Eighteen years after helping a motherless young girl get her life back together, Eve was resurrected in Sunday’s premiere of Life-Size 2 to help a slightly older, slightly less motherless young woman do the very same.
Once again played to perfection by Tyra Banks, Eve was summoned to assist Grace Manning (grown-ish’s Francia Raisa), the reluctant new CEO of Marathon Toys, Eve’s literal parent company. And although Lindsay Lohan wasn’t able to return, Casey apparently sent the Book of the Dead to Grace’s mom shortly after the events of the first movie, thus connecting the stories and creating a path for Eve to return to the human realm. (Speaking of realms, the movie also gave us glimpses into Eve’s life in Sunnyvale, each more bonkers than the last. But more on those later.)
Once Grace overcame her initial disbelief, she surrendered to Eve’s manic charm and infectious delusions, forming a bond that came in handy when an executive at Marathon Toys plotted to overthrow her. (Important note: This was the same dubious character who framed Grace’s mom and sent her to prison.) With an assist from Eve — including a trap remix of “Be a Star” and a new line of inclusive Eve dolls — Grace not only saved her company, but also proved her mother’s innocence and landed a new man. God bless us, everyone.
Eve’s Christmas wishes were also granted when a handsome chef named Hyde declared his love for her, then followed her back to Sunnyvale. No questions asked. He didn’t even seem especially surprised when he literally turned into a doll and teleported to an all-plastic dimension where everyone looks like Tyra Banks. That’s just his new normal now.
Because Life-Size 2 is more than just a whimsical Christmas comedy — it’s also a mythological mind-screw! — TVLine got in touch with writer Cameron Fay to break down some of the sequel’s finer points, from Lindsay Lohan’s “cameo” to Eve’s magical life in Sunnyvale:
TVLINE | Picking this up after almost two decades feels like a massive undertaking. What were your goals?
It’s always a fun challenge to revisit a character after a certain amount of time, but Eve really hasn’t changed that much. She’s entering a new world, but she’s still the same — and she still loves butter. When I first started speaking with Tyra and Freeform, we decided that we wanted to satisfy fans of the original, but we also wanted to push the envelope and bring in new viewers. Tyra was the real driving force in getting this made. This was like Tyra’s baby.
TVLINE | I also loved the callback to her infamous Top Model rant. Did you write that, or was that all her?
That was something we went back and forth on. Like, did we want to bring in Top Model stuff, too, or should we keep it separate? In the end, we decided it would be funny to wink at Top Model. That was her.
TVLINE | Generally, this movie felt a little more adult, especially the humor.
The fans of the original have grown up, so we didn’t want her to just help out another kid and have this become the same movie. We wanted to satisfy those original fans who grew up and now have more adult problems. So we leaned in and included dialogue that was more appropriate for people in their twenties.
TVLINE | I thought Casey sending the book was an interesting way of including Lindsay Lohan’s character. How did that idea come about?
Well, the first draft actually had Casey in the movie. That was something Tyra really wanted. So I wrote scenes with Casey, not necessarily as the lead, but as an important character in the movie, especially the last section of the movie. But when we realized it wasn’t going to happen, the idea had to shift. So we knew that the fans loved Casey, but we were also expanding the mythology — the Life-Size cinematic universe, I guess. [Laughs] This was a larger conversation with many people: How can we include her if she’s not going to be in it? Someone said, ‘What about that book?’ It was subtle and simple to think that Casey had such a great experience with Eve that she wrote the CEO, like a little kid would. It was our way of connecting it to the first movie but also telling a new story.
TVLINE | Speaking of building the mythology, I love that we finally got to go to Sunnyvale.
One of the big things I wanted to do was to actually see Sunnyvale. I wanted to go there. And I wanted to see the other Eves. That was something I was really passionate about, and I’m glad they kept that in the movie. There is a Sunnyvale that exists, and they don’t know how to type there either — but they think they’re good at it.
TVLINE | I could honestly watch an entire spinoff movie with just the Eves.
[Laughs] There was that weird Being John Malkovich-esque moment in there. It would have distracted from the story, but it would have been great to step outside into the streets and to see all of the other Eves walking down the street being like, “Hi, Eve! Hi, Eve!”
TVLINE | And now Sunnyvale has a new resident. Do you think Hyde thought everything through before agreeing to go with Eve?
Definitely not. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t know if that was going to work. We thought about adding a line for Butler, being like, “I don’t know if you want to do that.” But they went for it. And I think what helps it a little bit — certainly the comedy of it — is that he’s in his little chef’s suit. It’s so over the top. I don’t know how Hyde’s going to fit in in Sunnyvale.
TVLINE | It was such an impulsive decision. Doesn’t he have a family? I have to imagine that his business will suffer, at the very least.
[Laughs] Right? Who’s running that food truck? And what happened to the restaurant? And where is his body? Is he just a doll now? I enjoyed it at the end of the day. It’s a left turn, and it wraps up the idea of Eve finding love, which I think everyone was hoping for in this one. That was the idea, maybe this love really is magical.
What did you think of Life-Size 2? Grade it below, then drop a comment with your thoughts on the Freeform sequel.