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So Many Questions

So Many Questions: Actress Haley Lu Richardson says tale of unplanned pregnancy has valid happy ending

| Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Tackling the issue of an unplanned pregnancy between two young adults is always a tricky one. Sway too far to the left or right, and, all of a sudden, you've got blatant agenda pushing on your hands.

Writer Kerem Sanga (“Ashley Mason,” “Trigger Finger”) managed to toe the line with beautiful precision in “The Young Kieslowski.” The story tells the tale of Brian Kieslowski (Ryan Malgarini, “Gary Unmarried”) and Leslie Mallard (Haley Lu Richardson, ABC Family's “Ravenswood”), two socially awkward, virginal college students, whose drunken one-night stand results in pregnancy. Twins, actually.

What ensues are plenty of ups, downs and about 10,000 questions that come as a result of unexpectedly expecting. For Richardson, playing the part of the brainy Mallard was intimidating at first. But one read of the script had her hooked.

“Sometimes you just get into it like you're reading a book, and you laugh and you cry and stuff,” she says. “And that's kind of what happened.”

“The Young Kieslowski” is available on demand on a variety of platforms.

Question: What kept Mallard so strong?

Answer: She is so lost, and so lonely, and knows what she wants, but has no affirmation or assurance from anybody that what she wants is the right thing, and someone's going to be there with her to want it with her. So, when I was playing her, the way I felt was that she was freaking out all the time and was so desperately searching for approval and the answers. And if she did have a full-on freak out and let people know exactly what she was feeling on the inside, it would be the end of her. So, I do think she has some strength to get through something like that, but she is a mess on the inside. She is so alone. And, sometimes, it's harder when you are alone to freak out because you don't have anyone to freak out to.

Q: Did you find Mallard's attitude toward impending motherhood surprising?

A: Yeah, I think she always knew that (abortion) wasn't a possibility for her. I thought a lot about that … not for any other reason besides the fact that she has babies inside her and doesn't want to get rid of them. And also, going back to the fact that she's so alone and doesn't have anyone, she doesn't want to get rid of something that could make her less alone. I don't really think it's surprising when you look at her life from that point.

Q: What was the secret behind the film's ability to present a very tricky subject without any obvious agenda pushing?

A: Well, I don't think Kerem wrote this script with an agenda. He wrote this script because he's a twin, and the story of his mom and dad is very similar to Leslie and Kieslowski. So, I think that's the agenda that he wrote the script with. He didn't write the script with the agenda of anti-abortion. So, I think that was the trick. He wrote it because he has this story and was passionate about the two characters and not the subject matter.

Q: How would you describe Brian Kieslowski?

A: A character! He's a little bit of a little nugget — he's so badly trying to do the right thing all the time, but so miserably fails. Kind of like most guys. He really wants to do the right thing, but he can't bring himself to do it. So, he means well. … He does mean well.

Q: Would you say that Leslie Mallard got her happy ending?

A: I think she did. I think she got exactly what was supposed to happen. At the end of the movie, when her dad comes and everything works with the babies and that last moment she and Brian share, I think she was maybe the happiest she's ever been in that moment.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at kbenz@tribweb.com, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.

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