Katherine Heigl as Tully Hart in ’Firefly Lane’. Picture: Netflix
Katherine Heigl as Tully Hart in ’Firefly Lane’. Picture: Netflix

Why Katherine Heigl's performance in ‘Firefly Lane’ turned me into a fan

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Feb 16, 2021

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Is Katherine Heigl finally free of the “Grey’s Anatomy” curse? Could “Firefly Lane” be the show that breaks it and ushers in a new era for the actor-turned-executive producer?

If her performance as Tully Hart is anything to go by, it could very well be the case.

Of course, “Grey’s Anatomy” will always be one of Heigl’s biggest regrets. It was the show where her rising stardom was celebrated and acknowledged with an Emmy.

And her big-screen career was on the rise with rom-com’s galore.

But fame can be a double-edged sword.

Katherine Heigl (Tully) with Sarah Chalke (Kate) in “Firefly Lane”. Picture: Netflix

The world was Heigl’s oyster until it wasn’t. Primed to receive a second Emmy, she rebuked the nomination because she felt her character, Dr Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, wasn’t “given the material” to warrant it.

This was not only a slap in the face for Shonda Rhimes, this was career suicide for Heigl in many ways.

But perhaps the time has not only healed old wounds but it’s humbled, Heigl. It’s also changed her.

In recent years, she’s replaced those shallow bombshell roles for characters with more dramatic flair and depth. We’ve witnessed this in “State of Affairs”, “Doubt” and “Suits”.

Although I’ve enjoyed her movies and TV shows, I’ve never been a fan of Heigl until now.

Her portrayal of Tully surpasses everything she’s done to date.

In the Netflix series, which is based on Kristin Hannah’s novel of the same name, she blew me away with her performance.

The storyline centres on the close-knit relationships between Tully and Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke) and flits between past and present, where Tully is a hotshot host of “The Girlfriend Hour” and Kate, who has a teenage daughter, is starting over after recently divorcing.

Since high school, Tully and Kate have been each other’s ride or die. The 10-part series follows the friendship between the two.

Viewers get to see the BFF’s embrace adulthood, weather disastrous relationships, find love and grow is vastly different ways.

While Tully becomes this iconic TV host, Kate puts her career on hold to take care of her husband Johnny Ryan (Ben Lawson), who also happens to be the producer of Tully’s show, and Marah (Yael Yurman).

Heigl brings her fallible character to magnificent life.

Sarah Chalke, Katherine Heigl and Jon-Michael Ecker in “Firefly Lane”. Picture: Netflix

As Tully, she exudes this boundless energy, drive and ambition.

It’s part of her magnetism and charm and explains her “star quality”.

As much as she radiates success, Tully isn’t without scars many of which date back to her childhood.

She suffered abuse and was left at the mercy of her irresponsible hippie, drug addict mother, Cloud (Beau Garrett).

Tully’s yearning for a family, love and acceptance is something that shadows her for her entire life.

Heigl balances the strength and fragility of her character with commendable dexterity.

She allows herself to be vulnerable with Kate, she sacrifices for her friendship and she, in many ways, allows fear to sabotage her love life.

Her commitment-phobic stance is nothing but a smokescreen. She wants to be loved. She wants a family. She wants happiness.

While season two holds many answers, including what caused the rift between Tully and Kate, one thing is blatantly clear - Heigl steals the show in “Firefly Lane”.

Not just that, her prowess has impressed me enough to turn me into a fan.

“Firefly Lane” is streaming on Netflix.

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