April’s family finally learned the truth about her cancer diagnosis on Tuesday’s Chasing Life — even if the big reveal wasn’t entirely in April’s control.
Below, showrunner Sean Smith gives TVLine a peek at the rest of Season 1, including April’s budding romance with Leo and further complications — like whether or not she wants to have children.
TVLINE | So… that was a huge episode.
[Laughs] Yeah, this was a really big episode. Since we run in cycles of 10, this was kind of our midseason blow-out.
TVLINE | Why have the secret forced out of her, rather than let April decide on her own?
It was really to demonstrate her denial. What’s so interesting about this show is that it’s not just someone dealing with cancer; it’s a young person dealing with cancer. When you’re in your early twenties, you feel invincible, like nothing bad is going to happen to you. That’s demonstrated in April’s decision to not confront it and to keep it a secret as long as she could. After this episode, it really becomes a bigger issue with her having to accept that this is her life now. She’s going to have make choices that most people her age won’t have to make.
TVLINE | I know April doesn’t want her whole life to be about her cancer, but it sounds like that’s happening, whether she likes it or not.
Absolutely. There’s one element coming up that we’re really excited about. Before April starts chemo, Leo tells her it can render her infertile, so at 24, she’s having to make this decision: Before she starts chemo, does she want to have kids someday? Should she freeze her eggs? More than just in her work life, she’s trying to keep whatever future she can open before it’s compromised by the aggressive treatment she needs.
TVLINE | Oh, wow. So it’s just hitting her in every aspect of her life.
And also in her love life. Leo informs her of that information, which will only bond them more, given the shared cancer.
TVLINE | Are we talking a full-blown love triangle here?
It heads in that direction, and as long as she’s still keeping her secret from Dominic, it’ll continue to threaten their relationship, which she’s very much into. But then it’s Leo who she connects with and who can understand her best. They have to confront their mortality together.
TVLINE | The name Chasing Life sounds much more positive than Terminales, the Mexican show it’s based on. Was that a conscious effort on your part, to make it more hopeful?
Oh, absolutely. We took that off the table pretty quickly. It would be all YOLO all the time, and I didn’t know how to have seasons upon seasons of that experience. Then, the more we talked to people who have dealt with cancer for years and years, that‘s the journey we got excited about — not just about the death side of things.
TVLINE | Moving forward, which of April’s family members is going to have the strongest — and maybe the most surprising — reaction to her being sick?
I think Brenna is the one who has the biggest reaction. We had such a strong first impression of Brenna with her acting out in the pilot, but then she found out and continued to keep April’s secret. She’ll learn how to be strong for April. We really start to explore their deeper sisterhood, which is nice. It brings a different dynamic to their relationship.