EXCLUSIVE: Laura & Vanessa Marano on How '13 Reasons Why' Helped Get Their New Movie Made

EXCLUSIVE: Laura & Vanessa Marano on How '13 Reasons Why' Helped Get Their New Movie Made

Dark, gritty YA is having a moment – just ask Laura Marano and Vanessa Marano.

The sisters are busy promoting their new film, Saving Zoë, which is a passion project they’ve been working to bring to the big screen for more than a decade.

Saving Zoë, based on the novel of the same name by Alyson Noël, tells the story of a high school freshman (played by Laura who searches for the truth about her older sister’s (played by Vanessa untimely death.

The story is dark and deals with important, harrowing real world issues like online sexual exploitation.

Laura, Vanessa, and their mother, Ellen Marano, optioned the book after reading it 12 years ago, but struggled for years to get the film made, in part because no one wanted to make a dark YA book into a movie or television show.

“By the time we finished [the script], something kind of crazy happened with timing – 13 Reasons Why came out,” Laura explained exclusively to JustJaredJr.com. “And, to be quite honest, all of a sudden, everyone was like, ‘We want dark YA! We want dark stories!’”

Vanessa says that fans of 13 Reasons Why are the same people who will appreciate Saving Zoë, but that, for years, the people with the power to make the project a reality just didn’t believe those viewers even existed.

Click inside for more of what Laura Marano and Vanessa Marano had to say about the importance of Saving Zoë.

“We kept hearing the same thing – that young people, young girls particularly, they want fluff, they want something easy, romantic,” Vanessa said. “And we were like, no, we think young girls – young people – are way smarter than the world gives us credit for. They want something raw and want something real and something that resonates with them. I think 13 Reasons Why was a huge example of this.”

The sisters warn that Saving Zoë is a very dark film and that its subject matter can be triggering for some viewers, but say that the story is an important one that needs to be told.

“Yes, it is a dark topic and, yes, it can be triggering for some people, but what we hope more than than anything is that a conversation starts as a result of the film,” Vanessa told JustJaredJr.com. “Saving Zoë greatly deals with the topic of online sexual exploitation, which is a topic Laura and I were not really familiar with until we read this book. And you know, it’s 12 years later, and it’s a very real issue that is incredibly prevalent domestically, internationally.”

Vanessa sums up why she and Laura fought so hard to get Saving Zoë to the big screen: “No one wanted to make this, no one want to talk about this – which means we have to make this, we have to talk about this.”

Read what Laura Marano and Vanessa Marano had to say about their awkward first kiss stories here!

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Photos: WENN
Posted to: Laura Marano, Saving Zoe, Vanessa Marano