sarah ramos made the rom com she wrote when she was 12
‘City Girl’ is a very literal journey into the mind of an Olsen twins obsessed tween.
'City Girl' is a journey into a 12-year-old's version of adult life in 2003.
When Sarah Ramos (best known for Parenthood) was a 12-year-old child actor she wrote a romantic comedy. It is called City Girl and it is awesome. The plot is peppered with madness that makes total sense if you have ever been a 12-year-old girl in the world — particularly if that world was in 2003.
Heroine Casey (Ramos) is 28-years-old, owns a designer store, holds a driving permit, and knows McDonalds is "fun" but Subway is "healthy."
She's kinda seeing a 38-year-old guy who is also her doctor; considering joining her dapper ex-boyfriend on "the annual family ski trip"; and trying to have it all — you know, adult stuff. Oh, and Casey gets migraines. Bad ones, which add an edge to the glamorous and sometimes racy plot.
We called Sarah up to talk about making your wonky tween dreams come true.
Where was this gem of a script hiding for the past 14 years and how did you find it?
It was in my closet in my childhood bedroom. I was in there looking for another script - a soap opera that was also a murder mystery - but I found City Girl. I didn't remember the plot at all, apart from the fact that I think I wrote it for Reese Witherspoon.
Who were the biggest influences in your life at that time?
At that point I was very sophisticated. I had just begun acting, and I was obsessed with the Olsen twins. A few years before I'd been on a Mary-Kate and Ashley cruise. It was a celebrity cruise where you pay to go sail with the stars. I found out about it from an ad from before one of their straight-to-VHS videos. I watched every single one of those: Passport to Paris, Winning London, Our Lips Are Sealed… They always combined romance with hijinks of all sorts, like being in the Witness Protection Program in Our Lips Are Sealed, or being in the model UN, like in Winning London. I think I'm mixing up the plots. Anyhoo. I watched those. I also loved Legally Blonde, and Bring It On. I wanted to star in a movie with Kirsten Dunst.
Any of these actors could walk straight into City Girl. Did you have to rework the script at all though? Not to take away from your prolific young scriptwriting, but the humour and timing is pretty insightful.
We didn't add anything. I cut some stuff out and condensed other things so it made sense. There's a plot, but it went all over the place. There's also 25 pages of stuff we haven't done so we're going to do a season two.
All the cast members are so en pointe. Who brought everyone together?
The one thing I'll take credit for is the casting! I think I have a real talent for it and I love it. In the original pilot Trish (Dylan Gelula) was played by Aubrey Plaza, and Monica (Esther Povitsky) and Aaron (Benji Aflalo) were played by Amanda Crew and Dustin Milligan. All the actors I cast are my friends and I feel like one of the great joys in creating things and working in this industry is getting to work with your friends.
The styling is spot on for the time, too. Can you talk us through that?
We had an amazing, evil genius of a costume designer: Coco Rigal. She got all the stuff at goodwill. I think the most expensive items she bought were a pair of baby blue UGGs from eBay, and JNCO jeans that Benji Aflalo who played Aaron wore. She and I were reminiscing about the 2000s a lot, and looking at this Instagram @twogirlsonepizza - an insane back catalogue of everything from that time. We pulled from Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton. There's also a picture of Ashley Tisdale on the red carpet and she's wearing an incredible amount of clothing and her t-shirt says "Thou Shalt Spend". She has the baby blue UGGs, and she's wearing socks underneath them, like knee-high striped blue socks. It's wild.
Some details in the script are kind of disturbing coming from the mind of a young girl: a woman who happily eats salad, but not chocolate, or an obsession with youth and ageing. Have you thought about how these influences got into your head?
I've definitely thought about the fact that it's kinda fucked up that when I was 12 I was like: What would a 28-year-old woman say when her doctor asks her how old she is? First, she would make him guess her age. Then, she would be insecure and depressed about her age, and be really offended when he asks if she's 30. I had clearly internalised the idea that women are always on diets, they need to be young, and they're insecure about their age, and also gay people are flamboyant characters who are obsessed with music.
Did 12-year-old you write anything else? And can we option these scripts?
I wanted to write a script for Mary-Kate and Ashley but I don't think I ever got around to doing it. I also wrote a pilot called Blonde to Brunette, but I couldn't find the script. It was about a popular blonde girl, but then someone puts hair dye in her shampoo and her hair goes brown and she is not popular any more. I don't know why having brown hair made her not popular. I have no idea.
The first six episodes of City Girl are available via Superdeluxe.
Text Nadia Saccardo