Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt are “Disengaged”

AE: So what would be some advice you would give someone who is feeling pressured to get married because they can now?

JT:  You don’t get a do-over. You are talking about someone else autonomy and, more importantly, your own autonomy and your future.

HPU: And it’s legally binding. First of all, you should know there is nothing you should do in a relationship simply based on outside pressure; I think that’s standard relationship advice.

JT: Also, specifically talking about queer people thinking about getting married, remember the soldier in you. Remember how difficult it was to fight for the understanding and community that if you are lucky, you now enjoy. Remember that tenacity because when it comes down to all of a sudden having to “march in line” if that’s a healthy situation for you then you will have the support of our community, but if it’s not right for you, then it’s not your cross to bear.


AE: Did you have to do any research while creating this or was it all based on what you have learned throughout your own lives?

HPU: Ummm…thats a good question! We did do some wedding research in talking about what we wanted to focus on in each episode.

JT: We did, actually, and I’m embarrassed to tell you as a gay woman, but I had to go back and look up when all of the legalization decisions had been made. 

HPU: We also did a lot of what we call “character therapy.” Part of my process as an actor and director is basically holding therapy sessions as our characters, to figure out the parameters of arguments or disagreements, and then talk that out in character. This helps find the emotional arc of the story and really fine tune the conflict.


AE: Well you guys have great chemistry together!

JT: Thank you! It’s interesting to inhabit this space as incredibly close friends, we have been friends for 10 years almost, I dated Hannah’s childhood best friend for years, which is what brought our families together. Which we have to continually convince them that we are not secretly dating. [laughs] Hannah’s mom asks every time she sees us, “Is there something you want to tell me?”

HPU: Which I always say, “Do you really think I wouldn’t tell you that mom?” We are actually playing sisters in our feature coming out.

JT: Yes it’s going to be interesting going from a madly in love couple to playing sisters. [laughs]


AE:  How did you get Disengaged started?

HPU: We started talking to Super Deluxe, where we know one of the producers who works there, and she told [Superdeluxe Director] Wolfgang [Hammer] about us and our dynamic and some of the things we were working on. And then we started tossing around ideas with him, and some of the other producers and we were just really encouraged by them to focus on stories that we really wanted to tell, and we knew these characters and had been playing around with them for a while, so it was just about finding the right framework. We wanted to use the traditional model of using the pilot as a way of gauging the response and nailing down our aesthetic—which is why there’s been so much time between the pilot and these next episodes—but we’re really happy we did it that way.