Molly McGlynn never saw herself making this film. Not only was the idea of putting this story on screen too painful, it was also too terrifying.
This is because the plot of Integrate, which premiered in theaters this week, was directly inspired by his own life – an “emotional horror story” which, aptly, was originally titled Bloody hell.
Today, McGlynn is happy to have succeeded – and happy to have made the first film focused on the medical issues at the heart of life. Integrate.
But, she told CBC News in a recent interview, she had butterfly feelings until the cameras started rolling — and not just about the idea of putting her own past on the big screen.
“I remember before we shot the movie, I was telling Jane Fonda what it was about,” said McGlynn, who previously worked with Fonda on the set of the Netflix comedy series. Grace and Frankie.
“And I said this was my second feature film. And she looked me straight in the eye and she said, ‘This is very dangerous territory.'”
Fortunately for McGlynn, the first reviews are available and Integrate sits on a comfortable pile of mostly favorable critical responses. Many of these criticisms are made with respect to the film’s focus: a 16-year-old girl dealing with a diagnosis of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.
This condition meant that Lindy (like McGlynn, who was also diagnosed at age 16) was born with a shortened vaginal canal, without a uterus or cervix, and would never have sex or children without “manual or surgical assistance” .
This caused McGlynn to question her femininity and raised concerns about her upcoming sex life which fell like “a nuclear bomb on a teenager’s life”. But despite everything, she decided not only to continue the project, but also to try to infuse it with humor.
“It’s basically about bodies and how they fail us,” she said. “And the bodies, to me, are absurd, and they’re ripe for humor.”
Rita and Lindy
To perpetuate this humor, McGlynn called on American actress Maddie Ziegler to play Lindy and Schitt Creek star Emily Hampshire to play her therapist mother, Rita.
For Hampshire, finding that balance — especially when the person who experienced that trauma is there in the room with you — hasn’t been easy. But by finding a way to laugh and push through the pain, she finally became somewhat natural.
“We call it coming-of-age trauma, because it’s such a traumatic thing that happened to her,” Hampshire said. “But there’s so much humor in the way (McGlynn) tells her story. And I think at least for me it made it easier to relate to someone’s journey.”
Aside from the humor, the sometimes difficult relationship between Rita and Lindy is a central element of Integrate. At the same time, they both have somewhat parallel struggles with their bodies; As the film progresses, Hampshire’s character struggles with the effects of breast cancer and its treatment.
But both actors said they felt comfortable and fell into their roles with surprising ease – from Hampshire instinctively guessing the exact perfume McGlynn’s real mother (Black Opium) was wearing when he was asked what his character would smell like, to Ziegler improvising an (unprintable) compliment for Rita. .
(Hint: it starts with an M.)
But beyond the camaraderie the two men felt, both said the opportunity to shine a light on this syndrome was the real appeal of the project.
“Doing something like this allows … other people to feel empowered in their differences,” Hampshire said. “I hope people feel that way because of this movie.”
“I think as humans we are all very hard on ourselves and our bodies,” Ziegler added. “Being a voice and a face for the community is something I never dreamed of. So it’s truly an honor.”