‘Firefly Lane’ Stars on Their Friendship On and Offscreen and Eerie Connections: ‘It’s Like I’m Watching a Version of Myself’

Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl and their younger counterparts in the Netflix series tell TheWrap about developing their dynamic

Netflix’s “Firefly Lane” captures a friendship that transcends the obstacles of distance, age and time as well as all kinds of rifts, arguments and betrayals (for the most part). 

Spanning four decades, many trends and countless defining historical moments, “Firefly Lane” chronicles this core female friendship and how it weathers life’s challenges, and stars Sarah Chalke, Katherine Heigl, Roan Curtis and Ali Skovbye told TheWrap about their onscreen chemistry and the twists and turns of Season 2.

While they form a close friendship almost instantly, Kate and Tully could not be more opposite, both in personality and in their life goals, ambitions, desires and dreams.

Music plays a role all on its own throughout the series as well, and Heigl and Chalke had swift answers to which song would most accurately represent their characters.

Chalke chose U2’s “Beautiful Day” for her grownup version of Kate Mularkey.

“I think that’s how Kate wakes up. I think she’s always gotten up thinking ‘Oh it’s a beautiful day,’” she said. “And then it maybe sometimes goes downhill from there, but I think her general cup is half full, and I think that’s the way she walks through the world.”

“The first thing that came to mind is — ‘I’m Every Woman,’ and I think they literally chose that for a scene for Tully,” Heigl added.

At the teenage end of the spectrum, 26-year-old Roan Curtis portrays the younger version of Kate Mularkey and 20-year old Ali Skovbye portrays Tallulah ‘Tully’ Hart.

Curtis — who actually first worked with Skovbye’s sister Tierra (the two are closer in age) — says that she and Skovbye had no problem forming a bond both on and offscreen.

“I feel like that was the easiest part. It’s funny we describe it we both described it as like, going into that evening knowing we were gonna meet each other was like the worst first date jitters you could possibly get but like, times 1000 because we were like, ‘We’re gonna be spending potentially years together,’” Curtis told TheWrap. “We would have made it work regardless but it was like that thing of, I really hope we like each other, really hope we’re friends,’ and and we met and it was just like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s it we’re best friends.’”

From left to right: Roan Curtis, Ali Skovbye, Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl in Netflix's "Firefly Lane"

Skovbye agrees, sharing that a day does not go by without her texting Curtis.

“It’s amazing that we clicked so well because I rarely I feel like you click with someone that well, like you get along pretty well with people but where it’s a connection that true. I feel like it’s pretty rare and we’re truly so close. I don’t think there was any scene that was hard to build with you, every scene with her was made immediately easier because we’re so present and there for each other and connected to each other.” 

When Curtis’ and Skovbye’s versions of Kate and Tully meet in the 1970’s, they become more than neighbors on Firefly Lane in Snohomish, Washington. They see each other through the ups and downs of junior high and then high school, with Tully moving around in between her hippie mother Cloud’s nomadic lifestyle and her grandmother’s more structured one while Kate stays put in the same house.

“It’s kind of incredible because [it was] like life imitating art and as we were becoming friends on the show, we were becoming friends in real life,” Curtis said. “Which was really incredible, and I think that lends real authenticity to it.”

Skovbye shares just how real and raw their emotional connection can get.

“Specifically [for the] emotional scenes, all I would have to do is like look at her for literally no more than 10 seconds and I was probably crying,” she said. “Or even just like unknowingly grab her hand and squeeze it for like a second and like immediately — talking about it makes me want to cry. I don’t know what it is about [Roan], I can’t even describe it. I think it’s just energetically, we’re so connected and zoned in on each other.”

Curtis teared up as well — adding that she’s all water in her astrological chart.

“I think there’s just like a deep sense of knowing with both of us and it was — ‘Oh God why am I like this,’ but it’s like we met each other and it was like we had known each other forever,” she said. “It’s like this sense of safety in an industry where things can be a little chaotic and this was a new experience for both of us. Having that was like the biggest gift I could possibly come away with in all of this — a best friend, and how serendipitous.”

The deep sense of knowing does not end there, because Curtis and Skovbye have eerie amounts of characteristics in common with their older onscreen counterparts Sarah Chalke, who portrays adult Kate Mularkey Ryan, and Katherine Heigl, who plays the adult version of Tully Hart.

“We met [Ali and Roan] for the first time at the table read and I remember just looking up across the table and my jaw was on the floor,” Chalke said. “They’re both so talented and and have so many just innate similarities to [Katherine] and I, and very bizarre things that we have in common like Roan and I both have never lost the limbo competition. I mean, that’s very important to playing the same part, I don’t know how we would’ve done it otherwise.”

All jokes aside, Chalke enjoyed the first-time experience of sharing a character and pulling parts out of each other’s work with Curtis. Heigl feels slightly haunted by the uncanny likeness she sares with co-star Ali Skovbye.

“It’s weird sometimes. When I watched this season, especially I was like, that’s so eerie. It’s like I’m watching a version of myself,” Heigl said. “I think she figured that out kind of on her own. She didn’t like come to me or ask or spend an exorbitant amount of time with me learning my like, whatever. She just, she’s that good. She just did it.”

Heigl didn’t get to really sit down with Skovbye and Curtis until they wrapped filming, but once they sat down for wine and cheese together, she immediately noticed the connection.

“And I was like, ‘Oh, we do share a lot of like similar vibe.’ We share a lot of personal experiences in life, like her experiences in life are different than mine but in spirit or something it’s weirdly similar,” she said. “How do they do that? How do they cast that?”

Despite the pairs’ trajectories and timelines not overlapping much, Skovbye and Curtis were able to glean lessons from their older co-stars by watching their work (and being familiar with it).

“The main thing that helped me was watching their work,” Skovbye said. “What helped me the most was watching Katherine and what she did and being able to pick up on little things that she did, and that I can put into our timeline, and just really be able to study her and the way that she walks, the way that she talks, the way that she carries herself was really cool.”

Curtis echoes Chalke’s sentiment that they have a lot in common — besides never having lost in limbo. She also watched Chalke on “Scrubs” and her season of “How I Met Your Mother.”

“I think for me with Sarah, it was one of those things I mean, what we’ve discovered in getting to know each other — we are the same person. There’s all these bizarre similarities and it would be like like one of those things where  we’d be in the makeup trailer and everyone would be like, ‘It’s like having Sarah here,’” she said. “We’re very similar people I think energetically and all that kind of stuff. I spent so much time basically unknowingly studying her. Never did I think that I would be playing her at a later time, but I think when I found out that it was her playing Kate and I went in for my callback. I was like ‘Oh, I got this’ I have been subconsciously preparing for this role my entire life.”

“Firefly Lane” Season 2 Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix.