Directed by Megan Park, ‘The Fallout’ is a teen-drama film that tells the story of the aftermath of a school shooting. Vada Cavell (Jenna Ortega) is a well-adjusted teenager with a happy family and a supportive friend. She and budding influencer Mia Reed (Maddie Ziegler) are in the school restroom together when they hear rapid gunshots. Realizing what is happening, they hide inside a stall and are soon joined by Quinton Hasland (Niles Fitch), another student at the school. The police eventually arrive and take the shooter down.
As it is often with trauma, Mia and the others respond to it differently from each other. While her friend Nick (Will Ropp) transforms into a student activist to stop school shootings for good, Vada just shuts down. If the realistic depiction of grief, trauma, and pain in ‘The Fallout’ has made you wonder whether actual events inspired the film, this is what you need to know.
Is The Fallout a True Story?
No, ‘The Fallout’ is not a true story. According to Park, who also wrote the script, it wasn’t any particular incident that inspired the film. Instead, it came out of her personal frustrations and sadness over the entire subject. She admitted that fear played some part in it as well. Being a Canadian, she didn’t have a personal experience with school shootings. However, she believes that it was one of the reasons she was the right person to tell this story.
There was apparently a point in which Park reflected on what it is like to be a high schooler these days. She placed herself in their shoes and pondered how she would react to the incessant fear. She came to believe that she hadn’t seen this aspect of the story before and decided to make the film. Park wrote the script in two weeks. But that was only after doing extensive research on the topic. ‘The Fallout’ marks Park’s debut as a film director. She has previously directed shorts and music videos and acted in a number of projects, including the ABC teen-drama series ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager.’
In an interview, Ortega stated that she sometimes felt uncomfortable while trying to find a way to relate to and portray her character. “It almost felt wrong to dig into the subject matter and immerse myself in something I wasn’t apart of or will never be able to fully comprehend unless I’m ever put in that situation,” she stated. “I think that just goes to show how critical it is that our country’s leaders give us a solution to this crisis but also the immense support and understanding we need to give our youth that is struggling with this.”
School shootings are one of the terrifying realities of modern-day America. In a 2018 article, The Washington Post dubbed school shooting a “uniquely American crisis.” While these tragedies do happen outside the US, the number is simply disproportionate. The gun culture and firearm laws in the US are often cited as primary reasons for the high number of school shootings. According to one data, 31 school shootings reportedly took place in America in the 13 years between the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. In that same time period, 14 similar incidents reportedly happened in the rest of the world.
Just like Nick in ‘The Fallout,’ the survivors have realized that the response needs to be political if they want to put a stop to these recurring tragedies for good. Gun control, mental health, and bullying — issues related to school shootings — have become some of the most prolific matters of debate in the American political discourse. So, while ‘The Fallout’ isn’t based on a true story, it’s perfectly understandable to think it is.
Read More: Where Was The Fallout Filmed?