Netflix's "6 Balloons" Follows Sister's Struggle To Help Brother After Relapse

By Victoria Kim 04/10/18

The Netflix original drama which centers on a sister's quest to find a detox center for her brother is based on a true story.

Dave Franco and Abbi Jacobson in "6 Balloons"
Dave Franco and Abbi Jacobson in "6 Balloons"

The new Netflix film 6 Balloons, released last Friday (April 6), promises a new kind of heroin drama.

While trying to plan a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend, Katie (played by Abbi Jacobson of Broad City) discovers that her brother Seth (Dave Franco) has relapsed.

The pair spend the night searching for a detox center that will admit Seth, while he suffers from withdrawals.

“It’s not a film about easy solutions and we’re under no illusions that what we see in the short running time is just a brief chapter in what may or may not be the start of a long road to recovery,” according to a Guardian review of 6 Balloons.

Actor Dave Franco said he was drawn to the film because it added nuance, a new perspective, to the addiction film genre.

“We’ve all seen movies about heroin addicts before, but I’d never seen one about a heroin addict who came from an upper-middle class family and seemingly has no reason to resort to these hard drugs,” he said in a recent People interview.

To research the role, Franco spent time with the brother of one of the film’s producers, who his character was based on.

“He was working in a law office while he was at his lowest point,” said Franco. “During lunch he would go down to Skid Row and shoot up. So there is such thing as a functioning heroin addict and that’s not something that we often explore in film. I think that something a lot of people will take from this movie is the fact that this can happen to anyone.”

Franco talked in-depth about how the heavy role inevitably consumed him. He lost 25 pounds for the film, running so much that he had to go to physical therapy to heal the damage he’d done to his knee.

It was hard not to let his work affect his personal life. “When you lose that much weight it affects you. I was depressed while we were filming this movie,” he said.

He described getting lost in documentaries about heroin addiction to research his role, which he said “also contributed to why I was so depressed.”

“I felt like I was in this dark heroin tunnel for a couple of months, and I was just not the most fun person to be around,” said the actor.

Even Franco's wife, actress Alison Brie, noticed the effect that playing Seth had on the actor. “I came home and my wife Alison called me out and said you’re not yourself, you’re not fun to be around. I said I’m fucking starving, what do you want from me?” he joked.

Another unique aspect of the film, acknowledged by both the Guardian review and Franco, is the actors’ ability to bring some levity to the film, thanks to their comedic backgrounds.

“Even during these really heavy circumstances, we’re still able to make fun of each other and find the humor in these dark moments, which feels very familiar,” said Franco.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr