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Set in the summer of 2006, Elle Mills’ LGBTQ+ short film, Reply, gives audiences the opportunity to explore the short-but-powerful relationship between two young women who quickly fall in love. Although their small town might not be made for the both of them to stay together, a teenage boy finds their story worthy of being made into its own film… two decades later. And one of the women might also be his mom.

Starring Ava Capri, Ciara Riley Wilson, Anthony Rosenthal, and Girl Meets World’s Corey Fogelmanis, Elle Mills’ debut short film does a fantastic job at highlighting the beauty in human connection, the joy of reminiscing, and the belief in true love. Its effectiveness wouldn’t work nearly as well if it weren’t for the two leading actresses, Ava and Ciara.

Pop Crave spoke with Reply co-stars Ava Capri and Ciara Riley Wilson to discuss the new short film, what it was like to work with Elle Mills, and how they were able to create such amazing chemistry on-screen. Keep reading for the full interview!

In five words, how would you describe your short film, Reply?

Ciara: Inspiring…

Ava: Cute…

Ciara: Vibes…

Ava: Sweet…

Ciara: Nostalgic…

Ava: Gay! Gay…

Ciara: I was gonna say that one next [laughs]! How many is that?

Ava: What if we did five together? I think we’ve done five.

Congratulations on Reply! You guys are both absolutely amazing in it! I wanted to first ask, the film does a great job at depicting such a beautiful and organic love story. I was rooting for Hayden and Casey to get together the entire time! Did you two have any chemistry reads prior to filming, and what was it like working with one another on such a lovely story?

Ava: We didn’t do any chemistry reads!

Ciara: We did a little rehearsal and work session right before we started filming, which I think helped a lot with getting to know each other and being more comfortable.

Ava: That was really sweet and fun. We shot on film, and so things needed to be precise. We only got a few takes per setup, and so we rehearsed a lot. I think Elle kind of had us both in mind in a way.

Ciara: Yeah, it was great working with you! It was so much fun!

Ava: It was a pleasure! I would do it again. 10/10.

This is Elle Mills’ first-ever short film! What was it like getting to work with her on her big debut, and what initially led to your decision to join the cast of Reply?

Ciara: Oh my God, it was awesome working with her! She’s just a lovely, lovely human being. It was cool being there for her first-ever directorial debut, because she just had this energy that was very exciting. She just wanted everyone to feel taken care of, and it was just fun!

Ava: Yeah, ever since I met Elle, and I knew her work as a filmmaker on YouTube, I was like, “Oh, she’s gonna make such great films! She has such a specific style.” When she reached out and was like, “Oh, I had you in mind for this short that I wrote,” I was so honored. I was excited because I think she’s just gonna continue to make amazing stuff. She was a pleasure to work with.

Ciara, I have to talk to you about your fashion game in this film. I mean, wow. I was so captivated by your looks that I had to pause every time there was a new scene! I felt like I knew the character of Casey just by her wardrobe alone. What was the process like of deciding your character’s wardrobe, and how do you think they speak to Casey as a character?

Ciara: Oh my gosh, yeah. I think the wardrobe was a huge part of this film. Roxy [Sorkin] was incredible; she was doing the wardrobe. I think she curated the perfect nod to the 2000s without being on the nose and still showing each character’s personality. It wasn’t just a 2000s wardrobe. It was like, “This is what Casey would wear in the 2000s.” I actually got to keep a pair of pants that I wear all the time from set, and they remind me of this film. It was really cool. For me personally, I’m really into fashion. I think that what you wear really changes the way that you stand and the way that you speak, and so I think it helped a lot that Casey had some really interesting and well-thought-out outfits.

Ava, because this short film is from the perspective of someone looking into the past, I got curious about what Hayden could’ve been up to over the years. Have you come up with any ideas of where Hayden could be in her life when receiving the email from Sam?

Ava: That’s such a fun question that I absolutely have not thought about! Um, yeah. I’m trying to think of something on the spot… I hope she’s happy… Oh, yeah. I think she traveled. I think she went to Peru, South America, maybe a Europe trip. I think she saw the world, hopefully, and had a good time.

One thing I was reminded of from this film is that the U.S. currently has a very high divorce rate for married couples, which has led to a lot of people losing their belief in true love. This film does a great job, I think, at showing that true love exists – but maybe societal expectations and pressures can lead us to ending up with someone who isn’t really the one. We know the character of Sam believes in true love, but would you say that your characters do?

Ciara: Hmmm. I think Casey does believe in true love. I think that she is her own worst enemy in overthinking and not knowing what’s right instead of just following her gut. I think deep down, she does know.

Ava: I’m gonna say Hayden knows and believes in true love, but I think that’s really because I do. I think I’m adopting that, maybe? Um, but yeah, that’s a cool question!

Ciara: It’s a really cool question.

REPLY will be streaming exclusively on Creator+ on Thursday, November 10.