“The amount of growth that this character has is absolutely amazing to witness,” the recently engaged actress told The Hollywood Reporter of her role as a commitment-phobic woman who attends a series of nuptials with her boyfriend.
It’s a year of weddings for Sarah Hyland.
The actress stars in the romantic comedy The Wedding Year as Mara, a photographer who is scared of commitment. When she begins dating Jake (Tyler James Williams), the two embark on a year of attending weddings together. In addition to starring in the film, Hyland also served as an executive producer.
“I think everyone from their mid-20s to their mid-30s experiences what we call ‘the wedding year.’ It’s a year where everyone and their mom get married and you have all of these weddings you have to attend,” Hyland told The Hollywood Reporter about the film. “It’s all about Mara and Jake experiencing their wedding year and how they go through it as a couple. How it affects them and how it affects the people around them.”
The Modern Family star added, “You gain so many different messages from the movie.”
The Wedding Year is now in theaters and on demand, just two months after Hyland got engaged to Bachelor in Paradise star Wells Adams.
Hyland spoke to THR about the root of Mara’s commitment issues, what it was like to play someone who doesn’t believe in marriage and how her character evolves throughout the film.
How would you describe your character, Mara?
She’s a very brash human being. She’s unapologetically herself, which I love, but almost to a fault at times. For example, she uses Tinder to get free meals from guys on dates. She is a photographer. She works in retail. She’s scared to jump in and actually pursue her dreams because the idea of failure is terrifying and this idea of failure really stems from the failure of her parents’ marriage. They had a messy divorce. They weren’t the greatest role models when it comes to love and relationships. It kind of fucked her up a bit, which I think a lot of people can relate to in 2019. She is a commitment-phobe. She is kind of all over the place, but she has a lot of loving qualities, as well. She really cares for the people around her, and you really get to see her grow tenfold throughout the film. The amount of growth that this character has is absolutely amazing to witness.
What was it like playing a character that doesn’t really believe in marriage, especially now that you’re engaged?
I have always believed in marriage. I fortunately have parents who are not divorced and who have had a very loving and healthy relationship from the get-go. So if you don’t believe in marriage, that was a big deal breaker for me before I got engaged. It was a lot of fun to delve into the psychology of Mara’s views because I didn’t fully understand it. It was a lot of fun to be able to go into her ticks and see why she’s wired the way that she is. I know a lot of people like that, so it was really fun to be able to talk about their experiences with their parents and really create this character.
Does attending all of the weddings change Mara and Jake’s dynamic and shift their ideas of what they want for the future of their relationship?
Definitely. There’s a montage in the film when all of the wedding invitations start to come out, and it’s an amazing juxtaposition between the two characters. Every wedding invitation that Mara gets, the eye rolls just get bigger and bigger. For Jake, he gets more excited and more excited about friends and family getting married and he’s happy for their love that they want to share with everyone. You really see from the start of when they get the invitations and then you see how they interact, not only with each other, but with each other’s families throughout the wedding season. It definitely changes their relationship. Jake very much acts like a man who wants to get married in the future and have that be put on the table, while Mara seems to recoil deeper and deeper into her shell. But at the same time she’s kind of like the Grinch. Her heart is growing bigger and bigger and bigger, but at the same time she’s going deeper into her hole of commitment-phobia. It’s also interesting because the roles are reversed. Normally in these types of rom-coms, you see the male doing that.