When it comes to music biopics, many entries into the genre tend to go with flashy, instantly recognizable titles: Elvis , Bohemian Rhapsody , Rocketman , the list goes on and on. But when this came in order to naming their memoir-turned-TV show, the Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara went for a name as universal as they come: High School .
It’s fitting, then, that their own new Amazon Freevee series has no interest in jumping ahead to the twin sisters’ rise to fame. We may know where the two end up, but the teenage Tegan and Sara at the heart of Senior high school sure don’t. The eight-episode first season takes its time fleshing out the everyday minutiae of the girls’ grunge ’90s adolescence as these people first explore music plus partying and queerness, while wrestling with the ever-present anxiety associated with growing up and growing apart.
To bring young Tegan plus Sara to life, High School tapped 21-year-old TikTokers Seazynn and Railey Gilliland, who Tegan initial encountered via her For You Page (yes, really). While casting off of social media is a new and risky gambit, the newcomers turn in grounded yet scruffy performances befitting a show quietly engulfed in teen angst.
Each of the show’s 30-minute episodes is broken into two parts along with alternating points of view. High School mainly follows Tegan and Sara, yes, but it’s windows into other characters’ lives — such as their particular loving yet spread-thin parents (Cobie Smulders and Kyle Bornheimer), or burgeoning love interests Phoebe (Olivia Rouyre) and Maya (Amanda Fix) — that give the coming-of-age series refreshing creative depth, subtly mining the ways in which the characters’ private struggles can alienate them from others, regardless of where they’re at in life. It all makes for the tender, intimate coming-of-age drama that reimagines what a biopic could (and should) be.
Decider spoke in order to the show’s cast plus creators about Tegan and Sara boot camp, TikTok spreading, their hopes for Season 2, and more.
On Bringing High School From Page to Screen
Clea DuVall (Co- showrunner): I’ve been friends with Tegan plus Sara for a very long time, and we’ve collaborated on a lot of projects together. They sent me an early copy of their book and I read it and fell in like with this, and can just so clearly see it as a television display.
So I approached them plus asked them if they would let me adapt it, and luckily they will said yes. [Co-showrunner Laura Kittrell and I] had a lot associated with conversations along with them about what they felt comfortable with in terms of what from the book they did not want on the particular show, and what they experienced comfortable along with us fictionalizing. We just kept all of them very in the loop when it comes to exactly what roads we were going down, and how we were telling their story.
Sara Quin (Executive producer): Clea did this kind of an amazing job of finding those really important moments from your memoir that helped shape us as young women, as queer people, as artists, plus build out that world.
It’s really moving and beautiful. More interesting than probably what happened in our real lives. If I’m being honest, we simply did a lot more drugs.
Upon Casting Railey and Seazynn As Young Tegan plus Sara
Tegan Quin (Executive producer): The first [TikTok] video I remember seeing was just Railey giving a tour of her car, and she was talking regarding her lunch, and am just thought it was actually funny. And so i went plus looked in her some other videos and realized she was a twin. And right away, [I] was like, “Oh, my God. These twins remind me of us when we were in high school. ” I delivered a bunch of videos to Sara, and we kind of became obsessed.
Sara: I am not just saying this because it’s the sound bite. I knew the second that we saw Railey upon TikTok that will she has been gonna play Tegan. Plus then when we found Seazynn, I was like, “Seazynn is so me. ” These types of kids are literally born to play Tegan and Sara. They’re therefore cool.
Tegan: We pushed to include Seazynn and Railey in the casting process, even though they weren’t actors or musicians. Sometimes you just have something special about you, and I think Seazynn plus Railey are really watchable.
So many of the twins that auditioned were amazing, but they already felt like, “We’re stars and music artists, and all of us know that we are! ” And there was simply something regarding Seazynn and Railey’s audition tape. I mean, Seazynn didn’t even wanna do it! And you can feel it. It made you like the girl, and I think it makes their performances so compelling on screen, because they are feeling the discomfort. They are usually feeling the newness associated with the whole situation, and i believe it just adds in order to the tale.
Laura Kittrell (Co-showrunner): The early [casting] conversations were a little fearful.
Clea: A little, like, “Are you away of your mind? ”
Laura: A little that will. But because soon since Seazynn plus Railey started taking acting classes, and they auditioned for us, and we actually saw them putting the particular work within and doing it, it seemed a no-brainer. I cannot imagine anyone else doing these parts.
On Seazynn and Railey’s High College Boot Camp
Seazynn Gilliland (young Sara): We were going to performing class probably three, four times a week, and after that having music lessons one to 2 times the week.
Railey Gilliland (young Tegan): It had been for six months total, because we took acting plus music lessons while filming, but also three months prior. We moved to L. A. for three months, so we could take the classes.
And it was a lot, coming through what I understood. I was working in a pizza shop, and We originally did not even want to leave my job, and I actually did. And I think what was most surprising was how much fun I had been having in acting classes. They never forced too much. There was an understanding there.
Seazynn: I love my guitar teacher. They were great, and super helpful. Everybody that people worked with was simply so understanding, and the majority of helpful people. So it made everything so much a lot more fun and doable.
On the Twin Parallels
Tegan: This was the particular first period we’d really spent any time with other twins who are girls and who are close plus queer. We’re like [Seazynn and Railey’s] annoying moms that are constantly bringing this up, but there are usually so many parallels.
They were discovered at the same age that all of us were, basically. And they were thrust into this adult globe with expectations and pressure… way more than we all had, at the same age. We signed our record deal at 20, and these people signed on to play these characters at twenty.
Sara: I has been just therefore excited to meet other twins like us. I’ve never met another identical set of twin babies who had been alternative and cool and grew up in a similar way. In order to us, they were famous. These were big on TikTok.
Tegan: I can remember Seazynn and Railey asking about people recognizing [them] at a supermarket plus being like, “What do we say? ” Plus I’m like, “I don’t understand! You’re on TikTok! You have millions of likes, why are a person asking me personally this? ”
Sara: Everything that happens within the show is really exciting to me, yet when I see Seazynn and Railey upon screen, I realize exactly how new that is. I just haven’t seen twins represented on display this way. We are making twins cool. It is never already been that cool to be a twin, you know?
On All Those POVs
Clea: Because We know [Tegan and Sara], I know all the particular people inside their planet. And I actually know how expansive their world is. And part of exactly what I saw in the show has been just being able to [do] some thing Tegan plus Sara couldn’t do in their memoir. Because they were writing regarding their experiences, they could not really discover other people, but a TV show could make their entire world bigger.
This felt including a very fascinating way to explore character and relationships in a story where all the people you’re closest to are the particular people who know the least about you. The audience are the only ones who actually know the figures in the many intimate way.
Laura: It was 1 of my favorite things about those 1st scripts that Clea wrote. When a POV shift happened, I used to be like, “Here we go! ” It really sold me on it.
Clea: Their mom was a character who else I had been really excited to discover more, due to the fact she’s such a fascinating woman and has so much in order to do with who Tegan and Sara are. Plus then getting Cobie Smulders, she’s simply unbelievable. Being able to write for her, too, was really exciting.
Upon Hopes with regard to Season two
Clea: I think only [exploring] their own journey while musicians. I think their particular trajectory is just so, so layered plus interesting.
Tegan: I believe the exploration of some of the bad behavior, as well as the disconnect between Tegan and Sara that will pulses through the book, I hope we continue to see that within the show.
Sara: I’m therefore hopeful that will we get another season or two, because I think there [are] still such important moments from the particular memoir, if I do say so myself, that I would love to observe represented upon screen. Not just the stuff around romantic relationships, yet I believe that this dynamic between the Tegan and Sara characters, it’s so textured and complicated. And to notice them become, like, local celebrities like they start to build out there their career. I get really capable to imagine what that looks like on display screen.
Tegan: We wanna know what happens next for all the character types, because there’s gonna be a fictionalized version of the story. I’m really thrilled to see the continuing hunt for sexuality plus music. A lot more tears!
Abby Monteil is the New York-based writer. Her work offers also appeared in The particular Daily Beast, Insider, Them, Thrillist, Elite Daily, and others.