If it’s Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and you’re not playing Juliet, how is it that Kaitlyn Dever is the top-billed star?
Sure, Romeo and Juliet are very much present in Dever’s new movie – but it’s called “Rosaline” for a reason.
A comedic take on the Bard’s classic, Dever, 25, is Romeo’s great love who even shares that iconic balcony scene where he athletically climbs to woo her with flowery language. But when Romeo meets Juliet at a dance, she immediately becomes his new flame. That leaves a rejected and clearly upset Rosaline in his wake.
“Romeo would fall in love with a stick if you’d let him,” observed Kyle Allen (“West Side Story”), of the slightly dim version of Romeo he plays here. “He’s completely obsessed with the concept and the idea of love. And other than that, that’s pretty much the entirety of his personality. He doesn’t have much else going on.”
“Rosaline is mentioned in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ but she’s a very, very, very small role in the story,” said Dever, a recent Emmy nominee as a tragic Purdue Pharma victim in “Dopesick.” “Because of that, this was actually really exciting.
“Because you can do anything and everything you want, the character that I created with Karen [Maine, the director] was something where we just felt you could go for it in so many ways. I was having so much fun with the role. I appreciated and admired her determination, fearlessness and her drive.
“But always playing up the comedy. It was really easy to go there and just have the most fun. Be outrageous sometimes, and sarcastic and comedic.”
If Romeo in this version will go off to a future with Juliet, can Rosaline perhaps find true love in Dario, a man we quickly notice is leagues above Romeo in matters of the heart, head and sailing?
“Dario really understands Rosaline,” Dever said, “and she doesn’t necessarily see that right away.”
“The thing that drew me to playing Dario,” said the English actor Sean Teale (“The Gifted,” “Mr. Selfridge”), “is something that I didn’t have, which is that he just doesn’t mind what anyone thinks of him or how he appears. He is a certain way — and I do not possess that trait at all. I’m scared about everyone’s opinion!
“But Dario manages to be a lot more progressive than a man would be in that time. Of course he’s completely drawn to this brilliant, funny, charismatic, driven, diligent, independent woman. At a time where that was not as easy to be or do.
“But it soon becomes very obvious to him.”
“Rosaline” streams on Hulu Oct. 14