Haley Lu Richardson is opening up about the responsibility of playing a character with cystic fibrosis in her new film, Five Feet Apart.
Speaking with EW, the 24-year-old actress revealed that she was hesitant to take on the role of Stella.
“I ended up having this big talk with Justin [Baldoni, director] and he really opened my eyes to the opportunity of making the characters as human as possible,” Haley shared. “Even though there’s this kind of magical love story and these extreme odds, having the chance to come in as an actor and make the character and the dialogue grounded and real within that big magical world is actually really interesting to me and something that I hadn’t really gotten to do before.”
She added about the responsibility of learning about the disease that she “felt like I had to do justice to this whole group of people who have CF, like 30,000 people in America. It’s something that a lot of people struggle with and know people that struggle with, but it’s not some mainstream thing that everyone is aware of.”
“So there was a responsibility to do it right and do my research and be as medically accurate and as emotionally accurate with what these people go through, and be someone that that CF community can look at onscreen and really relate to and say, ‘Wow, I was represented in a way that I recognize and can be proud of,’” Haley added.
“Once I started getting into it and learning about CF and meeting people with CF, it opened my eyes to how real it all was. It ended up just being a really inspiring thing to be a part of.”
Five Feet Apart is out in theaters NOW.
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