Rising actors Reign Edwards and Charlie Gillespie are starring in Love You Anyway, a drama being made by Wayfarer Studios and first-time director Anna Matz.
The project is part of the Six Feet Apart Experiment created by Wayfarer’s Justin Baldoni, the filmmaker behind the Disney+ drama Clouds. The initiative challenged storytellers to look past the social isolation of COVID-19 and use the current circumstances to fuel the film project.
In Love You Anyway, the evolving formats of home video chronicle the life of a young girl, Mackenzie (Edwards), from birth to womanhood as she experiences the highs and lows of life alongside her childhood best friend, Lucas (Gillespie). As Mackenzie’s struggle with depression worsens over the years, she’s forced to find the will to fight alongside the people who love her most.
According to Wayfarer, the film hopes to show how mental health issues develop and evolve, and ultimately how they are dealt with and conquered through love and support. Matz and her cinematographer, Andrés Aragón, are shooting much of the film on iPhone, stemming from a desire to be authentic with the formats and the moments seen in the film. Wayfarer said the filmmakers believe this form of capture will lead to raw performances, filmed by the actors themselves, that remain true to the moments of connection, relationship and individuality that people have saved on their phones.
“With this story, my main concern was always remaining authentic to the experiences of young people growing up, falling in love, and learning to live with the challenges they face,” said Matz. “In Mackenzie’s journey specifically, I wanted to create a means of understanding mental health in a way not often seen on the screen. I hope that this story can show mentally healthy people the complexity of depression as well as showing those with depression that there is a future for them in this world.”
Gillian White (The Oval) is also on board as Mackenzie’s mother, while others castmembers inlcude Akira Akbar, Ryan McCartan and Anna Grace Barlow.
Part of the Six Feet Apart Experiment involves having first-time directors paired with established filmmakers. Matz, who is 23 and graduated from Biola University’s Cinema and Media Arts program last year, is being mentored by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directors behind Bad Boys for Life.
Edwards will be seen this December as one of the leads of Amazon drama series The Wilds and is also part of the cast of FX’s Snowfall. Other recent credits include horror pic Hellfest and a recurring role in MacGyver. She is repped by manager Nils Larsen of Integral Artists, Hyperion and attorney Alex Kohner of Morris Yorn.
Gillespie is enjoying a breakout moment thanks to his work in Netflix’s popular YA series Julie and the Phantoms. He is repped by Luber Roklin, Atlas Artists, Vanderwerff Talent and Meyer & Downs.