Lola Petticrew: 'Tuesday' is fantastical and enormous, but relatable

Lola Petticrew (L) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a terminally ill teen and her mother in the new fantasy dramedy "Tuesday." Photo courtesy of A24
1 of 3 | Lola Petticrew (L) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a terminally ill teen and her mother in the new fantasy dramedy "Tuesday." Photo courtesy of A24

NEW YORK, June 12 (UPI) -- Lola Petticrew says they immediately wanted to star in the new magical realism dramedy, Tuesday, because they had never read a script quite like it before.

Opening in theaters nationwide Friday, the film follows the titular, terminally ill teen as she prepares her mother Zora (Veep and Seinfeld Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus) for life without her.


The directorial debut by writer Daina Oniunas-Pusić features a giant talking, size-shifting macaw -- the personification of death as voiced by Arinzé Kene -- that grants Tuesday a little extra time to get her affairs in order before ending her suffering.

"The second that I read it, I was like, 'I've gotta know who wrote this! I need to meet this person!'" Bloodlands and Dating Amber alum Petticrew -- who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns -- told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


"As fantastical and enormous as it was, I could see the world and I felt like I could relate to the world and understand it, and then I met Daina. She is such an extraordinary person with such an enormous, beautiful sense of vision," Petticrew said.

"She's definitely somebody that you could see yourself following into the trenches and taking massive leaps of faith with."

Pusić said the story revealed itself to her gradually without her knowing exactly from where it was coming or where it was going.

"It was really through the development of the script and then going into preproduction that I connected it to various parts of my life and started to understand what it was and what it meant," Pusić added.

Reflecting on the process now, she said she sees the original inspiration was rooted in the loss of a dear friend to a degenerative illness when they were in their early teens, the filmmaker said.

"But i sort of used that setting to talk about other experiences and chapters in my life as a way to process heavy, difficult emotions like pain and loss and grief through the lightness of comedy and fantasy and emotion and generate hope," she said.


Petticrew described Tuesday as "an incredible kid."

"She's somebody who is capable of holding a tremendous amount of pain and burden, but, not only her own, other people's, [as well]. She is an anchor for her mother and she is also a tremendous source of light and joy," Petticrew said.

"Ultimately, she is just seeking the ability to relinquish some of that burden and be a child. I really love her."

Pusić emphasized that, although the character of Tuesday is in a situation that makes her vulnerable, she is not a victim.

"She is someone with her own flaws, her own fears, her own ways of manipulation," Pusić said, adding that it took a talented, intelligent and considerate performer to bring her to life on screen. "There is a lot of nuance to it."

Petticrew and Pusić praised real-life breast-cancer survivor Louis-Dreyfus' rare dramatic performance as a single mom in denial about her only child's fate.

"Julia is so open and giving, and she has an incredible ability to be so deep in truth and play this unbelievable drama, and then, with the flip of a coin, be absolutely hilarious," Petticrew said. "Watching her do that is just absolutely extraordinary."


Pusić noted how a lot of people are commenting on how this role is a big departure for Louis-Dreyfus, a gifted comic artist.

"But from my perspective, because of the range the character demanded -- tragedy, comedy, drama, sometimes at the same time -- it demanded someone of her caliber to be brave enough to step so far out of their comfort zone and do it incredibly boldly and energetically and deliver such a knockout performance," Pusić said.

It was always the filmmaker's goal to make this heartbreaking story entertaining.

"Julia understands that as a performer and a collaborator," Pusić said.

"When you take all of those things into account, it feels, to me like she's almost the obvious choice, and when I saw [Louis-Dreyfus and Petticrew] together and that particular mix, I kind of just knew it's wonderful."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a star

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus sits next to her star in front of the W Hotel during an unveiling ceremony honoring her with the 2,407th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles on May 4, 2010. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo

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