Home Arts & Entertainment Q&A: “Chemical Hearts’” Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, and Richard Tanne Discuss New Film

Q&A: “Chemical Hearts’” Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, and Richard Tanne Discuss New Film

by Art U News

Austin Abrams

“Chemical Hearts” is the latest addition to Abrams’ growing list of impressive screen credits, including the role of Ethan on HBO’s “Euphoria.” As Henry, his interest in Grace is officially piqued when the new girl on campus initially declines their teacher’s offer to have both students edit the school newspaper. The chemistry between the Abrams and Reinhart is evident throughout the film as the relationship between their characters grows—but no more so than during a pivotal scene where Henry discovers an uncomfortable truth about Grace that sends him reeling. It’s sure to be a moment that audiences won’t soon forget.

How would you compare Henry to your previous roles?

Oh, geez. That’s a good question. That’s always a little bit hard to answer because every part is so different, as well as how you approach it. You’re just dealing with completely different directors and producers, you know, story and character-wise. That’s hard for me to give an exact answer in terms of how is it different. I am in this movie more than most other movies I’ve done in the past. That’s always really nice because you can collaborate with the director a bit more. 

Lili Reinhart as Grace Town and Austin Abrams as Henry Page in “Chemical Hearts.” Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

What do you enjoy most about playing teenage roles?

What do I most enjoy? I don’t know…maybe trying to experience those years. Everyone deals with all those things as they’re growing up differently. Being able to do the best I can, to see [things] through the eyes of the character, is the most interesting or enjoyable thing.

What coming of age movie cliches did you want to avoid in Henry’s scenes with Grace?

There is the whole manic pixie dream girl trope in movies a lot. I do think that exists a little bit here. When you first meet someone, a lot of times, you end up having a lot of ideas about them that aren’t necessarily real about who they are. It’s like a fantasy that can be created in your head. I definitely think there is that aspect, but I think we try to do it as honestly as possible. And I do think that Grace does call him out on it. I think that’s an element that’s there, but I suppose we tried to be conscious of it.

This movie obviously relies on the chemistry of the leading characters. I was wondering what kind of things did you and your co-stars do to form this sort of bond to make those scenes as real as possible?

I appreciate that. With Lili, we’d worked with each other when we were around 15 and then again at like 18, so there’s already [that] rapport there, so that was super helpful. But especially when it comes to C.J. [Hoff] and Kara [Young], my friends in the movie, a lot of times there’s just like a chemistry with whoever you’re working with, where it’s either there or it’s not. I think I was very lucky—and we’re all very lucky—that it was there. That’s something that I’m not really sure if it can be fabricated if it’s just not sort of naturally there. You can do your best, and maybe sometimes that works, but thankfully, with this situation, we all seem to have a sort of natural chemistry.

What do you hope audiences take away from the film?

I am hoping with this [film] that at least a fair amount of people can relate to it, because Henry, in this movie, is going through a lot of emotions and dealing with a lot of things that I think like a lot of people do, especially in their teenage years, in terms of figuring out like how he deals with relationships and things—that obviously is huge in this movie. That’s definitely something that I could relate to, because I think that’s something that everyone needs to figure out, especially at that age. I’m also hoping that that’s something that will maybe help other people. 

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