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Haley Lu Richardson is a bright talent that doesn’t seem to settle for the ordinary or shallow when it comes to her roles. She starred alongside Cole Sprouse in Five Feet Apart, found a supporting role in M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback thriller Split, worked with John Cho in the 2017 critically acclaimed drama Columbus and played a role in one of the most refreshing coming-of-age movies in the past decade, The Edge of Seventeen. So… yeah, she knows how to pick ‘em. Her latest movie, HBO Max’s Unpregnant, beautifully brings to light the issue of abortion access, while it simultaneously serves as a blast of a road trip comedy.
Her character Veronica learns first hand the insane lengths women under 18 must go to in order to follow through with her choice to have an abortion by driving cross country with her ex-BFF Bailey (Barbie Ferreira). But she also learns a lot about how she’s approaching her life and social circles. In celebration of Unpregnant’s relevant discussions, I asked Haley Lu Richardson about the role that changed her perspective on life the most. Check out her response during our recent CinemaBlend interview below:
Haley Lu Richardson cited her work in Five Feet Apart as a role that “really affected” her through her getting close to the cystic fibrosis community in preparation for the movie. The romantic drama, which came out in 2019, sheds light on the often life-threatening disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. She delved into the role by hanging out with Claire Wineland, who opened up to Richardson about her struggles in with cystic fibrosis which began when she was a child.
After the YouTuber spoke with Richardson about Five Feet Apart, Claire Wineland died of complications during a lung transplant in late 2018. The 25-year-old actress seems to really pull herself into her roles and take great care with them. Last year, she said this to THR about taking on the role of Stella in Justin Baldoni’s Five Feet Apart:
I felt an insane responsibility, and I think Cole and Justin did too to really do it justice. It's not like this is a made-up world. It's a made-up story, but it's not a made-up world, and cystic fibrosis is such a real thing that not a lot of people know about. Being one of the first outlets that this very real disease is represented, in such a big way of a studio movie, you have to do it as right as you possibly can. You have to do as much justice to it as humanly possible. Me, Cole, Justin and Moises — pretty much all of us — felt that way. It was the No. 1 priority. Every once in a while there's movie-world things that get in the way of making things 100 percent accurate, but I hope people with CF see this movie and really realize how much we cared and how much we wanted to do them justice.
Five Feet Apart might be the perfect introduction to Haley Lu Richardson. It tells the story of Stella and Will (Sprouse), two cystic fibrosis patients who fall in love at a hospital despite the pair needing to stay six feet apart at all times due to their conditions. Unpregnant is a bit more of a lighthearted affair but continues the actress’ impressive attention to picking important roles.
Unpregnant is streaming on HBO Max now. You can also check out CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast's talk with the film’s director, Rachel Lee Goldenberg, here and read our review.