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‘Tallulah’ Director Talks Casting ‘Very Unlikable’ Female Characters for Ellen Page, Allison Janney

Landmark Sunshine Cinema drew Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Uzo Aduba, Tammy Blanchard and Zachary Quinto Tuesday night for the New York premiere of “Tallulah.” The Netflix-acquired film originally bowed at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The film follows a young homeless woman (Page) who steals a baby from a mother (Blanchard) who she deems unfit after being mistaken for a housekeeper and paid to watch the child.

“I fell in love with the script,” explained Page on taking the role. “For me it was one of those that felt new, fresh, and unique and it made me laugh. And it shattered my heart and it hit all those crucial points. I just feel lucky that she thought I could do it.”

Writer-director Sian Heder told Variety that she felt her female characters were “very unlikable on paper” and had to cast women she knew audiences could connect with.

“I was looking for someone who had a warmth and charm and who could bring another element and have people fall in love with them despite their flaws,” Heder said. “All of these women have amazing comedic chops and have incredible emotional depth and an ability to go to a really raw vulnerable place, and that’s what really drew me to each of them.”

“I love the challenge of playing a character who is complicated and messy and unhappy and has a journey in the movie,” explained Janney, before adding, “And when I heard Ellen was doing it, that of course influenced me greatly. It’s a rare chance in your career to work with actors you love over and over again.”

After the screening, Heder, Janney, and Page shared a few laughs by the rooftop pool at Jimmy at the James Hotel. Aduba, joined by “Orange” co-star Danielle Brooks, “Tallulah” co-star Evan Jonigkeit, and Zosia Mamet enjoyed small bites of wontons, sliders and fried zucchini while overlooking a breath-taking cityscape of Manhattan.

“Tallulah” begins streaming on Netflix July 29.

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