who plays Amelia, starts to correspond this mentation of Vada that she can’t get backmost to anymore. They utilized to beryllium precise close. They person these things they would bash together, and there’s this innocence lost. She benignant of pushes her sister distant passim the movie due to the fact that it’s hard for her to beryllium astir that benignant of effervescence vigor of idiosyncratic who doesn’t rather recognize what she went through. It’s not her fault, but there’s conscionable this immense disconnect. I deliberation the infinitesimal of them connecting astatine the end, and Amelia adjacent talks astir however she feels similar she did thing wrong. She’s disquieted astir possibly a shooting happening astatine her schoolhouse next. I deliberation it’s that infinitesimal of them reconnecting that truly turns things for Vada for the archetypal clip and benignant of really begins her process of healing for the archetypal clip is seeing herself successful Amelia and taking connected that nurturing protective role. It was a truly affectional scene. It was Lumi’s archetypal movie, and she continued to amaze maine each measurement of the mode successful the process. She did that country successful her audition, and I was conscionable like, who are you? She was incredible. A truly cute small communicative astir that is she was specified a immense Jenna fan. I deliberation that was 1 of their archetypal scenes that they filmed together. Although it was a truly affectional scene, Lumi kept really breaking into a grin each clip Jenna would hug her due to the fact that she couldn’t judge that she was getting to bash this country with Jenna. She conscionable kept saying, “I’m truthful happy. I can’t judge this is real.” So it was truly cute astatine the aforesaid clip due to the fact that we virtually had a fewer times chopped astir her breaking into conscionable this grin due to the fact that she couldn’t judge the concern she was in. I mean, speech astir bringing it. She’s truthful earthy and truthful gifted. She’s already doing a clump of truly breathtaking caller projects, and I can’t hold to ticker her vocation conscionable explode.

The movie didn’t extremity however I expected it to. I deliberation we’ve been ingrained to deliberation movies should beryllium wrapped up successful a neat small bow. The ending was truthful visceral. Talk to maine astir your determination to permission america with those moments of a Vada crying and having a panic attack. Was determination immoderate different ending that you ever considered?
Megan Park: No. And that’s 1 of the things, benignant of similar the bath stall scene, that I was precise definite about. So overmuch changes erstwhile you’re filming a movie — the locations, the actors, successful the edit, what you get connected the day, similar throwing Lumi successful to bash the TikTok. You person to benignant of alert by the spot of your pants successful a batch of ways. But I ever knew the movie had to extremity that mode due to the fact that this isn’t a occupation that’s over. This is simply a occupation that is continuing close now. It’s a hard ending, for sure. I deliberation you hopefully permission with a glimmer of anticipation that Vada is starting to stitchery the skills to larn however to header and to larn however to unrecorded her beingness holding this trauma with her that volition enactment with her everlastingly successful immoderate way, shape, oregon form. But it’s not over, truthful I deliberation that it truly had to beryllium the ending that it was. That was 1 happening that didn’t change. Although, we did play astir with however overmuch of the panic onslaught to amusement arsenic opposed to conscionable hear. That was thing we did play astir with because, again, I wanted to amusement the severity of her reaction, but I didn’t privation it to beryllium excessively triggering for people. That was thing we truly played astir with. But successful presumption of that ending, I knew it had to extremity with that moment.

Again, conscionable the audio was a cleanable mode to exemplify however you tin amusement conscionable arsenic overmuch emotion without showing Jenna’s face.
Megan Park: We had versions of it wherever we saw her. Jenna’s show was unbelievable, but it was astir excessively painful. It was much powerful, I think, to spot a glimmer of it. And past conscionable proceeding it was, unfortunately, enough.

School shootings are an ongoing epidemic. We’ve seen this hap truthful galore times. Do you deliberation we’ll ever spot alteration erstwhile it comes to weapon violence? 
Megan Park: I anticipation so. I consciousness similar I person to person immoderate benignant of anticipation that, eventually, determination volition beryllium immoderate benignant of betterment and this volition not beryllium thing that happens truthful regularly. Or astatine each would beryllium my wish. I privation I could question a magic wand and extremity it close now. There is weapon unit everywhere, and these types of things occasionally hap successful Canada arsenic well. I don’t deliberation immoderate state is immune to weapon violence, but it surely feels similar a truly large occupation that’s uniquely American close present with these schoolhouse shootings, unfortunately. But I anticipation that determination is change. I person anticipation with the younger procreation that they are going to truly basal up and marque this alteration happen. I anticipation it’s sooner than later.

We spot that with the Nick quality however helium is mobilized by it, and we’ve seen that with Parkland kids arsenic good who are demanding change. 
Megan Park: Exactly. Those kids are truthful inspiring. I conscionable look up to them truthful much, and I deliberation that they are the future.

Shailene WoodleyShailene Woodley plays Vada’s therapist. (Warner Bros./Everett Collection)

Shailene [Woodley] was cleanable arsenic the therapist. I grew up watching you some connected The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Did you conscionable telephone her up and inquire her to beryllium a portion of your movie?
Megan Park: It benignant of happened organically, actually. I had really done a rewrite connected a workplace movie she was doing, and she’s been truthful supportive of maine arsenic a writer and director. We’d wanted to enactment unneurotic connected something, but she conscionable wanted to work the publication due to the fact that I’d finished it and she’d heard astir it. She was excited. The therapist quality primitively didn’t adjacent person a name, and it was a small spot of a smaller role. She called maine and said she loved the script. She was like, “Can I travel play the therapist?” I was like, “Do you privation to?” And she’s like, “Yeah, I emotion the script. I conscionable privation to beryllium a portion of it. It’s the lone relation that I could perchance be.” So erstwhile I knew that she was going to bash it, I gave her therapist a name, and we benignant of beefed-up those scenes a small bit, which ended up being immoderate of my favourite scenes successful the movie. I was truly blessed that that happened. A batch of radical deliberation that we enactment Shai successful the movie and built the movie astir that, but she came successful astatine the past minute, which was conscionable specified a amusive happening to do. It was truly amusive to enactment unneurotic successful that capacity, which we hadn’t done before. She was truthful sweet. She brought flowers and enactment them successful my trailer and stayed the full day. She was like, “I privation to ticker you enactment the remainder of the day.” She reached retired to Jenna up of time. I retrieve we had this infinitesimal wherever we had conscionable done 1 of the truly dense scenes successful therapy with Jenna and her. I was sitting successful a bath — virtually — that was the lone spot wherever I had a monitor. She came successful and was like, “Jenna Ortega is simply a star.” She was conscionable freaking retired and started fangirling implicit Jenna. It was truly chill due to the fact that I knew Shai erstwhile she was Jenna’s age, and it was truly amusive for maine to beryllium by her broadside and ticker her vocation detonate successful specified a large way. She has ever been truthful talented, and it was truly chill to present beryllium connected the different broadside of that and ticker this young pistillate conscionable detonate and beryllium truthful gifted. It was really, truly cool. I deliberation she had a amusive clip watching that too.