Grammy nominees and LGBTQ icons Tegan and Sara have been searching for the perfect pair of young performers to bring the story of their adolescence to life, and it seems they’ve now found them … perhaps appropriately, on TikTok. The musical duo’s 2019 memoir High School is being adapted as a coming-of-age series for Amazon’s IMDb TV, and has just announced its casting of real-life twins and TikTok performers Railey and Seazynn Gilliland, who will portray Tegan and Sara. The series is co-created by executive producer Clea DuVall of Happiest Season, who also wrote and directed episodes. Cobie Smulders and Kyle Bornheimer, meanwhile, have been cast in the series as the twins’ parents.
If it closely follows the content of Tegan and Sara Quin’s book, High School will set itself in mid-’90s, grunge-infused Canada, a bit earlier than the timeline of the just-released Pixar feature Turning Red. The memoir detailed the duo’s first musical and romantic experiences as they began their careers, with The Hollywood Reporter saying it “weaves between parallel and discordant memories of twin sisters growing up down the hall from one another.” In the memoir, co-authors Tegan and Sara take turns telling events from their own memory and perspective, chapter by chapter.
Railey Gilliland will be playing Tegan, described as “a gregarious, confident and extroverted teenager, who turns to music to explore her vulnerabilities.” Seazynn Gilliland therefore plays Sara, described as a more reserved and shy, “observant and sensitive 15-year-old who, for the first time, starts to access her own self-confidence through playing music.” Presumably the series will also include some of the early romantic travails of the duo as high school freshmen, both of whom are queer. Fittingly, Duvall is also openly gay.
“It felt kismet when I saw Railey and Seazynn for the first time on TikTok,” said Tegan Quin to THR. “There was something undeniably intriguing about them: They were sweet and original, impossible not to watch. I felt compelled to send Sara the video. ‘Too bad they don’t act,’ I texted her. Sara wasn’t deterred. They were performers, musical and dynamic. ‘You can’t teach charisma,’ Sara said, which they had in spades. Sara was relentless — these were the twins that had to play us. We were overjoyed when they were cast, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that it all worked out.”
High School is set to begin production days from now in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We’ll bring you more news on the show’s development as it breaks.