‘Firefly Lane’s Katherine Heigl & Sarah Chalke Preview Tully & Kate’s Fierce Friendship

Katherine Heigl Sarah Chalke Firefly Lane Netflix
Q&A
Courtesy of Netflix

Soulful, funny and sexy, this lively drama chronicles 30 years of the “you are my person” friendship between glamorous journalist Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) and sweet wife and mom Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke), unlikely besties who met as teen neighbors on Firefly Lane.

The show, based on Kristin Hannah’s 2008 bestseller, weaves together three periods of the characters’ lives: middle age in 2003, their early careers at a Seattle TV station in the 1980s and their teenage years in the ’70s (Ali Skovbye plays young Tully; Roan Curtis is Kate). The stars, whose excellent chemistry infuses each moment with real-life intensity, let us be their third wheel.

Why do Tully and Kate initially become good friends?

Katherine Heigl: Tully has a dysfunctional and traumatic youth. She’s popular but deeply lonely, isolated and can’t show anybody the truth of her life. I love the dance they do in the first couple of episodes of, can I trust you? Can I honor a friendship with you?

Sarah Chalke: Kate’s so alone too. Tully blows into town, and Kate would never dream that Tully would want to be friends with her. Kate is insecure and gains confidence through the relationship. She wants to be there for Tully in a way she sees that Tully’s family can’t.

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In the ’80s, Kate falls in love with and marries their boss, former war correspondent Johnny (Ben Lawson). How does that affect the friendship?

Heigl: The relationship between the three is complicated. Tully is ambitious through and through. She’s not thinking marriage [for herself] but feels left out and is afraid of losing the love of her life, which is Kate.

Chalke: When Kate and Johnny have a baby, it’s painful for Tully — where does she fit in? But Kate sees Tully’s [career] success and she’s lost that side of herself. Nothing is ever just one thing in this show. It’s layered.

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In the 2003 segment of the premiere, Kate is divorcing Johnny. She and Tully support each other through wild midlife sexual adventures. How was it stepping into very skimpy lingerie?

Heigl: I’ve never done sex scenes like this in my career. I embraced it because it’s so Tully. There were so many women involved [in this production], our asses were covered, literally. But at age 40, I still got it…if you shoot it properly, put a filter on the camera and pull back a bit. [Laughs]

Chalke: I had one day where I had to do three different sex scenes with three different actors. It was like, “I don’t know how to mentally accept this.” Like Katie says, we were so supported. We were part of choosing said underwear. I brought some of my own.

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Tully tests their trust more than once. Is there anything that could drive them apart?

Heigl: These two feel their safest and most true selves with one another. Once you find that, you fight tooth and nail for it for the rest of your life.

Chalke: Kate is devastated when she feels like her best friend lied to her, but she can see and understand why she did it.

Katherine Heigl Sarah Chalke Firefly Lane Tully Kate

(Courtesy of Netflix)

TV has exploded recently with dramas about the complexities of womanhood. What does Kate and Tully’s saga reveal about the female experience?

Heigl: How choices can change for women over time. Kate starts out ambitious, realizes she wants [a family] and then goes back in the workforce but finds it’s not everything she thought it would be.

Chalke: Their love and acceptance of each other helps us as the audience to go, “Yeah, I have friends who have chosen this path, and I’ve chosen this [different] path.” What I love is the diversity of these characters’ spirits. There is no right way or wrong way to be a woman. There is just your way.

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Firefly Lane, Series Premiere, Wednesday, February 3, Netflix