Warning: Spoilers for Dash & Lily are ahead.
After watching Dash (Austin Abrams) and Lily (Midori Francis) create holiday magic by writing to each other in that fated red notebook, Netflix’s Dash & Lily, even the Grinch would dream about wandering into the landmark Strand Bookstore and stumbling across one of his own. So naturally, while they filmed the series, Abrams and Francis wanted to get in on the action too. They turned fiction into reality and actually shared their own notebook to get deeper into their temporarily star-crossed characters.
Although Dash and Lily communicate every episode, they only interact face-to-face during the last three episodes. So Abrams and Midori tapped into that distanced feeling to help Dash & Lily's love story be all the more convincing.
“We kept a notebook between the two of us, just telling each other about one another. Personal things to get to know each other and have a trust for one another,” he told Refinery29 during the series' virtual junket.
Once established, they exchanged the book just like their characters. “I would go into my trailer sometimes and there would be a red notebook from Austin,” Francis said.
But the real life duo weren't bound by the same restrictions, so they also grabbed dinner and talked, in addition to this cute method acting experiment. "We hung out a lot more off-screen,” admits Francis. So yes, their notebook experiment broke the one steadfast rule in Dash & Lily, but its effect on the pair's onscreen chemistry is undeniable.
The one part of this behind-the-scenes story that probably didn't do much to add to the onscreen romance, is that the real life notebook had a grim ending. That's because while Dash and Lily spend the entire Netflix series writing dares to encourage each other to venture outside their comfort zones, Abrams and Midori’s version strictly focused on the actors opening up to each other.
“There were some secrets, I think. But Austin burned it. So that’s never getting out,” Francis said. I'm sorry, Austin burned it?
Well, the Christmas rom-com has a much lighter ending, but just know that as you grin throughout that final episode, somewhere out there lies the ashes of that real life notebook.