[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 1 finale of Ginny and Georgia, “The Worst Betrayal Since Jordyn and Kylie.”]
There’s been plenty of great TV made before about unconventional mother-daughter relationships, but Ginny and Georgia does find a fresh spin on it. Starring Brianne Howey as a 30-year-old single mother who moves with her 15-year-old daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry) and nine-year-old son Austin (Diesel La Torraca) to a small New England town in search of a fresh start, the new Netflix dramedy might draw comparisons to another show about the very young mother of a teenager. But as Howey notes below, Lorelai Gilmore doesn’t have anything close to Georgia’s edge.
In a 1:1 interview with Collider, Howey and Gentry reveal how they reacted to first receiving these scripts, what it was like when they met each other for the first time during the audition process, and what surprised them most about the show’s twists and turns. They also explain where their respective characters are emotionally at the end of the season, and if there’s room for a reunion should the show be renewed for a second season.
So to start off, how did you come to this project, and what was your reaction when reading those first scripts?
ANTONIA GENTRY: Well, I had just graduated from Emory University here in Atlanta. And so I was pretty swamped with all of my finals and trying to figure out what I’m going to be doing. And so when I got the audition for the show, I thought, wow, this is a really great character, but I’m so busy. I’m going to submit the audition, but we’ll see what happens if anything happens. And then I got the call and I flew out multiple times. It was very, very exciting. And I couldn’t believe that I had booked something so quickly after graduating. It was like a boon came from the heavens and landed in my lap and everything. Everyone was so amazing. It was really, really incredible.
BRIANNE HOWEY: I was actually out of town when they started casting. I was in Europe and I remember talking to my team saying, This is incredible. Is there any chance I could go in in-person as soon as I get home in just a few days? And they said, honestly, it’s such a good role, it’s highly unlikely it would still be available. Like it will probably be cast by then. So I was pretty disappointed. I got home 24 hours later. They’re like, can you put yourself on tape immediately? So I jumped at the opportunity, sent in my tape on a Friday, by Monday I was in person with them.
I think two days later, [Antonia] flew out again. We get our chemistry read together and when I walked in, she gave me the biggest hug. She was the most beautiful, talented, sweet young woman. And then I looked around and it was just a room full of all women. I’ve never really had that in an audition experience, where it was majority women — let alone all women. And it was incredibly disarming and exciting. And I knew they were people I would love to have the opportunity to get to work with.
GENTRY: I read with so many actresses for Georgia and Brianne walked into the door, just like a phantom wind blew in, and all of our hair was blowing at her glorious beauty and talent and smile. It was just the jackpot for sure.
It’s funny because you hear about chemistry reads for people who are going to be romantic couples, but I feel like a chemistry read for this project makes so much sense, because you guys are together so much.
HOWEY: It’s all about the relationship, and the mother-daughter relationship is so unique and you can’t manufacture that. So being able to connect with each other on a very real level was crucial.
So the script literally called out Gilmore Girls as a reference point. Was it a relief to have that out there and have the characters acknowledge it?
HOWEY: 100 percent. And I think it was really fun. We put it in the trailer too. So it’s out there and look, we love Gilmore Girls, I grew up watching Gilmore Girls, but I think pretty quickly the audience will be able to feel that, tonally, it is a different show. It’s a little bit edgier and the messaging is different.
I mean, I don’t remember the Gilmore Girls ever murdering anyone.
HOWEY: Oh, you don’t? That doesn’t matter. Lorelai wasn’t about that life.
GENTRY: I mean, maybe… Probably not.
Aside from what happened naturally for you guys, what was key to building that relationship between the characters for you?
GENTRY: I felt like Brianne was just immediately like my big sister., She was just so… We’re only eight years apart in real life and in the show they’re only 15 years apart, so there wasn’t too much of a generational gap between them, and definitely not between us in real life. So all of those mother-daughter moments were really just us really enjoying each other. And I think it was pretty easy, actually, to do those scenes. For me, anyway.
HOWEY: Yeah, 100 percent.
In terms of what happens over the course of the season, the mysteries are layered in such a way where it’s not like a murder mystery, but there is enough to keep you intrigued. How much were you told, going in, about what path Season 1 would take?
HOWEY: We knew the general arcs. We knew the heavy plot points that were happening, but we didn’t always know exactly how they were going to arrive there.
GENTRY: Yeah, each time a surprise is revealed in the show… And especially when you’re filming it, you don’t really see how it’s all going to look because you’re in the middle of filming — and we also did block shooting. And so when we saw it for the first time , even though we already knew everything that was going to happen, we were so enthralled by all of the juicy reveals. It’s definitely a ride that the audience is going to have fun taking, for sure.
Of course. I mean, what caught you guys the most by surprise?
GENTRY: I think for me, honestly, partially in part because I wasn’t there for these scenes, but all that Ginny has to go through… The private pain that Ginny is suffering from and trying to deal with completely on her own. That surprised me.
HOWEY: For me, it was definitely the flashbacks and taking a peek into Georgia’s history and just seeing all of that just happen. You know, we’re not in the same timeline, so I never filmed with Nikki [Roumel] or Kyle [Bary], but watching those scenes, they’re just so much different from the bubble gum feel that you get from the regular present tense scenes. You jump back to this past that’s so, so tough and rough for her. And I think definitely when the aunt comes into town, Aunt Maddie. Kelly [McCormack], who plays her, is just absolutely incredible. It was just so… My jaw dropped, just, their relationship and the dynamic between the two of them is just so incredible and raw.
So at the end of Season 1, both characters are in very different places. Brianne, what do you think is in Georgia’s head, in those final moments when she’s on that stage?
HOWEY: I think first off, it’s a “hell yeah, we did it, I did it, we’re pulling this off”. Georgia’s house of cards is getting a little bit more stable, everything’s going according to plan. And then also, “where the hell are my children, why aren’t we there? I wanted to show off to them. They’re supposed to be here selling this story with me and where are they?”
And the same question when it comes to Ginny?
GENTRY: Yeah, when we have that whole Blue Farm scene, with Cordova dumping all of this information and, and Ginny putting that together in her head and then deciding to cover for her mother, that was such a real switch. You know, you realize she’s just like her mom in that moment. And that’s definitely a Georgia move, and there’s this real fear that she has of her mom, but she knows despite that fear, she wants to protect her family at the end of the day, just like Georgia does. And so when we see her smiling at her mom as her mom leaves to go celebrate, “Yeah, we’ll be there.” And then she runs into Marcus, “We’ll talk about this later, Marcus.” There’s a smile on her face and then she grabs her brother, and she just hops on that bike. I mean, she’s got the guts that Georgia has been teaching her this entire time.
And also, the surprise for me was just the whole fireworks thing. I was, my mind was blown when learned that what she had done with those ashes…
HOWEY: My favorite.
GENTRY: …Absolutely insane.
So to wrap things up, this very much feels like the first season of hopefully many. Where do you hope Season 2 goes? And what have you been told about where, potentially, Season 2 goes?
HOWEY: Right now, we’re really excited to share Season 1 and we’re taking it all in, and there’s nothing more that we can hope for than everyone enjoying this ride.
GENTRY: Yeah, exactly. I’m just in the moment right now. And I hope everyone, by the end of it, feel a heartwarming or a heartbreak and we’ll see what the future looks like. But right now it’s just a blast.
I mean, do you feel like Ginny and Georgia can properly reunite at some point? Or do you feel like there’s too much of a distance now, after what happened?
HOWEY: Of course they can. I need them to, yes.
GENTRY: I mean, knowing the two of them… I think, if anything, that would be the most interesting element of their relationship, that they both know, that they know, that they know…
HOWEY: We know, that they know, that we know.
GENTRY: Yeah. So how does that unfold? Who knows? But it’s so intriguing.
Georgia and Ginny Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix.
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