Almost everyone can identify with the “make or break” moment in a relationship, which makes the new Netflix film “Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between” nearly universal in its potential reach — the film’s entire plot revolves around that crucial moment. And for stars Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder, delving that deeply into a relationship’s breaking point meant they needed to get to know each other incredibly fast.
Based on the book by Jennifer E. Smith, the story chronicles Aidan (Fisher) and Claire’s (Ryder) last night together before Claire leaves for college the next day. The couple had originally begun their relationship with the understanding that they’d break up before heading into this next chapter, and on one last epic date, Aidan reminds Claire of all their special moments together, bringing them to revisit the highs and lows of their relationship. Along the way, they must consider whether they really want to stick to the plan and go their separate ways.
“It was evident that we were going to have to become very close very quickly for this to work because in taking on a project like this, there’s nothing superficial about it,” Fisher, who also produced the film, told TheWrap in a recent interview. “We were going to be tasked with being able to have conversations with a kind of flow that only two people that deeply love one another and have spent a lot of time together could have.”
“We both got down to the nitty gritty with each other as soon as possible. We were day two talking about family trauma, and that let us have — Claire and Aidan got to have inside jokes. Claire and Aiden got to have handshakes and give cute looks to each other,” Fisher added.
Aidan meets Claire at a party right before the start of their senior year of high school. Claire approaches the party a bit shyly, waiting for her friend Stella (Ayo Edebiri) before walking inside the house.
“I hadn’t seen such an intricate character in a rom-com like this before who is a romantic and loving person but with all of these walls up,” Ryder — who also starred in the 2020 indie film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” — said. “It was a really interesting dynamic to explore and, as someone coming into adulthood, I feel like my life is full of change and confusion and transition and that’s what the story is about, and I think it shines light on relationships and love in kind of an unconventional way. It’s really human, and it’s also just a really fun story.”
Claire has moved around a lot with her single mom, who is dating a new guy where they currently live. Her parents were high school sweethearts, but they didn’t end up working out. Claire is determined to not repeat their mistake, specifically when it comes to taking a relationship to college.
“One of the things I did as soon as I started to dig into the script and to Claire, I made a playlist for her, because I feel like whenever I’m in an emotional period of my life or going through something I turn to music,” Ryder said. “I tried to pick a song for each of her bigger moments in the film, and I ended up creating what I think is a pretty good playlist for Claire that I’d listen to on set every day or have before certain scenes.”
Aidan’s character, like Fisher, is musical. At their meet cute Halloween party, he belts out “Twist and Shout” dressed as Ferris Bueller. Rather than head towards med school, which his parents (who are both doctors) want him to pursue, Aidan dreams of going to music school at Berklee.
“I relate more to Claire than I do Aidan to be totally honest with you. But there’s a a real Hakuna Matata kind of thing where Aiden is concerned that is just it’s so infectious,” Fisher said. “And for me, I was like, okay, well, that would be a lot of fun to play, and as an actor, it’s not going to require too much of me to figure out how to make Aiden work.”
When they first get together, Claire explains why she doesn’t want to get into a relationship — they only have a year and she wants to go to college single — and Aidan goes along with it at first, but as they keep dating, he starts to think they can make it work long distance.
“Talia was going to have a lot harder time with Claire, because this character’s got to be so likeable in circumstances that are written for her to not necessarily be as likeable and she does it so beautifully,” Fisher said. “My preparation process more so came from ‘how can I help construct what the relationships between these characters are supposed to feel like and be?’ so that it feels as human and organic and natural as possible to viewers at home.”
Each actor experienced a “first” while making this film. For Fisher — who had a key acting role in the Netflix sequel “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” — it was his first project as a producer. And Ryder lived on her own for the first time during production.
“The biggest thing I learned was just learning about myself in terms of what it’s like to live on your own also,” she said. “We talked a lot about ourselves and our past relationships and love languages and our attachment styles. We really spent a lot of time talking about it and I feel like I got free relationship therapy.”
Ryder hopes that people feel seen and understood after watching the film.
“I felt understood when I read about Claire and just the concept of falling in love and being thrown off your track and wanting to explore something new but also wanting to stay true to yourself and to the life that you have envisioned for yourself,” she said.
Fisher boils his wish down to hoping people come out the other end seeing a new side of things.
“What I hope people take away from this is just another perspective,” he said. “These characters are going through such a specific thing, but it’s about everything else. It’s about all of it. All of the relationships, all of the friendships, the planning, the feigning perfection, because it’s a coping mechanism, all of the mental health stuff that you can pull out of this stuff, all of the real honest relationship stuff the tearing down of the toxic masculinity, the bridging the gap for young professional women that have goals and their sights set that feel you know, like social culture dictates that they should live their life a certain way. All of that stuff.”
“Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between” is now streaming on Netflix.