SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers for “Monsterland.”
Kaitlyn Dever admits she had a much more romanticized view of motherhood before signing on to star in Hulu’s horror anthology series “Monsterland.”
Speaking to Variety while on a break from shooting the movie adaptation of Tony award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” in Georgia, Dever says, “I only ever thought that a mother just loved her child constantly, 24/7, from the moment the child enters the world, and what I found from speaking to a lot of women is that there is unconditional love there, but there’s also a lot of just hate and resentment that you have to deal with constantly.”
It’s what fascinated Dever about her role as Toni, a 19-year-old mother who is dealing with an unplanned teenage pregnancy. In the show’s first episode, Toni (SPOILER ALERT) abandons her young daughter in a parking lot to pursue the life she desires. Dever says she found a deep sympathy for the character, despite the unpopular and controversial choice she makes.
“[There’s] been a lack of sympathy for these kinds of women, and so when I was going to play this role, I never once never once had negative feelings towards her, or thought that she had done something terribly wrong,” she says. “I always came at it with compassion and sympathy.”
Each installment of the eight-episode series takes place in a different U.S. city, with a fresh cast of characters tackling fantastical monsters (demons and mermaids, among them) in addition to real-life traumas, including the grief of losing a child, job loss and environmental catastrophes. Dever’s Toni serves as the show’s throughline, appearing in multiple episodes.
The role is in stark contrast to her comedic turn as Amy in Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut “Booksmart” in 2019. The teen comedy, about two bookish best friends intent on partying it up on their last night of high school, concluded with Devers’ Amy leaving for a gap year in Botswana after starting a romance with fellow student Hope (Diana Silvers).
Dever says there are no set plans yet to make a sequel, which some fans have already nicknamed “Booksmarter.” But she says she “really wants it to happen” and already has an idea of where she would want the story to pick up. “Maybe it’s after college, and maybe Amy is now dating Hope,” she says. “Maybe Hope ended up coming to Africa and seeing her and staying on the couch. But I have no idea. It literally could go anywhere from here, it really could.”
“Monsterland” is currently streaming on Hulu. Watch the full interview with Kaitlyn Dever above.