“Banana Split” is the directorial debut film from director Benjamin Kasulke, with a screenplay written by the film’s main star Hannah Marks and Joey Power. The film follows April (Marks) who has spent the last two years of high school in a relationship with Nick (Dylan Sprouse), from the first frantic make-out session to final tear-stained breakup. In the aimless summer between graduation and college, the newly single April mends her heartbreak by striking up an unexpected friendship with an unlikely candidate: Nick’s new girlfriend, Clara (Liana Liberato).
Our writer Mique Watson jumped at the chance to speak to actress Addison Riecke regarding the film after reviewing the film for ITOL. Below, we hear from Addison about how she became involved in the project, what drew her to this story and the character of Agnes. You can read Mique’s interview with director, Benjamin Kasulke here.
**Note: Questions below by Mique Watson are in bold. Addison’s replies are in italic**
What I appreciate most about this film is how it pushes back against the venomous trope of two girls finding reasons to hate one another because of the things which make them insecure. The alternative here was friendship; how did you feel this correlated with your character and Hannah’s character?
I feel like even though Agnes is annoying to her sister on the surface level, and bugs her all the time with being the most shocking that she can be, there’s a loving family dynamic at the core of it, underneath what happens at family dinner.
What particular aspects of the film spoke the most to you?
I really enjoyed how Banana Split explored the idea of finding an unlikely friendship out of a situation everyone has learned to find an enemy in. Everyone always thinks that you’re not supposed to like the new girlfriend or the ex-girlfriend, which creates a toxic competition for anyone entering into a relationship. But it doesn’t have to be like that – you could find your best friend in that person and never would have known it if you just went with what you thought you were “supposed” to do.
I also love how technology was looped into April’s narrative. The audience got to see what was going on in her mind through what she was doing on her phone, and got to see those thoughts in a different way than just saying them. I think it’s really difficult to do this organically, and Banana Split did a great job of flowing it perfectly into the film.
It was noticeable to me that neither Clara nor April were defined by their relationship with Nick; this is another trope that was undercut here. With that being said: what would you say defined each character–what made each of them special to you?
Each character is super different, which I think is really important in a movie. They all play off of each other really well with their own differences, but are all the same in the sense that they truly care about each other.
Who do you hope sees this film, and what is the one thing you hope they take away from it?
I hope anyone and everyone sees this movie. I think everyone will be able to relate to some aspect of it. There’s a great friendship, along with making mistakes and growing into the person you’re becoming as a teenager, and I think both teenagers and adults can look at that time in life and really relate it to the film.
This film reminded me of recent films, namely, “Booksmart” and “Eighth Grade”; a new genre of teen movies which seem to have good role models. Is this something you’ve noticed, and were good role models something that you found in this film?
This is definitely something I’ve noticed. I feel like a lot of new teen/young adult movies have carved themselves a new, different path in the film world for a new generation. There’s a great coming of age feel with good role models who feel very real, and you could 100% relate them to yourself or someone you know. April is definitely a great role model in this, and I think the main reason why is because she isn’t perfect. She doesn’t make all the right decisions and have everything turn out like it’s supposed to, because no one does that. Everyone makes mistakes and does the wrong thing, it’s a part of growing up. She shows how to do away with her preconceived notions of someone and find a great friendship out of it, and I think that’s really important for today’s youth.
Lastly, besides banana splits, what are your favourite desserts?
I love brownies so much. And chocolate cake and Oreos. Basically anything chocolate, I’m down for.
BANANA SPLIT IS OUT ON Digital and On Demand this Friday, March 27th. Check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/RAyEV3Mhvl0