For Kaitlyn Dever, starring as the titular heroine in Hulu’s “Rosaline” was a dream come true. She tells POPSUGAR that she first heard about the project — which reimagines “Romeo and Juliet” from the perspective of Romeo’s first love and Juliet’s cousin, Rosaline — years ago when she was 15. The actor, now 25, says that even when she read the script back then, “it was always something that was super special,” adding, “I think society needs time to catch up with certain projects.” The movie stayed in her head as an idea, and when screenwriter Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber called her up to ask if she wanted the lead part for real, she was thrilled.
During the film’s production, she met two of her idols: Minnie Driver and Bradley Whitford, whom she calls “icons and literal legends.” Dever admits she is a huge fan of the movie “Ella Enchanted,” which made her starstruck when she first met Driver. “This was my moment with her,” she explains “It was like I couldn’t even believe that she is playing the nurse in this movie. I really can’t believe it. Working with her was just such a joy.” She calls Driver “such a pro” and explains that she learned a lot from watching her on set.
“I love Bradley so much,” she adds of Whitford. “It was really difficult to be in scenes with him sometimes because he is just so funny and good at ad-libbing and would say things that caught me off guard,” she explains. “It was really hard to keep a straight face. . . The two of them are just perfect in their roles in every way, and I really can’t believe that I got to work with them.”
“We didn’t need any caffeine when they turned out,” Dever’s costar, Sean Teale, who plays Rosaline’s love interest Dario, jokes. “It was special.” Teale previously worked with Driver on the 2014 Lifetime miniseries “The Red Tent.” “This job is great because it’s full of very special people,” he adds.
Teale also first auditioned for the movie about eight or nine years ago, he says. At the time he went out for Romeo, but he was “too young.” But when he started auditioning for Dario more recently, he and Dever did their final chemistry reads for Rosaline and Dario over Zoom. “That was really special. We knew right away,” Dever says of their instant connection.
Rosaline and Dario are similar characters, in that they’re both basically creations for the movie. Rosaline is mentioned in the text of “Romeo and Juliet,” but she never actually appears on stage, and once Romeo falls for Juliet, she’s forgotten. Dario is an invention of the film, a former soldier that Rosaline’s father (Whitford) hopes to marry her off to.
Teale says that it was nice not having “canonical stresses” about Dario, but that making a brand new character “comes with its own issues.” He played around a lot with Dever and Maine to find the right balance for the character. “You have to tow a line with Dario that works as abrasive but also emotionally present and not too standoffish that he becomes offensive,” he explains.
Dever says that the movie gave her the freedom to play around with her character, too. She says Rosaline is, in a lot of ways, a “heightened” version of herself. “The sarcasm and her humor and also her intelligence is something that I really wanted to land” while also giving the right space to her emotional beats, she says.
“You can really do a lot with this kind of material and you can really go for it in so many ways, which is really, really exciting as an actor,” she explains. “Especially when you have a director who is allowing you to do those things and to be free and play around.” She says that director Karen Maine let everyone bring their own “flare and nuance” to their parts, which allowed them to find “their own really special specificities.” “Everybody’s so funny in this movie,” she adds.
“Rosaline” is streaming now on Hulu.