Well known for their turns in the comedic arena with projects like The Disaster Artist and Broad City, actors Dave Franco and Abbi Jacobson got the opportunity to transition to drama with Marja-Lewis Ryan’s 6 Balloons, a prospect they found as terrifying as it was exciting. Based on the personal story of producer Samantha Housman, the film follows a woman (Jacobson) whose brother (Franco) relapses on heroin, while living with his six-month-old daughter.
“I think that her story unfortunately isn’t as uncommon as I want it to be. After a couple of years with the boom of the opioid crisis, I was like, ‘Wow, this story needs to be told.’ Because it’s very much in Abby’s character’s perspective,” Ryan told Deadline, appearing at SXSW today with Franco and Jacobson. “I just really started to think about, if the crisis is that big, there must be so many enablers. There must be so many people affected by it, not just the addict himself.”
Growing up in the upper-middle-class suburbs, Jacobson saw rampant drug abuse in her hometown, and wasn’t exactly leaping at any chance to depict these issues with a film. But when she read Ryan’s script, the project became undeniable. “I loved the different points of view that were addressed, and this is my first experience in this genre,” Ryan said. “I was excited that Dave was gonna be my partner in it because this was new for both of us. We kind of could lean on each other.”
“I knew that I was very lucky that [Ryan] even considered me for a role like this because I had never done anything like this,” Franco added. “I figured worst-case scenario, it just disappears; best-case scenario, it shows me in a slightly different light, and people can maybe start to see me in different roles.”
To hear more from Deadline’s conversation with Franco, Jacobson and 6 Balloons writer/director Marja-Lewis Ryan, click above.
The Deadline Studio at SXSW 2018 is presented by MoviePass.