Cast of Scottish comedy Our Ladies declare ‘teenage girls should be taken seriously'
As Scottish coming-of-age comedy Our Ladies arrives in cinemas, Danielle de Wolfe learns more about teenage love, life and lust from its cast...
OUR Ladies is a project some 20 years in the making.
Based on Alan Warner's critically acclaimed novel The Sopranos and the subsequent theatrical adaptation, the film has been written and directed by Rob Roy and Basic Instinct 2 director Michael Caton-Jones, who first became aware of the project when he chanced upon Warner's then-unpublished manuscript while living in Hollywood.
“I wanted to make films that were reflective of what I grew up with,” says Caton-Jones (63).
“I found Alan Warner's manuscript and thought it was absolutely magnificent. I thought, ‘I have to make this!' It was about my childhood, it was about my big sister, it was about her mates, it was a love letter to everything I grew up with, everything I know.”
A timeless tale that's just as relevant to the youth of today as it was when Warner wrote his 1998 manuscript, it stands as testament to the unchanging obstacles of teenage life.
“I'd heard of the play years before – I think it was when it was at The Fringe because I'm from Edinburgh,” says Our Ladies actress Tallulah Greive, 23, best known for her roles in Channel 5 thriller Penance and forthcoming Amazon Original Movie Cinderella.
“I was just like ‘This is the best script that I've read about young Scottish women for such a long time'. You read so many scripts about young teenage girls and I just felt there was something realistic in the way that they related to each other, the way that they spoke. Sometimes they're casually cruel to each other as well, which is a very specific teenage thing.”
Set in the 1990s and centred around a group of small-town Catholic schoolgirls from the Scottish Highlands, Our Ladies sees the friends handed an opportunity to rebel on a visit to the bright lights of Edinburgh, as the girls compete in a school choir competition.
Stepping into the shoes of Orla, a schoolgirl whose sole aim is to purchase a pair of thigh-high boots following the news that she's now cancer-free, Greive stars alongside Fearless actress Eve Austin, who plays Kay, a head girl attempting to shake off her good girl image.
“We were listening to the Olivia Rodrigo album Sour the other day,” says Greive, nodding to her co-star turned flatmate Austin, who is sitting beside her. “You have all these teenage girls now that are writing about their experiences authentically – and that's really nice as I feel like teenage girls should be taken seriously.”
“I think when you're young, those feelings that you have are possibly some of the most real things that you ever feel,” agrees Austin.
“And it's not seen as such, because you're young. So, when you have a crush on a boy or you get into a first relationship, it's like, ‘Oh, she's only a kid, it doesn't matter'. And actually that stuff carries you through for the rest of your life – you never forget those feelings and those experiences.”
Highlighting the lifestyle changes experienced by teenagers since the source material's publication, Greive reflects on the book's depiction of a bygone era involving the trawling of magazines for make-up “tips and tricks”.
“You're not sitting there with 50 YouTube tutorials, like ‘Here's how you do the perfect smoky eye',” says the actress.
Describing the film's '90s wardrobe as “so much fun”, Greive notes how she “took a few things” at the end of the shoot “with permission, obviously”.
“There's the boots, the headscarf, a little necklace, and a little ring. But the headscarf was such a massive thing for me – there must have been about 50 by the end,” says the actress, reflecting on the significance of the headscarf given her character's recent battle with cancer.
“People were bringing in different headscarves from home; we had someone in the crew that had quite a similar experience to Orla when she was a teenager, so she actually brought in some of hers and taught me how to tie it and stuff.”
Also starring Tin Star actress Abigail Lawrie, Artemis Fowl's Sally Messham, Ready Player One actress Rona Morison and Alex Rider star Marli Siu, Our Ladies captures the fervent excitement and naivety that accompanies a brand new teenage adventure.
Describing the vibrant energy of the film's “bolshy” and “unashamed” characters, Messham explains that the film is simply “six women and their story” where “the male counterparts are their love interests, rather than it being the other way around, which is what I've always experienced”.
It's a view seconded by Morison, who reflects on the film's relatability when compared with her own teenage years.
“Growing up, you make so many mistakes – it's a horrible time being a teenager. You're trying to work out who you are, where you fit in,” says the actress.
“I remember going through such a weird time when I was 15 or 16, comparing myself to other people that had boobs, or had hips, or boyfriends, girlfriends, and I think the good thing about the film is the girls make mistakes.”
Describing the way in which the schoolgirls “don't apologise” for their misgivings, Morison says the film's ultimate draw is the way in which they “navigate their way through it together”, noting that “everyone can familiarise with that, regardless of what background you're from.”
Our Ladies is in UK cinemas now.