It’s been nearly 10 years since The Secret Life of the American Teenager aired its series finale, but Megan Park and Shailene Woodley are still “super close.” In an interview with ET’s Deidre Behar, Park opened up about how they’ve maintained their friendship over the years — and how it led to Woodley’s role in Park’s new movie and directorial debut, The Fallout. 

“Shai and I are super close. We have been ever since Secret Life,” explained Park, who wrote and directed The Fallout. “She’s been so great and so supportive of my writing and directing, and she’d actually read something that I had written a few years ago and brought me on to do a rewrite of this feature that she was attached to.” 

“So, we’d worked together on that and we’d worked really well together,” she continued. “We actually didn’t really work together that much on Secret Life — we never really had storylines together and we would just get too crazy when we were together so they were like, ‘Keep those two apart’ — so we didn’t really work together in a professional setting in many ways, but she read the script.” 

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Jenna Ortega on Her Decision to Transition From Disney Star to Mature Roles (Exclusive)

Jenna Ortega on Her Decision to Transition From Disney Star to Mature Roles (Exclusive)

The Fallout follows high schooler Vada (Jenna Ortega) as she navigates her emotions in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family, friends and view on the world are forever altered. Woodley plays Vada’s therapist. 

Park told ET that after reading the script, Woodley just wanted to be a part of the movie. “She was so sweet to want to do that, and we ended up beefing up the character once she attached herself to it,” she recalled. “She was so sweet. She checked in with me probably every single day of the shoot to ask how it was going. Before the day that she shot with Jenna, she was like, ‘Can I text Jenna and just introduce myself?'” 

“She brought flowers to set. She was just the real deal and has been so supportive every step of the way, from beginning to end of this whole project,” she added. 

“She’s honestly such a sweetheart, such a kindhearted person and such an incredible scene partner. Obviously, she’s insanely talented,” Ortega confirmed. “To be able to work with somebody who you feel elevates your own personal performance and gives you a really just a great performance to feed on… I’m very lucky to have shared that.” 

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Woodley and Park are there for each other both professionally and personally. The Big Little Lies star’s new fiance, Aaron Rodgers, definitely has Park’s approval. 

“Yes. I like Aaron a lot. I have not met him in real life yet because of COVID, but I met over FaceTime and he saw the movie and was very complimentary,” Park said. “He’s a great guy and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.”  

As for her own milestones and accomplishments, Park said she feels “relieved” as audiences finally get to see The Fallout. At SXSW, the film was awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the Narrative Feature Film Competition and the Brightcove Illumination Award. 

The Fallout tackles a difficult subject matter, but Park said she wanted it to “feel authentic and real and true to what this journey can look like or be like.” “So, that was my North star as I was making it,” she added. 

“I’ve just been waiting to put it out there and to hear people’s reactions, and to see how positive they’ve been has just been so incredible and so overwhelming,” she said. “It’s hard because you get so close to it. I wrote the movie and directed it and did so much of it from my room because of COVID. So it’s just weird to not really have anybody see it until now. And it’s really, it’s an incredible feeling for sure.”

While Park steps into her new role as a director and screenwriter, she also assures fans she isn’t abandoning acting.

“I would like to spend a lot of time writing and directing the future, but I still have some acting things lined up and I love acting,” the Ontario, Canada, native explains, before adding, “I’m not ruling it out, but I definitely have a special place in my heart for writing and directing.”

The Fallout is available to stream now via SXSW. 

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