The Knockturnal spoke with Porter about the creation of the event, the hit show, and working in support of Huntington’s education.
Since it’s landed on Netflix, millions have tuned into the YA dramedy ‘Ginny & Georgia.’ The show follows Georgia Miller, a young woman with a secretive past, and the relationship she shares with her children Austin and Ginny, who throughout the series breaks out of her shell. The show’s reigned in the top ten on Nexflix numerous times and gained immense popularity online. Now, fans will be excited to know a reunion among the cast and creative forces behind the show will occur Wednesday, May 26th at 6:30 PM (PT) / 9:30 PM (ET). The reunion will help raise $50,000 for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA).
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities usually during their prime working years and has no cure. Today, there are approximately 41,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease.
Scott Porter, who plays Mayor Paul Raldoph, has advocated for the HDSA for years as his family is affected by the disorder. Porter organized the event in which attendees will get to hear from their favorite characters along with the minds behind the series creation. The reunion will feature Brianne Howey (Georgia), Antonia Gentry (Ginny), Felix Mallard (Marcus), Sara Waisglass (Max), Diesel La Torraca (Austin), Jennifer Robertson (Ellen), and Raymond Ablack (Joe), as well as creator Sarah Lampert and showrunner Debra Fisher. Following the YouTube event, an exclusive Q&A will be held for those who donate $20 or more
Porter, who will moderate the conversation, spoke exclusively The Knockturnal about his connection to HD, hopes for the event, and working on ‘Ginny & Georgia.’
The Knockturnal: How did this reunion come together?
Scott Porter: It was a very interesting year in 2019 when we shot ‘Ginny & Georgia.’ It was a small little show we were putting together. But all the while I was flying back and forth to Los Angeles from Toronto where we were shooting the show, to chair an event for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America called Freeze HD. It was a lot of hard work and somehow we managed to make something very special with ‘Ginny & Georgia’ and at the same time, the event I had put together raised over $400,000 to support Huntington’s Disease Research and to support people who were living with Huntington’s disease. Cut to 2021 and having taken a year off from seeing everybody as everyone else did in the year 2020, I decided that I wanted to try a new charity event to try and raise awareness and to raise money for the cause. It seemed like a perfect opportunity in May, which is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, to bring the ‘Ginny & Georgia’ gang back together for a great cause. They were all familiar with what I’d gone through. My mother-in-law and my wife are both positive for the Huntington’s gene. The cast and the creatives all knew that already and it was a very easy phone call to make. None of them flinched, all of them immediately said yes and it seemed like the perfect time for us to give back to the fans who made this show a pretty big hit on its own. Without them, we wouldn’t even have the opportunity to have anybody care about this reunion.
The Knockturnal: How long have you been working with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America?
Scott Porter: My family’s story with Huntington’s Disease begins about six years ago, actually even a little bit earlier than that. For about three years, my mother-in-law was trying to figure out what was causing her motor skills to kind of fail a little bit. It took her about three years to get the actual diagnosis of what was happening to her and about six years ago she found out that she had Huntington’s disease. As a quick aside, Huntington’s disease is a genetic neurodegenerative disease that attacks your motor, cognitive, and psychiatric areas all at one time. It’s kind of described as having ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s simultaneously. It being a genetic disease means that every child with a parent with Huntington’s has a 50/50 shot of inheriting Huntington’s Disease themselves. Once we found out that my mother-in-law had it, we very quickly understood that my wife, and we had been married for about eight months at the time, needed to get tested as well, especially if we wanted to have a family. She got tested and found out that she was in fact positive for the HD gene. We then went on a quest to have our children in a safe way in which they would not have Huntington’s disease and effectively end Huntington’s disease in our family line and we did that. And right after my daughter, who is now three and a half was born, my wife turned to me and said, Okay, now that our kids are safe, and our family is complete, I am ready to fight. Being the spouse of someone who has received a diagnosis like this, I think a lot of people out there will understand. It almost takes you longer to understand what is happening than it does the person who has the diagnosis themself and to come to grips with it. All I’ve wanted to do for years is fight for my wife and fight for my family, but until she gave her blessing about three and a half years ago, I hadn’t jumped in. So I’ve been involved fiercely with the HDSA for about three years now and I’m excited to be able to bring my ‘Ginny & Georgia’ family into this fight as well. They’re so ready for this reunion and I think it’s going to be an incredible night.
The Knockturnal: What can ‘Ginny & Georgia’ fans expect from the event?
Scott Porter: First and foremost is 10 of their favorite people from ‘Ginny & Georgia’ all getting together to say thank you to them. This show would not be anything if it wasn’t for them and we completely get that this was a little show. It’s not a superhero show. It’s not a glitzy period piece. It is a small show about characters in a tiny town that we weren’t sure anybody was going to care about. When it was all said and done, every single person out there that has watched and supported the show, made it what it is today. We’re going to get together and we’re gonna talk about our experience on season one, how the show came to be, how we all came to be a part of it, some of our favorite parts of season one, and what we hope to look for in season two now that it’s been announced. We just want to say thank you to the fans for the first 45 minutes of the evening which is free for everyone. Then, we have a really cool second half of the evening. For everybody who donates $20 or more to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, they will receive an invite to a fan question and answer panel. Kind of like a private ‘Ginny & Georgia’ convention panel, if you will, where we answer actual fans’ questions that we gather off of social media or out of the chat room that night. We’ll just answer as many as we can in that second 45 minutes. So what fans can expect from this evening is just a lot of happy smiling faces who haven’t seen each other in over a year as far as the cast and creatives of the show, simply saying thank you to all of them.
The Knockturnal: How can fans go about supporting the HDSA outside of just the event?
Scott Porter: What we do is to support those that are living with Huntington’s. Every dollar that a person donates, will go to the HDSA and a lot of that money will go towards building centers for excellence, which basically is putting offices in different medical facilities across this country where doctors who are actually specialized in Huntington’s disease will be available to families that are fighting it. Over 200,000 people in the United States are at risk of Huntington’s Disease right now and they need everyone’s support. That support doesn’t have to only come in the form of dollars, it comes in the form of just people educating themselves about the disease and talking about it. Like I said earlier, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge made everybody aware of ALS. Throughout that process, so many people learned what it is. Fans can help the most just by going to HDSA.org, educate themselves on what Huntington’s is, and then talk about it. Every word, every dollar, every thought really helps and it really counts.
The Knockturnal: How would you say the general population or people who are not informed about HD should go and educate themselves?
Scott Porter: It is frustrating at times because a lot of people call Huntington’s disease, a boutique disease. When you refer to something as a boutique disease, it’s almost like a slap in the face. It’s basically saying, it’s too small to really talk about. A lot of press outlets, politicians, or just people in important places that we would hope talk about this won’t unless there is a groundswell of support, much like the ALS ice bucket challenge that happened years ago. Huntington’s disease has never really had that movement and that’s what we’re hoping to try and spark with this event. But, for people out there that are interested in finding out more about Huntington’s disease, familiarizing themselves with what it is, and people’s stories about having Huntington’s, they can go to HDSA.org and find everything there. The best way that they can help is just to talk about it. We need that groundswell of support of people teaching themselves what it is and talking to others about it to make people aware of it. At the end of the day, awareness is key, and May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month. It’s no coincidence that we decided to hold the reunion this month, but HDSA.org is your one-stop-shop for everything. For anybody who maybe doesn’t like to read as much, you can also go on to YouTube and you can just type in Scott Porter, Huntington’s disease, and you will find a story about my family and our journey. You can also find an ABC News piece that really fully explains it. It’s a wonderful piece that also tells you everything you need to know about HD just in video form.
The Knockturnal: What has been the best part of starting in starring in such a huge show?
Scott Porter: I think the coolest part about being involved with the creation of ‘Ginny & Georgia’ that since the very beginning we believed that the show has something important to say. We were hopeful and fighting for people to be able to see it and join the conversation. When the show was released in February, so many people had a chance to jump into those conversations. I’ve been a part of shows that were small and that I believed in the exact same way, like ‘Friday Night Lights’ that got canceled twice and ultimately saved by Direct TV or Hart of Dixie that was perennially on the bubble at the CW. My belief in those shows didn’t translate to huge success. It was just really cool to see our belief in ‘Ginny & Georgia’ translate into this many people watching it. It’s been so cool to meet these people virtually over social media and to just read these conversations that people are having about scenes in our show that we thought were so cool. Really just being at the heart of people gaining perspective from watching our show and feeling there’s a character on it that they identify with.
The Knockturnal: What are you most hopeful for in season two?
Scott Porter: As far as what I’m hoping for in season two, I really just want to learn more about Paul’s past because I see a lot of people out there in the world saying they think Paul’s hiding something. Paul is such an interesting character in that he got an Ivy League education and threw it all away seemingly to go teach English over in Thailand and go backpacking through the Himalayas, and then came back just as a whirlwind of force and direction in a political nature. That’s just not something that often happens. I want to know what is driving Paul and figure that out. Then, I’m very keen to figure out how the immediate aftermath of Ginny and Austin leaving Wellsbury is going to affect Paul and Georgia, how they react, and how Paul really fits into the true dysfunction that he’s about to discover within the Ginny, Georgia, and Austin dynamic. How does he integrate himself into that family or does he just walk away? Season two has a lot in store for fans out there. But, it has just as much in store for the people that are a part of the show. I can’t wait to see what Sarah, Deb, and the rest of our writing team come up with.
The reunion will be streamed live on YouTube Wednesday, May 26th at 6:30 PM (PT) / 9:30 PM (ET). Tickets for the fan-based Q&A can be purchased here. To donate and learn more about Huntington’s disease, visit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.