Sian Heder is a longtime writer for Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, and so it seems right that her feature film directorial debut premieres on the streaming platform. Tallulah, starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney, screened at Sundance earlier this year before hitting up the more recent Nantucket Film Festival. Ahead of the film’s release next month, Netflix released the first Tallulah trailer, previewing a heartbreaking tale of survival and family.
Page stars as Lu, a nomadic young woman who survives day to day in her van while scavenging for food where she can. The only “responsible” adult in her life (if you can even call it that) is Margo (Janney), whose son, Lu says, stole all her money. It’s her Lu turns to after she plucks an infant from a neglectful mother in a hotel room, leading Margo to believe the baby is her grandchild.
The experience teaches Lu about motherhood, responsibility, and the importance of relationships. Watch the trailer below.
Speaking to Indiewire earlier this year, Heder said of the inspiration for the story:
“I used to work as a nanny for all the high-end hotels in LA and had a lot of weird experiences with mothers whose children seemed more like accessories than anything else. One night, I was so disturbed by the erratic behavior of a particular mother, I seriously considered taking off with the kid. I had been exploring the character of Tallulah already, based on a friend who was living off the grid out of her van. She was someone who lived with very little fear or sense of consequences for her actions. She seemed like the perfect person to steal a baby and set in motion a chain of events that could deal with some of the issues around motherhood and responsibility that I wanted to explore.”
Also starring in the film are Zachary Quinto, Uzo Aduba from Orange Is the New Black, John Benjamin Hickey (The Good Wife), and Tammy Blanchard (Moneyballl). Tallulah will premiere exclusively on Netflix on July 29. Here’s the official synopsis:
Tallulah, the Netflix original film, was written and directed by Sian Heder (Orange is the New Black), and tells the story of young vagabond, Lu (Ellen Page – Whip It, Inception), who lives in a van and is fiercely independent in her hand-to-mouth existence. When a chance encounter incites her to impulsively “rescue” a baby from a negligent mother, Lu, at a loss for what to do, turns to the only responsible adult she knows: Margo (Allison Janney – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Way, Way Back), who mistakenly believes she’s the child’s grandmother.