Real-life best friends Tara Karsian and Andrea Grano, who acted in, wrote and produced the hilarious and poignant BFFs, are truly genuine and hugely talented women. The movie’s portrayal of their onscreen relationship mirrors their connection in real life, characterized by witty banters, snide remarks and unconditional love for one another. The only aspect of the film that isn’t based in reality is their romantic interest in one another, as portrayed in the film.
“We did have an ongoing joke that people probably thought we were together because of the way we banter,” said Grano. “It’s almost like a relationship. And that was the genesis of the idea.”
With an 11 year-long friendship that began with Karsian and Grano working together on a play, the two’s trust in and commitment to each other is unparalleled. That’s why it was a no-brainer for the two to collaborate on this project.
Tackling the task of producing, writing and acting was no easy feat for the pair (though the latter came naturally, as both women are seasoned actors). But they motivated one another every step of the way, and each appreciate the support and laughs the other had provided during the daunting process.
“I personally couldn’t have done it alone,” said Karisan, “and that’s why I think having my BFF there with me was the only way I could have done it.”
“It’s a complete and implicit trust in one another,” said Grano. “We did the whole thing with not even a handshake.”
Their friendship is the strongest point in the film, and sets BFFs apart from any other dramatic comedy out there. It’s rare that movies portray a friendship between two female characters that isn’t characterized by cattiness and competition. Karsian and Grano hoped to offer a different, more positive perspective on female friendships in their movie, drawing from their experience with one another.
“Both of us are a little tired of seeing female friendships in movies portrayed as not supportive of each other,” said Karisan. “It’s just not our reality, and I think that’s important especially for younger women to see that.”
The women were surprised to see the effect their movie had on certain audiences due to the film’s exploration of sexuality. Kat and Sam’s realization that they had feelings for one another (while each had only been in romantic relationships with men previously), is a message that spoke to women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who made discoveries about their sexuality later on in life. As a result, Karsian and Grano brought BFFs to both mainstream and LGBT film festivals.
Audiences not only appreciated the film’s theme of fluidity in sexuality, but also of the power of friendship, which could sometimes lead to falling for your best friend. Karsian can understand that feeling.
"As you get older, you start looking back at past relationships,” she said, “and most of the time your best relationships are with your friends.”
Strong and multitalented women in their own right, Karsian and Grano both see the significance of women breaking boundaries and creating on their own terms. Grano admires female directors who "kick some serious ass," and cited Kathryn Bigelow as one of her creative inspirations.
“I just love seeing women who aren’t in a subcategory of ‘women directors’,” she said. “They’re just great writers, directors, producers. I think that’s really important not to become a subcategory.”
Karsian gives huge props to young women who get their voice out there despite criticism and obstacles.
“You have to applaud the Lena Dunhams of the world who are out there at such a young age doing what she’s doing,” she said. “It’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but you can’t say she’s not out there doing it well.”
While working on getting BFFs out there, both women are embarking on new projects. Karsian is going to be doing the second season of Review, a mockumentary comedy series on Comedy Central, while Grano works on a play written by Jessica Goldberg with the Echo Theater Company. Despite all the hard work and long hours, the ladies enjoyed making the movie, and hope to work together again in the near future.
“It was like childbirth,” said Grano. “Right after, we forgot the pain of it all. Tara, are we ready?”
“To have a second baby? Sure Andrea.”
“C’mon over, we’ll start writing!”
Read BUST's very own review of the movie, and watch the BFFs trailer right here:
Photos via EdHat and BUST.
Meg Zulch is your genderqueer overlord from the NYC area. They love lipstick, pups, and pegging. You can find their writing at Bustle and HelloGiggles to name just a couple, peruse their posi sometimes whiny tweets @femsplain and @MegZulch, and follow them on Instagram @theladyjane.