There are jeans to make your thighs look skinnier. There are jeans to make your butt look firmer. But there’s only one pair of jeans with the magical ability to unite four young actresses in friendship, both on screen and off. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, directed by Ken Kwapis and based on Ann Brashares’ beloved books, arrived in theaters in June 2005, starring four mostly unknown actresses: America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn, and Alexis Bledel (Tamblyn and Bledel brought the most star power at the time thanks to their respective roles on CBS’ Joan of Arcadia and The WB’s Gilmore Girls). Sisterhood was a coming-of-age story about unlikely best friends — sarcastic Tibby (Tamblyn), tomboyish Bridget (Lively), romantic Lena (Bledel), and tough Carmen (Ferrera) — who discover a pair of jeans that somehow fits each of them perfectly. The sleeper hit charmed audiences enough to yield a 2008 sequel and propelled its actresses into even bigger roles — Ferrera and Lively went on to star on TV hits Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl — but Sisterhood‘s greatest legacy might just be the real-life friendship the four actresses formed.
At EW’s Reunions shoot in New York, the women were clearly thrilled to be with one another, as evidenced by their loose, giggly rapport; at one point they broke into an impromptu square-dance routine when the photographer asked them to change it up. Says Tamblyn of the friendship, ”I think it’s the wildest thing I have ever come across in my 20 years of acting. There’s not a damn thing false about it.” EW talked to the foursome about their bond, their memories of filming, and some wild bachelorette parties.
America Ferrera Carmen
I got the script and said there’s no way I’m reading a script called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It sounds way too cheesy, and it sat on my desk for a whole school year. Finally my agent was like, ”Please just read it.” And then of course I read it and was, like, laughing and sobbing.
Alexis Bledel Lena
I had a similar reaction. Then you read it, and the characters were so well crafted and they seemed like such real people that I think we all ended up giving it a second look because of that.
Amber Tamblyn Tibby
[America and I] were the first ones cast, I believe. I remember it like it was yesterday, truly, meeting America for the first time. I met her at the auditions for Blake’s role. I came in and there was a greenroom and there was this table where we were just waiting, and we met and talked and got to know each other and were like, ”Okay, we’re doing this movie together.”
Bledel I remember Blake’s audition because we read with her. She was very honest and raw. Her character goes through so much, so she had to do a very difficult audition. She just knocked it out of the park, and we were like, ”Please hire her.”
Tamblyn I remember Olivia Wilde auditioned. And Blake just had this quality about her that was really incredible.
Blake Lively Bridget
I got to that audition and they gave me the lines right there, and it was 10 pages. It was the scene where I opened up for the first time about my mom committing suicide. So it was very shocking to have that be the audition scene. I did it, and it went really well.
Ferrera Once we got to Vancouver [where the film was shot], all we had was each other, so it really solidified the friendship.
Lively We were finding any excuse that we could to hang out with each other. I was still in show choir in high school, and the girls would come to my show-choir performances at school.
Tamblyn I remember specifically taking Alexis and forcing her to come to this club with me in Vancouver. I think I made her take shots. I made her enter a break-dancing competition. Not even a joke. And she did it! It was the cutest thing ever; she was like a tiny turtle that was upside down in her shell and she was spinning around. I was like, ”Oh my God, I love you. I love you, you’re amazing.” She won a T-shirt.
Bledel I really wanted to win that T-shirt. Amber loves telling that story because she was so shocked that I did that. I’m fairly shy and reserved.
Ferrera We’ve been a part of each other’s lives in really meaningful ways that go beyond making a movie together. We almost forget that we made a movie together because our friendship was created from so many other experiences. The fact that our friendship started in this beautiful film that was so meaningful to all of us and to our lives and our careers and to our friendship, we are always so grateful for it.
Lively I mean, I planned Amber’s bachelorette party. I planned America’s. These are such key moments in each other’s lives. They met me before I even had a boyfriend. They were at my wedding [to Ryan Reynolds in September 2012]. They’re the most intelligent people you’ll ever meet. It’s just like, Wow, how lucky am I to have those women as friends? And how lucky are they, because I make a good cupcake! [Laughs]
Tamblyn [For my bachelorette party] Blake talked me into coming up to her and Ryan’s house [in Bedford, N.Y.]. We all had drinks and Blake’s like, ”You can’t drive home.” The next morning there was a car service and Ryan was like, ”I’ll watch Ollie” — our dog. And Blake basically took me to the airport. She blindfolded me. And I felt all these hands pulling me out of the car. I’m like, ”Okay, I’m going to be beheaded. I know what happens.” And it was America and Alexis — they had all surprised me and put this whole trip together to New Orleans.
Lively I’m in charge of planning everyone’s [bachelorettes] and I didn’t get one out of them. I did have a secret wedding — they thought they were going to a birthday party, so it’s no fault of theirs. But I do think I’m owed a bachelorette party.
Tamblyn I feel very lucky, and it never ceases to amaze me that it turned out this way. And even David [Cross, Tamblyn’s husband] and Ryan are friends — like, our dudes are friends.
Lively They really love each other and they have their own little man texts. They’re dying to do their own Husbands of the Sisterhood movie. We’ll see. I’ve always wanted to see David Cross and Ryan in the same pair of pants!
Ferrera The fifth book [Sisterhood Everlasting] picks up 10 years after the fourth book, so the characters are all basically the ages that we are now. I know that the four of us would love [to make another film], and it would be wonderful.
Tamblyn I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something in the air about that idea. We’ll have to see.
Update: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Cast
The 29-year-old will return to CBS’ The Good Wife this season and has wrapped two indie films: X/Y (directed by husband Ryan Piers Williams and costarring Tamblyn) and Chavez.
Now a regular on CBS’ Two and a Half Men playing Charlie Harper’s lesbian daughter, the actress, 30, will soon begin shooting the Bob Odenkirk comedy Girlfriend’s Day.
The actress, 26, starts production on a top secret film in December — ”It has magic. It has whimsy” — and is launching her own lifestyle brand.
After appearing on Mad Men in season 5 (she’s also engaged to star Vincent Kartheiser), Bledel, 32, will next costar on the midseason Fox comedy Us & Them.