Jennifer Stone and Mindy Bledsoe spoke with Solzy at the Movies about their new film, The In-Between, being released on Tuesday.
What was the genesis of the screenplay for The In-Between?
Jennifer Stone: Mindy and I met a little bit prior to writing this and just bonded immediately over having these unseen illnesses and these chronic things that we deal with on a daily basis with CRPS and Type 1 Diabetes. We both had these breaks where her and Rob, our DP and producer, were gonna take a vacation and I had two weeks off from nursing school. We were like, instead of taking a vacation, why don’t we write a movie? We decided, ultimately, to write a movie that represented these CRPS and Type 1 Diabetes that we felt really hadn’t been represented or seen on film. That’s how The In-Between was born.
How close to your characters in The In-Between are you in real life?
Mindy Bledsoe: I wouldn’t do anything that Junior did besides a road trip and sing a lot in a car. I would do those in real life. But anything else? No, she’s not me. How about you, Jen?
Jennifer Stone: Well, I think that a lot of the clothing because a lot of the clothing in the movie is mine—the Docks and everything are mine. I feel like Mads is a lot more irresponsible than I am, especially with my health. Also, my mom is lovely. My mom’s not terrible! (Laughs) I know my mom saw that movie and was like, What did I do? And I was like, nothing, nothing! It’s not me. It is a character. So really, ultimately, like CRPS and Type 1 Diabetes are the ultimate thing that we have in common with our characters. Other than that, we’re pretty different.
Mindy, what was it that you saw in Jennifer while working on Santa Girl that made you think she’d be right for this project?
Mindy Bledsoe: Well, actually, when I was editing that and meeting Jen through her Santa Girl character, I hadn’t actually met Jen in person. The director of Santa Girl, Blayne Weaver, and Rob Senska, the cinematographer, they both were like, you should meet Jen. I think you guys will get along really well. And I said, That’s sweet, probably not. (Laughs) And they were like, seriously, you have to! Right after I finished editing, I met Jen. I mean, she came over. We met in Hollywood and had some drinks. It was friendship. It was like we had already met and knew each other. Blayne and Rob were right. We were just instant friends. We bonded very quickly.
Jennifer Stone: Yeah, I think poor Mindy spent so much time with Cassie Claus that I think she expected me to like that (Laughs). I’m a bit more rough around the edges especially when you get a whiskey or two and me.
Mindy Bledsoe: Us bonding so quickly over invisible illnesses, I mean, steps were so easy to get us to The In-Between. The universe was just on our side to make it all happen so we took advantage.
Jennifer, you co-wrote this film but what do you typically look for in a character while reading a screenplay?
Jennifer Stone: I look for things I haven’t played before or things I haven’t seen on film. For this, the biggest thing was the representation. I’ve seen diabetes on film before. I’ve never seen CRPS on film. The diabetes representations I have seen have had been grossly inaccurate. They’ve been things where like, oh, when a character has low blood sugar, they’re like, Hurry, get the insulin! And in my head, I’m like, well, they just murdered a person. You know what I mean? It’s just like, did they even Google this? So that’s the thing where it’s just like, to me, that was something I had not seen on film. That was why it was important for me with this character is to get an accurate representation. It’s either something I haven’t played or something I haven’t seen that really draws me to a role in particular.
The In-Between was shot over the course of two weeks. What was the most challenging part of the production?
Mindy Bledsoe: Shooting the film in two weeks while driving 4500 miles. That is the challenge. We weren’t able to scout locations in advance. We had to use the internet and our hopes and dreams as to be dependent upon. I would never recommend making a movie this way.
Jennifer Stone: The best and worst parts of the thing that made the movie so special were how the surprises and the things that we could have never written or anticipate but it was also the things that made it so challenging. The motels you see in the movie, we stayed at them and slept in them, and sometimes the phone was fake and didn’t have anything at the bottom and was super sketchy. I mean, we had some crazy stories but didn’t end up in the movie because there just wasn’t a place for it. But yeah, all of the things that made the movie so special also made it equally challenging.
Mindy Bledsoe: Yeah, I mean, just imagine you’re actually driving and shooting scenes because we’re actually driving, we’re not on a travel trailer. And so we’re actually driving and we’re filming, and then we land in a location or where we’re sleeping for the evening and we keep filming. And then you get about three hours of sleep and then we get up and we do it again. And I mean, that’s how it went for 14 days pretty much. All of that’s challenging especially with two people with chronic illnesses.
Jennifer Stone: Our bodies were like, what are you doing?
With the small cast in The In-Between, I thought for sure this was produced last year.
Mindy Bledsoe: Oh, as a COVID movie? Maybe we should rewrite our backstory because that would make sense, wouldn’t it? Yeah, nice. It was actually shot in 2018 and started a festival run in the middle of 2019.
At least, you were able to see The In-Between with an audience.
Mindy Bledsoe: Oh, yes, we both got to see it with a lot of audiences and a lot of great audiences and a lot of good feedback. For me, I got to meet a lot of people that also have CRPS, which was what my character has. They were so excited to see a road trip movie with someone with CRPS because they’re like, I didn’t think I could do that but I can, that was great. So yeah, I really liked seeing it with audiences. I miss that.
Jennifer Stone: I think it’s something that is important that we get back to because I know with 2020 and all the madness that it brought, streaming becoming more popular and movies being released on streaming, which I’m so excited that our movie is going to be available to more people. But also, I agree with Mindy. I miss the conversations that get sparked when we see movies together. I still hope in the future that there’s a place for us to still be able to go see movies with strangers in the dark kind of thing. But at the same time, I think there’s a happy balance between the streaming culture and being able to experience movies with people you haven’t met because I think movies, especially like this one, can really bond people, bring them together, and start conversations because that’s what art does, right? Or at least it’s what it’s supposed to.
The one thing that you just don’t get out of these virtual film festivals right now is the whole waiting in line, talking to someone you don’t know and finding out the buzz on what is good, bad, and what film you really have to drop in your schedule in order to fit another one in.
Mindy Bledsoe: Yeah.
Jennifer Stone: Totally! And then, just also cinephiles geeking out. I miss that in line at film festivals and just in line at movie theaters. About being like, Oh, yeah, I love that movie! This is why I loved it. Or I hated that movie! This is why. Just a dialogue back and forth of just talking about what you love about movies.
Mindy Bledsoe: I miss other filmmakers. I miss just talking to filmmakers and then going to see their films and trying to get into their brains and learn everything I can and take it for myself. Yeah, I miss all that. Next film, festivals will be back up, right? The next film we put out.
Jennifer Stone: Yeah, I believe that. I have to believe that.
I’m just hoping I get back to LA later this year, if not next year.
Jennifer Stone: Come on out and see us!
Mindy Bledsoe: Where are you?
I am in Chicago.
Mindy Bledsoe: Chicago. Great city.
I was in LA last year for Critics Choice Awards and then went to Sundance, where I got sick as a dog during the last week of the festival.
Jennifer Stone: Oh, no. That makes it hard to enjoy everything.
Mindy Bledsoe: A lot of people got super sick at Sundance last year.
I came back and my doctor put me on medication that I had a few years back for bronchitis. I tested negative for antibodies in May. After the whole Hollywood Reporter article came out, I was freaking out. Did I have Covid? Did I not have Covid?
Jennifer Stone: I think a lot of people were in that mindset but it’s good that you tested negative for the antibodies.
How have you managed to keep yourselves busy during the pandemic?
Mindy Bledsoe: I’m caretaking for my dying parents.
I’m sorry to hear that.
Mindy Bledsoe: Yeah, me too. That’s what 2020 has been for me.
Jennifer Stone: Well, I’ve been nursing in the ER so I’ve been quite busy myself. Mindy and I have put our artistic loves on the side for 2020 to take care of other people.
Mindy Bledsoe: Yes but that will change soon.
Thank you for your service on the front lines.
Jennifer Stone: Thank you for saying that.
What do you hope people take away from watching The In-Between?
Mindy Bledsoe: I hope they take away an understanding that not all disabilities are visible. Invisible illnesses are a real thing and that people can do can do whatever they want.
Jennifer Stone: I think for me, I know for us, we had a lot of conversations about making people with any kind of disease or what’s viewed in society as being some kind of hindrance, right, which isn’t really one. I think it’s something that is not your entire identity. I think the world likes to put labels on everybody and try to say this is your identity, everything about you has to be about this thing. I want people to take away from this movie that you define who you are, you define what you’re capable of, and you get to decide what is a part of you and things like CRPS, diabetes, whatever the world tries to put on you is your entire identity is just a mere trait of who you are. It’s not your entire being.