'I am the Night': Fauna Hodel's daughters knew Patty Jenkins' TNT show was meant to be, "without a shadow of doubt"
The show has managed to reel us in, with not only the Hodel family's secrets, but with also that of Fauna Hodel’s origins, due to Eisley’s brilliant portrayal of the character.
Patty Jenkins, Chris Pine and India Eisley’s TNT show ‘I am the Night,’ inspired by Fauna Hodel's book ‘One Day She'll Darken: The Mysterious Beginnings of Fauna Hodel’ premiered on Sunday, January 27.
The book is the true story of Hodel who was given away by her teenage white birth mother to a black restroom attendant in a Nevada casino in 1949. According to the novel's website, "Enduring prejudice from both races, she sought out the only person who truly knew where she belonged – her real mother. But after discovering her true identity, she uncovered a family secret even more bizarre than her own."
When TNT greenlighted the series in 2017, the premise promised a rivetting TV series, and 'I am the Night' doesn't disappoint.
With the very first episode it has managed to reel us in, with not only the Hodel family and its secrets, but also that of Fauna Hodel’s origins and most of that is thanks to Eisley’s brilliant portrayal of the character.
Eisley brought the perfect balance of naïve and determined to the character of the late Fauna, which both her daughters are appreciative of. Fauna’s daughter Yvette Gentile tells MEAWW, “India is unbelievable as our mother. In real life our mother was like a fairy. She was so deep and so spiritual and at the same time she was so clear and she had such intent of what she was here to do and India brought all of that and then some. When we saw the first screening of it all put together, my sister and I were blown away. She is such an incredible actress and an incredible human being.”
Her younger sister Rasha Pecoraro, meanwhile talks about all the signs which led them to believe that no one could have brought the spirit of Fauna to life better than Eisley. “India and I connected on Twitter when it was announced that she was cast in the part, which was a week after mom passed away. So, mom didn't know that India was portraying her. She knew that Chris was cast and that Carl Franklin and Patty Jenkins were directing but she didn't know about India.”
“I knew just from our exchanging messages that she was it. She was the person. Yvette and I put ourselves out there, and we said, 'India if you need anything we are here. You can ask any questions.' We have become so close to her, we almost feel like we are family,” says Rasha, adding, “We became BFFs on set. India and I were always trouble because we were always in craft services talking. It wasn't us giving her advice on how to play mom, nor did she really outwardly ask for it, but she is involved in our lives.”
The sisters say that Eisley, who is close to their respective spouses and families, knows their mother’s spirit through them. “She didn't really even have to ask questions. She just knew and she plays her so beautifully. [She is the] perfect person to play our mother. Mom would have loved India.”
Coincidentally, Eisley’s mother Olivia Hessey and Fauna were friends on Facebook, and even though they never met in person, there are way too many connections and parallels that Yvette and Rasha could not ignore.
In fact, Olivia, who published her autobiography 'The Girl on the Balcony: Olivia Hussey Finds Life After Romeo and Juliet' on July 31, 2018, talks about her connection with Fauna, who also died of cancer, in her book.
“India had just gone through taken care of Olivia, surviving breast cancer,” says Rasha, adding, “India is close to her mom like how we were close to our mom. Her mom is her best friend and our mom was our best friend. [There are] so many parallels. She was just so compassionate to us and for us, and [India] put all of that into that role 100 per cent.”
Yvette is quick to agree, adding how their mother’s favorite saying, "Without a shadow of a doubt," fit perfectly in this scenario. “Without a shadow of a doubt the way all of this has come together for ' I am the Night' as well as the podcast ‘Root of Evil’. It was all meant to be and I really believe that mom is orchestrating from above, sprinkling her fairy dust around everything. For everybody involved, this is more than just a project. It's something so much deeper than we can even explain and it all comes down to the basis of love and identity and searching for our true self, and so many other things on top of that.”
Yvette and Rasha, who are working on a book together, talk about how Fauna’s stories and those of the Hodel family could not be contained in ‘I am the Night’ or ‘Root of Evil.’ They believe more pieces of the puzzle would be discovered in the years to come. For the sisters, the whole project – the series, the podcast and the book-in-the-making, are all about family.
“Yvette and I have different fathers, but we were raised together. Well, Yvette was the mom, and mom and I were the sisters. We want to be our mom and project her legacy of her love and kindness. I have been through so much and our family has been through so much. The podcast definitely tells a lot of it, but you can get all that many years of all that stuff packed into 8 hours,” narrates Rasha.
“Ohana [family] means everything. Truth sees no color. You may come from evil, but you are not evil. You can overcome and be the love and be the light. That is who our mom was and that is what she instilled so deeply in Rasha and me. My mom was always all about finding and choosing your joy and finding your happiness,” adds Yvette.