PODCAST: Sierra McCormick Discusses Navigating Grief and Adolescence in New Film “Edge of Everything”

Navigating adolescence is complex. Add the element of grief, and it seems impossible. Edge of Everything, the debut feature film from Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman, is the fictional story of a teenage girl who unwittingly faces the challenge of grief head on. 

After the devastating passing of her mother, Abby (Sierra McCormick of A.N.T. Farm, The Vast of Night, and American Horror Story ) is forced to move in with her estranged Father (Jason Butler Harner). In an attempt to numb the pain of loss, Abby distances herself from her family and friends, seeking refuge in reckless relationships and risky behavior. Yet, through her rebellion she gains a deeper understanding of herself and the people around her. 

The coming-of-age drama also stars Ryan Simpkins, Emily Robinson, Dominique Gayle, Nadezhda Amé, Drew Scheid, Anthony Del Negro, and Mike Manning. 

We sat down with the film’s lead, Sierra McCormick to chat about discovering her character Abby and finding a new appreciation for her own unconventional adolescence. 

Excerpt from the podcast:

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Abby’s relationships are so important to her story, whether it’s her relationship with her dad or her relationship with Caroline or her longtime friends. How did you all work together to create that chemistry on the film? 

Almost all the credit for that needs to go to the filmmakers because they did what they could for us and they scheduled in rehearsal time where the core group of actors, aside from Jason who plays my Dad, cause that was a very different sort of relationship to explore, but all the friends, could do these really fun sort of exercises like talk about your childhood bedroom, or talk about a friendship you would have had that might have been close to a Caroline sort of friendship, or pretend you guys are all at a sleepover and you’re playing a game, or act out a scene where you told some of your friends something about Sarah and she’s upset about it and she kind of comes and talks to you about it. All these different scenarios that would have happened outside of where the script is helped us develop and foster that relationship between all of us so by the time that we got on set, everything felt very free and very uninhibited because everyone had prepped so much and we were all very aware of everyone’s relationship to each other and where it functioned in the sort of ecosystem of the film. And we all sort of regressed a little bit, I think, to our teenage selves in that process, which I think was invaluable.

Still from the film "Edge of Everything"
Courtesy of Lightyear

For Abby, adolescence was such a pivotal time for her, and it’s a time of self discovery too. Was there anything that you discovered about yourself in going through this process and seeing adolescence through Abby’s eyes? 

Well, kind of, yeah. It made me confront feelings I hadn’t really thought about – how I was raised and how my teenage-hood sort of happened…but particularly my scenes with Jason – I had very different parents. They were much more strict and they were much more involved and kind of on my ass about me going out and having certain experiences, which like, I don’t necessarily blame them, but it was hard for me to confront how I felt about that because it was a little bit difficult to get into some of those scenes for me personally because I couldn’t fully empathize at first. I was like, Abby, your dad’s being so much cooler than my dad would have been about this – be nice to him. But at the same time, I had to confront that and learn that I should give 15 year old Sierra some grace for what she was going through and how she was acting, and all the things that she did that I now regret or feel embarrassed about or whatever. I made peace with how I was as a teenager, because I think for a long time, I tried very hard to distance myself from it. I wanted to leave that behind me, but whether I like it or not, it’s a part of me. I think something I learned was to appreciate that part of myself in that era of Sierra in a way. I definitely think Abby sees that too by the end of the movie.

To watch the film, visit https://geni.us/edgeofeverything