Brendan Walsh’s I’ll Be Right There stars Edie Falco as Wanda, a divorced mother of two whose entire life revolves around putting out the small fires of every day life set by her children and her firecracker of a mother played by Jeannie Berlin. Throughout it all, Wanda attempts to rediscover who she is — and part of that journey involves dating a woman for the first time.
But rather than making Wanda’s bisexuality define her character — or even letting it be a source of tension between her friends and family — Walsh says that he and writer Jim Beggarly chose to frame it as just one of the many interesting pieces of Wanda’s life.
Director Brendan Walsh on Edie Falco’s Storyline in I’ll Be Right There
“It was something that was kind of always in the script when it was brought to me. It was something that we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s life,'” Walsh told the crowd on Friday night during a Q&A following the film’s screening on the opening night of the inaugural Jackson Hole International Film Festival in Jackson, Wyoming.
When Wanda’s family finds out that she’s dating a woman, they accept it without fanfare. Even her boyfriend, played by Michael Rapaport, doesn’t get mad at Wanda for dating a woman behind his back.
“Everything has to feel organic. That’s life, you know? It doesn’t need to be a whole conversation about it and why,” Walsh says.
“That’s the world we’re living in now. It doesn’t have to be a thing. It can just be what it is.”
Falco embraced her character’s sexuality, Walsh says, and so did Sepideh Moafi, who plays Wanda’s girlfriend.
“Everybody has kind of these, not small, but impactful, short roles in the film, in [Wanda’s] life,” Walsh says. “Even Edie was trying to find it, adding words like, ‘I’m having an affair with a woman for some reason.’ She added that. She was like, ‘Why am I having this?’ I’m like, ‘Because you just are.'”
Other cast members in I’ll Be Right There include Bradley Whitford, who plays Wanda’s ex-husband and the father of her two children, played by Charlie Tahan and Kayli Carter. Michael Beach plays Wanda’s high school classmate that she reconnects with, while Jack Mulhern plays Wanda’s future son-in-law.
Falco also reconnects with her Sopranos castmate Paul Schulze, who plays the priest at the church where Wanda’s daughter is planning her wedding, hilariously mirroring Falco and Schulze’s previous on-screen pairing as Carmella Soprano and flirty Father Phil Intintola.
I’ll Be Right There is currently seeking distribution.
Main Image: Edie Falco in I’ll Be Right There