“Dash & Lily” offers up a new twist on the rom-com genre.
The Netflix show, based on the 2010 book series, follows two New York teens — the titular snarky Dash (Austin Abrams) and upbeat Lily (Midori Francis) — as they get to know each by writing in a notebook.
“He’s described as ‘a scowl in a sweater,’ so he’s very much the Grinch-y kind of person,” Abrams tells The Post about his character.
The story begins when Lily leaves the notebook for someone to find on the shelf of The Strand bookstore, in hopes of sparking a romance with a like-minded book nerd. Her scheme doesn’t go as planned, however, when the notebook lands in the hands of Dash, who’s Lily’s complete opposite.
Without meeting in person, the duo soon trade challenges, going outside of their comfort zones — often to iconic locations such as Grand Central Terminal or Radio City Music Hall. For instance, grumpy Dash reads a poem on-stage in front of an audience thanks to a dare from Lily; with encouragement from Dash, Lily attends an underground punk Hanukkah concert with a drag-queen MC.
“Our writer and showrunner Joe [Tracz] loves New York and its geography, so he was adamant that every [location] needed to be in the actual place,” says Abrams. “We did a lot of filming in The Strand. We filmed a lot of it last October, and we had to put Christmas trees out on the sidewalk. I remember some woman walking by and kind of angrily being like, ‘Oh, Christmas trees already!’ She was not ready for the holidays.”
Abrams, 24, has previously appeared in “The Walking Dead,” “This Is Us” and in various teen-oriented dramas including HBO’s “Euphoria” and the movies “Paper Towns” (2015) and “Chemical Hearts” (2020, opposite Lili Reinhart from “Riverdale”).
“I really do enjoy a wide array of different genres. I think the most important thing is a truth and an honesty to the characters and the story that you’re making,” he says.
“There’s a good story [in ‘Dash & Lily,’] and we had great producers on it — Shawn Levy did ‘Stranger Things’ and a lot of great stuff. And it’s Netflix, so if it turns out well, a decent amount of people will watch it,” he says. “I do enjoy the community aspect of that. There is a lot of content out there, so there’s a lot of opportunity as an actor. But I do have a little bit of a sadness that there isn’t much of a community a lot of times around watching one particular thing.”
Thanks to the nature of the story, Abrams and Francis didn’t spend much time together on-set — but Abrams came up with a creative way for the co-stars to bond.
“We barely got to see each other because we were filming on different days, so it was similar to the show in terms of not being able to interact,” he says. “We kept a notebook as well to mirror the show and also to get to know each other a bit — and build a certain trust between us.”
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