The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
April 02, 2017 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Lily Mae Harrington loves to act, but even more than that, she loves to sing.
She broke into public consciousness when she appeared in the second season of “The Glee Project” (2012), a 10-episode reality show in which she and other singers competed for a chance to guest star on “Glee.” Her acting ability quickly got her cast in narrative TV and film, including “Pee Wee’s Big Holiday” (2016) and the satirical “Sing It!” (2016), a send-up of competitive reality shows much like “The Glee Project” itself.
“Some Freaks,” however, gave her unexpected new challenges.
She plays Jill, the love interest of fellow “freak” Matt (Thomas Mann), whom she describes as “the girl on the fringes, an outcast.” But Jill does not stay in that position. “After high school as she grows out of her misfit ways, or hopes to grow out of them, she starts to look at the world, her relationship, and herself very differently.”
Depicting that growth required Harrington to make some startling sacrifices: she had to lose at least 50 pounds during a six-month break in filming.
Harrington was careful, hiring a doctor, a health coach, a nutritionist, and a personal trainer to oversee her weight loss. “Things were moving fairly fast,” she recalls, “so we wanted to make sure the process was benefiting my body rather than starving myself.”
Along the way, she got a taste of just what Jill would have experienced.
“There were definitely certain parallels,” she reflects, such as “guys I knew before my weight loss started coming out of the woodwork, but also people I didn't know still constantly treating me like a lesser citizen, judging me still on my appearance no matter how much work l've put in.”
Harrington has multiple upcoming projects, so the world will have more chances to judge her on her acting and singing skills, instead. She will be playing a young Kathy Bates in an upcoming episode of the new TV show “Disjointed” (2017), and is releasing an EP this summer. She hopes that CIFF audiences will pay close attention to what Jill goes through, though, because the weight loss process, and its real-life social repercussions, was a revelation.
“I'm actually very thankful to have done this process through this lens,” she says. “It has shed light on certain patterns in society and in my life that sometimes we can be unaware of.”
— Lara Klaber
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