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Jenna Ortega And Maddie Ziegler Bond Over Shared Trauma In HBO Max’s The Fallout Trailer

Dramatic fiction inspired by real-life events can be as traumatic as the atrocities used for inspiration. Writer/director Megan Park’s feature film debut The Fallout looks to be a movie that deconstructs the reaction to school shootings, through exploring the lives of the survivors that are left behind. With Scream’s Jenna Ortega and Dance Moms' Maddie Ziegler bonding over that shared trauma, this upcoming drama also seems to offer a catharsis for a very fresh cultural wound. 

Shown in the first trailer released for the Warner Bros. film, which will be an HBO Max exclusive, we see Vada (Ortega) and Mia (Ziegler) introduced as girls from two different social classes. Striking up a conversation in the bathroom, it isn’t long before gunfire is heard, and their worlds are changed forever. In the aftermath of this horrific tragedy, these characters become close, as they try to figure out how to move forward in a world that feels unrecognizable. 

In this initial reel introducing The Fallout to audiences, a unique voice in teen drama is present. Through Ms. Park’s work on the thematic and visual components, a very honest story touching upon themes of grief and remembrance is presented, which is the right move when tackling something as ripped from the headlines as a school shooting. Jenna Ortega and Maddy Ziegler’s performances as the two girls at the center of it all also look phenomenal, as a true bond can be sensed in the process of bringing this story to life. 

A standout at last year’s South by Southwest festival, The Fallout is also one of Shailene Woodley’s upcoming movies. Present in the trailer as Anna, a therapist that Ortega’s Vada visits in order to cope with the shooting at her school, this project is a bit of a fitting reunion for her and Megan Park. As both were cast members on the ABC Family drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager, having both Woodley and Park present to hand the torch down to another generation of young dramatic performances rooted in reality is rather appropriate. 

Though judging by what Ms. Woodley has said in the past about her experience on that show, that series may have influenced Ms. Park’s approach to this story. The entire first look we’ve been granted is permeated with a feeling of grounded truth. While other teen dramas like fellow HBO Max resident Euphoria are just as hard hitting with what they depict, that series tends to have more of a dramatic sheen to its end result. With The Fallout, the trippiness you might expect from the Zendaya starring show isn’t present. 

How that difference will fare with viewers will be seen soon enough, as The Fallout will debut on January 27th, exclusively streaming on HBO Max. For a look at all of the other movies taking the stage this year, the 2022 release schedule is a guide you’ll want to consult. In the meantime, you can catch Jenna Ortega in Scream and Maddie Ziegler in West Side Story, both of which are currently showing only in theaters. 

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.