What happens when you scroll through Instagram and find out your ex is dating someone new? Most people would start spiraling. For the protagonist of the teen rom-com Banana Split, however, it's the start of a beautiful friendship. While the plot may seem far-fetched, it turns out, it's not as impossible as it sounds. Co-written by and starring Hannah Marks, Banana Split is actually based on a true story.
In the film, April (Marks) and her boyfriend, Nick (Dylan Sprouse) just graduated high school and, upon getting accepted to different colleges, agree to break up. Then one day, while scrolling through social media, April comes across a post and realizes Nick is dating someone new. Devastated, April agrees to go to a party with her friends and guess who shows up? Her ex's new girlfriend, Clara (Liana Liberato).
After some shots, table dancing, and exchanging numbers, the two quickly become each other's besties. They spend the summer goofing off, bonding, and attempting to keep their intense friendship a secret from Nick. The only problem? Clara is still dating him, and April still has some unresolved feelings for him. As the friendship grows, so do the complications.
So, how did Marks come up with the idea for Banana Split? First, she had to live it. "I [had] my high school relationship and then we broke up ... in that weird timeframe between, you know, being a kid and being an adult. He ended up dating someone else right away and I accidentally met her at a party," Marks tells Elite Daily. "I wanted to hate her but I really liked her."
Though it's been years since the 26-year-old befriended her ex's new SO, the idea of their unlikely friendship stuck with her. "I hadn't seen something like that on screen, where you take this character that normally is villainized and you make them human."
While the general premise and the meet-cute of the two girls was based on Marks' IRL experiences, many of the details are different. "Moments and emotions were inspired by the real thing but really everything was fictionalized," Marks says. "The character became an amalgamation of a lot of people in my life, not just her. So, you know, I definitely didn't take anything personal and exploit it."
Another way Marks' real life differs from the film? Her current relationship with the woman who inspired Clara. "We drifted and moved away to different colleges," Marks admits. "It [was] harder to keep in touch." Despite no longer being as close, Marks made sure to tell her about the film.
"Just because something is a temporary love doesn't make it any less important," Marks said of her relationship with both her ex and her former friend. "You can have these really meaningful relationships and just because they don't last your whole life, doesn't mean that they were any less meaningful."
Liberato, who plays Marks' friend in the film, however, is another story. "Liana Liberato is a good friend of mine since we were little, little kids, she says. "It's just exciting getting to live out our real life chemistry together."
Another aspect of the film that made this project special for Marks? Casting Dylan Sprouse as her love interest Nick. "Liana and I grew up watching Suite Life and thought he just seemed like a natural fit," Marks explains. "We also identified with him because he was a child actor and so were we. So that's something that really bonds you. He really just seemed like a no-brainer."
Though Banana Split originally premiered in 2018, the film is now getting released to the public. The momentum for Marks isn't slowing down either. Up next is the release of her film Mark, Mary, & Some Other People, a comedy about open relationships starring Hayley Law (Riverdale) and Ben Rosenfield (Six Years, Mrs. America). "It was my first time solo-writing, producing, directing," she says excitedly. "I really hope I get to keep doing all of these things for the rest of my life."
Banana Split is available on March 27 to rent or buy on iTunes, Amazon Video, and more.