Grace Van Patten says her off-screen friendship with her 'Nine Perfect Strangers' costar Luke Evans elevated their performances
Grace Van Pattenappears on "Nine Perfect Strangers" alongside Luke Evans.
- Their characters, Zoe Marconi and Lars Lee, form an unlikely friendship on the show.
- Van Patten said the actors' off-screen relationship made the characters' dynamic more authentic.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for "
When Zoe Marconi (Grace Van Patten) arrives at a wellness retreat in the backseat of her parents' car on "Nine Perfect Strangers," she's accepted that her 21st birthday will be spent in the company of her middle-aged mother and father. To her, it's more important to be with them on the three-year anniversary of her twin's death than to celebrate herself in a conventional, indulgent way.
But the emotionally guarded college student forms an unlikely friendship when she gravitates toward a fellow retreat guest and complete stranger - an outspoken, snarky journalist by the name of Lars Lee (Luke Evans).
"I love that relationship so much. It just warmed my heart," Van Patten, 24, told Insider.
Like the other guests at the open-air California getaway, called Tranquillum House, Zoe and Lars each check-in with their own debilitating trauma in tow.
Zoe, polite and reserved, deals with the death of her twin brother, blaming herself for giving him the silent treatment before he committed suicide. And Lars, antagonistic and angry, is unwilling to open up emotionally, resulting in ruined relationships with those closest to him.
Though it doesn't seem like an obvious fit, they find solace in each other.
"I love that Lars and Zoe could not be more opposite and they can not be dealing with more opposing emotions and traumas, but for some reason they connect on this deep level and they're able to kind of crack each other's shells and open each other up," Van Patten said.
"It's the first time Zoe is able to be vulnerable in the show. And I just found that relationship so beautiful that they're able to bring that out of each other."
Along with the rest of the "Nine Perfect Strangers" cast, Van Patten and Evans spent five months filming the David E. Kelley limited series in Byron Bay, Australia, in 2020. Mirroring their characters, the actors became fast friends off-camera, a dynamic that benefited their on-screen performances.
"We became such great friends outside of our characters. We definitely brought some of that to the show," Van Patten explained.
Being far from home and socially restricted due to COVID-19 safety protocols brought the entire cast closer together.
"We got so close and I think part of that was all being in this remote place together," Van Patten explained.
She continued, "When you shoot in a comfortable setting, you're tempted to hang out with your friends that you already have. It doesn't really force you to connect with the people you're working with. And in this case, we were all far from home and it was a scary time and everything was very uncertain. So it was really nice to all be together and connect on that level."
"Nine Perfect Strangers" is currently streaming on
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