The Bold Type star Katie Stevens on filming Jane's recovery
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Thursday's episode of The Bold Type, "Leveling Up."
Back in March, The Bold Type's midseason finale ended with Jane (Katie Stevens) making more than one major decision. First, she ended things with Ryan (Dan Jeannotte) after finding out he slept with the woman he originally said he kissed. Then, in the episode's final moments, she headed into surgery for her mastectomy.
Now that the show is back for the latter half of its fourth season, it wasted no time getting into Jane's recovery process and what it's like for her to go through it all without Ryan. EW spoke with Stevens about filming the powerful Jane episode and what comes next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This surgery is something that's been a possibility for Jane for a while, but what was your reaction when you saw that you all were going to do it and how you were going to do it?
KATIE STEVENS: I think that I had a lot of the same feelings that Jane was feeling, just in a very different way. It's interesting because I think as women we're so self-conscious and we're never pleased when we look in the mirror. Everybody has these insecurities about their body and no one really talks about it. I don't think I've ever watched a TV show where girls are talking to each other about how they feel about their bodies or that they feel bloated or whatever it might be. So for me, I was really self-conscious that this was going to be a story line dedicated to my breasts and that there was going to be a lot of focus there. So I got really self-conscious because I'm like, "How are we going to make my boobs look bigger because I don't have fake boobs, and how are we going to make that believable?" I got in my head about wanting it to be so authentic, but I think I had that authenticity without knowing it because I was insecure in a different way.
What were your thoughts when you found out Jane was going to go through all this without Ryan?
I think that it's so important to have shown the recovery period in that montage because not only did she just go through surgery, but she just broke up with the person that she thought she was going to be with for the rest of her life. I spoke a lot with the writers about how important it was to me that we not just make this a boob story, but it has to be about everything she's just gone through. She had this person that had been to every doctor's appointment, that she felt was one of the people closest to her, that could understand what she was going through, and that she could open up to, and she lost that person. It was also important for me, I was like, "This guy made a mistake; he's not an a—hole. If they had broken up, he would still check in on her about her surgery." So I was happy that in that montage of her recovery we at least alluded to text messages and things like that. But I loved the whole episode, I loved the story of her going into the office and being self-conscious like, "Are people looking at me differently? Are people noticing, or is it all in my head?" Because I think that's a really real thing, and to be struggling with not feeling at home in your own body, I think, is a struggle for a lot of women who have gone through this exact same experience.
What was the research process like for you in terms of playing the recovery?
I looked up a lot and I also had a doctor on set. There was an oncologist, and he spoke about the process. Initially we all thought you get your breasts removed and then after you recover from that is when you get your breast implants. And he was like, "No, when they remove it they'll just do it all." So it's extremely painful. I sat with the doctor for a while just talking about where my energy level would be, where my pain level would be. Even when we first open the door and we walk in, you don't even realize how much pain that causes. We shot that scene of the girls walking me in and we were walking so slowly, and the doctor was like, "Go even slower." Learning about that, I'm like, "Oh my God, I couldn't even imagine." We got to shoot all the montage stuff kind of in one day and in sequential order, which was really nice because we also never get to do that. When she starts to get better and she laughs for the first time, I think that it's so poignant because there must be a point where you're going through that and you're in so much pain that you're like, "I'm never going to get better, I'm never going to be back to who I am." I think she gets to the point where she's like, "All right, I am recovering," and then there's the whole other obstacle about, now that I'm physically healed, how do I emotionally heal? How do I emotionally feel at home in my body, how do I feel comfortable and confident? So we're going to see that journey happen over a few episodes.
I appreciated that this episode gave a lot of focus to the recovery, but we also saw Jane already get back to work.
She's got to go back, she has an office now! It was so funny because Aisha [Dee], for years shooting this show, she's like, "Kat's the social media director, shouldn't she have her own office?" We were dying laughing because Kat gets fired, and then when we were at the table read for this episode and Jane got her own office, she was like, "What the f—?!" [Laughs]
I'm a little bummed about Alex [Matt Ward] is moving out. I really love the Alex-Jane dynamic.
Right? Same. Jane was raised with boys and we talk about it, but even with her actual brother we didn't get to see the brother-sister relationship much. I feel like that's so important and telling in terms of somebody's story. It gives a whole different dynamic to Jane to see, "Oh, she's down with hanging with the guys." Having her live with Alex and having them playing videogames together, it showed a whole different side to Jane, and I always love when I see shows depict females and males able to literally just be friends because I have so many guys who I'm best friends with in my real life and it's in no way sexual.
The Bold Type airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform.