An interview with Isabella and Olivia Cohen

After what seems like no time at all, the Cohen sisters are at it again, not resting on any laurels. The duo is gearing up for the release of their short film “Never Getting Rid of Me, Bitch,” debuting at the Mammoth Film Festival this month. The phenomenal film reflects their incredible comedic timing and knack for diving into emotional topics such as death and grief.

The talented duo recently guest-starred on the FX comedy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, portraying the highly anticipated roles of Charlie Kelly’s sisters. This role is currently garnering both sisters a large amount of social media buzz.

Isabella boasts an impressive resume, having starred in projects with renowned producers like Scott Westerfeld, James Franco, Warner Brothers, CNN, and Snapchat. She was also the runner-up for the ABC Make Me a Star minor’s competition and a second-rounder for the 2022 Warner Media diverse talent spotlight search.

Olivia continues to garner numerous accolades, including being a finalist at The Industry Next Festival, a semifinalist at the Academy Award Nicholls Fellowship, and achieving success at the Scriptapalooza International Screenplay Competition and the JHRTSscript competition.

But what do the girls themselves think of their latest endeavors? We were lucky enough to snatch a moment with them and see for ourselves!

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your short film “Never Getting Rid of Me, Bitch” and what audiences can expect from it?

My sister and I had always wanted to write, produce, and star in a project together since we were around 12 years old. We decided to finally pull the trigger in November 2022 and start brainstorming some potential short film ideas. 

We landed on a nugget of an idea about two twins who go hiking and, at the end, there is a twist. We took that idea and started to flesh it out little by little until we created a story that we were super proud and a story and got great feedback from friends and family. 

We really wanted to write a story that reflected our authentic and complicated, yet beautiful, experience of being identical twins. The media is full of inaccurate and gimmicky stereotypes of twins, so we wanted to use our short film to highlight the unique existence of twinhood, while also just having the film be a love story about sisters. 

Audiences can expect to laugh, cry, and feel deeply moved. Many people said the film made them want to call their siblings and tell them they love them. Bring some tissues!

How did your experience guest-starring on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” influence your approach to comedy in your own projects?

We have always had a funny/sarcastic/crass bone in our body, ever since we were kids. Shooting IASIP was really fun because we could just verbally lunge at the characters with abandon and not hold back. 

Charlie Day kept saying, “More! More!” so the sky was the limit in terms of possibility and that’s what made the shoot so fun. We also got to improv a lot, which was super exciting because, not only did we make the cast and crew laugh a bunch, but improv is so similar to writing, so we got to exercise our writing skills too. 

In every project we make, I guarantee there will be some amount of humor. Life truly is a dramedy (drama-comedy). You gotta cry but you also must laugh; otherwise, you’re taking it all too seriously. And if you take life, and even this business too seriously, you will lose your mind. 

Isabella, you’ve had an impressive career trajectory, working with renowned producers and being recognized in competitions like the ABC Make Me a Star contest. How has this journey shaped your perspective as an actress and filmmaker?

Actually my sister Olivia got the ABC Make Me a Star contest! She’s a superstar haha! But in terms of my journey, I think there’s been SO many ups and downs. I think most people in this business can relate. 

It’s a lot of getting your hopes up, being let down, doors closing in your face, and your emails being ghosted. BUT, I have grown so much as well. I have met such incredible people, had amazing experiences, and have garnered some thick ass skin. 

I love getting the opportunity to express my creativity, so to be able to do it as a job from time to time, is such a cool life to live. I’m at the point in my life where I want to build my life outside of my career a bit more so that I can enjoy the journey without always holding my breath. 

I just started taking dance classes (I love Kpop), and am taking Spanish, ASL, and Korean language classes. I want to do more travel too. You have to be all in with this career, but you also have to be all in with your personal life as well. It’s all about balance.

Olivia, you’ve achieved success as both an actress and a writer, with accolades from prestigious competitions like The Industry Next Festival and the Academy Award Nicholls Fellowship. How do you balance these dual roles, and do they inform each other in your creative process?

I think the key to balancing dual roles is to see them both as just extensions of your creative mind. Creativity can flow out of you in so many forms, so I tried to just channel that creativity in whatever I’m doing – making sure to allow myself to do more acting at times when there are more auditions and more writing at times where there are less auditions. 

It’s all a balancing act, but it’s coming from the same creative flow, so it doesn’t feel too much like you’re switching from one thing to another. It’s more of a constant creative flow that I let channel itself in whatever form it desires, as pretentious as that sound! 

What drew you both to collaborate on “Never Getting Rid of Me, Bitch,” and how did your individual strengths complement each other during the filmmaking process?

As we said earlier, we’ve always wanted to work on a project of this magnitude together. So, even if the film went nowhere, we knew we were still accomplishing one of our greatest dreams and bucket list items! Luckily, the film has placed in festivals and gotten incredible feedback from industry executives, but our goal for this film was just to make it in the first place. 

And yes, our individual strengths really did add to the process of making this project. My sister is incredibly good at outlining and tracking story elements and making sure everything makes sense as a whole. I would say my strength is in dialogue and creating small moments of specificity. 

But I truly believe this was a team effort. We split the responsibilities equally and really infused our own personalities and spirits into the characters  equally as well. 

With your film debuting at the Mammoth Film Festival, what are your hopes and expectations for its reception among audiences and critics?

We really want this film to help people struggling with mental health or grief to feel less alone, and also to portray identical twins in a new light, one that is handled with respect and care, unlike many offensive portrayals of twins in the media. 

On the business side of things, we hope this film will act as a calling card for our talent, our chemistry, and our abilities as a producing/writing/acting duo, while also highlighting our individual strengths as well. We see this short film as our foray into the world of filmmaking as proof that we can not only deliver on a product, but also that we have something to say with our work.

Can you share any memorable moments or challenges you encountered while filming “Never Getting Rid of Me, Bitch” that have stayed with you?

One of the most challenging yet memorable moments was filming in the Franklin Canyon reservoir. It was almost nighttime, the water was murky and cold, and we had to swim all the way out in the middle of the reservoir to film a take dunking underwater and plunging back to the surface. 

My sister does not like being underwater for extended amounts of time, so she was having a lot of anxiety surrounding it. We tried to get the takes done as quickly as possible, especially because we were battling sunlight as well. It was an incredibly high-anxiety, tense scene to shoot, but, amidst all the chaos, it was actually quite beautiful. 

We were surrounded by nature, wading in a gorgeous reservoir as the sun was setting, birds were chirping, the fog machine was rolling out fog, and we were on set of a project we had created. It was incredibly magical and I’ll never forget it.

How do you navigate the intersection of comedy and emotionally resonant themes like death and grief in your storytelling, and what message do you hope viewers take away from your work?

I think life really is a mix of comedy and drama, like I said earlier. If I’m not laughing, I’m probably crying. So, I think it’s actually quite easy to meld the two, especially if you are creating a tone that is true-to-life and grounded in reality. Sisterhood in general is such a mix of comedy and drama. 

One second, you’re fighting to the death, and the next you’re laughing together on your way to Starbucks. I think the intersection of comedy and heavy themes is just an encapsulation of what it means to be alive. And we hope viewers walk away from this film feeling seen, feeling less alone, and feeling grateful for the people in their lives that they love the most.

As sisters working together in the film industry, what unique dynamics or advantages do you feel you bring to your collaborations, and how do you support each other in your creative endeavors?

Great question! Being collaborators has proven to be incredibly useful as we have been able to make our individual networking connections and share them with each other. It’s also incredibly useful in acting as we get to auditions for independent roles but also for twin/sister roles, so it’s double the chances of getting auditions and being seen by casting directors or casting associates. 

The pool of identical twins in the businesses is significantly smaller than the pool for a single person in our age range, so it does help us get opportunities that we might not have gotten otherwise. 

We always support each other in our individual creative endeavors because if I win, she wins, and vice versa. We will always help each other film auditions, choose which self-tape to send, give each other notes on individual writing projects we are doing, motivate each other when we are feeling down, and encourage each other to be our best selves. We are each other’s cheerleaders. 

And it’s nice to not have to go through this industry alone.

Looking ahead, what future projects or aspirations do you have as filmmakers and actresses, and how do you see yourselves evolving in the industry?

We would love to continue to build our career as actresses with more guest roles in TV and maybe even some supporting roles in film. We would also love to be able to write-for-hire, whether that be a feature film for a production company or in a writer’s room – together or individually. On the producing end, we’re never closed off to making another short or longer project if we found or wrote a script we were really passionate about. But overall, we just want to continue to be creative and see where it takes us!


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post