Interview with Ashley Jones

TV Interview!

Star Ashley Jones of "What Happened to My Sister?"

Interview with Ashley Jones of “What Happened to My Sister?” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/16/22

This was a fun interview last week with Ashley! I interviewed her 9 years ago for another Lifetime movie (Gosh, where does the time go?).  She always very kind and beautiful. Don’t miss her new movie as well as the LMN marathon of her movies all day Friday, September 23!

 

MORE INFO: Official Site Trailer

Star Ashley Jones of "What Happened to My Sister?"

LMN Favorite Ashley Jones Returns With New Thrillers

LMN FAVORITE ASHLEY JONES RETURNS WITH NEW THRILLERS

SECRET LIVES OF COLLEGE ESCORTS
MARKS ASHLEY JONES’ DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
AND STARS PILOT PAISLEY-ROSE, LAURIE FORTIER AND BRIANA CUOCO
FOR AN AUGUST 19 PREMIERE

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER?
STARS ASHLEY JONES, LAURYN SPEIGHTS AND MONIQUE STRAW
AND PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 23

NEW YORK, NY (August 4, 2022) – LMN favorite Ashley Jones returns to the network with a two pack of films this summer including the premiere of Secret Lives of College Escorts starring Pilot Paisley-Rose, Laurie Fortier and Briana Cuoco on August 19 at 8/7c  which marks Daytime Emmy Award nominee Ashley Jones directorial debut, and What Happened to My Sister? on September 23 at 8/7c which Jones, Lauryn Speights and Monique Straw star in.  Additionally, LMN will run a marathon of movies featuring Jones on September 23 leading into the premiere of What Happened to My Sister?

What Happened to My Sister?
Friday, September 23 at 8/7c

Drea (Lauryn Speights, The Good Place), a freshman at college, decides to rush the same sorority her sister Gabi (Heather Harris, Broken Mirror) died rushing two years earlier in hopes of finding out the truth about her death.  Monique Straw (Fast Color) and Ashley Jones also star.

Ashley Jones Official Site Facebook Twitter Instagram

Star Ashley Jones (Bridget, Bold and the Beautiful) of "What Happened to My Sister?"

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Star Ashley Jones of "What Happened to My Sister?"

Review of “Flowers in the Attic: The Origin”

TV Review!

"Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" key art

“Flowers in the Attic: The Origin” on Lifetime Review by Suzanne 7/20/22

“Flowers in the Attic: The Origin” This is the prequel miniseries to the classic movie “Flowers in the Attic,” which I’ve never seen. It apparently involved a stern religious grandmother who locks her grandchildren in the attic. There is incest and rape in that drama. This shows how the grandma got to that point. Both are based on novels. “Flowers in the Attic” came out in 1979 from the pen of V.C. Andrews. She wrote many sequels, but only the first book was filmed (twice). This new miniseries is based on “Garden of Shadows” by Andrew Neiderman, who is now taking over V.C. Andrews’ characters.

I’ve only seen the first part so far, but I enjoyed it. I’m not a big fan of prequels because we know how the characters are going to end up (and it’s usually not good). There are many great actors in this. Most of them, such as Kelsey Grammar and Harry Hamlin, play small parts and aren’t on screen very long. Kate Mulgrew (“Star Trek: Prodigy”) and Paul Wesley (“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”) also play small roles. I wasn’t familiar with any of the main stars of the miniseries, but Max Irons, who plays the husband, is the son of Jeremy Irons. He does a good job.

The main star of the show is Jemima Rooper, who plays Olivia (the aforementioned Grandma). She is excellent as the woman who starts out as the bookish maiden but becomes first a victim of horrible circumstances and then gets steely and strong (but ultimately, not very nice, I’m afraid).

You should check it out whether or not you like the “Flowers in the Attic” books or movies as it’s compelling drama (if a bit lurid at times).

Interview with Jemima Rooper, Max Irons, T’Shan Williams, Alana Boden and Paul Sciarrotta of “Flowers in the Attic: The Origin” on Lifetime 6/22/22

MORE INFORMATION:

Flowers in the Attic: The Origin tells the story of the headstrong and determined Olivia Winfield (Rooper) who is working alongside her beloved father (Hamlin) when she finds herself unexpectedly wooed by one of the nation’s most eligible bachelors, Malcom Foxworth (Irons). After a whirlwind romance, Olivia finds herself as the mistress of the imposing Foxworth Hall, where she soon discovers that the fairytale life she expected has quickly become a nightmare.  Under Malcolm’s debonair exterior lies a dark heart, and a twisted evil lurks inside Foxworth Hall that will threaten Olivia’s happiness and that of her children. Her attempts to keep them all safe ultimately push Olivia to become to most terrifying version of herself, leading to her inevitable—and notorious—decision to lock her grandchildren in the attic…

Dodd stars as Olivia’s daughter, Corinne; while Williams takes on the role Foxworth Hall’s longtime staff member and Olivia’s observant housekeeper, Nella. Mulgrew plays Mrs. Steiner, Malcom’s loyal house manager and head of the Foxworth Hall staff. Grammer portrays Malcom’s illustrious father Garland Foxworth, who is married to new wife Alicia, played by Boden. Wesley stars as John Amos, Olivia’s cousin whose revelations change her life forever and Callum Kerr stars as Christopher, a close relative of the Foxworth family whose life will be eternally intertwined with Corrine’s from the moment they set eyes on each other.

Additional talent starring in the four-part miniseries event includes Luke Fetherston, Buck Braithwaite, Jordan Peters, Evelyn Miller, Rawdat Quadri, Emmanuel Ogunjinmi, David Witts, Carla Woodcock and Peter Bramhill.

Flowers in the Attic: The Origin is an A+E Studios production in association with Sutton St. Productions and CBS Studios. Paul Sciarrotta serves as executive producer. Jennie Snyder Urman and Joanna Klein serve as executive producers for Sutton St. Productions and CBS Studios. Zoë Rocha serves as executive producer for RubyRock Pictures, Gary Pearl executive produces for Aquarius Content and Dan Angel executive produces. Declan O’Dwyer also executive produces and directed part one and part two of the miniseries. Robin Sheppard serves as director for parts three and four. Scripts are from executive producer Paul Sciarrotta, as well as Amy Rardin and Conner Good. Flowers in the Attic: The Origin is based on the prequel novel, Garden of Shadows by Andrew Neiderman. The miniseries was made with support of the Romanian Government.

YouTube Preview

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Main Reviews Page

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

Irons and Rooper in "Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" on Lifetime

Interview with Jemima Rooper, Max Irons, T’Shan Williams, Alana Boden and Paul Sciarrotta

TV Interview!

"Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" actors in panel

Interview with actors Jemima Rooper, Max Irons, T’Shan Williams, Alana Boden and EP Paul Sciarrotta of “Flowers In the Attic: The Origin” on Lifetime by Suzanne 6/22/22

This was a Lifetime event where we watched the first episode of this series and then asked the actors and executive producer questions.  It was unusual that we watched the episode first, live, right before the Q&A. Usually they put the episodes up on their press site for us to watch on our own time. It was nice to chat with these nice people, most of whom are British! The characters they’re playing are all Americans, though. I enjoyed the show and the panel. I hope you like the show! It’s a four-part miniseries that airs every Saturday starting tonight, July 9, on Lifetime.

 

Here’s the transcript, but it’s not edited yet. Check back to see it!

Please welcome our panelists for today’s Q&A with stars Jemima Rooper, Max Irons, T’Shan Williams, Alana Boden and executive producer Paul Sciarrotta. Hi everyone.

Thank you for being here today. Paul, our first question is for you. You both executive-produced and co-wrote “Flowers in the Attic: The Origin.” We understand that you were in close contact with VC Andrews ghost writer, Andrew Nierman. Can you please tell us a little bit about that process?

Paul: Sure. Yeah. We started about four years ago when the project was brought to me, and I, of course, had read Flowers in the Attic,” you know, maybe a long time ago. and I wasn’t, at the time, even aware there was this prequel book… and when I found out it existed and that Andrew wrote it, I was very excited. So it’s actually the first book that he wrote in the VC catalog…The first of, I think over a hundred, now, that he’s written. So it’s been a valuable resource to have him on speed dial all the time. I would call him, always. I still do for any questions I might have, if I’m ever unsure about story point or if something is totally correct. Or, you know, of the world. I can just check with him, and he has his finger on the pulse of all things VC. So it was…I was very lucky to have him be a part of the project.

Awesome. I will take some questions from the audience. Just a reminder. If you can, please make sure you have your first and last name so I can call upon you correctly. Our first question is from Suzanne at TVMEG.COM. Please unmute yourself to ask your question.

Suzanne: Hey, how are you all? I really enjoyed that. That was a good movie… or, it wasn’t a movie, I know, but it was. Let me ask you, Max: What did you do to prepare yourself for this role of being this horrible, horrible person?

Maxi: Hi, Suzanne. Well, I think for me, firstly, I had to get past the fact that he was horrible quite quickly. I had to look and find why he was the way he was, how he had learned to cope with the world as the world presented itself to him. So, the formative things I think in Malcolm’s life were his mother and father. His mother was the center of his universe was taught him about emotions, about love, about, you know, everything. They coexisted for the first few years of his life almost entirely. And then, all of a sudden, she left, and his father wasn’t around to help him process that or make any sense of that. You know, there was no modern psychology to come to his aid. He had tutors. He was sent away to a boy’s school, and he had to make sense of that. And so he did, and he hardened himself to the world and where his father had been through his, you know, through Malcolm’s understanding headness and not particularly capable. Self-serving Malcolm discovered duty and, and, you know, rigid a rigid work ethic and, you know, uh, where Malcolm had shame, he, he sought to, to, to elevate the Foxworth name and his business and make himself triumphant and powerful. And so, yeah, it was just looking at his younger self and yeah, and, and going from there.

All right. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Our next question is from my cues. Yeah, this is a question for Elena. Um, this is a really unusual role for you. Um, it’s, it’s not pretty unusual to have a romantic scene with someone who’s 43 years older than you are, but it’s not the cliche kind because you warmly like the man and he warmly liked you.

So it’s, it’s not any kind of cliche. So tell us a little bit about playing it, getting in the mood. And were you really familiar with Kelsey grammar ahead of time? To what extent did this become kind of a, a, a big challenge. Yeah. Um, I mean, Kelsey is absolutely fantastic and he made me feel so comfortable for some of the, some of the scenes, because like there is, there is like that really, um, really big age gap.

Um, But I think in terms of getting prepared, you know, we, we just took some time to, we worked with an intimacy coordinator. We took some time to figure out, um, how we think their relationship would be, how, what we were comfortable with. Um, and yeah, it was, it was actually really, really interesting to sort of work on that.

And, um, you know, I think for me, it’s, it is genuine love between the two of them. So to make sure that was, that was how it, how it was, you know, Perceived as the audience was, was really important. Um, but yeah, it was, yeah, it was really, it was really interesting Dean, like I say, he’s fantastic. And he was, you know, always making sure I was feeling comfortable and, um, just really worked with me and we worked together to hopefully create something that, that comes across really genuine.

Okay. Thanks. Thank you so much. Our next question is from Hanta Smith.

Please unmute yourself to ask your question. Oh, okay. Is there, um, video on here? No video, just audio and we can hear you. Oh, okay. Perfect. Hi everyone. Thank you so much for your time. I’m so excited for everyone and it’s exciting series. I would love to know what was it like, you know, interacting with everyone on set and also what can the viewers expect when watching this awesome series?

Anyone can take that question, right? Uh I’ll I’ll go. I’ll go. I’ll jump in. Um, uh, it was, we shot the series, um, sort of in the height of the pandemic. We all relocated to Romania for four months. Um, and we became, uh, a lovely family, not quite the twisted family of the show. Um, and I think, uh, You know, I, I adored working with every single person on set and, uh, what was amazing is that as we were there after more time, the episode that you’ve just watched is very much just sort of the beginning, but from episode two and three to four, the whole thing opens up the children grow up.

Um, they come into it, um, the, the whole sort of premise six fans and, um, the whole S. Expands. And, uh, that was what it was like for us. Uh, in Romania, we suddenly got this injection of, uh, new minds and hearts and then while we were working and, um, and it was just. You know, gorgeous in, in every respect and despite, you know, how dark some of it gets.

Um, it, it was always a very happy set. I think sometimes when you’re doing things that are a bit darker or a bit more serious, you kind of find the fun a bit more on set. So it’s more enjoyable. Um, I think people are sometimes more miserable during comedy . Um, we had, yeah, we just had, uh, a beautiful time with, uh, a lot of really amazing people and we all just felt really happy to be working at a time.

Uh, it definitely felt like a luxury. Awesome. Thank you so much. thank you so much for your question. Our next question is from Jared Horton.

Hi, can you guys hear me? Yes. I am. Well, first of all, congratulations on the series. I thought it was great. Um, when I’m watching movies and TVs, I’m really big on dialogue and I thought you guys had some great dialogue within the series. I was wondering it was something that you picked up within your character that you took from, um, Um, afterwards in your own personal life, like she made the comment that a mother said forgiveness and revenge.

And I was just wondering, did is anything that you guys picked up far as wisdom or life lessons that you picked up from your character or just in general? Great question. I’ve started doing voiceovers in my everyday life. I now describe everything’s doing I’m going downstairs in the morning. Um, uh, no, I really, um, that’s a great question.

Um, No, I don’t think I, I sort of, sort of hope I haven’t taken anything of Olivia into my day to day life, but I tell you what I was thinking about this earlier today. Um, playing, playing that part, playing that kind of a role, um, playing this character that. I, I feel like it’s very far removed from who I am as a person, but she was so vivid on the page.

Uh, Paul’s writing what he did. Um, I sort of never had any questions as how to play her. And, uh, there’s something about playing Olivia. That for me was incredibly empowering and I sort of feel like that element of it I’ve taken. I hope that’s great. That’s great. Well, I think you did do a great job with the role.

Thanks. Um, I think it’s a great series. I look forward, um, to watching it more and congratulations to you guys, especially pulling it off during the pandemic. I just think you guys did a great job, pulling it off. KU kudos you guys over there. Thank you. Thank you so much. Our next question is from Dominique Clark from Ben worthy media.

Hello, all. Congratulations on this series. I mean, the trailer gave me goosebumps and I’m so excited that we’re finally getting the origin story of the grandmother who locked our children in the attic. Um, Seeing the story through Olivia’s eyes shows how evil isn’t born, it’s made. Right. And specifically for the ladies here, how did Olivia’s transformation throughout this series transform your individual characters?

How did you change as she did? I think, I will say with, um, Nell’s character, I think as she was a, a longstanding staff member at Foxworth hall and was quite used to, as max was saying, like the rigid rules of how it works. Um, I think meeting. Olivia and seeing that she had a bit of bite and spark really kind of opened up their friendship a little bit and it made it grow, which was really quite interesting to discover with Jemima.

Um, yeah, cuz I think, yeah, I think she, her character really like challenges him and um, and yeah, and I think with N working there for so long, um, and I guess. Conforming in, in a way until she kind of meets Olivia. I think it’s, um, I think she definitely, um, like made an impact on her arrival for vanilla.

Thank you. Any other other ladies or folks wanna share? No, that was too

Okay, great. Thank you guys so much. And congratulations again. Thank you our next, oh, thank you so much. Our next questions from Pauls.

All right. Hello? Hello. Thank you so much for being with us today. And, um, congratulations, uh, on this, this is fantastic. Uh, I gotta note because these characters are so different from you personally, um, everything about them, where they’re from, you know, and different time, everything, uh, what kind of Headspace do you have to for each of the actors?

Do you have to put yourself in to, to play these really dark roles? Cool. My personal experience, which may well be very different to the others. So, um, they, they must say as well, um, uh, the, the sort of amount that Olivia had dialogue wise, um, and scene wise, especially sort of at the beginning, it kind of eased up a little as we got into it.

Um, Sort of so full on. Um, I remember I just had to be, I just to get one foot in front of the other and to know my lines and turn up on set was what I could manage at the time. Um, which in a way is really liberating and kind of makes it easier because otherwise you can. Get, I very often get stuck in my own head and think too much about everything.

Um, and sometimes, you know, after the event, you look at things and think, oh, I wish I wish I’d thought about this, or I wish I’d done that differently. Um, but. Such a sort of big undertaking in so many ways is actually in some ways easier and, and, uh, yeah, more, more freeing, more liberating, um, than sometimes not having so far to go with a character.

Um, it’s, you know, I find it easier to be further away from myself, I think, but, and normally I do lots of research, but, uh, in this. I, and I, I think with regards to Malcolm, um, you know, a lot of credit goes to Paul for, for, you know, when, when the writing’s good, it helps those neurons connect sort of effortlessly, and you don’t have to.

To force anything, but sort of, it returns to my first, um, thing I said at the beginning that, you know, when, when you are evil, when a person’s evil, they don’t wander around thinking they’re evil. You know, they, they wander around thinking what they’re doing is right and proper. And just, but I, I do know, um, I spent quite a lot of time in the early days trying to convince people that I wasn’t an asshole.

There was a, there was a picture of me in the production office. You know, all the actors have their faces up in the production office. And my everyone elses was lovely. My picture, I looked like an asshole, like really smug. And then I thought, oh shit, they’ve seen that. Now I’m cast as this, this asshole.

How is your so I, I, I dunno if I can say anyway, I spent a lot of time giving people cups of tea, that sort of thing. And, and trying not to be an asshole. Um, yeah. Yeah. Sorry. Todd was one thing there too. Um, like Jeremiah was saying we had a lot to do in a limited amount of time. And, um, I, I can’t necessarily speak to what everyone did individually creatively to prepare for that, but I certainly can speak for when they showed up, everyone was on point, smiling, prepared, professional, lovely.

Um, and that is, you know, that’s pretty special when that all comes together. So I felt like the lucky recipient of all that on my end. So thank you to you guys. Thank you so much, Paul and max, that was a great answer. And you are allowed to curse here, so it’s okay. oh really? Oh, great. Let’s go away. OK.

Thank you so much. Thanks, Paul. Our next question is from women for the culture.

Please unmute yourself to ask your question. There you go. Okay. Hi. Thank you guys for having me. My name is Natasha and I’m with women for the culture. My question is for, to Sean. Um, I just wanted to ask you, so from the moment we meet your character, Noah, we can tell just by looking in her eyes that she’s compassionate, caring and knows something that everybody doesn’t know right now, especially when we see the scene from your daughter.

But I just wanted to know why do you think black women’s first instinct is to go into protective mold, even when we barely know, um, their person. Well, I think if you think about the time that this is set in, um, it’s a very, very good question. And I found myself asking that question in my process as well.

Um, especially in scenes where I found myself helping, um, Olivia and. Because in some ways, she’s very much the more compass of, of, um, the story when all of this madness is going on. And sometimes I find myself asking that question as well, um, for my process, but, um, I think is she’s a rock for her family and she’s also a very fiercely loyal friend and, um, And I think if, if we look at the time, as I was about to say, if we look at the time that this is set in, it would be very unlikely that her and Olivia would probably even strike up a friendship with one that’s lasting anyway.

So it’s just a, a very specific circumstance that they have kind of built their friendship on. And I guess you’ll see more, more about that when the other episodes come out and more be clear, um, about, um, maybe ask, answer your question more, but, um, yeah, I can say that. She’s got a really good heart, I think.

Yeah. Thank you so much for that answer. And I can’t wait to see Noah’s, uh, story unfold more throughout the series. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Our next question is from Karen Mo from sci-fi vision. Hi everybody. Um, thanks for doing this. My question is for Paul, I’ll try to keep it short. Um, flowers in the attic has been adapted before.

I think the last time lifetime did so was in 2014 and 15. Um, in the, since then audience standards and industry standards for how you adapt and present some of this really sensitive, uh, material rape incest abuse. Um, Has really changed. And I wonder if you could speak for a minute about your approach and lifetime’s approach and how it may have evolved in the last few years.

Sure. Um, I can’t speak to how their other, um, flowers movies were produced. I wasn’t a part of those back then, but I do know that from the very beginning of my working with them, they were, um, incredibly supportive, incredibly collaborative. Um, and what we had was this, um, this source material. Where so much of the main character story was based on this sexual assault.

And it was a balancing act that I worked with with my, um, my, my producing team in Los Angeles and all the great executives at a and E in lifetime, trying to figure out just how much of that assault do we show and how do we show it. Um, and in order to tell the story best, uh, and I hope we struck. A good balance.

Um, I was very grateful to have such, um, open partners with it. And the other piece of it was Jemma for the, um, on set. We talked, um, a lot with the intimacy quarters and everyone else, but even about certain lines, you remember, we were talking about a line in the fourth movie, um, with Paul Wesley and, and Jemima.

And it was something about how she didn’t wanna, like, I think the line I had written was allow someone to control me again. And we talked a lot about that in that tent of all the mosquitoes. I remember that. Um, we changed the line. Um, and I think it’s that kind of conversation, um, that I hope helped tell Olivia’s story in a thoughtful and sensitive and productive way.

Thank you. Thank you so much. Our next question is from Mr. Dark eye podcast.

Please unmute yourself to ask your question. Thank you. Yes. All right. Can Y. Yes, we, yeah. All right. So my question is for max, um, in your role, like with you having to be evil and, um, you know, play that role so well, what was your inspiration to be so into the character the way you was and how did you really tap in?

Oh God. Um, I, for fear of repeating myself, um, You know, there there’s, there was a few, obviously the cast, uh, helped enormously. Um, you know, also as an actor, when you have wonderful costumes and you have wonderful sets that also helps a great deal. Um, but yeah, I just, I like, like I said, I sort of just had to tune into the, the child inside of Malcolm.

That was the tapping in, uh, and, and, you know, these days we, we are so there’s so much modern. There’s therapy available. There’s psychology and there’s, you know, the way parents work with their children. Now it was these things were unheard of in those days. Um, and we, we take these things for granted, modern parental thinking and, and trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder and all these sorts of things.

Um, Malcolm was just left to figure it out and it didn’t, he didn’t figure it out. He didn’t. Do a good job, but he, he, he did so in a way that enabled him to survive. Um, and that’s how I have to look at Malcolm. Uh, and, and out of that way of thinking comes his evil. And, and that for me is, is a byproduct of that, that interior life think.

Thank you for that. And you did a very convincing job, so that just means you’re good at what you do. thanks. You guys also very kind and put a lot of people on set at ease with his kindness with, with, with that kind of material. Um, and it takes a very special to person to do that. And we had that in that, so, yes.

Oh, thanks. Cool. I’d like to add as well that, um, I know probably a lot. Male actors who would just a approach it as is wouldn’t, wouldn’t struggle playing this sort of a role would probably quite enjoy it. And max is, you know, the opposite of Malcolm. He is, um, such a lovely person. And for him to get to those places was a struggle.

And the struggle is what makes the character more interesting and more layered. And so it’s only better for that. I. I agree. Nice guys go. This is nice. Thank you so much for your question. Our next question is from Towanda Blake.

Hi. Um, my question is what was it like filming inside of a, the pandemic? And did, do you think that offered you more? I’d say it stretched you more to bring perfection to your characters.

Yes, I think, uh, in a way it did, it was this sort of quite surreal bubble. Um, I think for us all to be away from home for as long as we were, um, normally people, if you are filming, you know, outside of home, you are in and out or, um, You’re not really with each other. And it was such a shared experience, the whole thing, onset and offset, and, uh, Yeah, I think there was such a, a lovely feeling because you did, everyone felt really grateful and really privileged to be working.

And it was also really interesting work and everyone really looked out for each other, the, the credo all the way through the crew from the top to the bottom, um, it, it felt very collaborative and very supportive. And I think that’s quite rare to that extent. And, um, and that made. Very special. Um, it wasn’t just another job, I think.

Thank you. Awesome. Thank you. We have time for one more. Our last questions from Aries, urban bridges.

Hi, everybody. I’m gonna echo everybody else. You guys did a great job. I love the movie. I’m gonna address my question to Taan. Besides it being an epic book. First, what made you want to be a part of this role and play Nella and flowers on the. Oh, because, because she’s not part of the books because, because I could, because I could, um, Paul really gave me the reigns to like build on her from the ground up and I kind of just got to implement her story, um, where it wasn’t there before.

And, um, yeah, so I just got to bring this completely fresh character to such a huge franchise of, of a book. Um, Book series and I just, and I thought her character was really interesting, um, and layered and, um, Yeah. And quite exciting and important as well to the story. Yeah. Um, as I said, like her being, um, like the moral compass of, of the story for a lot of the, a lot of this, um, episodes, um, and her family, which you’ll get to meet in the other episodes and, and yeah, you get to see a bit more of her when you see her family as well.

And that’s all really exciting and they’re all brilliant actors as well. And yeah, so it, I mean, it. It wasn’t hard. That’s, that’s an easy, it wasn’t very hard. yeah, it makes a lot of sense, but you brought the character. Great job again. Continued success. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you everyone for such great questions.

Thank you to our panelists. You guys were amazing as always. And thank you all for joining today’s advanced screening of part one. If we did not get to your question, I know we dropped this in the chat as well.

MORE INFO:

Official Site and Preview

"Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" key art

Flowers in the Attic: The Origin tells the story of the headstrong and determined Olivia Winfield (Rooper) who is working alongside her beloved father (Hamlin) when she finds herself unexpectedly wooed by one of the nation’s most eligible bachelors, Malcom Foxworth (Irons). After a whirlwind romance, Olivia finds herself as the mistress of the imposing Foxworth Hall, where she soon discovers that the fairytale life she expected has quickly become a nightmare.  Under Malcolm’s debonair exterior lies a dark heart, and a twisted evil lurks inside Foxworth Hall that will threaten Olivia’s happiness and that of her children. Her attempts to keep them all safe ultimately push Olivia to become to most terrifying version of herself, leading to her inevitable—and notorious—decision to lock her grandchildren in the attic…

Dodd stars as Olivia’s daughter, Corinne; while Williams takes on the role Foxworth Hall’s longtime staff member and Olivia’s observant housekeeper, Nella. Mulgrew plays Mrs. Steiner, Malcom’s loyal house manager and head of the Foxworth Hall staff. Grammer portrays Malcom’s illustrious father Garland Foxworth, who is married to new wife Alicia, played by Boden. Wesley stars as John Amos, Olivia’s cousin whose revelations change her life forever and Callum Kerr stars as Christopher, a close relative of the Foxworth family whose life will be eternally intertwined with Corrine’s from the moment they set eyes on each other.

Additional talent starring in the four-part miniseries event includes Luke Fetherston, Buck Braithwaite, Jordan Peters, Evelyn Miller, Rawdat Quadri, Emmanuel Ogunjinmi, David Witts, Carla Woodcock and Peter Bramhill.

Flowers in the Attic: The Origin is an A+E Studios production in association with Sutton St. Productions and CBS Studios. Paul Sciarrotta serves as executive producer. Jennie Snyder Urman and Joanna Klein serve as executive producers for Sutton St. Productions and CBS Studios. Zoë Rocha serves as executive producer for RubyRock Pictures, Gary Pearl executive produces for Aquarius Content and Dan Angel executive produces. Declan O’Dwyer also executive produces and directed part one and part two of the miniseries. Robin Sheppard serves as director for parts three and four. Scripts are from executive producer Paul Sciarrotta, as well as Amy Rardin and Conner Good. Flowers in the Attic: The Origin is based on the prequel novel, Garden of Shadows by Andrew Neiderman. The miniseries was made with support of the Romanian Government.

YouTube Preview

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Irons and Rooper in "Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" on Lifetime

Interview with Catherine Bell and Tom Stevens

TV Interview!

Tom Stevens and Catherine Bell of "Jailbreak Lovers" on Lifetime

Interview with Tom Stevens and Catherine Bell of “Jailbreak Lovers” on Lifetime by Suzanne 6/1/22

This was from a LIfetime press day covering three different movies. It was great to speak to Catherine Bell, who has been on so many series and in many movies. I’ve spoken with Tom Stevens a few times before. They were both great in this movie. Even though the movie is about two felons, it has a humorous side to it that improves on the story. I enjoyed it. Also, there are many dogs, which elevates it even further.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Well, thank you all for coming to our Summer 2022 Virtual Press Day. Please join me in welcoming the stars of “Jailbreak Lovers.” We have with us today executive producer and star Catherine Bell along with her costar Tom Stevens. First up is Tamara.

QUESTION:  Hi, how are you?

TOM STEVENS:  I’m good, Tamara, how you doing?

QUESTION:  I’m good. Thank you. So Toby always followed the rules and did what was expected of her. Can you guys identify with the character’s desire to be carefree, coloring outside the lines, not being perfect, or simply being wild and free for once?

CATHERINE BELL:  Well, I think probably anyone could relate to that.  Hopefully, people don’t resort to this sort of a, (laughs) craziness but, you know, I think there’s always that idea of, like, “Ooh, what if I, you know, broke the rules and did something wild for a moment.” I think that’s what – I wanted to at least give a sense of like – People are always going why would someone do this? Why would someone break the law and do something like this and, hopefully, we give you guys a little insight into where that comes from.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, and I agree. I think that every person needs to kind of check in on their life at some point and go am I coloring too within the lines, o do I need to go outside of my comfort zone, because I think out of your comfort zone, outside your comfort zone is where you really learn who you are.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you. Up next, we have a question from Suzanne. Suzanne, you may feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi. Catherine, since you were a producer on this movie, did you have any influence over the tone of the movie? It’s a little less serious than most Lifetime movies I’ve seen.

CATHERINE BELL:  You know, Katie Boland is our beautiful director. She brought her vision to this, which was this playful and high-energy and sexy and fun spirit. You know, I really — I think Tom and I both really enjoyed making this movie because it had all of that in it. It was just this fast-paced and just wild adventure that these two were on and, you know, definitely you have some say as a producer, but I got to say it all just kind of came together magically. There wasn’t a whole lot to do except become this character on my end, you know.

QUESTION:  And that same for you, Tom?

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, no, I mean, I didn’t have the same kind of hand in it as Catherine did, but I mean it was what we brought kind of fit exactly what Katie wanted, what Catherine and I were doing, and it was just so fun to just — Like we shot so many scenes kind of like back to back to back to back and we always found like a fun way of connecting as these two people, because in the prison it was like a secret love, and then when we were out in the cabin it was more spontaneous and free, and every single time Catherine and I brought like a really strong connection and, yeah, it was just always fun. You know, every scene was always fun to shoot.

QUESTION:  Well, thanks. It was fun to watch.

CATHERINE BELL:  We joke we want to do a sequel. I don’t think it’ll happen. They’re not together, but we had too much making it.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  As long as you have dogs. That’s the good thing.

CATHERINE BELL:  Right, exactly.

TOM STEVENS:  Prison pen pals and dogs.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you, Suzanne. Up next we have Jamie. Jamie, you may feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi, thanks for talking to us today.  So can you kind of talk about when you’re doing something that’s based on real people, like, how — Can you talk about balancing kind of what you pull from that versus what you’re able to creatively add from yourself, for both of you?

CATHERINE BELL:  Tom, you go.

TOM STEVENS:  Oh, you want me to go.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, Jamie, good to see you again.

QUESTION:  You too.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, it’s I think with John, he — like with Maynard, uh, there wasn’t a lot about him.  There’s kind of the story.  There’s a lot of Moll and like of everything that she went through, but for John it was kind of more free for me to just bring the foil to her husband, do you know what I mean? Like I had to represent something that was something that she was missing in her life, and it was a more free experience to build the character rather than actually like, you know, having interviews that I could bounce off of, like Catherine obviously had.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. I, on the other hand, had a lot of interviews, and I watched all the ones that I could find of Toby.  Obviously, I don’t look anything like her so I gave that up quickly.  But there’s an essence to her that I tried to get.  You know, there’s just she’s got that little bit of the Kansas accent and, yeah, just this sweet woman who really just was totally taken by surprise by this guy, and it just completely altered the course of her life.  But, yeah, it was a lot of fun trying to become this woman who is very different than myself.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much, both of you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  Thanks, Jamie.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jamie.  Up next is Mike Hughes. Mike, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Okay. There we go. Okay, cool. Probably shortly after you finish this another real-life case like this came up in Alabama where someone escaped with (inaudible). I was wondering did this give you like special interest in it? Did you kind of follow that news story extra special? Do you may root for them or anything like that?

CATHERINE BELL:  I mean, you know, yeah, it was unbelievable that that happened. It was like, okay, life imitating art imitating real life, you know. It’s interesting that this happens a fair amount, you know, that these guys are in this unusual situation in a prison and fall for each other. The idea for me of crossing that line and going, “Yeah, let’s break out of jail,” I mean, really, you’re never going to get away with it, you know. That one ended very tragically but, yeah, it’s just fascinating.

QUESTION:  You didn’t root for them —

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  What’s that?

TOM STEVENS:  Were you rooting for them, Catherine?

CATHERINE BELL:  Was I (laughs), I mean, I don’t think — no, I wasn’t really thinking about it either way. It was very, very sad, of course, how it ended but, yeah, I would have preferred a happier ending than that, for sure.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah. And we kind of tell – we kind of tell the fictitious fun side of this, and I mean the true story between Toby and John is, you know, a little darker than this like in reality than the story that we told, and I’m sure that that story was darker, too. So, I mean, we can have with this because we’re making a movie about it but, you know, these people were going through something.  Yeah, it’s more serious when it’s real.

QUESTION:  Okay. Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you, Mike. Up next we have Jay Bobbin. Jay, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi, folks. Hi, Catherine. How are you?

CATHERINE BELL:  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Hi, good to see you.

TOM STEVENS:  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Catherine, question for you. You’ve done non-edgy for so many years now.  To step back into something that is decidedly edgy, an actor acts, obviously, that’s their profession, but was it an easy thing for you or did it take working up to this a little bit having done Cassie for so many years?

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, you know what? It’s always challenging to me, which is probably why I love acting so much.  It’s never just like, oh, a piece of cake.  Like it’s like, oh, who is this person, and in the beginning you don’t know who they are or how to become them and watching her interviews and kind of just trying to work on that was a beautiful challenge. I really loved it – really, really love stepping into this. And, yeah, edgy, edgy and also a very kind of withdrawn, like kind of toned-down person as well, someone who’s not so confident or whatever. So it was just a lot of fun for me to play all of those things.

QUESTION:  Thanks a lot.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, it was fun to witness, actually. It was fun to watch you build the character, yeah, yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you. We had so much fun together.

TOM STEVENS:  I know.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jay.  Up next we have “Starry Constellation Magazine.”

QUESTION:  Well, Tom, they say you should never work with ids and animals onscreen, and you worked with a number of dogs. Talk about the training you went through for dog training.

TOM STEVENS:  So I’m an advocate for Cesar Mila and everything that he does with behavioral science and dog science, and I have a dog of my own that I have put through a rigorous training, and it comes naturally to me to be around animals and to be like an alpha or like a calm sort of presence with them. So that wasn’t hard for me.  What was when the dogs didn’t care that I was a calm presence or authoritative presence, and they were like my trainer’s behind the camera, and I could do whatever I want right now for the next thirty seconds while the cameras are rolling, and he starts eating a toy in the middle of our scene.  So there’s like there’s certain things that you can’t control when like a dog’s just on the side, and he just kind of starts doing his own thing, but there’s like a lot of things that you can do to just be like the calm presence for the dogs that they respect. They say don’t work with animals because animals are in the moment, and the audience will always be drawn to them, so it kind of forces you to be in the moment with the dog, and then it’s interesting for the audience to watch.

MODERATOR:  Awesome. Thank you. Up next we have Cynthia Horner.

QUESTION:  Hello.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hi.

TOM STEVENS:  Hi, hi, hi.

QUESTION:  I would like to ask both of you this question what is a memorable behind the scenes moment that you can tell us about when you were filming?

TOM STEVENS:  Hm.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hm.

TOM STEVENS:  There were a lot, there were a lot.

CATHERINE BELL:  I instantly thought of the car chase stuff.  That was just so much fun.

TOM STEVENS:  That was so much fun.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. Actually, driving and then on the top of the truck where they’re towing you and you’re pretending there’s so much going on. We had some good laughs.

TOM STEVENS:  And getting arrested. I think I loved the feeling as when we got out of week one, when we got out of the prison. I mean we were shooting a prison movie so a lot of it had to be done on location in this corrections facility, and it felt very much like repeated scenes, like we were doing like similar scenes over and over and over again in this box, and then when we got out of that week it was like this freedom just opened up, and it really felt like the characters got to like go and see new places, and go to different restaurants, and do all this stuff. It was very much what the character is going through. So I love that like transition into the Toby and John being free period.

CATHERINE BELL:  True. I also really loved all the stuff in the cabin. It was just such a tiny, little cabin and our whole crew really bonded. Just it was, you know, just — It was Halloween, too, right, and the crew came in with the crazy costumes on and we were in our Toby and John costumes —

TOM STEVENS:  In our little, yeah — And it like nearly drowned us in rain. It was pouring rain so hard. It was like flooding around the cabin, it was crazy. And then our DP is in a Sumo suit, and it was hilarious.

QUESTION:  Wow, you guys had great stories to tell. Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  No worries, Cynthia.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you, Cynthia.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you, Cynthia. Up next we have Rick Bentley. Rick?

QUESTION:  Hi, can you hear me?

CATHERINE BELL: (Inaudible @ 00:14:32).

QUESTION:  Great. I’m sorry. Hey, Catherine, I’m just curious. This sort of ripped from the headlines, it’s something that’s been going on for years, and obviously there’s a big audience for that out there, do you think it’s a situation of people being sort of living vicariously through these wild moments or is it there by the grace of God goes me?

CATHERINE BELL:  Oh, man. You know, I’m sure it’s just that natural curiosity that all humans have of like what is going on in someone’s else world, you know. And, yes, this is a crazy world. It’s something that, hopefully, most people will never experience, and then there’s that other, you know, the concept of what were thinking? Why would somebody do that? So, hopefully, they get a little taste of that with what Tom and I did, you know, just the how they fell in love and what led this to this crazy idea that they might get away with running away together, you know.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Awesome. Thank you, Rick. Up next is Luaine Lee. Luaine.

QUESTION:  Yeah, Catherine, you were talking about the challenge and how you really adore the challenge in acting, and you’ve been doing it a long time, so what is it that you like best about acting and television, and what do you like the least?

CATHERINE BELL:  In television as opposed to film you mean or just in general, acting?

QUESTION:  Well, just in general acting.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. I think I love so much about it. I love the process. I love the finding the character, and as I mentioned, the challenges of that, it keeps me on my toes and always wanting to improve and be better and even up until the scene is over, you’re still okay, “Well, the next take I want to try this. I want to do that. I want to make this better or different.” I love the camaraderie, and there’s just such a sense of family on these shows that you do together, movies, shows, whatever. You just meet such beautiful people, and so much I love about it. I love the effect it has on people when they’re watching it. I think probably I love the adventure of travel and going to different locations, but sometimes that’s challenging for my family, you know, just to be away so much, so that’s probably, if I could say here’s something I don’t like about it, sometimes that gets challenging. But, again, you just — I’ m so grateful for what I get to do, so I got no complaints.

QUESTION:  So what’s the worst part of it?

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, I think that, you know, being along in a hotel room for weeks at a time, especially in COVID.  There was one stretch I took my son to Toronto for “Good Witch”. It was thirteen weeks away from home. I couldn’t go back and forth because of the travel quarantine. That was intense.

QUESTION:  Oh, wow. Thank you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Luaine. And then we have Steve (Gitmo @ 00:17:26). Steve?

QUESTION:  Hey, how are you guys?

CATHERINE BELL:  Hey, good.

TOM STEVENS:  I’m good.

QUESTION:  Good. I just wanted to ask how familiar were you or at all familiar with this story? Was it all kind of news to both of you when you got the script?

CATHERINE BELL:  I haven’t heard of it at all. When I started telling people about it a lot of people remembered seeing it on the news. It was on “Dateline” and “Anderson Cooper” and all of that, but I hadn’t heard of it at all. You, Tom?

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, no, same. The escaping out of prison in a dog crate. I think it maybe a rang a bell but maybe I’m like, yeah, maybe that’s just a logical way to sneak out of prison.  But the case itself I hadn’t heard anything about it, then I started reading the script, and it was just so fun.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  And, Tom, can you actually fit in a dog crate?

TOM STEVENS:  Easily, easily. That dog crate was too easy to fit into. I wanted a smaller one. I wanted to do contortion, you know.

QUESTION:  Thanks so much.

TOM STEVENS:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Awesome. Thank you.  And we’re going to be wrapping here momentarily but I see two more hands are up. Jamie from SciFi Vision, did you have another question?

QUESTION:  Yeah, I can go again. I was going to ask about the dog crate, but so what did the two of you learn about yourselves from working on this show either as performers or just as people in general?

CATHERINE BELL:  Ooh.

TOM STEVENS:  Ooh.

CATHERINE BELL:  Wow. Tom, do you want to answer? I want to think about that.

TOM STEVENS:  I think what I learned about myself was it’s — With all the challenges that came with this there’s a lot of layers to John and playing John, and when I ever felt like I was kind of lost in it all I knew I had to do was connect with Catherine, and I don’t know if I learned that about myself, but I did learn that I can trust in Catherine whenever I feel like I’m lost in a scene. Is that me learning something? I don’t know. I learned that about Catherine.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hm, thank you. Yeah, I had such an incredible time working with you and our connection. It was just really, really special; really, just like you said, you just look in your eyes and it was like all there, and I don’t know.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  It was probably just a great realization that I can do this sort of a role, which was so different for me and being able to trust in you and just making that happen. It was so magical.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Well, thank you and I enjoyed it, so.

TOM STEVENS:  Thank you, Jamie. We loved it, too.

MODERATOR:  Awesome, and now our final question is from Mike Hughes. Mike?

QUESTION:  Yeah. I’ll just ask real briefly, all your impressions of working when you were in the correction facility there, it looked like it wasn’t a high security one. It looked like it was maybe medium or a low-security facility. Nothing struck you about it there and did you get a chance to interact with the prisoners at all? Were they friendly to you? Just give us your overall impressions.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. Well, it wasn’t an active prison, so it was actually shut down. So, but still I, for me, it was very — And, Tom, you were the one in the cell, but so cold, so impersonal. I can’t even imagine being in a cell like that for years or for life. It’s just wow, where I really just realized what that experience could be like, just a little taste of it.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah. Again, it’s an old youth center, so it’s a youth correction center in Burnaby that we were shooting in and all the other prisoners were background so, you know, not actual prisoners, but I did get a chance on my other show in Halifax I got to talk to a lady on our crew who had spent four months in prison that year on a charge that she was serving from years prior. It just all caught up with her, and she’s a good friend of mine and we sat down and just like hatch — She gave me as much insight on what living in prison was like, and I just asked for words that would come up in her mind every day, like what’s something that you would think every single day, and frustration is a big one, and you can feel frustrated places like that because it, like Catherine said, it’s so confined and so isolating, and there’s no time, and you just — It’s very plain and uncomfortable. Like there’s no cushions. So you can imagine a human being whose mind needs stimulation become completely frustrated in a situation like that.

QUESTION:  Okay, thanks.

MODERATOR:  Thank you. And thank you, Catherine and Tom for joining us today. “Jailbreak Lovers” premieres Saturday, July 2nd, at 08:00 p.m., seven Central only on Lifetime. Stay tuned for “He’s Not Worth Dying For” in a moment.

MORE INFO:

Official Lifetime Site and Preview

Inspired by a true story, Jailbreak Lovers follows Toby (Catherine Bell), a woman who always played by the rules. Toby never ran a red light, married the only boy she ever dated, raised a family and went to church. She did everything she was supposed to do. When Toby loses her job and starts a non-profit to rehabilitate abused, rescued dogs at the local prison no one could have anticipated that she would end up on the run, shacked up with her younger lover John (Tom Stevens), a convicted murderer. The star-crossed lovers hatch a plan to break John out of prison by smuggling him out in one of the dog crates, sparking a federal manhunt.

Jailbreak Lovers is produced for Lifetime by Crate Productions Inc. Catherine Bell, Angela Mancuso, Stacy Mandelberg and up-and-coming director Katie Boland are executive producers. Supervising producers are Oliver DeCaigny and Tom Stanford. Boland directed from a script by Anne-Marie Hess and Jodie Burke.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for "Jailbreak Lovers"

Interview with Hilda Martin, Lachlan Quarmby, and Rachel Boyd

TV Interview!

Hilda Martin and Lachlan Quarmby star in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7cLachlan Quarmby and Rachel Boyd star in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7c

Interview with Hilda Martin, Lachlan Quarmby, and Rachel Boyd of “He’s Not Worth Dying For” on Lifetime by Suzanne 6/1/22

This was from a press day featuring three “ripped from the headlines” movies airing this summer. It was great to speak with these young actors. I only wish star Robin Givens had been there.

MODERATOR: Hi, everybody. Our next panel for today is the talented cast of “He’s Not Worth Dying For.” Please welcome Hilda Martin, Lachlan Quarmby, and Rachel Boyd. Hi, you guys. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you. Happy to be here.

RACHEL BOYD: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our first question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Thanks for talking to us. So how familiar were you all with kind of this story and kind you talk a bit about sort of the research that you did into it for all of you?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Sure.

RACHEL BOYD: Do you want to start?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: You go, you go.

HILDA MARTIN: Well, I didn’t know much but I do have a liking for crime documentaries, so as soon as I got that and was told it was based/inspired by true stories, as a true story, I Googled it right away, but before then I had no knowing of the story.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I think that like for me when I first got the audition script I actually somehow missed the words “based on a true story” when I was reading the description of it, so I had no idea until the callback that I was auditioning for something that was based on a true story, but I think, for me, like, seeing the sides and the character, I really connected to it, because it’s such an experience that a lot of young people on social media, and especially young women can relate to in how we are taught to, like, compete for a man’s exclusive love, and then how that manifests in different ways in the age of social media, and how that has real effects on our self-wroth and the way that we behave as people and change our character.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it at the time. In 2009, I was living in Canberra, Australia, which might as well have been about as far away as you can be. But, yeah, I was the same, as soon as I got the script and heard it was a real story I looked it up and had such like an emotional reaction to just how much of a tragic experience it was and, yeah, it was kind of exciting to get to audient to play something like that.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you so much.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you.

RACHEL BOYD: thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Tamara Rollins.

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Can you hear me?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Hi.

RACHEL BOYD: Yes.

QUESTION: Hi. So nowadays social media can be used as a tool to destroy lives. Some people tend to separate social media from our actual lives. They deem it as two separate entities. Do you guys feel that social media in our real day-to-day lives are one entity or two separate worlds?

RACHEL BOYD: I would say that I think that social media is real but also fake, because what it is is it’s taking a person and letting them choose what they want to highlight and choose how they want to be perceived in the world, and what you see on social media as much as we often treat it, like that is that person and that is the full representation of them, it’s not a real accurate representation of a person, of a real human being who is full and flawed. So I think that they’re different in that way, but the really unfortunate thing and kind of what we wanted to tackle in the movie is that people blur those lines together, and they treat people like they aren’t really human beings on social media when it really is really us. We’re just kind of creating a highlight reel.

QUESTION: Thank you.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah. I’ll add to that. I agree. I think that a lot of people out there are probably having this sort of duality in personality versus real life on social media, but it’s not for me to say as to how you should manage it. I personally think that it’s best to just do everything in moderation. You know, if you are going to put something up there that is a version of you that may not be the exact version of yourself then it can be the kind of thing that you’re aspiring to be, or the kind of person that you’re trying to be like, but it’s just managing which is which and just being like honest with yourself. As long as you know what you’re all about and stuff like that then I think it’s manageable.

QUESTION: Thank you.

HILDA MARTIN: I think the same thing. I specifically had a hard time with kind of splitting — with kind of being the same person and having like a reality, being real on social media for the longest, and I don’t see that be a possibility now because you’re still — Like in social media you’re not you. You’re never going to be. You’re going to be torn apart, if you want like an extensive amount of people kind of following you, unless you just want yourself and close friends, but other than that it’s like you have to be someone that society wants on social media. So that’s like totally different, and I could see the same for Isla, who is trying to kind of be this person and this colorful person, this bright person, but on the other side in her real life it’s the total opposite, so totally different.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Robin Givens stars in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7cMODERATOR: Thank you. We also have some pre-submitted questions from journalists who could not be here today. This question is for Hilda. Hilda, you have some pretty intense scenes with Robin Givens who plays your mother in the movie. What was it like working with a veteran actress, and did she give you any advice or were there any fun times together on the set?

HILDA MARTIN: It was great working with Robin. I think like she kind of let me — She didn’t really — You know, working with a veteran and you’re not one yourself, you kind of feel like you’re not good enough, but there’s a lot of moments where she kind of like, A, gave me tips on certain scenes and, B, kind of like applauded me for certain scenes, and kind of like validation, which I like, but there’s quite a few moments that she kind of made me laugh, and one of them was Grace is being a bitch to, like harsh mood to her mom, and as soon as the scene got cut she was like I would have whooped you in real life. I would have whooped you hard. Never do that to me in real life. My kids would never. And another scene was with Jake, Lachlan, and it was a family dinner and like you just never know when stuff happens. She had like this, she had a green bean that she was chewing mid-scene, and it was her turn to talk, and like it wasn’t going down, so like that cut was like the funniest part, because we’re just watching her chew. She’s like (imitates chewing), mm um hm, um hm, one sec, um hm.

(Laughter.)

HILDA MARTIN: And she hadn’t thought of like — She is fun. She’s great to work with. She’s like a mom. She was actually like a mom and, yeah.

MODERATOR: That’s awesome. Thank you, Hilda. Our next question is from Suzanne at TVMEG.COM

QUESTION: Hi, I was wondering if any of you had done any Lifetime movies before and whether you could compare them to other work that you’ve done elsewhere — whether they were slower or faster or what other things you can think of that would be different?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah, I had a small role on like a Christmas one before. So it was kind of fun to play the differences in tone in terms of like the sort of lighter Christmas one and then the darker reality of like this one. I really enjoyed it, the mixing up, because it is a different way to come about it from an acting point of view in terms of like the tone, the network, and like the genre as well. You got to play with all of those elements, and I have no idea what I’m doing typically, because it’s so early on. So it’s really funny to have like a producer or a director just say, like, “Hey, like this is actually more the way that it is done for this type of film,” and I was always like, “Oh, cool. Great.” That’s awesome to learn and use going forward, yeah.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I also think that, I mean, personally, I hadn’t done anything, any other work with Lifetime before, but I also think it’s so interesting to mention that this was mine, Hilda’s and Lachlan’s, all of our first lead roles in a feature-length film. So that was really, really fun, and it was really great to experience that with the three of us. I think that all of us ending up being our first time really brought a new energy to the set that we really liked where we were just very eager to work and play and have a lot of fun with each other. So I had to mention that.

QUESTION: Great. Hilda.

HILDA MARTIN: It was also my, yeah, my first time as well. What I would interesting, what I like to find out is like what does Lifetime like cast to wear, and like the other show that I’ve done was a different wardrobe and seeing like how characters are kind of like created, developed like look-wise on different platforms like Lifetime, for example. That was cool. But like also the first time in having like a great cast to work with.

RACHEL BOYD: Aw.

HILDA MARTIN: It kind of made it exciting and easier, I think, something you (inaudible @ 00:34:14), so, yeah.

QUESTION: Well, thank you.

HILDA MARTIN: Thanks.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Mike Hughes.

QUESTION: Yeah. I wasn’t sure if my mute — can you hear me now?

GROUP: Yes. We can hear you.

QUESTION: Okay. Cool. Rachel, actors obviously have to be able to turn it on quickly when the camera is on, but it’s much more so what Isla had to do, because just you’re solo on a camera and (just be big @ 00:34:40) the moment she goes on. So what’s it like to do the scenes where Isla is really over the top and on her own before a camera?

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I think that’s something for me that I really did a lot in preparation for the role was learning exactly what that physicality was, because I knew that Isla’s character needed — She needed to be able to walk into a room and command it and hold the power in it just with her body and how she moved around, so that was kind of something I really wanted to focus on. And, yeah, that just came through I think sometimes if she was putting on the performance of like “Influence Isla” then it was a lot for me finding those places in my body where that energy was. Like I think there’s like a scene at the beginning. Hilda and I were talking about it the other day, but it’s like she’s walking into the store, and she’s kind of doing like this crazy like “Clueless” walk, and it’s just I think it gives me that energy from within me instead of me keeping the same body language the entire time. And then I also liked working with the physicality, because it gave me space to also be Isla when she’s not being big and over the top, and she’s just being, you know, a regular girl who’s just lonely and confused, and how does her body change. And then I think having that like drastic difference helps, too, when you saw her being bigger.

QUESTION: Cool. Thanks.

Rachel Boyd stars in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7cRACHEL BOYD: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our next question’s from Cynthia Horner.

QUESTION: Hello. My question is for all of you. I really enjoyed the film, and I’d like to know what advice would you give to young people that are watching — They’re going to be watching the film, and we all know people who’ve been in similar situations even though the ending may not be the same, but the fact that there are so many situations where people are being cheated on or whatever, so can you each talk about your character and the way those dynamics were so that other people that are watching the film may decide not to make some of those mistakes.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I can start. Are you guys —

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Go for it, Rach.

RACHEL BOYD: Okay. I think, for me, I’ve always, always wanted this to be the message that people take away from the whole movie, and with Isla especially is that there’s no manifestation of love or validation, be it like a boy or followers and likes and comments on Instagram that is ever worth losing yourself for and affecting your own self-worth to please. I think I want people to know that they are one hundred percent significant and one hundred percent enough just in themselves, and that outward validation will always come and go, but that it really is that inner self-worth that you should focus so much of your energies on. Yeah.

QUESTION: Good answer.

HILDA MARTIN: Yeah, I’d go with the same. I think for me it was value. I think we all, like the whole cast, like all three of us wanted to feel valued from social media, from a boy, but relationship-wise, I think that like what I want people to know, because like, again, nearly all of us have gone through it, it’s like not forgetting our worth, not feeling that we need someone else, and that could be a male or a female in a relationship, remembering your worth, and if you’re not receiving that worth it’s, as hard as it is, it’s just like let go, and when they say love is blind they also mean love is also deaf, because a lot of times you’re also told and you can hear the words, and I just hope that they remember how like valuable and like worthy they are, yes.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah. I would also just add that I agree with everything the girls said there but, you know, I think it’s in the title, right? It is a cautionary tale. That’s what we’re hoping people will take away is that it’s — and most of it is just not worth it. Even a lot of the stuff that seems really important at the time and seem so like at the forefront of your life, because it’s at your fingertips on that device, on that social media platform, it just seems like it’s so much worth it, but if you just put it down, and you take a step back, then it’s probably not going to be worth all of this pain or bleeding into your real, you know, personal life and causing you anxiety or whatever. And, I mean, for Jake, it’s the whole thing is just he brings all these problems on himself and stuff like that, and he doesn’t really have a support network around him to tell him like, “Hey, like you’re basically you’re being an idiot.” Again, flipping through the script, the first time I read it being like, you know, you’re not supposed to judge a character but idiot, dumb ass, that’s stupid —

RACHEL BOYD: He makes it hard.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: What are you doing? What are you doing, man? Somebody just needs to tell this guy, please, stop, stop doing these things. So I hope that people take away from that, that you need to help yourself but may also people who are close to people witnessing them going through stuff like this that you can also step in and help them with that as well. Yeah.

QUESTION: Fantastic answers. Thank you so much.

RACHEL BOYD: Thanks, Cynthia.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thanks.

MODERATOR: Our next question is from Steve Gidlow.

QUESTION: Hey, everyone. Just I’m assuming you’re all on social media. So I was just wondering if being so immersed in the darker side of it, did it change your perception of how you deal with your own social media now?

RACHEL BOYD: something that I really like about the movie is that we’ve all been living in the dark side of social media, all the time. What this movie does though is holds up a mirror to the reality that we’ve been living in and how we reduce people and their self-worth and value to their viral abilities and how we turn real human suffering into its own like entertainment genre on social media, and it’s really horrible, and it’s something that everybody who’s on social media is immersed in one way or another. But what the movie does is it holds up a mirror to the realities of that and how those facets of social media have real-world repercussions on people, and their lives and their feelings.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: I would say that, for me, personally, the changes that I’ve made it’s just made me more conscious and more aware of purpose and point behind posts. Like why am I actually posting this, and I’ve stopped myself a couple times being like is this for me? Is this something that I like? Or is this actually for other people? Is this to get a reaction out of other people? Is this to make people feel a certain way about me and, at those points, I stop. So I’m just trying to be posting more positive stuff. You know, sometimes it’s cheesy, sometimes it’s silly but I’d rather put —

RACHEL BOYD: Sometimes it’s a dance.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: These guys make fun of me all the time but that’s fine. I’d rather post something that’s a bit cheesy and a bit more positive than something that was coming from the wrong place in my heart, I guess. So, yeah, I’m more conscious of that.

QUESTION: Gotcha. And Hilda.

HILDA MARTIN: It just, for me, it validated the change that I made before the movie of like just not giving in to like being that person, like that perfect person on social media and kind of giving in to the dark social media side, but — Because, again, there are — After the movie, obviously, there’s people who are going to be look at our social media and like kind of giving that image of me being perfect is not going to be the message I was kind of like that people — wanted people to take away from the movie itself. So kind of just of I did make a change, and I was kind of proud of that, and just loving myself, posting whatever I love whether it’s like a picture of a flower or just me unedited, hopefully.

QUESTION: Thank so much.

HILDA MARTIN: (Inaudible @ 00:43:25).

QUESTION: Thanks.

HILDA MARTIN: Thanks.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Luaine Lee.

QUESTION: Yes. Part of the danger of social media is rejection by your peers, but acting is involved with total rejection all the time. So I’m wondering how do each of you cope with the rejection that happens to you when you’re trying out for roles?

RACHEL BOYD: That’s a great question. Hilda, do you want to start?

HILDA MARTIN: Sure. Well, I’m pretty new to the industry, so I was researching a lot of like veteran actors and their comments on the whole industry, and the one thing that they mentioned is never take it as — Like always take it with a grain of salt, and so whenever I do an audition I like — like with this one, I — because I did watch the documentary before like right when I was auditioning, so I did see that it was a girl of not my shade, like white, Caucasian, so I knew I wasn’t going to get it. So it’s — I go in just giving my agents what they want without knowing what I’m going to get back, so I think I already implemented that in my head and not getting it doesn’t sting as much as other people — as it would other people but, yeah, I kind of like already ingrained it, “I’m not getting it.” And when I do it’s like cherry on top.

QUESTION: Great. Rachel?

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I think, you know, this kind of takes me back because Lochlyn Munro is in the movie as well, and the day that he was on set he was giving all of us young eager actors with big ears like advice about the industry, and something that he said in relation to auditions specifically that really resonated with me was he goes in when he gets sides, and he says, “I want to land the character. I don’t want to land the role.” Like his first priority is land the character and, for me, that really made me feel better, because then it takes the pressure off of it, and it just becomes this thing that I do because I love it, and it’s my craft, and it makes me feel so happy, so getting sides now since speaking with Lochlyn Munro and just seeing it as how do I give this character all of the emotional empathy that I can to claim them and have that be as true and honest to me as possible, and then when I do that, and I can watch it back and feel proud of myself that it — I’m working on that being enough satisfaction for myself and not depending on all of my happiness on like what a third party will think of it, and just kind of focusing on like being proud and celebrating little wins even if they don’t result in a job.

QUESTION: Lachlan?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah, look, in high school I was rejected by a few women, so I think that actually was good practice to set me — I say a few. It was all of them in high school. So, you know, it’s just you take it, you learn from it. When I submit an audition I just forget about it straightaway. It’s just, it’s gone. You just go in, be yourself, do your best. I was quite similar to Hilda. You know, when I got this and looked up the real person I was like, “Yeah, that is not me at all, so I’m just going to do something and send it, and then just completely forget about it,” and that way you’re not waiting by the phone, you know, and because that’s really when you suffer twice when you wait and you worry and all of that sort of stuff. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Like I’m not going to lie. Sometimes the rejection does affect you personally, and it can hurt. But it’s all about, I think surrounding yourself with the right people in your personal life, friends and family and stuff, keeping your head on your shoulders like nice and straight and everything, and you just keep going because eventually, you know, good things will happen. It’s meant to be.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. And, Lachlan, now look at you. You’re in a movie, you got two girlfriends, so. And they don’t want to reject you. So you’re doing —

LACHLAN QUARMBY: That was the whole —

RACHEL BOYD: It’s like quite full circle for you.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: It’s a perfect opportunity, yeah.

RACHEL BOYD: perfect. A big slap in the face to those girls. Look at him now, (laughs.)

LACHLAN QUARMBY: I’m going to link them. I’m going to send them a link to it, yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone. That’s our time for today.

RACHEL BOYD: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you to Hilda, Lachlan, and Rachel for being here today, and everyone please tune into “He’s Not Worth Dying For,” Saturday, June 25th at 8/7 Central.

RACHEL BOYD: Yay.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you.

RACHEL BOYD: Thanks.

MORE INFO:

Poster for "He's Not Worth Dying For" on Lifetime

Inspired by a true events, He’s Not Worth Dying For follows the intertwined real and social media lives of Isla (Rachel Boyd), a 19-year-old girl who has established herself as a beauty and fashion influencer and Grace (Hilda Martin) the expected valedictorian of her class with hopes of a veterinary career. Though both are very different, they unknowingly share one thing in common – Jake (Lachlan Quarmby) – who is dating them both without their knowledge. When Isla and Grace discover that Jake was cheating on them, the girls turn on each other in a jealous rivalry and use their arsenal of social media platforms to badmouth and attack one another. While their followers take sides and pit them against each other, their hatred for one another escalates into a real life fight that ultimately turns deadly. Robin Givens stars as Grace’s mother, Cher, while Lochlyn Munro stars as the District Attorney investigating the case.

He’s Not Worth Dying For is produced by Doomed Productions Inc for Lifetime with Tim Johnson, Orly Adelson, Stacy Mandelberg and Jon Eskenas serving as executive producers. Kevin Fair directs from a script written by Jacqueline Zambrano.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Hilda Martin and Robin Givens stars in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7c

Interview with cast of “Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story”

TV Interview!

 

 

Lifetime press day panel for "Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story"

Interview with actors Candice King, Michael Roark and Jackson Hurst; EP Kim Raver; and Director Nicole L. Thompson of “Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 6/1/22

This is your typical LIfetime thriller, based on a true story.  Candice King does a great job as the title character. This was from a larger Lifetime press panel. I hope you enjoy it!

 

If you have trouble with the video, watch it here!

MODERATOR: Please join me in welcoming the cast and creatives from “Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story.” We have with us today Executive Producer Kim Raver; Director Nicole L. Thompson who makes her directorial debut with this movie; Candice King who plays Melanie McGuire; Michael Roark who plays Melanie’s husband and victim; and, Jackson Hurst who plays the doctor with whom Melanie is having an affair. I’m going to now open the floor to questions. If you would like to ask a question, just a quick reminder at the bottom there’s a reactions button. You can raise your hand, and I will get to as many questions as possible, and we’re just going to get started right now.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Hi, everyone. Kim, my question is for you. I know you’ve been producing for a while. When you get a project like this do you automatically look for a role for yourself in it, or do you not look for a role in it, or I’m not sure which way that question really cuts, but obviously we know your acting credentials, so it strikes me that perhaps you might have pursued the role of the prosecutor had you wanted it. Can you talk about that a little bit?

KIM RAVER: Sure. Hi, Jay. Thank you for your question. I actually don’t look for a role for myself. I, you know, I love the fact that I can kind of be a creative and my job is on “Grey’s” acting in it. So it’s, I think, you know, my partner, Manuel Boyer, who’s also executive producer on this, we look for things that are story driven and, for sure, I’m looking for really interesting characters. But the way that I can kind of produce is, in a way, if I’m not acting in it. But I still I think my acting drive helps me kind of search out for really interesting characters and really interesting female characters. So I think my first thing is, yes, I would imagine how an actor would want to play it or perceive it, because if it’s something that I find interesting I’m hoping that other actors as talented as this group, you know, is as interested. So I think for me it’s character driven, but it’s more about me not acting in it so that I can kind of do it simultaneously.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Thank you. Candice, I’m just curious. Your career has been filled with fantasy roles and that strangeness that comes in those kind of characters, but when you do a project like this do you sometimes think that life is stranger than fiction, than the fictional fantasy worlds?

CANDICE KING: Yes, absolutely. Even in some of the circumstances we found ourselves filming in. I mean, essentially, recreating what is, of course, in real life, a horrific scene of a body being cut up in a bathtub. I oddly felt right at home with a bunch of fake blood and, you know, being thrown at my face and, you know, fake saw sounds. It really brought me back to some “Vampire Diaries” days, so absolutely real life and fantasy can obvious — There’s a lot of parallels, shockingly.

QUESTION: To follow up, Candice, real quickly, what do you do as far as thinking their state-of-mind? Do you think this person I’m playing is a guilty person or somebody that doesn’t understand guilt? What kind of state-of-mind do you get yourself into?

CANDICE KING: Ooh, well, that’s a big question for anyone that was on set with me, because I get very into stories, and especially true life crime stories. So I talked everybody’s ear off about this case. For me, personally, I really just felt that it was my responsibility to tell Melanie’s story, as those were the shoes that I was filling, and this was someone who, by her own account, she is a mother who was scared and as in an abusive relationship, and who was also very dedicated to her job and who was not perfect. She had many, many faults, self-admittedly. So I really felt that kind — listening to her testimony and that she had given to her lawyers, and as well as there’s a great podcast called “Direct Appeal” in which she spoke for hours, there’s hours of recording of her sharing her story and her experiences that I listened to. So that’s more kind of the direction in which — or at least that’s what I was showing up to set with, you know, also while following the script that we have.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Rick. I have an email request that we received for Nicole. Nicole, you’re a first-time director. What was your experience like bringing this shocking story to television?

NICOLE THOMPSON: It was a great experience being able to work with this very talented cast and crew. As a first-time feature director, it was very important to me to make sure that I did the research to give the story justice and make sure that the facts shine through and showing the characters in fullness, right. Candice spoke to how being flawed, but also having a humanity side to it, so just wanting to make sure that the characters were portrayed properly, but also making sure that film had a full story arc all from beginning to end.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Nicole.

QUESTION: Yeah. This is also for Nicole. Interestingly enough, at the last session, we had a Black actress told a story about how she knew she wasn’t getting the role, because the real life person was Caucasian, and she got the role anyway, and so I was wondering, I wanted to ask you are we closer to having real colorblind casting now? Have you sensed any of that at all? And also are we closer to getting rid of that huge gap of there weren’t enough Black people behind the screen, scenes as directors and producers and so on?

NICOLE THOMPSON: Great question. I think Hollywood has definitely began progressing, but I think we still have more to go. I think in terms of your first question with colorblind casting, when I’m looking for cast I’m looking for the best person who can play the role, so I can’t speak for every director or every company, but — and that’s something that’s a priority for me. And I’m happy with the way things are progressing as well as, you know, seeing more people of color in leadership roles behind the camera, so but I would say, back to my first point, we definitely are taking steps further but there’s still more to go, and I’m very thankful to Lifetime who allowed this opportunity, the Broader Focus Initiative is to put more women in opportunities of leadership roles behind the camera, so that’s why I think because of leaders like Lifetime there is a change.

QUESTION: Okay. Cool, thanks.

KIM RAVER: Yeah, I’m going to add into that. I really do feel that Lifetime is like what Nicole was saying. They really are taking the steps to give opportunities to women and to women of color, and in order to make those changes we need to have those positions filled by women and Women of Color, and Lifetime is really doing that, and I think as producers, too, we’re really trying to support that, and we have Lifetime’s support, which is it’s really encouraging, and it’s just the steps and moving in the right direction of where we need to go and then, you know, we’re lucky to have the talent of Nicole to be able to direct a movie like this, and Lifetime giving those opportunities. So, yeah, it’s nice that that’s happening, and it’s happening at Lifetime.

QUESTION: Cool. Thanks.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question is an email question for Michael Roark. You play Melanie’s husband in the film, who she subsequently murders. What was the biggest challenge you faced in playing him?

MICHAEL ROARK: Well, initially, you know, obviously, whenever we’re doing a story that’s, you know, we’re doing a real-life story here we’re going where are the resources, what are the facts, and the biggest challenge I faced initially was two things. One was while there was a whole lot of information on Melanie there really wasn’t a whole lot on Bill. I was actually surprised how little could be found on Bill. So, you know, I had to do my work, kind of fill in a lot of those gaps and find my own interpretation. And the other is just the speed at which we move. You know, especially when we’re doing film you never know how much time you have to prepare something, so we moved very quickly on this, so that was a challenge but that’s not atypical for making films.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Michael.

QUESTION: Hi, for Candice, this is such a dark role. How long did you shake off a long day of embodying this character?

CANDICE KING: You know, I’d like to say that really going into — tequila. That’s the straight answer. No. I mean, the reality is that we, you know, as to what Michael was just saying, we shot so much in such a short amount of time, which I mean we were — we all were together for many, many hours within this three-week period, so there wasn’t a lot of time to really shake off the character, which I actually appreciated because, which sounds so silly, I usually don’t say things like that, but I really did get so deeply involved with reading as much as I could about this case and Melanie, because it is such a wild and tragic and fascinating story of so many flawed individuals, and even just the prosecution and the defense attorneys, that could be a whole other film in itself, just those two characters and real-life people. So there wasn’t a lot of shaking everything off, but I was totally happy with that, because I really could not get enough of the story and really convincing myself that I was going to solve it. I was just going to solve every, you know, unanswerable question to this case by obsessing over it for these few weeks.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi, how are you guys?

GROUP: (Hellos.)

QUESTION: So Melanie did gruesome things in order to have the life she wanted. How do you guys feel about her maintaining her innocence even though the evidence proved otherwise? Do you think she was in denial or simply disassociated herself from the crime itself?

MICHAEL ROARK: Ooh, that’s juicy.

Candice King stars in"Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story" on LifetimeCANDICE KING: Well, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence against Melanie, but that’s what I think is so fascinating about this case is that the actual physical evidence specifically to the condo in which her and Bill lived in they couldn’t find anything within that condo, and that’s what I think — Regardless of what you believe on either side of the case, you have to take that into consideration is, you know, they went four or five times. They took piping from the sinks and to test it and found nothing. So regardless of which side you stand on just, you know, the evidence alone it’s just really interesting based off of what the prosecution came to the courts with.

MICHAEL ROARK: I’ll chime in here. This is something we talked about endlessly on set as well. I do agree. There is, you know, if you look at the facts of the case there’s so many other things other than just, you know, the facts that were presented that even the discovery in the trial seemed like it was a bit off, so we’re not even sure the facts that were presented, you know, are all the information that’s there. And now there’s no smoking gun evidence but, at the same time, Melanie had some really behavior that kind of looks like someone who would be guilty. So, I mean, and this is obviously very much just like the minimal amount that we can, you know, just say like, you know — The case goes on and on but, for me, like how did it affect me coming in, it didn’t. I mean, I played Bill the way I would play Bill, and do I think there’s more to it? Do I think she was guilty? I don’t know. I’ve got opinions on it, but I’d like to hear what everyone else has to say.

QUESTION: Thank you.

KIM RAVER: Yeah, I think — Go ahead —

JACKSON HURST: Yeah, I will take it just for (a hair @ 01:04:05), you know, I was kind of torn. I went in thinking she was guilty, guilty, guilty as charged, and then I started listening to the podcast, of course, and I started doing my own research, and then I realized through, yeah, the forensic evidence that was completely lacking. It was circumstantial evidence and it’s crazy. I mean, you could get into the specifics of a few things but I, to this day, am still pretty torn. But, I mean, that’s what makes it such a riveting story, and Lifetime did a good job, Nicole did a good job at not forcing you to choose sides within the movie but just telling the story and then from there the audience can pick a side however they see fit, and then somebody can break Melanie out of jail and everything — everybody would be happy, boom.

QUESTION: Thank you.

KIM RAVER: I think that’s what’s so great about this film. I mean, the talent in it that tells the story, and the directing of it, that it’s this incredible roller coaster of back and forth, and there’s just there’s moments where you’re like, “Oh, my God. She did it.” “Oh, my God. She didn’t do it.” You know, and I think that that — I mean, unfortunately, it’s a real story, but I think that’s what makes a true crime story to watch so appealing is that there is so much back and forth, and it is such a sort of a ride that you go from one side to the other and just makes it a really great true crime story.

NICOLE THOMPSON: Yes, and I would add, you know, throughout the entire time it was pretty hard not to be torn, because it’s seeing both accounts, but also our goal was to kind of keep it in a way that the audience can, in return, make their decision.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

QUESTION: Hey, my question’s actually for Candice. Did you have to put your mindset in the fact that she was innocent to get an accurate portrayal of her, because I would imagine if you thought she was guilty, I’m not going to ask you to pick sides here, but I’m just wondering did you go into this thinking, yeah, she has to be innocent for me to accurately portray her?

CANDICE KING: Yeah, I mean, I think what any actor usually says to a question like this is that you have to go in servicing the character. So, of course, even though the character is a real person, you know, I am going in telling her story. Now what everyone’s just also shared is there are two different narratives. You know, there’s her story and there is, you know, the reason why she’s in jail, the fact that others believed the prosecution’s story and what they said happened. So, of course, yes, I showed up playing Melanie McGuire as Melanie McGuire and what she shared was her, you know, she still to this day declares innocence, you know, and she passed a polygraph test. It’s not admissible in court, but it’s there. So that’s absolutely the role that I came to. That’s who I was, whose story I was there sharing also while acting out the script and the story that you guys will all see, because it is, of course, we are sharing an entertainment version of these events. So as everyone has said you’re going to have moments of like did she, did she not, and that’s why we’re all turning on the TV to watch something.

QUESTION: Great. Thanks so much.

KIM RAVER: And I think what Candice does so well in this movie, which is so difficult, is it’s not like a one-dimensional “is she guilty/is she not guilty.” She’s such a human being with so many different layers, and that’s really her specific performance in all of these incredible moments and multilayered moments that it just also makes it — It’s so appealing to watch, because you’re watching this real human being go through and navigate such kind of intricate details of her life, and I think that that’s also what’s so fascinating, and it’s performed so well by you, Candice, and really kind of brings us into her world of how someone gets there whether they’re guilty or not guilty, and so that’s also the beauty of the performance.

CANDICE KING: Thank you.

MODERATOR: And so the next question is for Jackson Hurst. What is tough about playing a bad guy of sorts as the doctor who’s having an affair with Melanie McGuire?

JACKSON HURST: Bad guy?

KIM RAVER: I was like bad, (laughs.)

JACKSON HURST: This is news to me. This is the first I’m hearing this.

(Laughter.)

JACKSON HURST: You know what, it’s you don’t look at yourself as a bad guy. In my case, I looked at myself as an endocrinologist who’s in love with a woman, and that’s essentially it, and everything revolves around love, you know, and then at the end of the day did she kill somebody and stuff him in a suitcase, maybe. Do I still love her? Yeah, you know, and at the end of the day, it’s we go to court. I’m sure you guys have all seen the story, but it’s tough to justify all of your actions, but in this case, I loved her, and that’s pretty much it.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much.

QUESTION: I’m here. Yes, I really enjoyed the film, and I’m looking forward to watching it again once it actually comes on TV on June 18th. Can you all talk about any behind-the-scenes moment that was interesting that we wouldn’t have known about since we were not there on set with you?

CANDICE KING: I mean, I think that what was really interesting was how many times we’d find ourselves filming a scene and, all of a sudden, everyone would just stop for a minute and ran — like different people in the crew would go, “I don’t know if she did it. I don’t know if she did — “ because we, and then we’d find ourselves in another scene where they’d go, “No, no, no, no, no, this seems like she did it,” and just it was interesting to be acting out these two different, very different accounts that were presented in court, and I think the two ones — which, Nicole, you can expand on — but the two ones that stick out to me were, one, how much fake blood was in that bathroom and even if you were to drain a body of blood there would still be — You know, if you’ve ever been in a surgical room, my dad’s a doctor, so I’ve been lucky enough to witness a surgery, and it’s messy. You know, it’s not — it’s clean but it’s still very hard to keep it perfectly clean, but they’re going to have blood on the walls, and then the second thing would be throwing suitcases over the bridge, because we actually did that, and they were very difficult, and less than what Melanie would have been pushing over the bridge.

NICOLE THOMPSON: Yes, I can’t chime in with that. Uh, Candice did an amazing job at just demonstrating lifting those suitcases and how much they would have actually weighed in real life, and like it’s like this is actually really difficult to do so just experiencing that, to have it come to life, it was definitely a testament to, you know, what some might say how could this happen or how could it not happen, but I would just say that whether you agree or disagree those moments were definitely some things that we can keep with us as we think about the journey of making this film.

MODERATOR: Thank you. I think we have time for one more question.

QUESTION: Yeah. I wanted to ask you, Candice, the year on “Vampire Diaries,” what do you think you learned from that experience that you could apply to this one?

CANDICE KING: Shaving cream gets out fake blood when it (stains to your skin @ 01:12:46).

KIM RAVER: And tequila at night. No, I’m just kidding.

CANDICE KING: And tequila at night, yes. Those are both two very important facts. I mean, I think what I would apply — We had very long hours. We had a lot of nights on that show. We were 22 to 24 episodes a season, so I think making a lot happen in a short amount of time but, obviously, my time on “Vampire” was very special. You know, it immediately kind of bonds you when you are working those kind of hours together. So I think that that’s also something that could be applied to this experience. We’re all coming in. We were all — You know, the story really did take a hold of all of us at different points throughout the experience. It’s impossible for it not to, and so just to immediately all be showing up to make the best story that we could together is something that I was delighted to be able to experience with a new group of individuals in such a short amount of time.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Well, that concludes today’s Virtual Press Day. Just a quick reminder that “Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story” premieres on Saturday, June 18th at 8/7 Central. A special thank you to the cast and creatives from “Suitcase Killer” and all the panelists that joined us today. Thank you, everyone. As a quick reminder, transcripts and recordings will be available beginning tomorrow. If we didn’t get to your question please feel free to email us at LifetimePR@aenetworks.com, and please be sure to tune into all of our incredible movies all season long, and follow us on social at @LifetimeTV and @LifetimeTVPR. Have a great week and thank you so much.

MORE INFO:

Trailer

poster for "Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story"

Based on a shocking true story, Melanie McGuire (Candice King) was an exceptional fertility nurse, married to her ex-Navy husband Bill (Michael Roark) and doting mother of two boys. When she falls for Brad (Jackson Hurst), a doctor at her clinic, and gets entangled in a steamy love affair, Melanie does the unthinkable. After drugging and murdering Bill, she dismembers him and places the body parts into three suitcases, throwing them into Chesapeake Bay. But when the suitcases are found on the shores of Virginia Beach, an investigation is launched leading to Melanie as the prime suspect. Led by the efforts of assistant attorney general Patti Prezioso (Wendie Malick), authorities eventually bring Melanie to justice, who despite being convicted, continues to maintain her innocence.

Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story is produced by Swirl Films and Big Dreams
Entertainment. Executive producers are Manu Boyer and Kim Raver. As part of the Broader Focus initiative, Nicole L.Thompson makes her directorial debut from a script by Peter O’Brien.

Candice King, star of "Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story" on Lifetime.Candice René King is an American actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Caroline Forbes in The CW supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries and her recurring role as the same character on the spin-off series The Originals and Legacies.

 

 

Michael RoarkMichael Roark was born in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA as Michael Sean Roark. He is an actor, producer and a licensed attorney, known for his roles as Marshall Bennett in Bennett’s War (2019), Kyle Johnson in Beauty and the Beast (2012), Travis Crawford in The Young and the Restless (1973) and Colton Donavan in Driven (2018). He has starred in several television series including Sleepy Hollow (2013), Finding Carter (2014), Banshee (2013) and Grey’s Anatomy (2005).

 

Jackson HurstJackson Ryan Hurst is an American actor. He is best known for portraying Grayson Kent on the Lifetime comedy series Drop Dead Diva.

 

 

 

Kim RaverKimberly Jayne Raver is an American actress and producer. She is best known for television roles as Dr. Teddy Altman on ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Kim Zambrano on Third Watch, and Audrey Raines on 24.

 

 

Nicole L. ThompsonNicole L. Thompson is a filmmaker born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Nicole L. Thompson is the Director of Lifetime Network’s film Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story. Nicole is also the Producer for Nickelodeon’s Noggin animated children’s show Rhymes Through Times featuring Nick Jr. characters. Nicole graduated from USC with a MFA in Film & TV Production. Recently, Nicole served as the 2nd Unit Director of Lifetime Television Network Original Film Envy.

 

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Candice King stars in"Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story"

Interview with Nathan Witte

TV Interview!

Nathan Witte of "Greed" on Lifetime

Interview with Nathan Witte of “Greed” on Lifetime by Suzanne 3/23/22

This press day with Lifetime stars was great fun. The actors chatted a lot with us about this season’s Seven Deadly Sins movie series. Since these movies are about the seven deadly sins, there is a religious element in each of them. In this one, Zuri (Monique Coleman) is a preacher’s daughter, and we see a bit of that influence from her parents, and there are some scenes with preaching.

With these press calls, we basically get one question. I had interviewed Monique before, so I chose to speak with Nathan Witte because he’s been on several shows I like, such as “Arrow” and “Superman and Lois.” I put my questions first, but you can see the others below that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE INFO:

LIFETIME GREENLIGHTS NEXT TWO MOVIES FROM THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ANTHOLOGY WITH WRATH STARRING MICHELLE WILLIAMSTINA KNOWLES-LAWSON, ROMEO MILLER AND ANTONIO CUPO

AND GREED STARRING MONIQUE COLEMAN, LISARAYE MCCOY, ERIC BENÉT AND NATHAN WITTE

FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS T.D. JAKESDERRICK WILLIAMS AND SHAUN ROBINSON FILMS WILL DEBUT ON BACK-TO-BACK SATURDAYS STARTING APRIL 16

Los Angeles, CA – February 17, 2022 – On the heels of last year’s popular Lust and Envy movies seen by over 9.4 million viewers in their airings, Lifetime announces the next two Seven Deadly Sins Anthology movie installments, Wrath and Greed, from executive producers T.D. Jakes, Derrick Williams and Shaun Robinson. Based on the series of books by Victoria Christopher Murray, Wrath: A Seven Deadly Sins Story stars Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), Tina Knowles-Lawson (Profiled: The Black Man), Romeo Miller (Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection) and Antonio Cupo (Blood & Treasure) while Greed: A Seven Deadly Sins Story is headlined by Monique Coleman (A Christmas Dance Reunion), LisaRaye McCoy (A House Divided), Eric Benét (Real Husbands of Hollywood) and Nathan Witte (Merry Liddle Christmas Baby).
Below are the movie descriptions and premiere dates.
GREED: A SEVEN DEADLY SINS STORY
Saturday, April 23 at 8/7c
Interior decorator Zuri Maxwell (Monique Coleman) had it all – a career she adored, loving family and friends,
and a good man in her life, artist Stephon Gardner (Nathan Witte). But greed threatens to destroy everything,
when Zuri meets handsome benefactor and entrepreneur Godfrey Anderson (Eric Benét) and his fabulously
wealthy aunt Miss Viv (LisaRaye McCoy). They have everything Zuri thinks she wants. As Godfrey
romances her, she compromises the values and morals that should guide her in an effort to be part of the
moneyed world she so desperately wants to be part of.
Wrath: A Seven Deadly Sins Story and Greed: A Seven Deadly Sins Story are produced by Wrath
Productions Inc and Greed Productions Inc respectively in association with T.D. Jakes Enterprises and
RobinHood Productions. T.D. Jakes, Derrick Williams, and Shaun Robinson serve as executive
producers. Wrath and Greed are directed by Troy Scott from scripts written by Richard Blaney and Gregory
Small (Wrath) and Wuese Houston-Jibo (Greed).

ABOUT LIFETIME

Celebrating 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies and breakout non-fiction series and documentaries. Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long-running Stop Breast Cancer for Life, Stop Violence Against Women, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Greed" poster

Interview with Michelle Williams, Romeo Miller and Anthony Cupo

TV Interview!

poster for "Wrath" on Lifetime 4/16

Interview with Michelle Williams, Romeo Miller and Anthony Cupo of “Wrath” on Lifetime by Suzanne 3/23/22

This was a fun press conference that Lifetime held for this season’s Seven Deadly Sins movie series. The first one is “Wrath,” airing tonight, and then next week is “Greed” on April 23. The plot for this one is mostly like a standard Lifetime movie where the main character, Chastity (played by singer/actress Michelle Williams) meets a new handsome guy, Xavier (Anthony Cupo), and he turns out to be someone that you don’t want to date (no spoilers here!).  There is an added religious element that you may or may not like. It’s not as religious as “Greed,” though. You might recall that Williams was one third of the hit R&B group Destiny’s Child, along with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland.  Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles-Lawson, plays Sarah, Chastity’s mom, so that’s pretty cool.  Rap star Romeo Miller plays Roger, Chastity’s former high school boyfriend. You may recognize Cupo from his acting career as he’s been in many things. He’s really the best actor in the group. It was great to speak with all of the main stars of the movie! Here is the video of my question, and we hope to have a transcript soon of the entire press chat. Don’t miss the movie tonight!

MORE INFO:

Trailer

LIFETIME GREENLIGHTS NEXT TWO MOVIES 

FROM THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ANTHOLOGY WITH 

 

WRATH STARRING 

MICHELLE WILLIAMSTINA KNOWLES-LAWSON,

ROMEO MILLER AND ANTONIO CUPO


AND 
GREED STARRING MONIQUE COLEMAN, LISARAYE MCCOY,

ERIC BENÉT AND NATHAN WITTE

 

FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS T.D. JAKES

DERRICK WILLIAMS AND SHAUN ROBINSON


FILMS WILL DEBUT ON BACK-TO-BACK SATURDAYS

STARTING APRIL 16

Los Angeles, CA – February 17, 2022 – On the heels of last year’s popular Lust and Envy movies seen by over 9.4 million viewers in their airings, Lifetime announces the next two Seven Deadly Sins Anthology movie installments, Wrath and Greed, from executive producers T.D. Jakes, Derrick Williams and Shaun Robinson. Based on the series of books by Victoria Christopher Murray, Wrath: A Seven Deadly Sins Story stars Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), Tina Knowles-Lawson (Profiled: The Black Man), Romeo Miller (Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection) and Antonio Cupo (Blood & Treasure) while Greed: A Seven Deadly Sins Story is headlined by Monique Coleman (A Christmas Dance Reunion), LisaRaye McCoy (A House Divided), Eric Benét (Real Husbands of Hollywood) and Nathan Witte (Merry Liddle Christmas Baby).
Below are the movie descriptions and premiere dates.
(L to R): Wrath stars Romeo Miller, Michelle Williams, Peter Bryant and Tina Knowles-Lawson.

WRATH: A SEVEN DEADLY SINS STORY

Saturday, April 16 at 8/7c

After single lawyer Chastity Jeffries (Michelle Williams) meets Xavier Collins (Antonio Cupo), he seems to be everything she is looking for in a partner—handsome, smart and a lawyer as well.  As his affection turns to obsession, Chastity realizes that she has been swept up by Xavier’s passion and abandoned her principles. When Xavier’s jealousy and wrath lead to suspicious actions and dangerous threats, Chastity confides in her mother Sarah (Tina Knowles-Lawson) and turns to her former childhood boyfriend Roger Thompkins (Romeo Miller). But in the end, it is Chastity that will have to fight to save herself.

ABOUT LIFETIME

Celebrating 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies and breakout non-fiction series and documentaries. Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long-running Stop Breast Cancer for Life, Stop Violence Against Women, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Michelle Williams and Romeo Miller in "Wrath" on Lifetime

Interview with Lisa Berry

TV Interview!

Lisa Berry, Rainbow Sun Francks, Henderson Wade and Humberly González of "Fallen Angels Murder Club" movies on Lifetime.

Interview with Lisa Berry, Rainbow Sun Francks, Henderson Wade and Humberly González of “Fallen Angels Murder Club” movies on Lifetime by Suzanne 3/22/22

It was great to have a Zoom press call with these actors. “Fallen Angels Murder Club: Friends to Die For” airs Saturday, 4/2 and “Fallen Angels Murder Club: Heroes and Felons” airs next Saturday, 4/9.  The movies star singer/actress Toni Braxton, who was not in attendance.  Eddie Cibrian also stars in the first movie (SPOILER: I believe he’s the murder victim). I really wanted to ask Rainbow a question, but unfortunately, he arrived late and had to leave early. It was kind of amusing because when the conference started, he was on the subway, which we could see from his video.  Then he was in his apartment for awhile, and then he was gone again!  The main reason I wanted to speak with him because he was so great in “Stargate: Atlantis.” However, I was even happier to speak with Lisa Berry, who is the second lead in the series, and the others. She starred as Billie in “Supernatural,” so it was really great to interview her. I hope you can enjoy both movies, which are murder mysteries. More details about them below.

Here’s our interview with Lisa! We’ll have more videos soon as well as the transcript…

MORE INFO:

Lifetime’s Site for the movies

"Fallen Angels Murder Club" posterAbout Fallen Angels Murder Club: Friends to Die For

Premieres Saturday, April 2 at 8/7 C

In the first installment, the members of the Fallen Angels Murder Club must have two things in common – a love for books and have a criminal record. Hollis Morgan (Braxton) meets both requirements. Left holding the bag in an insurance fraud scheme concocted by her ex-husband, Hollis served her time and now hopes the court will pardon her conviction so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer. But when a member of her book club is murdered in a scene straight out of the previous night’s novel, Hollis becomes the subject of police scrutiny. Refusing to get stuck "Fallen Angels Murder Club" castwith another bad rap, Hollis sets out to investigate her fellow club members and after a second book-inspired murder, she races to identify the killer before she becomes the next victim. Also stars Eddie Cibrian (Northern Lights, CSI Miami).

 

 

 

 

Trailer:

About Fallen Angels Murder Club: Heroes and Felons

Premieres Saturday, April 9 at 8/7 C

In the second movie, the members of the Fallen Angels Murder Club must band together again as they search for answers surrounding the death of one of their own. Hollis finds herself at the center of the investigation when a journalist reporting on the murder also winds up dead. As bodies begin to stack up, and Hollis connects "Fallen Angels Murder Club" castthe dots, she must solve the murders before its too late. Kelly Hu also stars. (List of a Lifetime, Scorpion King).

Additional ‘angels’ for the anthology include Lisa Berry (Working Moms, Supernatural) as “Abby Caldwell,” Yanic Truesdale (Gilmore Girls) as “Gene Donovan,” Humberly González (Ginny & Georgia) as “Rena Gabriel,” Rainbow Sun Francks (Umbrella Academy) as “Miller Thornton” and Raoul Bhaneja (Blind Spot, Clarice, The Lost Symbol) as “Rory Sharma.”

Henderson Wade (Dear White People, Riverdale), Kaitlyn Leeb (Spinning Out), Rob Stewart (Killjoys, Suits, Nikita), Keith D. Robinson (Dreamgirls, Saints & Sinners) and Shawn Ahmed also star. The Fallen Angels Murder Club films are produced for Lifetime by Brain Power Studio and executive produced by Beth Stevenson, Nancy Yeaman, Toni Braxton and Rhonda Baraka. The films fall in line with Lifetime.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Lisa Berry, Rainbow Sun Francks, Henderson Wade and Humberly González of "Fallen Angels Murder Club" movies on Lifetime.

Interview with Ben Savage, Lindsay Navarro, Erica Durance and Abby Hernandez

TV Interview!

Panel for "The Girl in the Shed"

Interview with actors Ben Savage, Lindsay Navarro, Erica Durance and EP Abby Hernandez of “Girl in the Shed: the Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was a very weird movie to watch. It was very creepy. Everyone did a good job in it. It was odd having the actual victim in the movie there in the panel, though. I think that was a first for me. It was wonderful to speak to Erica Durance because she was so great in this film as well as in “Smallville,” “Saving Hope” and “Supergirl.” Ben did an amazing job. If you’ve seen him in comedies before, this movie will really surprise you.

MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. Please welcome Executive Producer Abby Hernandez and stars Ben Savage, Lindsay Navarro and Erica Durance of “Girl in the Shed: the Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez.” Thank you all for being here today.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: (Waves.) Hi.

BEN SAVAGE: Hi.

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Hello.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our first question is from Right on Digital.

QUESTION: Hi. Am I muted?

MODERATOR: You’re good.

QUESTION: Hi. This question is for anyone who would like to answer it. Tell us a behind-the-scenes story about something that took place on set.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Behind the scenes, hmm. Erica, Ben, you got anything? There’s so much that happened.

QUESTION: You can tell us a fun fact.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: I’ve got one. I’ve got one. Okay. So, there was a scene where Abby and Kibby are outside. It’s their first time being — it’s Abby’s first time being outside in I believe six months. And there’s a scene where she has this moment, a beautiful moment with a horse. But in reality, this horse was not having it. He did not want to be there. So there’s a couple scenes that where you see this beautiful, majestic horse and then there’s another one where you see a close-up of my face. The horse is not there because the horse has taken off. It like completely jetted. It was quite funny and all of us were a little bit scared because he was running across the field. Yeah, it was a great time.

ABBY HERNANDEZ: That’s hilarious.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Yeah.

ERICA DURANCE: Not to do any spoilers, but remember when we, Lindsay, we had to walk in the field and we had to be looking straight up and it had to be very graceful.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Oh yeah.

ERICA DURANCE: We kept trying to avoid all the — I don’t know there was a bunch of cow pies and all sorts of stuff. And so you’re trying to have this like ethereal really beautiful moment and we’re trying to spot check each other somehow by not looking down.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Yeah, fun times.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Abby, did you have a chance to speak with the cast before they shot the film?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Yes. Pretty much everybody, all the main characters, everybody that’s here.

MODERATOR: Awesome, thank you. Noah Wilson, you’re up next.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. By the way, Erica, great to see you again.

ERICA DURANCE: Oh hi, Noah. I don’t see you, but I hear you and I know your voice.

QUESTION: Yes. Well, it’s so great to be with you guys. First off, Abby, I do want to ask you, you know, being executive producer, but also this being your story, how was it like to relive this, something that happened thank you personally, but it come to life in a movie on Lifetime based on a true story?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Obviously, it’s a weird experience to have this happen in the first place. And then to have it made into a movie is obviously like an even weirder experience. But ultimately, I did find it healing in a weird way just to have it out there.

QUESTION (from Noah): Lindsay, you know, this is a film based on the real-life kidnapping of, you know, Abby. You know, 14 years old. Learning her full story, what was it like for you to personally portray Abby on the screen and act out some of the scenes of what actually went on in her, you know, real life?

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Yeah, wow. There was such a responsibility that came with that. It being a true story, knowing that Abby was a part of the project. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to do it as well knowing that Abby was on board. So it was challenging in that way. And but it all made it easier knowing that I could get in touch with Abby and we could talk things through. So for that I will be so — I will be forever grateful having her there, accessible on What’s App getting to video chat with her. But yeah, it made it heavier and it was challenging to walk through those scenes knowing that she had experienced this. And there was that weight that came with it.

QUESTION (from Noah): You know, Erica, last question goes to you, my friend. What will viewers learn from watching this movie look forward based on Abby’s real-life story?

ERICA DURANCE: Oh, I don’t know if that should be — thank you for giving that to me. I think that’s more of an Abby question. I suppose I can only share part of what I learned playing the part of Zenya in it and in speaking with her. Is the absurdity, the cruelty of life, the beauty that can come out of things that are awful and with Zenya, I found that she was just so incredibly powerful and strong and but yeah, I was kind of awe struck in dealing with her and talking to her. So originally when I was going to do this, she talked to me through her whole experience and it was incredibly generous of her. It was a three-hour phone call. But yeah, I don’t quite know how to answer that succinctly which is why I’m bumbling about. But it’s the human spirit and what we are capable of doing or what we are capable of doing to each other, how we are capable of finding our way around it in some way. But I do feel like I’m kind of — I’m the actor playing it. It wasn’t my story in that sense. I think it will be really awe-inspiring for a lot of people.

QUESTION (from Noah): Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. I appreciate it. Great to see you again, Erica.

ERICA DURANCE: You too.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Thank you, Noah.

QUESTION: Bye guys, thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Jay Bobbin?

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Erica, actually my question is also for you. It puts a different twist on what was just asked. The mother role on all these projects…

ERICA DURANCE: I hope I do better this time. Anybody else can kind of chime in as I bumble about.

QUESTION: I’m sure you’ll do fine. The mother role on these projects. It’s interesting because depending on how it’s cast, whose playing it, how much they’re given attention in the script, we’ve seen Jenny Garth do it and she did it to a great extent in the one that she was in. Joely Fisher did one and she had maybe a few scenes here and there. It was largely, “Where’s my daughter? What happened to my daughter?, etc.” With you, as you approach this, how did you approach the mother role? Because you want to make your mark, but even as you said, it’s really the daughter’s story. How did you go about portraying the mother to make your mark in the film based on what you’d read in the script?

Erica Durance and Lindsay NavarroERICA DURANCE: Well, the first thing that I did was talk to Zenya. And I think that’s very important when you know you’re doing a true story so you’re portraying somebody else. You have to get inside as much as they’ll allow you access, to their process and what it was like. And so because she was so incredibly generous as I said in really walking me through the scenario and like Lindsay had mentioned there was a couple of moments on the set where I was going to do a scene that was specific and to something that kind of had happened to her. And I just had a last minute need to call her and go, “What was it you did when this happened?” And she was just right there. And just so helpful. So that gave me a blueprint of how she would have done it. And then at the end of the day, you have to take the situation that you’re dealing with and process it in the way that you would just naturally, if you can be natural, but how you would respond to those given situations as truthfully as you can. And for myself, it was tricky because I have little kids. And so I knew that there was going to be a point where I would probably step into a zone which was difficult to come back to and figure out how to separate myself from it. But you kind of have to dive into it. And so for myself then because it was such an intense, every day was intense and they shot my stuff all very sequentially so I had, you know, five days and it was all the scenes. And it was all of it all at once in that way. I just kind of locked myself in my green room and listened to music constantly and then just tried to give it my best. And I depended a lot on Jess Harmon who was our wonderful director to help guide me through those different nuances and what she believed was truthful and maybe not as truthful or kept me on point with the story as close as I could be.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Ben and Lindsay, most of your scenes are together. What was it like working together for this project and how did you tap into these characters? Of course after speaking with Abby and crafting the relationship?

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Ben, you go for it. You go for it.

BEN SAVAGE: I think that it’s such a difficult subject and it’s such a complicated story that I think Lindsay and I both wanted to be very careful about how we approached the subject and how we approached the relationship. And I think when we first got started, I think Lindsay and I were both a little apprehensive about making sure that we did this properly. But I think we gelled together as well as we could. I mean Lindsay is a total pro. And we had a wonderful crew, a wonderful cast, a terrific director with Jess Harmon. And I think we worked together as well as we could. It’s a tough subject and I think everyone wanted to be very sensitive to everything we were going through. But yeah, it was an interesting journey.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Yeah. We gave each other space when we needed to have space when there was a difficult scene coming up that we needed to film where it was perhaps more emotional or more physically demanding. We would give each other that needed space. And then there were other times where Ben and I would check in with one another make sure we were doing okay. I really appreciated that from Ben actually that he would come over and just ensure that I was comfortable, I was content. And truly, I mean you said it, right Ben? We had an amazing cast, amazing crew that made everything feel very safe and easy to drop into. But it was a challenge.

MODERATOR: Thank you both so much. Rick Bentley?

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for coming. Abby, I can’t even pretend to wrap my head around the hell on earth you went through with this. I’m just wondering where you found the strength and the courage to face it again through this production? And ultimately, what do you want to come out of this?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Ultimately, I guess I’ll answer the last question first. What I want to come out of this is awareness I guess. I think that a lot of teenagers, since, you know, the age of social media and socialness is such an important thing. I think everybody, or not everybody but a lot of people have that a voice in the back of their head. You know, if I disappeared it wouldn’t matter. And I learned that yeah, it does matter. It affects a lot of people and it will forever. And then I guess, you know, the first question, how did I must the courage to, you know, sign off to do this movie. You know, it’s nothing new to me. It’s something — it’s in here constantly. Has been in there since 2013. I’m almost kind of numb to it, you know what I mean? And I feel like the world has progressed since then. You know, when at first I did not want to give Kibby up. I was really, you know, under tight pressure. And that’s when I gave up and I said I know the name of the person. But we’re in a day and age now where I think, you know, it’s encouraged to be honest about what’s going on. I don’t feel as scared anymore.

QUESTION (from Rick): And Abby, if I can follow-up real quickly, have you seen the final film?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Yes.

QUESTION: Was it a tough watch?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Thank you, Abby. Abbie Bernstein?

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you all for doing this. For Ms. Hernandez, can you talk about changes made between reality and the film either for time or dramatic clarity or things that they felt would help people understand the story better that maybe happened differently?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Sure. I think the ultimate thing that, you know, trust in the movie seemed to be kind of linear. At first it was nothing and then it grew. I think in real life, Kibby was almost in sort of a way — I don’t know want to say manic, but he would trust me and then no trust. Trust me and then no trust. So marijuana cleaning was one of the very first things that happened in October. In the movie it was portrayed afterwards once he had really gained my trust. So I think that’s basically what it was. And ultimately that’s kind of true. I mean he didn’t trust me at first really at all to see his face or know his name. But later on, he did. I think that’s a good way of portraying it.

QUESTION: So his psychological ping-ponging was made more streamlined for the film.

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Yes, exactly.

QUESTION: And were there any things about you that you thought, oh I wouldn’t have done it like that or gee, I wish I had done it like that?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Lindsay was more classy than me. (Laughs.) Gosh. I don’t know. I mean I really don’t know.

QUESTION: Well, thank you very much.

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Yeah.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Suzanne Lanoue?

QUESTION: Hi. Can you hear me okay?

BEN SAVAGE: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay, good. Ben, you usually play the good guy. Have you ever played this kind of psycho role before? And was it challenging?

BEN SAVAGE: It was certainly a change of pace for me. But again, I just, as everyone said here, I think it was such an important story to tell. And I was just happy to be a part of the storytelling in the film. And yeah, certainly a departure, but you know, it was a very interesting role to play.

QUESTION: I’ll bet. And Erica, were you familiar with everyone that worked on the show before? Had you worked with any of them previously?

ERICA DURANCE: I knew Jess Harmon through her family. So I kind of knew of her, but I hadn’t met anyone else. I was of course familiar with Lindsay and Ben. And Abby somewhat through the news, right? But otherwise, it was all — yeah it was kind of the first day meeting everybody.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you so much guys.

BEN SAVAGE: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for one more with the Hollywood Times.

QUESTION: Hi. Could you talk about this film, how it’s relevant to the others that are in Lifetime’s girls’ initiative? And also what can — maybe talk about what can young women learn from watching the film?

MODERATOR: The first question I just want to jump in for a second. The first question is more of a question that we are happy to get you an answer to on the press side. But the cast can answer the second one.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

ERICA DURANCE: Sorry. Can you repeat the second one again?

QUESTION: Yeah, what can young women learn from watching this film?

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Keep your cool.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Sorry, Abby. Go ahead.

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Oh I just said to keep your cool which is easier said than done especially as I’ve gotten older, but yeah.

ERICA DURANCE: Abby, one of the things that your mother said to me and you mentioned and in some of the earlier conversations we had which still shocks me to this day is your ability to — where you kept your cool in a way, the way your mother described it was to somehow find a way of seeing the humanity in the person that was treating you so cruelly.

ABBY HERNANDEZ: Mm-hmm.

ERICA DURANCE: And use that as a survival technique. And that still to this day is just shocking to me that you were able to somehow see that and find a way to make a connection with this person who was doing these things.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Mm-hmm.

ERICA DURANCE: And spoke to such a huge amount of power and strength and I believe the young gals and whoever’s watching this, men or women, I think that that will be something that resonates a lot.

BEN SAVAGE: If I could just add, jump on that. I would just say I certainly can’t speak about what women can take away, but I think a larger message of course that I certainly took away from it was just strength and strength of character. And I think everyone associated with this film was so impressed with Abby and her story. And I do think there are some lessons to be learned here. But again, I’m just glad that we were all able to come together and tell this wonderful story as best the way we could. And Lindsay, I think you should jump in, too.

LINDSAY NAVARRO: Yeah, yeah. I was just going to add on as well, the tremendous courage that Abby had and continues to have in being so passionate about sharing this story as well. It’s truly remarkable. And I’m with you, Ben. I think it’s — for a larger audience, I think a lot of people are going to be inspired and will continue to be inspired by Abby’s story. And the crew, yeah the crew valued it so much as well. Everyone was so careful about telling the story as truthfully as we could and with such passion into telling it. So I think people can take away this hope, the power of prayer, the power of faith and the power of not giving up.

QUESTION: Wonderful, thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Thank you to the cast and to Abby. You were all fantastic in this film. Please make sure to tune in to “Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez” on February 26th at 8, 7 Central. Thank you all so much for being here today.

MORE INFO:

“Girl in the Shed: the Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez.” posterGirl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez is the true story of 14-year-old freshman Abby Hernandez (Lindsay Navarro) who vanished while walking home from school in North Conway, New Hampshire.  Kicking off the state’s largest search, Abby’s disappearance left her family, especially her mother Zenya (Erica Durance), investigators and the community mystified of her whereabouts. Taken by Nathaniel Kibby (Ben Savage), Abby was kept is a soundproof container and forced to wear a shock collar while enduring psychological, sexual and emotional abuse. Despite suffering daily torture, Abby kept hope alive that she would one day be able to see her family again.

Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez is produced by Sprott Productions Inc in association with Johnson Production Group and executive produced by Abigail Hernandez, Stacy Mandelberg and Michael Vickerman who also wrote the script. Jessica Harmon directed.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Ben Savage and Lindsay Navarro

Interview with Garcelle Beauvais, Alison Thornton, Malia Baker, and Emma Tremblay

TV Interview!

Lifetime panel with Garcelle Beauvais, Alison Thornton, Malia Baker, and Emma Tremblay

Interview with Garcelle Beauvais, Alison Thornton, Malia Baker, and Emma Tremblay of “Caught in His Web” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was a very interesting movie about high school girls being cyber-stalked. Garcelle Beauvais plays the police detective that helps them. It was a part of a larger Lifetime Panel with many other movies. It’s an interesting movie to watch. My question is toward the end.

MODERATOR: Hi, everyone, and welcome to our very last panel of Lifetime’s press day. I’d like to introduce the cast of “Caught in His Web.” Please welcome Garcelle Beauvais, Alison Thornton, Malia Baker, and Emma Tremblay. Let’s go ahead and get to our first question from Karen at Sci-Fi Vision. Karen?

QUESTION: Hi, everybody. I really enjoyed the film and the twists on this problem. I wanted to ask you guys, Garcelle, as a parent, I think you have teenagers at home, and the rest of the cast, all you are young ladies, either high school age or it’s not that far behind you, and I wanted to ask how much you were aware of this type of problem in high schools.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: First of all, I want to say hi to the cast. I love these girls.

All: Hi.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: For me, one of the reasons why it was so important not only to be a part of it but to get the word out is because it can happen, and I’m always trying to use things as cautionary tales for my boys. And I always say don’t ever give your personal information to anyone but obviously these girls did, and they just got targeted. I think this film is really important.

ALISON THORNTON: Yeah. I um — I had friends in high school who had their photos shared, unfortunately. I feel like it’s something that is really common nowadays. Sending a picture is like currency, especially I think in the age of COVID when everyone’s separate. So I think that it’s a really important message.

EMMA TREMBLAY: I grew up in a house where my parents were very aware of what I was doing online just for my own safety and protection, and I’m just grateful that I had that support system and I never had to experience anything as traumatic as what we go through in this movie because it’s terrifying because it’s totally real and happens and I was just lucky enough to be aware of it as I grew up and just avoided that danger.

MALIA BAKER: For sure. I mean I agree. I feel like especially being a young girl in today’s society, you have to normalize kind of almost connotation of this can happen, and if you take pictures, it’s kind of inevitable for that to happen and I feel like this movie just dives deep into it on a great level, and it’s really important, and I’m glad that we’re able to share the message.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Karen. Our next is from Starry Constellation Magazine. All right. We can come back to you in just a few moments. How about we go to Noah Wilson. Noah?

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It’s so great to be here with you guys to speak a little more about “Caught in His Web.” Garcelle, I want to ask you first. I feel like this is so relevant in today’s world because so many are trapped in crazy things on the internet and social media. But what made this movie project, one day, you definitely were game to do?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Well, I had never worked for Lifetime believe it or not. I’ve been in the industry for 100+ years. So that definitely was an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass. But like you said, it’s such an important thing. We share so much of our lives on social media that you would think that these young girls could have some privacy when needed, and the fact that you share — if you share one photo — you know, nowadays, people can change things. They can even do videos and, you know, edit them so it looks like you’re doing something. So to me, it was really, really important, and having 14-year-old boys, I try to stress to a point where they’re like, “Mom, not everybody’s bad.” And I’m like, “No, not everybody’s bad but there’s a lot of people who want to take advantage,” and I feel like that’s what this movie speaks about. Even if you’re a great kid, great grades, you abide by the rules, this can also happen to you, and I think that’s the message too.

QUESTION: Garcelle, have you ever come across a sticky situation being on social media, being a public figure in the public eye?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Yeah. Absolutely. I think I’m always careful. Now, I don’t post in real-time. If I go to an event, I will post the next day so I’m not literally at the event when I post just out of caution. But I also feel like, for me, when I posed for Playboy, that was a really big deal for me because not a lot of black women get to be on the cover and it was a big deal, and I only shot, you know, my top. I only exposed my top, and I feel like there are pictures out that people have edited that are not me. So that can — it can ruin a career. It can ruin your life. If certain things are put out there that are not your image or not what you’ve done, and so it’s just scary all around. Although social media can also be great but that aspect I think is really scary.

QUESTION: Lastly, to all of the girls that are on here right now that are part of the film, “Caught in His Web,” what did you guys learn personally from Garcelle? Did you learn anything and take anything away from her?

ALISON THORNTON: Yeah. I mean watching how Garcelle composes herself on set is really inspiring. I remember we were doing a scene — I can’t say what it is because it’s a spoiler but there was a note that I feel like I was having trouble understanding, and I did a take, and then I did a different take trying to incorporate the note, and then I remember we just had a moment where I spoke to her about it, and then we spoke to Hannah, the director, and she’s so good at being assertive in terms of asking for what you need and clarification and also just being so warm to everyone and so supportive on set. It made for such a wonderful and open environment to work with which I was very grateful for.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Aw, thank you. I love that. They were so great. I love all of them equally.

EMMA TREMBLAY: I can totally bounce off of what Alison said because I feel the exact same way. Garcelle made set just so comfortable and, of course, I was like, oh, my gosh, I’m working with Garcelle. And she was just the sweetest, most wonderful woman to work with, and just you were all incredible.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Thank you.

MALIA BAKER: I definitely agree with everything you girls just said. I’d also say there was this one — there was a few days actually where the call sheet got messed up, and our scenes were all being switched around, and I remember Garcelle had this huge monologue, and she was ready but they changed some of the lines, and she was trying to get it ready but by the time that we were filming, she got them all down, and I think just thinking on my feet, and like you guys said, being assertive, knowing what I want, and not being afraid to ask for it. It’s really important on set, and I feel like you can kind of get shuffled into that, no, it’s okay, thank you. That kind of realm. So it’s great to learn.

QUESTION: Thank you guys so much. Congrats on the film.

EMMA TREMBLAY: Thank you.

MALIA BAKER: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Up next, we have April Neal. April?

QUESTION: Hi, everyone. Thanks for doing this. Okay, so when I watched the film, and I’m a parent, all I could think about, and I want everyone’s input on this, is that smartphones, not cellphones but smartphones that have internet connectivity, there should be an age limit because it seems to amplify the worst of all of the things that we experience growing up, and kids are notoriously bad at containing themselves and exercising caution with something that easy to use. I wanted your opinion. Garcelle, especially you, and also the cast. Would there be an age for the younger cast? Would there be an age acceptable for you to have just a cellphone and not a smartphone and then make the transition when you’re more emotionally able to handle the responsibility that you guys go?

EMMA TREMBLAY: You go ahead.

ALISON THORNTON: I actually think that that’s a great idea. I mean I personally didn’t get a smartphone until I think I was 15. But yeah. I think what you said is a really great point because I remember even when I was younger, I would send silly photos to my friends on Snapchat and whatnot, and people would screenshot them without me knowing, and I think that — I remember having someone come to my school and talk about this actually and say on an app like Snapchat, you think that what you’re sending is gonna disappear in a few seconds, and it doesn’t even occur to you that people — like, whenever you send something like that, even if it’s a silly photo or something that you wouldn’t want everyone to see, you don’t know whose eyes are gonna be on it, and even at 13, 14, I, for some reason, that didn’t click in my mind. So I think I mean having just a normal cellphone, not a smartphone maybe is fine just for emergencies if you’re taking the bus home or whatever but I mean, for me, I probably would’ve — I think 15 was a good age for me to get my smartphone just for emails and whatnot.

EMMA TREMBLAY: Yeah. For me, I was 12. It was just when I started walking to school by myself, so my parents were like, okay, now you can have a phone. And I feel like just being introduced to social media and the internet and a slower way and just a good environment was really nice. Just not having that exposure to discover myself, I feel like that’s just really dangerous because there’s so much on the internet that is just endless, and it’s kind of scary to think that there could be little kids out there just seeing things that they shouldn’t be seeing. It’s a scary place.

MALIA BAKER: Sure. Yeah. I agree. I mean I think it’s definitely a debatable topic. I have a younger sister who’s 11, and I was around 11, 12, when I got my first phone, and she has one now, and there was always gonna be that kind of protectiveness I think when she has that, and a lot of with the apps nowadays, like Alison said, you can just send things, and you don’t know that they’re being screenshotted or like Emma said, you can discover a lot of things that you shouldn’t necessarily be discovering at that young of an age. But I feel like on the other flip side of it, there’s a lot of great things that you can be creative with or just share information that you think is important if you want to use your voice. Even just looking up photos of puppies. There are great aspects to it but as long — I think they come hand-in-hand with some of the scarier parts, and I think they’re both really important to take into account.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Yeah. I agree with everything you guys are saying. As a parent, it’s scary. The minute you hand your kids a phone, whether it’s 11, 12, 13, and it’s just scary because they have access to everything, and you can do the parental codes, and I’m sure you guys can agree that there’s ways around those parental codes. (Laughs.) And so I worry. I worry all the time, and you can’t live your life in fear but I think you can also be aware of some of the pitfalls. And I hope this is what the movie does. I am having a screening at my house when this airs with my kids and their friends because I really want the message out there.

MODERATOR: Thank you, April. We’re gonna move onto our next question from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. Just curious about the nature of Whoopi’s involvement in this. Obviously, she’s talking about issues every day on “The View,” and she’s very invested in what she chooses to deal with subject-wise. Could any of you who had direct contact with her on this talk about the nature of her involvement?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Unfortunately, because she’s so booked and busy, she wasn’t on set. She was working in New York on “The View” of course. But I think she chooses her projects carefully. I would assume she has grandchildren and this was probably a topic that she could connect to and spread the word.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Loved you in “Flight” by the way with Denzel Washington, Garcelle.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Jay. Up next, we have Luanne Lee. Luanne?

QUESTION: Hi. Garcelle, you acted as sort of a mentor to the girls when you were making this film. But do you have any cautionary tales for them about being an actor?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Let me just tell you. These young ladies have their heads on right. They are professional. They are sweet. They are kind, and I love their relationship. I don’t know if you guys even knew each other prior to this but I felt like there was an instant kinship between them. I would say, for me, always show up prepared, and cautionary tales, if something doesn’t feel right to you in your gut, there’s probably a reason, and always follow that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Up next, we have Rick Bentley.

QUESTION: Thank you. Emma, Alison, and Malia, you’re three young women dealing in this crazy social media world to begin with. But then you add in that layer that the three of you decided to get into acting at a young age. Did you have more conversations with people about how the social media world was going to increase for you because of that or did it create more concerns? Have you put up more firewall? How has that sort of ramped up what you were already dealing with as young women anyway?

MALIA BAKER: Yeah. I mean I feel like having social media is kind of the automatic go-to especially when you are more in the public. It can be terrifying. I was not a natural social media dealer. I didn’t have Instagram or Snapchat, and then when I got into acting, they were like, you need to get these things, and I was like, oh, great. That sounds amazing. So it wasn’t a natural ease into this whole big world, and I feel like growing up, like you said, kind of getting into this industry at a younger age, it is a necessity, and as great as it can be, it can also be like Garcelle mentioned earlier, a little scary, posting things in the moment or having your locations on. There are just certain priorities that need to be taken care of and accountability that needs to be had when we’re thinking about all the aspects of this.

EMMA TREMBLAY: For me, social media was really — it was easy to get into because my parents were like just with me the whole time and explained everything so well and explained all the dangers and all the positive things, and so, for me, yeah, it was a really nice introduction into it, and I have a good relationship with social media, and I’m thankful for that because like I’ve always said, it’s a scary place.

ALISON THORNTON: Yeah. I would agree with both of you guys on that. I, like Malia, it wasn’t natural for me to be on social media. I wasn’t on it before I was acting, and even now, sometimes it feels like there’s this weird pressure to post and to keep people up to date with what I’m doing which I’m still kind of coming to terms with. Sometimes I do silly things like I’ll post something and then five seconds later, be like, “No, I can’t post that,” and then delete it right away. So I’m still navigating social media but we’ll see.

EMMA TREMBLAY: We all are.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: We all are.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Rick. And we actually have time for one more question, and I’m gonna give that to The Hollywood Times.

QUESTION: Hi, Garcelle.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Hi.

QUESTION: I know sextortion is an ongoing issue here, and I was just wondering, how much of this film — and maybe you can give an example — is based on actual events?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Oh, well, it definitely is based on actual events. I think what’s happening is that we’re all sort of learning how to navigate this social media world, and I think with kids, remember when you were a kid? I think everything was rosy and you were so hopeful and full of life and trusted people. And I think the cautionary tale is not that you can’t trust people, especially if you’re in high school because you need to make friends but it’s what you share with people, and if someone’s asking you to share something inappropriate, it’s probably inappropriate to do so, and I have two 14-year-old boys, and I try to tell them if someone sends you a picture of someone, do not forward that picture to another friend because that’s how it all gets started. So it’s real events but then applied to how modern and how dependent we are on these devices that we hold onto all day.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you very much.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: I actually lied. We do have time for more questions. So let’s get some more in. Suzanne?

QUESTION: Hi. How are you guys doing today?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Good. How are you?

QUESTION: All right. Thanks for being here. I was going to ask… Garcelle, can you talk to us at all about the development as far as your part of it, the development of the movie?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Yeah. For me, when I got the script, I was fascinated. At first, I thought how does someone get to control your life like that? And it was really a deep dive into how people hack the information they get, what they do to it, identity theft. I mean it was a lot in terms of going down that rabbit hole and realizing how much someone can have an effect on your life, someone who’s not even in your home, who you don’t really have contact with. So, for me, it’s really getting into that mindset that I wanted to understand what the girls were going through but at the same time, I felt like my character was not tech savvy and had to learn a lot as she went along. So it was about learning a lot but then letting it go so that it didn’t appear that I had all the answers. Does that make sense?

QUESTION: Yes, it does. Thank you. And the actor that played the hacker girl that helped out was really good, too.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Yeah. She was really great. Morgan was really great.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne. Up next, we have Abby.

QUESTION: Sorry. I’m sorry. I thought you said the other one was the last question. For Ms. Beauvais, I think you would be the point person on this question. Too often, the law enforcement doesn’t even take actual rape seriously much less sexual harassment. What is there about this case even in the story that had the law enforcement taking it seriously?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: Well, I think the fact that my character sort of pushed that along because, at first, even when Alison’s character went to the precinct to report it, it was kind of brushed aside. Like, okay, these girls say these guys are — this guy is coming after them but there wasn’t really any concrete proof, and especially, I would have to say in the tech world, sometimes, a lot of adults, me included, don’t know everything that these kids can get into. So it’s always with law enforcement, I feel like until something bad happens, they really can’t do anything about it. But I felt like my character at least took it seriously enough and I think it was maybe because of the connection of these young girls to sort of delve a little deeper and see what she could find out and hopefully catch this guy.

QUESTION: Have you ever been inspired by anything, bad interactions you’ve had online to look further into who the heck is this idiot?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: No. I just block and delete. (Laughs.) I don’t have that much time. But I just think it’s unfortunate that somebody who you don’t even know — not a real interaction with can really ruin your life, and I think that’s a cautionary tale for all of us, really, whether you’re young or old.

QUESTION: Thanks very much.

MODERATOR: Thank you. And, finally, our last question is from Right On Digital. Right On?

QUESTION: Hello? Hi. Can you hear me? Okay. My question is this: this is a hypothetical question. If you all were going to a high school or junior high school to speak to the students in reference to the fact that this film has come out, what is the message that you would like to relate to the young people that would hear you speak?

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: You guys want to go first?

ALISON THORNTON: That’s a really good question. I think that, personally, what I would say is my biggest takeaway from shooting the movie is just pay attention to the power that people, especially women in this case, can have when they believe each other and when they support each other. I think that a lot of the times today, there’s this culture of being a savage and being cold and not necessarily being nice to each other, and I think that this movie is really empowering because it kind of shows the opposite effect of that and how there’s way more power united and how you can actually take down predators and you can just go to such intense lengths when you just believe people and support them.

MALIA BAKER: I agree with Alison 100%. You said it perfectly. And I feel like this film has such in-your-face kind of messaging. Nothing is really kind of filtered in a sense that you need to look really, really hard for the underlying meaning of the film. It’s there and being united and having young women especially being united on this front, there’s amazing moments in the movie where you see that happening, and I feel like, going forward with this film and with other ones in general, it’s just really empowering to see it, especially coming from kind of the same perspective on the world as I think a lot of young people watching this movie will feel.

QUESTION: Okay.

EMMA TREMBLAY: I personally love what Alison said and what I was kind of thinking is my favorite part of the film is just the fact that these girls are so much stronger together and just the way that they form their team is so beautiful and fun to watch, and I’m so glad that I got to work with Malia and Alison as my two classmates. They were incredible. And then Garcelle as well. We were just a great team. We were a great team together.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS: We were a great team. And I think what I would — I agree with everything these young girls have said but I also feel like it can happen to anyone. I think that’s what I would say in my conversation with the students is that it can happen to anyone. Just be careful.

QUESTION: Thank you for such wonderful answers. Very inspiring.

MODERATOR: Awesome. Well, thank you, and thank you to the “Caught in His Web” panelists along with all of our amazing other panels today for joining us. With that, Lifetime’s press day is officially concluded. Thank you, everyone. As a reminder, transcripts and recordings will be available beginning tomorrow. If we didn’t get to a question, please email us at lifetimepr@aenetworks.com, and please be sure to tune into all of our incredible movies all season long. Follow us on social @lifetimetv and @lifetimetvpr. Have an incredible week.

MORE INFO:

Trailer

"Caught in His Web" poster

Inspired by actual events, Caught in His Web tells the horrifying story of Emma (Alison Thorton), Olivia (Malia Baker) and Gabby (Emma Tremblay) who are each unknowingly tormented by a mysterious cyberbully by the name “Blake.” Infiltrating each of their lives by hacking into their cell phones and computers, “Blake” coerces them to send nude photos and continually harasses them and tracks their every move. Feeling extremely alone and experiencing anxiety, depression and fear, the girls later discover they are not alone in being tormented.  They  decide to join forces and enlist the help of Detective Holland (Garcelle Beauvais), in the hunt to unmask their harasser and end their nightmare.

Caught in His Web is produced for Lifetime by Cyber Productions, Inc. in association with Johnson Production Group.  Whoopi Goldberg (The View, The Stand, A Day Late and a Dollar Short), Tim Johnson (Sleepwalking in Suburbia, Toxic Skies), Stacy Mandelberg (Invasion, Haunting Sarah), Jason Egenberg (Des & Lou, Unthinkable), Jack Heller (Mainstream, Zombieland 2), Tom Leonardis (A Day Late and a Dollar Short, Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley), Brendan Deneen (Gangland Undercover) and Scott Veltri (Mainstream) are executive producers.  Caitlin de Lisser-Ellen is co-executive producer.  Hannah Cheesman (Succor, The Boathouse) directs from a script written by Danielle Iman (Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars).

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Emma (Alison Thornton), Olivia (Malia Baker) and Gabby (Emma Tremblay)

Interview with Letoya Luckett, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Drew Sidora

TV Interview!

panel for "Line Sisters" on Lifetime

Interview with Letoya Luckett, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Drew Sidora of “Line Sisters” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was an interesting movie because it combined two popular Lifetime subjects: sorority girls and murder. I’d never heard of any of these actresses, although some of them looked very familiar. They had a lot of energy and were very fun in the panel, so it made things enjoyable.

MODERATOR: Hello, everyone. Our next panel is for “Line Sisters.” And today we have the cast of the film with us. Letoya Luckett, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Drew Sidora.

(All waving.)

DREW SIDORA: What up, y’all?

MODERATOR: Thank you all for being here. Our first question is for all of you, the whole cast. What drew each of you to your roles and how did you prepare for them?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Okay, I’ll go first.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, you go first.

LETOYA LUCKETT: (Laughs.) I think for me it was like really jumping over the hurdle of fear for me and doing my first horror film. Val was kind of close to home because she had a real chill personality, very professional. She seemed to be kind of the one that every kind of — everyone’s drawn to confide in. And she just tried to take care of everyone and I kind of see that in myself sometimes, sometimes too much. But I think for me to be a part of a horror film was like oh my god I’m going to do it. And I’ve always wanted to be a part of a sorority and I think this is the closest I’m going to ever get. So yeah, that’s the reason why I was drawn to it.

TA’RHONDA JONES: I’m going to piggyback off of you, Toya.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Because I think that was the same thing for me. It was like oh…

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah.

TA’RHONDA JONES: … I get to be a sorority sister? Okay, cool. I’m in. And then, too, my character Simone, she was from Chicago and it was very similar to my background. A little rough around the edges and things like that, always being reckless. So I was like yeah, why not? Sure.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah. I think we could all say that. I think my dream of being in a sorority, I was like, oh yes, let me tap into this. And also working with African American women that we can come together in sisterhood. I think that that’s something powerful to be a part of. And you really want to showcase that. So any time I get an opportunity to work alongside beautiful women, I definitely jumped on it. But my character Dominique, she’s a lot of fun. You know, she’s fun. She’s quirky. And she loves her palo santos, her meditation and I just felt really connected to that. You know, her positivity and just always looking on the bright side of things. I felt like that was a place that I was in my life that I wanted to try to project in that moment. So I gravitated to her instantly.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I second all of what they said. All of the (inaudible). I wanted to be a part of the sorority, too. Cassandra was a woman of faith and so that is what I am. So I was the one that was praying the sisters through on god’s train. Because that usually is what I am doing. And I am a sister or women’s empowerment advocate so that was really just my thing, too. And these women are amazing, every last one of them, so I was excited to just glean from each and every one of them myself.

MODERATOR: That’s awesome. Thank you, guys. Our next question is from the Hollywood Times.

QUESTION: Hi there. Are any of you actually part of a sorority?

TA’RHONDA JONES: No.

DREW SIDORA: No.

(All laugh.)

DREW SIDORA: Only APO now.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Yeah, exactly.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Oh.

QUESTION: Okay, so another question. During the filming process, did any of you actually get frightened for real?

TA’RHONDA JONES: What? Yes.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I did.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I did.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: The water, I think all of the sisters could swim. I couldn’t swim so I kept looking back at them like, y’all going to help me out or something? So I was really nervous about that. And I was actually in the process of — my grandfather was sick and I just lost him to COVID. And so I was really drawing that passion and that fear from that space to kind of have me drop in. But that was my experience behind and in the scenes.

QUESTION: Oh yeah. Sorry. All right, thank you, ladies.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: (Inaudible)

MODERATOR: Our next question is from Suzanne from “TV Meg”.

QUESTION: Hi, ladies. Did any of you know each other before filming or had you worked together before?

TA’RHONDA JONES: No.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: But it felt like it. Not for me, but it felt like. I feel like I’ve been knowing these girls for a long time because the chemistry was out of this world when we first linked up. So it was amazing.

DREW SIDORA: Absolutely.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Absolutely. Kierra and I actually — my first film ever, “Preacher’s Kid,” we played somewhat like best friends. We sang in the same choir together.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: So it was so cool. And I’m a huge fan of hers. I listen to her and her worship music and all of that daily, so to be in this space with her and to share the screen with her was an honor once again.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: The same. It was an honor for me, too. I’m a fan of all of the ladies and LETOYA, too. But one of the cooler things was like LETOYA said we were sisters or friends before so we were friends again. And it felt like a family reunion for me.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Because I also had the opportunity to work with Drew as well in a film called “Blessed and Cursed.” So it felt like a reunion. And then Ta’Rhonda just felt like the cousin that just…

DREW SIDORA: You always wanted.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Always.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: So yes.

QUESTION: What about any of the crew or the other actors on the show, the movie?

TA’RHONDA JONES: No. The only person I was connected to was one of the guys, one of the Lifetime execs at the time because he was the one who actually offered me the role. But that was about it. Other than that, we didn’t know anybody. But honestly, it literally felt like Kierra said, family reunion because everybody literally just, I don’t know. It was like this unison.

DREW SIDORA: Instant connection, yeah, yeah. It was.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Shout out to Swirl Films. I’ve worked with them several times so.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, same here. Swirl Films.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, absolutely. They always provide a very family-oriented feel.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yes.

DREW SIDORA: So that’s what I love and I would work with them forever.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Okay.

MODERATOR: All right. Thank you so much, ladies.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I was getting ready to add. I thought it was also kind of awesome that we actually bonded as sisters. You know how when sisters know, okay this sister she ain’t on today so we going to leave her alone.

(Laughs.)

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: We started picking up on each other’s energy.

DREW SIDORA: That is so true. Oh my god.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Facts.

DREW SIDORA: That is so funny.

QUESTION: That’s awesome. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thanks, you guys. Our next question is from Noah Wilson.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. Happy press day for “Line Sisters.” Yeah.

(Cheering.)

QUESTION: Come on, ladies. Let’s do a happy dance.

(All doing happy dance.)

QUESTION: On the Zoom. Oh I love it.

(Laughs.)

QUESTION: All right, ladies. I want to ask y’all, what were some of the most dramatic or intense scenes for all of you when shooting “Line Sisters” as this movie goes, based around four sorority sisters who reunite at a black Greek weekend?

DREW SIDORA: For me, it was the snake. The snake. I thought they were going to have, I don’t know in my mind I thought it was going to be like a robotic prop snake.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Uh uh.

DREW SIDORA: And when they brought that thing out, I was like wait a minute. And I had to lay next to a real snake. I’ve never done a horror movie so for me as this is my introduction with a snake, I mean I felt like a G after. I was like I got this. Like that scream and that reaction, that was all a hundred percent real because I was absolutely…

QUESTION: I couldn’t do it. I do not like a snake.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I would say for me the scene where we come face-to-face with the killer finally. And we’re in the basement and it was such a dark moment. And I just remember before we actually started shooting how everybody just like settled in to their, you know, their space, everything, their character. And it was super –duper quiet. And then you just heard us weeping all of us individually. And in order to was super tough. I don’t know why. I think everybody was, you know, having their own thing going on at the time, but I feel like that was one of the most emotional scenes for all of us and probably one of the darker scenes for all of us. And my girl that plays that role, the role of the killer, she nailed it. I was like, “Sis!”. (Claps.)

DREW SIDORA: She had us really spooked.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I was like I was shook.

DREW SIDORA: I was really afraid.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I was shook for real.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah. That was super intense.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Yeah, same, Toya. But I think it was more so the physical. Whenever somebody, we had to punch, kick, stunts, this, that. And sometimes, you know, in real life it’s don’t touch me. Don’t hit me because I’ll hit you back for real. (Laughs.) And I think trying to like pull back from reality, acting, reality, acting, take it back. I think that was more intense for me because it gets a little physical sometimes.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: And I’m sorry I don’t mean to toot our own horn, but I can say I feel like we delivered that sister piece because for me when I heard one sister speaking up for me, like oh she got my back. Or if I heard her crying over there, I would even feed off, like “What you crying about?” But we had to stay in that space. So it really was a sister moment that we, like the movie had us to drop into and it had us appreciate somebody having your back. Like if your blood not there, you got some other sisters that will definitely look out.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: And I think that…

LETOYA LUCKETT: Absolutely.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: …exudes through the film as well.

DREW SIDORA: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. Y’all have a good day.

LETOYA LUCKETT: You, too. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Starry Constellation Magazine.

QUESTION: Hi, ladies. This is such an intense film. How did you all shake off a long day of shooting?

TA’RHONDA JONES: I think with the cast, they made it easy for you to shake it off.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Because everybody’s personality was just so grounded and friendly and welcoming. And I think it was just like all right we’re done. All right, time to go home.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Mm-hmm, yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Or where are we going next? Let’s go to dinner.

DREW SIDORA: Let’s go eat.

LETOYA LUCKETT: But you know what? So I was about to say (inaudible) but Ta’Rhonda created this — it was such a beautiful moment. We tried to do it during filming, but we ended up doing it on the last day.

DREW SIDORA: Yes.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Of shooting. And brought these beautiful lanterns and we wrote our dreams and aspirations that we had and we lit them and sent them into the sky. And it was just such a beautiful moment. We felt like a family. To experience something like that with people that we didn’t know for long, but in that moment it felt like we’ve known each other for years. I haven’t had that on a set before. To really set intentions with beautiful people and in such a wonderful moment. I still think about that moment. I need another lantern by the way. I need one.

[OVERTALKING]

QUESTION: Five minutes into 2020 you need another lantern?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yes.

DREW SIDORA: Mustard seeds.

LETOYA LUCKETT: The mustard seeds. I still got mine.

DREW SIDORA: Yes, me too. They’re in my purse. I mentioned they’re in my purse, yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Well, thank you for that, mama.

DREW SIDORA: Yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: You’re welcome.

DREW SIDORA: We love you, Ta’Rhonda. That meant everything.

QUESTION: Thank you, ladies.

MODERATOR: Our next question is going to be from Howard Benjamin.

QUESTION: My question is for LETOYA. How did your background in music prepare you for a life as an actress?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Well, that’s a good question. I think the best way to answer. It is kind of like surrendering to whatever the role calls for. You have to do that in music. Whatever the lyrics call for, I feel that I learned that from doing, well, being a singer since I was about 12 or five, but professionally 12. And I felt like because I was so rooted in that, I just took some of the things that I learned and brought it into this. But I will say it’s a whole new world. It really, really is. I don’t think — they have the similarities, but I think they’re totally different. I think with music, especially if you’re a writer, you’re writing from your experiences. Whereas with an actress, you’re portraying the character. You’re, you know, you’re representing that person. You’re living out one of their stories. And I mean I do that with songs sometimes. I do that with music sometimes, but I mean not in the way that you do with building a character. And I’ve been asked the question a lot. Like which do you prefer? I still don’t know. I still can’t decide. I’m in love with both of them. But yeah, I’m so glad that I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and not so wonderful experiences as a singer that I could, you know, bring into the acting space.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Right On Digital.

QUESTION: Hi, this is Cynthia Horner.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Cynthia.

QUESTION: I’ve met all of you before.

DREW SIDORA: Yes.

LETOYA LUCKETT: We love some Cynthia.

QUESTION: I want to tell you that I enjoyed the film especially since I am actually in a sorority. So therefore, it was…

LETOYA LUCKETT: How did we do?

QUESTION: I’m a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. They wear blue and gold.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Wow.

QUESTION: But anyway, I’d like you all to talk a little bit more about the sisterhood since you all formed such an amazing bond. Sisterhood was mentioned briefly, but can each of you tell me what is your definition of sisterhood now that you’ve done this movie?

TA’RHONDA JONES: I think for me…

LETOYA LUCKETT: Don’t want to go first.

TA’RHONDA JONES: I’ll go. I think for me because I do have five sisters. There’s eight of us. My mother has eight children. And sisterhood for me is just simply being there. And I think in this movie it taught me here today, gone today. Not here today, gone tomorrow. It’s literally here today, gone today. So whatever it is that you got going on, or whatever mess you might got going on with this particular person, just put it behind you and just make amends especially if this person — if you really consider this person your sister, your blood, your family, whatever. And one thing for me, anybody who knows me knows that I’m all about like Kierra said, women’s empowerment, togetherness, unison. And sisterhood just simply means that unison, togetherness and just simply being there for one another.

DREW SIDORA: That’s it. (Claps.)

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I think, too, for sisterhood, true sisterhood is when you can sit in a circle of women who are secure within themselves, but understand that we each have something different to offer. So there no need for a competition or a comparison. And I think that’s when it’s even more powerful for us to deliver. So literally the film had us to see you’re stepping on my line. And we had to let our sister speak. So it was so many moving components, you know, as a part of this experience that really showed us. Because I used to say, oh we’re going to take all of that with the sororities, but I see why that process is necessary. Because you have to prove yourself to your sister. And so it even had me to honor what the sororities or the fraternities, what you all do in your community. And then it’s like if I’m out of a job, you’re going to come through for me. And so I really loved how sisterhood was defined for me in this movie because it was a life or death matter. It was like, all right, I know usually I don’t speak up. Usually you speaking up for me, but you’re going to see that I’m going to speak up for all of us today. And so that to me, it even kind of pushes a woman forward if you allow me to say it that way. So sisterhood, it builds up each other if I can say it that way.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Drew and LeToya, did you guys also want to answer?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Oh sure. I think it’s having a tribe that you can trust, having a group of women that you can be there for, be your true self, be transparent with and know that they got you, good or bad, I like showing up to be that for someone and I like knowing that I got it. And I feel like even in the short amount of time that we were together, we were there for each other. Any time we needed each other or wanted to talk about something, I felt that I could trust them in that moment that I was in the trust tree. That I was in a safe space.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: And it’s nothing like having that. You know what I mean? I don’t have any blood sisters. I have a blood brother. But I’ve been so blessed with a community of women who I know got me, front, back and side to side.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: That’s what I say to that.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah. And I agree with what everyone said. I have three sisters and it’s like no matter if you’re having a good day, a bad day, you’re getting along with them or y’all just had an argument, it’s the ability to just, you know, project that love and that vulnerability. Because I’m not going to lie, I have taken some time off from work having my children and I wasn’t in my most confident space. I never even told y’all this, but come in to work. I was like I just want to do a good job. You know, I just want to do what god gave me this gift to do and it’s been a while. But being around you all, you guys were so vulnerable and just share your true self. It was like even if I wasn’t having a good day, you guys were there with laughs. Ta’Rhonda with her energy, you know, here with a word, you know. And I just felt like spiritually there was a connectedness. And I think outside of friendships or anything else, with sisterhood there’s a spiritual connectedness that I think we were all able to share working together on this project. So I appreciate all of y’all for that moment that you guys, I’ve never had an opportunity to share. But I literally was going through it the day before we started filming and you guys really helped me in that moment to build up my confidence, so yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: We love you.

TA’RHONDA JONES: (Laughs.)

QUESTION: Thank you so much. This was the interview of a lifetime.

LETOYA LUCKETT: (Laughs.)

DREW SIDORA: We are so silly.

MODERATOR: Thank you guys all so, so much. That’s all we have time for today. But please tune into “Line Sisters” Saturday, February 12th at 8, 7 Central on Lifetime.

(All cheer.)

MORE INFO:

Preview

About the Movie

Line Sisters follows four sorority sisters- Valerie (LeToya Luckett), Cassandra (Kierra Sheard-Kelly), Simona (Ta’Rhonda Jones) and Dominique (Drew Sidora) – as they reunite at a Black Greek Weekend celebration held on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Having pledged the Alpha Beta Omega Sorority, Inc., they share more than the bonds of sisterhood, after the mysterious death of the dean of pledges 15 years prior. But the past comes knocking on their door as they arrive to the island and strange and inexplicable things begin to happen to each one of them, threatening to unearth the deadly secret that may tear them apart.

Line Sisters is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment in association with Undaunted Content for Lifetime and is executive produced by D’Angela Proctor and Leslie Greif. Tailiah Breon directs from a script written by Jasmine S. Greene and Scott Mullen.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for "Line Sisters" on LIfetime

Interview with Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin

TV Interview!

Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin

Interview with Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin of “Single Black Female” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was from a Lifetime Press Day about a month ago. I enjoyed it, and this is a fun thriller. I saw the original movie “Single White Female” a long time ago, so I don’t remember it all that well, but I think it was just as scary as this one. It was great to chat with these ladies. Amber Riley was fabulous on “Glee” years ago and continues to show her wide range of drama, comedy and music. I’m not as familiar with Raven, but she’s done many movies and was also on “Glee” in a smaller role. Both women did a fantastic job in this movie. Their hair, makeup and costume people also did a phenomenal job making them look more like each other, too.

QUESTION: Well, hello, and welcome to our third panel of the day. We have both of our amazing stars Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin for the upcoming premiere of “Single Black Female.” Hi, Raven. Hi, Riley.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Hey.

MODERATOR: All right. Shall we get started?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.

MODERATOR: Let’s go ahead and we will actually start with Noah Wilson. Noah?

QUESTION: Thanks, guys. It’s so great to be here with you. By the way – oh, my gosh – you ladies look fabulous. Can I just say it right now on the Zoom of the Zoom?

AMBER RILEY: Yeah.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you.

QUESTION: So, Amber, my first question comes to you. The casting was spot on, as your costar joining you right now, Raven Goodwin, could, I feel like, be your real-life sister as the two of you favor in the movie, and so many fans will watch it and think the same thing. So how is it like to work with Raven and create this movie together really as a dynamic duo?

AMBER RILEY: Honestly, it was amazing. Number one, Raven and I are already friends and have been for years, because my industry twin, and I would see her pop up on my IMDB. Like people would mix us up, or like the Getty images like when we would do red carpets and, so. And then I was already a fan watching her career coming up. So we took a picture years ago. We went to Essence Festival and literally manifested doing this, doing a movie together. Thousands of comments and likes are under that picture of us saying like, “Come on, Hollywood, put us in a movie together already.” Like so this was a literal dream come true and manifestation of something that we wanted, so it was amazing.

QUESTION: Now, Raven, a lot of fans have said to us they feel like they have been waiting for this movie for such a long time. What do you want fans to, most importantly, think about when they watch this movie through its full length?

RAVEN GOODWIN: You know, for me, having two voluptuous, like, dope, black women star in a thriller it’s kind of unheard of. So I want them to have fun watching the film. I feel like it’s, you know, that’s the thing about thrillers. We want to be spooked. We want to be, you know (fake screams), and I want them to really be weirded out and really — I want them to talk to the screen. I want them to have the experience of watching that cult classic thriller that you just can’t take your eyes off of. That’s what I want.

QUESTION: Thank you, ladies, so much. I appreciate it. Have a good day.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah, you too.

AMBER RILEY: Thank you.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you.

QUESTION: Bye-bye.

MODERATOR: Thank you. All right. And next up we have Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION: Hello, ladies. How are you?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Hey, good. How are you?

QUESTION: Thank you for doing this. Good. Thank you. You know, going back to the comment about people have been waiting for this for a long time, “Singe White Female” was thirty years ago. Are you surprised this did not happen sooner than now?

AMBER RILEY: (Laughs.)

RAVEN GOODWIN: I mean, I feel like timing is everything. I feel like it’s a good time for it. You know, “Single White Female” is a classic. It’s such a fun film. So this coming now, I just feel like it’s perfect timing, honestly. Yeah.

AMBER RILEY: Yeah. I was kind of surprised, because it is such a cult classic —

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah.

AMBER RILEY: That when I got the email, and I was reading that they were doing it I was like has there ever — like has there been a remake of this? Or is this the very first one? But, yeah, like Raven said, yeah, timing is everything, and I think it’s going to be — I think people are going to be pleasantly, pleasantly surprised. It’s worth the wait.

QUESTION: And following that quickly, if I could, being that it has been thirty years do you feel there are things that can be done with the concept now, you knowing what the full content of the movie is, do you think certain things can be done now that maybe could not have been done in the three decades in between?

RAVEN GOODWIN: I feel like the first –Like “Singe White Female” was pretty wild. (Laughs.) It was really out of control. So, no, I mean, I feel like, yeah, I feel it’s just about the same of shock value to me. But it’s just going to be during this time and, you know, black girls, (laughs).

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Jay. All right. Up next, we have Karen from SciFi Vision. Karen, you can unmute.

QUESTION: Hi, I have a question for Amber. One of the keys to this movie is your performance, which starts out pretty restrained and then gets a little crazier and a little crazier until kind of bonkers near the end, and I was wondering how much fun was it to get in touch with your inner Simone, and was she always there or was it tough to find her?

AMBER RILEY: You just asked me if I’m a little loony? I feel like that’s what you’re —

QUESTION: No, no. We all have a few thoughts now and then.

AMBER RILEY: No, actually, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun, and there were some moments where I actually disturbed myself, because I had to tap into, I had to tap into (laughs) — Raven is like, oh, my God. No, I had to tap into uncomfortable moments that I would never do and get outside of myself, and when you can get outside of yourself you really, in those moments, feel like an actor, you know what I’m saying? And so it was fun, and we all have those sides, like we all have those thoughts, and common sense kicks in and morals kind of kick in, but I kind of I had to put all of that to the side, and even though it was uncomfortable it was also sometimes a great feeling to take years of aggression and feelings that you have and kind of just put it into that moment.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah. We got into the transpo van, and she was like, “Raven, you want to see my scary face?”

(Laughter.)

RAVEN GOODWIN: It was scary, (laughs).

AMBER RILEY: Total weirdo, total weirdo.

MODERATOR: Awesome. Thank you, Karen. Did you have another follow-up?

QUESTION: I’m sure people are going to love it. Thanks.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Karen.

QUESTION: Well, I didn’t want to take too much time. I wanted to ask Raven, you had to play the flipside of that and be really afraid for your life near the end of it. I assume you’ve never been in such a position. So what was it like playing — to be really (audio glitch).

RAVEN GOODWIN: I mean it’s something I always dreamed out. I love horror and thriller films, and I always wanted to be the girl running and (gestures) like dragging my leg and looking back and falling and that’s just, you know, something I always wanted to play with. So I had a lot of fun with it, and it was really fun to be opposite of Amber and her in that — I mean, it was funny because we’ve known each other for over a decade, so there were times where we just wanted to laugh, and it was hard to be afraid of her, because she’s like a sister. So but for the most part it was just I just had fun with it. I just made sure I had a good time playing Monica. Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Karen. Next up we have Suzanne. Suzanne, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION: Hi. I really like this movie. It was so much fun and a good, intense, horror movie. So can you tell us what things they might have done? You said you already looked a bit alike. What else did they do to try to make you look more alike —

AMBER RILEY: (Audio glitch).

QUESTION: Hello?

MODERATOR: You might have cut out. Can you repeat the question?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Can you hear me now?

MODERATOR: Yeah.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. I was saying… what things did they do to try to make you look more alike besides how you already look?

AMBER RILEY: Well, in the beginning, I mean, I think hair and makeup. Shoutout to our hair and makeup team. I think that they kind of conceptualized with production, and they all had the conversation about what our hair and our makeup would look, and there were different stages, too. I know for my character there were different stages from her kind of going from a plain Jane to you’ll see her trying to kind of morph into Monica’s — wait, am I Monica or — You know the whole movie I always forgot which character I was.

RAVEN GOODWIN: You’re Simone. I’m Monica.

AMBER RILEY: I’m Simone. You’re Monica. Okay. Yeah. Her morphing into Monica. So, yeah, shoutout to the hair and makeup team. They did an amazing job.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes. Killed it.

QUESTION: And have you ever played a psycho girl before?

AMBER RILEY: On TV and in film? No.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Ah, (laughs).

AMBER RILEY: Ask my fiancé. He may have something else to say about that.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Hilarious.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne. All right. Up next we have the “Hollywood Times.”

QUESTION: Hello. Can you briefly describe the casting process? Did you already have actors in mind?

RAVEN GOODWIN: I did. I mentioned Janet Hubert as my mother. That was like something I was very kind of adamant about. We’ve built such a amazing relationship since 2019. That’s when I met her, and we just clicked. So I wanted to work with her again, and I think we have amazing chemistry on and off the screen, and I didn’t know that Amber loved her — well, obviously, we all love her — but I didn’t know Amber loved her so much, and she wanted to meet Amber. So it was just a good collaboration and meeting of the minds. You know, Korin and Monique, they worked, our producers, they worked really hard to get Janet onboard, and then when we found out K. was — K. Michelle was joining the cast, I just though it was perfect, and then we have Devale Ellis and just new talent and classic talent, legendary talent in this film, so I just really cannot wait for everyone to see how the cast comes together and the chemistry, because it was pretty good, pretty good chemistry there.

QUESTION: Thank you, Raven.

RAVEN GOODWIN: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Up next we have Ronda. Ronda, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION: Hey, hi. Congrats, Raven, on your recent nuptial. But for both of you guys what were the qualities of each of your character — for Raven, you, Monica — and Amber, you, Simone, that you like had no difficulty relating to, that was more like your own?

AMBER RILEY: That we had — I’m sorry. It dropped out a little bit for me. That we had — what was that —

QUESTION: No difficulty relating to. What characteristics did your character have that were similar to your own?

AMBER RILEY: Oh. I think, for me, it was I had to tap into insecurities that I had about myself, and I know, for me, growing up there weren’t many people that looked like me. So when I found a singer or an actor, which most of them were in theater, I wanted to model after that person, and so that insecurity that she has, that insecurity that Simone has, not feeling good enough and wanting to be Monica, I did tap into that, back into that kind of that little girl that was like I aspire to be someone else. I don’t want to be me. I don’t know who I am. So I think that kind of not knowing where you are and going back into that insecure, unmolded person, I don’t even know if unmolded is a word, it is now if it isn’t, (laughs) that that was (audio glitch @ 01:01:43).

RAVEN GOODWIN: Unmute, Amber.

QUESTION: You muted, Amber.

AMBER RILEY: My bad. That was easier for me to grab. That was the end of what I said.

(Laughter.)

RAVEN GOODWIN: For me, you know, Monica in the film, in the beginning of the film, she loses her dad. So the grieving piece for me, my dad died in July, and we shot the film in late September, early October. Was it October? So the grieving piece is where I connected with Monica, all the moments where we had to bring back that piece of her life that would never be the same. I had to tap in, and although it was difficult it was kind of healing to kind of go through that with Monica kind of at the same time and just kind of empathize and sympathize to what she was going through at the time.

QUESTION: Thank you. Condolences to you as well.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Ronda. We actually have an email question in. We know that this movie does take a dark turn, but were there any memorable moments during filming that you both enjoyed?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Of course. Like we said, we’ve known each other for years. So if it was us taking our wigs off at random times, I mean, especially —

AMBER RILEY: Raven cannot keep that wig on.

RAVEN GOODWIN: I cannot keep my wig –I want to take this one off right now. I cannot keep the wig on. I will take my wig off in between breaks. Us playing music in the trailer. We had a scene with K. Michelle, myself, and Amber when it was kind of towards the end of production, and we just sat in my trailer, and we just we did what black women do best. We kee-kee’d. We, you know, it might have been some spirits. (laughs) And we ate, and we just had —

AMBER RILEY: (Fo’ sho @ 01:03:51).

RAVEN GOODWIN: Look, look, and we just had a amazing time. So memories like that you can’t really get back. Also, Janet being terribly afraid of the fire on set was just “huh-larious.” She looked like a little kid. All you see is the back of her head like this (gestures)(just getting @ 01:04:07). She’s ducking —

AMBER RILEY: Making sure it did not get out of control.

RAVEN GOODWIN: It sure did not get out of control. So just memories like that I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life. I’m super grateful for this experience, yeah.

AMBER RILEY: I think, for me, it’s the fact that we got to do most of our own stunts, and I — First of all, Raven is really strong. I need y’all to understand that if I ever go anywhere with Raven she’s handling the heavyweight, and I’m handling the lightweight and, period, because the girl was dragging me.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Oh, my God.

AMBER RILEY: She’s so strong. But, honestly, us being plus-size black women in a thriller, and we got to get physical, and we got to — And the team, I’m so sorry that I don’t know our stunt coordinator’s name, but our stunt coordinator and the stuntwomen that was teaching us what to do and stepped in, they were so hands-on, so amazing, professional, really taught us how to be safe but also make everything look so real, and everything looks so real and so great. So, for me, yes, the kee-keeing and all of that was absolutely amazing, which I expected that anyway, because everybody in the film was really dope. But, on top of that, just from the work that we did, that day of doing stunts was very difficult. It was really hard. (laughs) It was really hard but (audio glitch @ 01:05:42) —

RAVEN GOODWIN:
Holes in walls, it was just crazy, (for real @ 01:05:45) —

AMBER RILEY: Oh, my God. Just from the stunts, it looks amazing, it looks amazing.

RAVEN GOODWIN: It does.

MODERATOR: Wonderful. Well, that is actually all the time that we have today. So thank you, Amber, and thank you, Raven, for joining us today. Don’t forget “Single Black Female” premieres Saturday February 5th at 8/7 Central. And please stay tuned for our upcoming panel, “Line Sisters.”

(Thank yous and good-byes.)

AMBER RILEY: Love you, Raven.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Love you.

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Reeling from the death of her beloved father and a difficult breakup, Monica (Raven Goodwin), is ready to move forward with her life as she tries to land the new hosting job for an afternoon talk show.  When she hires a new assistant, Simone (Amber Riley), the two quickly become close friends as Simone moves in next door and completely immerses herself in Monica’s life.  But underneath her sweet exterior, Simone harbors a dark secret and as time goes on cracks in her façade begin to appear.  Monica decides to sever ties once and for all with Simone, but Simone has other plans and is determined to take over Monica’s life for good. K. Michelle also stars.

Single Black Female is directed by Shari Carpenter and written by Tessa Evelyn Scott and Sa’Rah L. Jones.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Single Black Female poster

Interview with Carolyn Hennesy

TV Interview!

Carolyn Hennesy

Interview with Carolyn Hennesy of “General Hospital” on ABC and “Vanished: Searching for My Sister” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/19/22

This was such a fun call! Carolyn is very sweet and friendly. I really enjoyed chatting with her. You can probably tell that by reading or listening to us gab.

Don’t miss her movie this Saturday, January 22 on Lifetime. She does play a small part, but it’s worth watching. It’s a good suspense drama.

Suzanne: It’s nice to meet you.

Carolyn: Nice to meet you, too.

Suzanne: I want to let you know that my site TVMEG.com has been around for twenty-five years, and I’ve been interviewing TV actors, directors, producers, for about fifteen years. So, I just wanted to let you know… I’m not some rank amateur, even though, today I feel like one.

Carolyn: Jacqueline would never set me up with a rank amateur. I knew that from the start.

Suzanne: Oh, good, good. Just to let you know. I’m also a General Hospital fan, and I’ve been watching since 1984.

Carolyn: Wonderful.

Suzanne: So, I’m very excited to speak with you. I watched the Lifetime movie, it was very interesting. Tell us how this part came about for you.

Carolyn: It’s very simple. I told the director, Timothy Woodward Jr., who directed and is one of the producers of Studio City with Sean Canaan, I said to him one day on the set of Studio City, I said, “What’s our next project? What are we doing together?” And he said, “Well, interestingly enough, I’ve got this feature that’s going in Atlanta,” and I said, “Terrific, when do I show up?” And he laughed, and then he said, “You show up at this time.” So, yeah, I just basically told the director. I said, “We’re going to do something together. What is it?” This was it.

Suzanne: Well, that’s good that it worked.

Carolyn: Right. I mean, it’s so rare that you kind of bypass the audition process. It’s actually becoming a little more frequent for me, but this is one of those wonderful times where he just said, “Yeah, this is your role. Show up on set at this time.”

Suzanne: Well, that’s great. Well, he knew you already. So, why bother having an audition? He knows what you can do.

Carolyn: Yeah, and he knew what I was like to work with. He knew my set behavior and set protocol until it’s over. So yeah, all worked out. I was a proven commodity.

Suzanne: Right. And where was it filmed, and how long did it take?

Carolyn: It was filmed in Atlanta, and I was there for about – I was in Atlanta for I think it was a week all told. Actually, probably more like ten days. I think I was in Atlanta for about ten days. Now, that was my portion. The filming, I think it was a three week shoot. I believe it was a three week shoot.

Suzanne: And all done in Atlanta?

Carolyn: Yeah, well, on the outskirts of Atlanta, in various locales.

Suzanne: All right, great. And how was it playing a police detective, and have you played one before?

Carolyn: Have I ever played a police detective before? That’s a very good question. [laughs] You would think I would remember that. I might have. I just can’t remember at the moment.

Suzanne: No, I understand. I understand completely. Once you’ve done things many, many times. I’ll be like, sometimes I’ll get an interview request. “Oh, I would love to interview that person.” Then, “wait, wait. I interviewed them already, like 2012. Oops. I completely forgot.”

Carolyn: Yeah, people will say, “Carolyn, have you ever played a lawyer?” It’s like, “Have I?” Yes, in fact, I play one now.

Suzanne: Right, and was it very different from playing a lawyer, playing a police detective?

Carolyn: Well, this particular police detective is very stoic, very calm, very skeptical, a little jaded, a little hardened. So, there wasn’t the usual [unintelligible] that I have with Diane Miller or basically any of my other characters, almost any of them. She was a little more grounded, a little more stern, and just hard. You know, she’s seen it all; nothing surprises her. Nothing shocks her; that kind of character. And basically, Jasmine had the bulk of the dialogue in our scene. Kind of, not quite a “yes man,” but she’s the kind of person that doesn’t speak except when she really has something to say. She doesn’t talk for the sake of talking.

Suzanne: Well, that’s good, less dialogue to have to memorize

Carolyn: Oh, this seems really easy. Jasmine does most of the talking. I just say, you know, “Hold up there, Missy,” or something like that. Yeah, it was a little easy.

Suzanne: You just had to sit there and look pretty; that was your role.

Carolyn: I had to sit there and look as pretty as I possibly could, you know, three in the morning in the cold and rainy Atlanta.

Suzanne: Yeah, it can get cold rainy there. We used to live about three hours from there, so, yeah.

Carolyn: It can get cold and rainy, and you think, “Well, listen, this is Georgia.” You just don’t accept cold and rainy out of out of the Deep South, you just don’t. Then, when it happens, you think “Well, my goodness.” You know, it’s like Wisconsin, but the hair and the makeup people were top of their game, as was wardrobe, basically everybody, but the hair and makeup people were really first class. So, I never really had to worry about looking good, looking my best, actually.

Suzanne: Good. Yeah. Funny thing about the Deep South, it’s a large area, and the weather is crazy. I’m in Arkansas, and today it’s in the 60s, and last week we had snow. So, you never know. You just never know.

Carolyn: That’s what they say about the weather. “Just wait ten minutes. It’ll change.”

Suzanne: Yeah, I mean, it’s not like I grew up in Southern California, so it’s nothing like that at all.

Carolyn: And it’s interesting, because it was bitter cold this morning, and when I say “bitter cold,” you know.

Suzanne: No, I know. So, you and Jasmine, you play partners. Did you do to do anything to get to know each other better or to make you work more like partners beforehand?

Carolyn: Beforehand, no. It sort of came afterwards. She’s just a lovely individual. She’s so wonderful, so professional. And again, she’s one of these people that she’s been in the business so long. She’s seen it all. She’s done it all, but she makes cheesecake, and she brought in a couple of cheesecakes for the hair and makeup department, or, actually, that’s what that’s where they landed. Everybody was coming in to get some of Jasmine’s cheesecake. But then we started talking about some of the restaurants and some of the things to do in Atlanta proper, and my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. Maybe it’s the top three in in the United States, for me. It’s called Mary Mac’s Tea Room.

Suzanne: I know where that is. Yeah, I stayed at the hotel right across the street from there.

Carolyn: Well, Jasmine lives catty corner. So, I was there once on my own, as I am want to do, because [they] basically do anything. But after filming, I think I was to leave the next day, and I think it was a Monday, or we had one more day of filming, I can’t remember what it was, but Jasmine met me there. I’ve got pictures of more food on that table. They just kept bringing us stuff. We were ordering it but they just kept loading [up our plates]. Jasmine and I basically ate our weight in fried chicken and tomato pie and broccoli souffle. We just had the best time. And of course she was recognized. She’s recognized all over America. And she’s so gracious, so lovely. Then, every once in a while, somebody would look at me and go, “Oh, I know you, my kids watch Jessie.” I am like, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” Jasmine was like, “She’s on General Hospital.” [laughs] Thank you, Jasmine, my publicist.

Suzanne: You’ve done so much. So, you’re bound to be noticed for something.

Carolyn: But everyone loved A Different World. So, she still gets recognized. And she’s, again, so lovely, and that voice is so unique. [unintelligible] It’s Jasmine’s curse to bear, and she does it with great aplomb.

Suzanne: And this movie has two actors from early 90s hits sitcoms and three soap actors. So, was there any joking around about either of those things?…[Jasmine and] Tatyana Ali, from Fresh Prince.

Carolyn: …Again, one of the more lovely professional, gracious, funny individuals that I’ve ever worked with. She’s just lovely. She and Jasmine were basically the only ones I really worked with.

Suzanne: Tatyana was also on The Young & the Restless and of course, Justin (Bruening) was on All My Children.

Carolyn: That’s right. Again, I didn’t work with a lot of them, or didn’t closely with a lot of them. I worked certainly with Jasmine and Tatyana, but you’re absolutely right.

Suzanne: And I was wondering if you had any joking around about that or about the sitcom thing?

Carolyn: No, no, not really, because, again, I didn’t really work with them.

Suzanne: That’s fine. Did you see Tatyana when she was dressed up as both Jade and Kayla, and did you know it was the same actress?

Carolyn: I did not see her dressed up as Kayla, but I saw photos, I should say that. I saw photos, and yeah, a different person. And from what I understand, she navigated those waters just expertly.

Suzanne: Yes, she did.

Carolyn: She really did. I actually can’t wait to see the film. I’ve not seen it. [laughs] I’ve seen little bits and pieces, but nothing of her as Kayla.

Suzanne: The reason I asked is because I’d read an article where Justin was saying when he saw her dressed up as Kayla [he] didn’t recognize her and didn’t know who that person was and thought it was some other actress and had not been talking to her. Then, once once she spoke, he’s like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I wasn’t talking to you.”

Carolyn: Right, right. It was a complete and utter transformation. There again, that’s due in large part to the hair and makeup people. They work magic.

Suzanne: Now, I have a question about GH, and you can feel free to say “no comment” or “move along” or whatever. I’m wondering about the mood of the cast and crew right now, because I know you had some actors leave, and there was some public fighting. Has this affected anyone?

Carolyn: You know what’s interesting? I.. actually, I go back to work a week from tomorrow. I have not been there…I was there one day before Christmas, and things were fine. I’ll just say “fine.” The mood was not elevated. The mood wasn’t depressed. Was it a different dynamic onset? Yes, it was, because everyone knew what happened. So, we all have a job to do. Everyone was professional enough not to discuss it, at least the actors that I worked with that day, and I actually only worked with Laura Wright, who is a consummate professional.

Suzanne: I was going to say, it’s probably the scene that was on this week, where Diane and Carly talk around stuff.

Carolyn: Yes. We have become gal pals. Who would have thunk it? Who would have thought that Carly and Diane could become close friends? And yes, we are.

Suzanne: Well, I guess after it’s been long enough.

Carolyn: Exactly, exactly, after long enough. Diane gets to know somebody long enough, and you know, we’re bosom buddies.

Suzanne: Well, I mean, even Sam and Carly were friends, and they did some terrible things to each other a long time ago.

Carolyn: Right! It just goes to show. Then, give it a few years, they’ll change back, and then their twin will come on the scene, and everyone will be confused, and then they’ll be possessed, or they’ll be in a coma.

Suzanne: And touching on that note, I had asked some GH fans on various Facebook groups if they had any questions for you. Many, many fans said to say that they love Diane, and that you’re a great actress. They didn’t say great. They said wonderful and a lot of other compliments I didn’t write down. They just love you, and they wish you had a bigger role in the show. I told them that wasn’t up to you.

Carolyn: No, it’s not up to me, but I wholeheartedly agree. Yes. And tell them, bless them for all of those wonderful comments, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Suzanne: And a few wanted to know if Diane might get another love interest soon. If you can tell us that or if you know anything about that?

Carolyn: Not that I know, but there again, I’m not on the fifth floor, in on those decisions. So, I will say that I did an event with Chris Rogers over the weekend, and Tristan looked at me and said, “We should really get together on the show.” And I said, “You can make that happen. You can go to Frank Valentini and say, ‘Guess what I’d like?’”

Suzanne: That would be an awesome couple. That would be great.

Carolyn: Wouldn’t that be so hilarious?

Suzanne: It would be so funny.

Carolyn: It would be so much fun.

Suzanne: Yes, definitely. I’ll have the fans start a petition.

Carolyn: Start a petition, exactly. Diane and Robert. Yeah. What should happen should be that we should butt heads in court and realize exactly how smart each other is and how fun each other is and how capable, and it should it should progress from there.

Suzanne: Right, or with Martin; that would also be good.

Carolyn: I would love that. I mean, my gosh. Michael Knight, come on. Michael Knight whose skin is better than a twenty-five year old, for God’s sake. I don’t know what he does. He must have a painting going to hell in an attic somewhere. I’m just saying.

Suzanne: Yes, I was so glad to see him join. I know there’re lots of All My Children fans who are so glad to see him join the show.

Carolyn: Yeah. So am I.

Suzanne: This was what I was going to touch on from what we were talking before about Diane and her friends. Sylvia wants to know if Diane will be having any scenes soon with Alexis, and whether they’re still besties.

Carolyn: Well, I do not know if I’m having scenes soon. As I say, I know I’m working a week from tomorrow, but I don’t know what those things are yet, as far as I’m concerned, and I think as far as Diane’s concerned, we’re still besties. Absolutely. You know, you don’t find someone like an Alexis on the show and then kind of let them go. I do wish that the powers that be had let Diane in a little bit more on Alexis’s stay in prison, be a little bit more involved in her recovery. So, I do wish that, but there again, I just stand on my mark and say my lines. [laughs]

Suzanne: You do your job, keep your head down, and hope for the best.

Carolyn: Keep my head down, show up on time, make sure I’m wearing the right shoes, and [unintelligible].

Suzanne: So, here’s a question, again, this wasn’t on the list, but it just occurred to me, because I thought about this before. Why do they have women on TV wear high heels? We can’t see your feet.

Carolyn: Well, honestly, for me, I can only speak for me, it actually helps. It elongates the leg. It makes you stand a little straighter, at least it does for me, and it completes the look. Certainly with Diane wearing a suit, or if you’re wearing a gown, sometimes you will see the feet, that’s number one, but number two is it completes the look, and for this actress, it helps fully flesh out the character.

Suzanne: Well, that makes sense…

Carolyn: And believe me, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t put on slippers or sneakers or low flats if I was in court and you couldn’t see my feet. I would never do it, because you want to hear the “click click click” as Diane walks back to her seat. You want to hear the “click click” as she’s rising and walking into the center of the courtroom. It’s very deliberate, and you know something profound is going to come out because of the way she walks in those heels, and that’s all part of the dynamic of that character in that moment, because you want to be able to use every tool that you’ve got.

Suzanne: Right, it’s part of the TV magic in a way, because fans wouldn’t necessarily notice it, but if it was gone, we’d probably say something is off. We might not notice the “click,” but if it was gone, we’d be, “Huh, what is wrong?”

Carolyn: Exactly. “What’s she got on her feet?”

Suzanne: Another fan, and I think her name is Hueann, loves your red hair and wants to know what your secret is for looking so young.

Carolyn: $200 a month.

Suzanne: Getting your hair done?

Carolyn: [laughs] Yes. My secret for looking so young? Well, that is all attitude. That’s just attitude. If you have the correct attitude for your own brain, then you could walk down the street wearing a gunny sack, and the next day, people would be wearing gunny sacks. It’s all attitude and the way you approach life and the way you approach your age, and etc, etc, etc. So, I’m very lucky that I do have what I think is just a great attitude towards living, and that keeps me young. Also, I work out on a track. So, that keeps me young too.

Suzanne: Right. Yeah, actually, I think you’re almost exactly – your birthday is in February, right?

Carolyn: No, June.

Suzanne: Oh, June, okay. So, you’re about six months younger than I am. I saw that. I was like, “Oh, okay.” That was just funny.

Carolyn: When is your birth date?

Suzanne:
Oh, December 3rd, ‘61.

Carolyn:
Oh, great.

Suzanne: So, I know what you mean when you talk about forgetting stuff. It seems to get worse as I get older. I’m lucky if I know what I had for lunch yesterday.

Carolyn: Truly.

Suzanne: One last question. Maggie wants to know, which client of Diane’s would you say is the one that causes the most trouble, and which client causes the least trouble? Or what would Diane say?

Carolyn: The most trouble is a toss up between Jason Morgan and Sonny Corinthos, and the least trouble – Does she have a client that causes her the least trouble? There is no such thing as the least trouble in Port Charles, certainly not with Diane’s clients. They’re all wonderful, fabulous train wrecks.

Suzanne: You mentioned the possession thing earlier, that would be great. I know they don’t want to do something like that on GH anymore. I love the stuff in the 80s when they did things like that. I wish they would bring that kind of thing back like when they had the alien. I don’t know if you saw that.

Carolyn: I remember a little bit, and there was an island and someone was a Mayan princess.

Suzanne: Yes. Felicia was a Mayan princess. No, not Mayan; she’s an Aztec princess.

Carolyn: Aztec princess. So sorry. So sorry.

Suzanne: Yes, in fact, I started watching in ‘84, like I said, and it was before Felicia came on, and [there] was something to do with a necklace. There’s always a necklace, right?

Carolyn: There’s always the necklace.

Suzanne: Aztec necklace and she was dressed as a boy and hiding under Frisco’s bed.

Carolyn: As one does.

Suzanne: Exactly, but that wasn’t nearly as odd as when Robin got involved with the Ancient One in the Asian quarter and they discovered Casey the Alien, and he had some magical crystals from his planet, and the bad guys in the Asian quarter had them, something to do with that. I don’t remember the exact story, but it was very – I love that.

Carolyn: …The fans will remember.

Suzanne: Yes, the fans will. Well, I’m a fan but like I said, I have to look everything up.

Carolyn: Oh, of course, yeah, me too. That’s so funny.

Suzanne: That would be great if they did something like that nowadays. I don’t know if the fans would like it. They seem to be more into realism.

Carolyn: They do seem to be, don’t they? But it would be a little fun.

Suzanne: It would be.

Carolyn: It would be a boat load of fun. A boat load of fun, I’ll tell you that. Especially If Diane saw an alien, and no one believed her.

Suzanne: Well, you would think of all people you might believe Diane, because she’s so no-nonsense and down to earth.

Carolyn: That’s absolutely true. That’s absolutely true. It’s like if Diane walked in and said, “I just saw a spaceship.”

Suzanne: Or they’d wonder what she drank — if she drank too much at her lunch.

Carolyn: Exactly, and, you know, Diane’s been known to do that. It’s that simple.

Suzanne: Yeah, I guess the closest they’ve come in modern times was when they sort of touched on the vampire thing, but they were sort of cagey about it. It’s like, did it happen? Didn’t it happen. And it was Lucy, so nobody believed her.

Carolyn: Well, no, I mean, would you? I mean, let’s face it, she’s an alien herself.

Suzanne: Yeah, exactly. Well, she was a vampire hunter. Well, I appreciate your talking at me.

Carolyn: I loved it. Let’s do it again.

Suzanne: All right, and I am telling everybody about the movie, and I hope you get lots of people watching, and we look forward to the next one.

Carolyn: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. We’ll talk at you again, okay?

Suzanne: Thank you. Bye bye.

Carolyn: Thank you so much. Bye bye.

Here is the audio version of it.

Here’s our panel interview with Tatyana Ali, Justin Bruening, Carolyn Hennesy and Treach!

MORE INFO:

Trailer: Vanished: Searching For My Sister

"Vanished: Searching For My Sister" on Lifetime posterVANISHED: SEARCHING FOR MY SISTER

Premieres Saturday, January 22ndat 8p/7c

Twins Jada and Kayla (both played by Tatyana Ali) could not be more opposite: Jada being the mild- mannered sister with an office job, and Kayla the wild child. Recently divorced from her husband Warren (Justin Bruening), Kayla asks Jada to watch her daughter while she sets up her new apartment. But after a few days with no word from Kayla, Jada begins to worry and reports her sister missing. With no leads and the police investigation at a standstill, Jada takes matters into her own hands. She disguises herself as her sister and gets pulled into a world of drugs and deceit in order to learn the shocking truth about what really happened to Kayla.

Vanished: Searching for My Sister also stars Jasmine Guy, Carolyn Hennesy and Anthony “Treach” Criss. The film is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Leslie Greif serves as executive producer. Tim Woodward Jr. directs from a script written by Christina Welsh.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Carolyn Hennesy in "Vanished: Searching For My Sister" on Lifetime

Interview with Tatyana Ali, Justin Bruening, Carolyn Hennesy and Treach

TV Interview!

Lifetime panel

Interview with Tatyana Ali, Justin Bruening, Carolyn Hennesy and Treach of “Vanished: Searching For My Sister” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was an intriguing movie with many different actors. The panel was for Lifetime with quite a few panels that day. This was the only one where I didn’t get to ask a question. It’s okay, though. There were many great questions asked. I enjoyed seeing this great cast. Jasmine Guy is also in the movie, and she’s fabulous. I was just happy to see Justin Bruening again (as he was great as Jamie on “All My Children“) and Carolyn Hennesy (she plays Diane on “General Hospital“).  Tatyana does a fine job with her dual role as sisters Kayla and Jada. Also, I didn’t know that “Treach” was the leader of the rap group Naughty By Nature. Stay tuned soon for my one-on-one interview with Carolyn Hennesy!

MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. Welcome to our “Vanished: Searching For My Sister” panel. Today we have Tatyana Ali, Justin Bruening, Carolyn Hennesy and Treach. Thank you guys all for being here.

CAROLYN HENNESY: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our first question is an email question, and it comes in asking for the entire cast how was this movie standout compared to other projects that you’ve all acted in?

TREACH: Well, for me, I had the honor of working with a legend like Tatyana right there. I’ve grown up, I was watching her. You know the history so just to have the pleasure of getting on there is really when you know Jasmine Guy and Justin, these great actors, you got to understand you’ve got to really come here prepared, because they are legendary these guys here. So it was just a whole different vibe with just knowing that you were in great hands. You know when you step on a set with production and everything, you see how it’s rolling you’re like, yeah, this is one of them right here.

CAROLYN HENNESY: Well, for me, it was really cold in Atlanta, so there was that. My trailer had no heat so that was fun, but it was all the more exciting to get inside when we did have those scenes inside. Yay! And be able to work with Tatyana, and Tatyana on this panel is the only one that I worked with, because my scenes were with her and Jasmine pretty much primarily. And so Jasmine’s just everything you would expect her to be. She’s a hoot-and-a-half, and she’s so, she’s a consummate professional as is Tatyana, but Tatyana was not quite as funny, because she was threatened with she’s going to be killed at any moment, her character. So she was very, very serious, and we were kind of coming at her with don’t do what we all know you’re going to do and that is double as your sister. So it was really a tremendous amount of fun to keep it fun and light on the set, and then when the cameras rolled we were just in it, but I was pretty much cold all the time, so that was me.

(Laughter.)

Tatyana Ali as Kayla, pretending to be JadaJUSTIN BRUENING: I didn’t have that problem but working with Tatyana was amazing. Watching her transform into two different, entirely different people was just phenomenal. I mean, there was even a moment when she did her whole transformation into Kayla, and we were sitting across from each other, and like we had on masks on and stuff, but I didn’t know it was her, because I’d never seen her. I mean, I just worked with her twenty minutes before that, and I was like sitting across from this woman. I’m like, “Who’s that?”

(Laughter.)

JUSTIN BRUENING: “They just let anybody in on this set. It’s just strange.”

TATYANA ALI: I remember that. We had such a rapport during the whole shoot, and I was like, “Wow, is he having a bad day? Like what, why are you staring at me that way?”

JUSTIN BRUENING: I’m shy. I was shy. I didn’t know who that was. It’s a new person. Nobody introduced me. I felt bad. Yeah, it was great.

TATYANA ALI: For me, what was different about this one, the cast is so amazing, and the crew, and I just had an incredible time working with everybody. Treach, there was a point when it was one of the scenes in the trailer when you kind of grip me up in the club, and I don’t even know if you noticed, but I had to take a moment afterwards, because you are scary. When you want to be. You’re so like kind and wonderful, and you just scared the bejesus out of me, like, for real. Yeah, just working with everybody was amazing. Especially, I was so excited when I read the script, like the fact that it’s based on a true story and that this really happened, that a woman really went undercover as her twin. All of that was so exciting. I love the notion of not allowing your loved one to remain a statistic or not be cared about; that someone would fight so hard to make sure that her sister, who has been through addiction, been through all these things, that her life mattered. I really loved that and so into it, and then right before I started working I was like, “Oh, my God. What did I get myself into?” But y’all saved me, so thank you.

(Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Thank you, everybody. Our next question is from Rick Bentley.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Tatyana, do actors when they start their career think, “Oh, boy. I hope one day I get to play a twin?” Or “Oh, my God. I hope I don’t ever have to play a twin?”

Kayla (Tatyana Ali) and her ex-husband, played by Phillip Mullings, Jr.TATYANA ALI: (laughs) Maybe, “Oh, my God. I don’t ever have to play — I hope I don’t ever have to play a twin.” I, actually, no, it was really a wonderful sort of like experiment, and especially in the kind of truncated schedule that we have there were days when I went back and forth between the sisters, and it can make you feel a little bit crazy. Like our makeup and hair department and costumes, they were really like a refuge for me on those days. But it’s fun. You kind of have to use literally like everything you know or think you know or might guess at to, not just create two people, but then also a relationship, the relationship between them, the history between them. That was really fun, actually. It’s kind of like you might not hope to do it, but it could be a dream to be able to do it.

QUESTION: A quick follow-up. Did you color code your script or did you put markers to who you were for the day?

TATYANA ALI: I’m super anal. I always color code my script even if it’s one person.

(Laughter.)

TATYANA ALI: So, yeah, I keep a binder. I’m not at the iPad script yet phase —

JUSTIN BRUENING: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Rick. Our next question is from “Right On! Digital.”

QUESTION: Hello? Can you hear me?

TATYANA ALI: Hi.

TREACH: Hi.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Hi.

QUESTION: Okay. Hi. My question is for Tatyana. We’ve known about your work for years, and we’ve publicized you many times in “Right On! Magazine.” You talked about the fact that it can make you a little crazy playing two characters in one. What was it like actually preparing for a role where you’re actually playing two people, because that’s an enormous amount of responsibility to have that much dialogue. So what was your secret to actually preparing?

TATYANA ALI: Just, you know, it’s similar to the way I prepare for just playing one role except you just double it. They both have their, they’re sisters, so they have their shared pasts, and they’re sisters, so they also have things that only the two of them know that the rest of the world don’t know. They both have their own wishes and desires and hopes and dreams, and so it’s all it’s the same, it’s just more. And so even with when I was kind of prepping for it and doing my own rehearsals like I just tried to kind of schedule the time, so there’d be like days working on one, and then days working on the other so I didn’t have to get confused. And then their style, like, for me, once I start, once I am in their hair, in their clothes, and then all of the things, their walk or their body language, all those things that I tried to –I always work on those things but just with twins it’s like I was trying to differentiate them a little bit more, but once all those pieces come together then it’s kind of like they kind of, it meets somewhere. I felt that I guess that’s how it happened.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: All right. Well, thank you. Hi, Treach.

TREACH: Hello.

QUESTION: And one —

MODERATOR: And — Oh, sorry.

QUESTION: May I ask Treach a question while we have him?

MODERATOR: Of course.

QUESTION: Okay. Treach, hi.

TREACH: Hello.

QUESTION: Cynthia from “Right On! Magazine.” What was it like on the set? Is there a fun fact you can tell us about, something that we wouldn’t know because we weren’t there?

TREACH: Yeah. I mean, there’s certain times you get into stuff, like you’ll have a scene. Like, for instance, I was rolling upon a motorcycle. I’m not even half good on a pedal bike.

(Laughter.)

TREACH: So I got to really show my acting skills. I had to find, okay, the clutch and when I do should I look (audio glitch @ 00:38:07), but I know people that ride motorcycles and stuff, so I had to do what I knew they do without doing nothing.

(Laughter.)

TATYANA ALI: You look good on that bike.

TREACH: Thank you. But the movie magic makes things happen. So I know, like, certain, like I said, it was certain things that I naturally don’t do at all. When I do a movie it’s so fun to me because I got to really make sure they think I know what I’m doing.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

TREACH: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Abbie Bernstein.

QUESTION: Sorry. It took me a second to find my unmute. Good morning. Thank you all for doing this. Question for anybody or everybody who’d like to take it. Is there any difference between doing a Lifetime thriller and a different network or an indie film with thriller subject matter and the same schedule and budget? Is there anything specific to working for Lifetime?

CAROLYN HENNESY: There’s a lot more blood on an independent.

(Laughter.)

JUSTIN BRUENING: Yeah.

CAROLYN HENNESY: It’s the truth. It’s the absolute truth.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

CAROLYN HENNESY: And the things you can get away with on an independent thriller, um hm. Yeah, the Lifetime audience would pass on that, so.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Yeah.

CAROLYN HENNESY: But (audio glitch @ 00:39:33).

QUESTION: Is there —

TREACH: You know, for this type of movie, like, everyone goes to Lifetime to watch these types of movies, but the masses, one thing that’s beautiful about Lifetime, the masses is going to tune in.

CAROLYN HENNESY: Yeah.

TREACH: They have a long list of anything that like what comes on Lifetime I’m here. So it’s just a honor to be on Lifetime, because you know that following, that cult following is goin’ be there for you.

Justin Bruening and Tatyana AliJUSTIN BRUENING: Well —

QUESTION: Is there any — Oh, sorry.

JUSTIN BRUENING: I was going to say that’s a tough question, because I think our Director Tim Woodward sort of filmed it like an independent, like I think he went for that.

CAROLYN HENNESY: True.

JUSTIN BRUENING: So I think there’s some stuff that ended up on the cutting room floor, speaking of blood.

(Laughter.)

JUSTIN BRUENING: There was a little bit, but — a lot — but, yeah, I mean, I think that — I think he really — that I think he set that as his benchmark, and he went for that, but I think that we had to tone it down for Lifetime, for that audience, but I think we filmed it the same way we would film an independent film.

TATYANA ALI: Yeah. I’ve worked with Lifetime many times now, and I always feel really supported by the network and by the executives. That’s always a really good feeling, and they stay in communication while you’re filming and that’s awesome but to also know, it’s true, there’s this very wide audience, and there’s something about Lifetime. Like I always think about my cousins and my family because I know they’re going to be watching it. Like I can’t, I got to make them proud. Like they are (audio glitch @ 00:41:09), everyone’s going to be texting me while it’s on, and there’s something about that that’s actually really special.

CAROLYN HENNESY: I think also with it being Lifetime — very often in an independent you don’t get the justice that you want at the end. Things are left unresolved, and sometimes you can leave the theater or whatever you’re viewing it on unsatisfied, that’s not going to happen with a Lifetime thriller. Things are going to be wrapped up. Everyone’s going to be happy and vindicated, and you’re going to end up being thrilled during the movie, but all will be well at the end pretty much, or maybe not this with this one. I don’t know —

QUESTION: Does it affect your performances in any way?

CAROLYN HENNESY: Say that again?

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Does it affect your performances in any way either knowing there isn’t going to be that much blood or that everything is going to be resolved at the end? Do you play with more fervor and less frustration? Or do you perform it the same way you would perform a more ambiguously ended material?

CAROLYN HENNESY: Whatever is honest for the character is how you go.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Um-hm.

CAROLYN HENNESY: So it doesn’t matter if it’s a soap opera.

TATYANA ALI: That’s right.

CAROLYN HENNESY: Or a Lifetime or a Darren Bousman “Saw” franchise films. It’s all, for me, for me. I mean —

JUSTIN BRUENING: Yeah, I agree with that.

TATYANA ALI: Yeah, ditto.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

TREACH: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Luaine Lee.

QUESTION: Tatyana, which twin was more difficult to play and why?

TATYANA ALI: Huh, you know, I guess I would have to say Jada, because I certainly get to play her more, but often during the film, and it sometimes led to a little bit of confusion when we were filming, I spent a lot of time playing — I spent a lot of time — I’m sorry. Did I leave? I spent a lot of time playing Jada pretending to be Kayla, and those were probably the most challenging parts, playing someone you love, kind of Jada putting on Kayla’s wigs, going out into Kayla’s world which, you know, she’s heard of but never really participated in, just the longing to know what’s happened to her sister and to find her. I think Jada pretending to be Kayla was the most challenging, for sure.

QUESTION: Were you scared to do it?

TATYANA ALI: I was excited at first and then as I got closer and closer, yeah, I was scared, but that, I’ve come to learn that that’s — If I’m not intimidated by what I’m trying to do then I’m almost like not that excited about it, so nerves to me are like a good sign that I’m stretching myself. So, yeah, I was.

QUESTION: Thanks.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for one more question and that’s going to be from Noah Wilson.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It’s so great to be here with you guys. Tatyana, I do want to ask you, taking on two roles could you ever see yourself doing it again?

TATYANA ALI: (laughs) I had a lot of fun doing it. I would love to do it on a project where we had more time. It was hard to switch on the same day. That was really hard to go back and forth on the same day, and when I was prepping for it I saw a lot of films where actors played multiple characters and twins and sisters and even read a lot of interviews of the process, but we had three weeks, so. I would. I would try it again. I thought it was — I was exhausted when it was done, but it was thrilling, and I really liked playing a character like Kayla, even for the short period of time that I do in the film. I’ve never really, I’ve never been able, given the chance to play somebody like her, and she really stole my heart.

QUESTION: Yes. Well, I enjoyed you in “A Picture Perfect Holiday” and I cannot wait to see you in “Vanished: Searching For My Sister.” Thank you so much, guys.

CAROLYN HENNESY: Thank you.

TREACH: Thank you.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much to all the panelists and everyone that attended. Please tune in to “Vanished: Searching For My Sister” on January 22nd at 8/7 Central. Thanks you guys.

TATYANA ALI: Love you, guys. Good to see.

TREACH: Thank you.

CAROLYN HENNESY: You too, honey.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Thank you.

TREACH: Love y’all. Peace.

TATYANA ALI: Bye.

JUSTIN BRUENING: Happy 2022!

Check out our one-on-one interview with Carolyn Hennesy!

MORE INFO:

"Vanished: Searching For My Sister" on Lifetime posterTwins Jada and Kayla (both played by Tatyana Ali) could not be more opposite: Jada being the mild-mannered sister with an office job, and Kayla the wild child. Recently divorced from her husband Warren (Justin Bruening), Kayla asks Jada to watch her daughter while she sets up her new apartment.  But after a few days with no word from Kayla, Jada begins to worry and reports her sister missing. With no leads and the police investigation at a standstill, Jada takes matters into her own hands.  She disguises herself as her sister and gets pulled into a world of drugs and deceit in order to learn the shocking truth about what really happened to Kayla.

Vanished: Searching for My Sister also stars Jasmine Guy, Carolyn Hennesy and Anthony “Treach” Criss.

The film is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Leslie Greif serves as executive producer. Tim Woodward Jr. directs from a script written by Christina Welsh.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Vanished: Searching For My Sister" panel for Lifetime

Interview with actors from “Safe Room”

TV Interview!

Nicole Ari Parker and Nik Sanchez

Interview with actors from “Safe Room” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was from another Lifetime Press Panel on Zoom. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed this movie, too. It was a good, suspenseful drama. The actors did a great job. I was the third questioner below.

MODERATOR: Please join me in welcoming the cast of “Safe Room.” We have with us today the stars Nicole Ari Parker, her husband Boris Kodjoe, who not only stars in the movie but is also making his directorial debut, Drea De Matteo, Mackenzie Astin, and the talented Nik Sanchez.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Woo hoo.

BORIS KODJOE: Hey, what up?

NICOLE ARI PARKER: What up?

MODERATOR: I’m going to get us started immediately with questions from the floor and, once again if you’d like to ask a question please raise your hand, and we have a lot already, so I’m going to get started. The first question goes to Jay Bobbin. Jay, if you can unmute your line.

QUESTION: Hello, thank you very much. Hi, everyone. Thanks for doing this. Boris, when you’re doing something like this the space you have to work with is somewhat limited, obviously. Can you talk a little bit about the challenges and how you meet those to keep your camera moving within such a finite space and keep things active and just keep things in motion?

BORIS KODJOE: That’s a great question. You know, one of the things that I discussed with my DP, Jay Feather, who’s a genius, who — We discussed expanding out of the room by way of creating visuals that pull you in and that create a different sort of angle and a different vision. And so we talked to Luie Garcia, who is our amazing production designer, and she really created magic in that room and every wall, if you noticed, every wall was different, and everything sort of looked different that gave us a different perspective. When the camera was where the front door was and looked into the room there was an amazing wallpaper, I don’t know if you remember, that sort of took us out of the room into nature, but it was definitely at the forefront of my mind, because I didn’t want the audience to feel like we were constricted, and then it’d turn into sort of like a boring thing every time they head into the space.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our next question goes to Rick Bentley.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. And, Nicole, I have to imagine that the easiest part of doing this role was the motherly instinct to protect. Can you just talk about was that set, and you just had to work on all the other aspects?

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Well, when I met Nik Sanchez it was very easy to love him and want to protect him. So, yes, I am a mom, but also that does not always translate when you have to — when the movie’s cast, but Nik was so generous with me, because when you’re playing a parent it’s not just the title of mom. It’s the small things, the way you touch your son or your daughter, the way you hug them and talk to them, and I really wanted to respect Nik’s space, and he let me violate him with kisses and hugs.

[LAUGHTER]

NICOLE ARI PARKER: So, yeah, it was a wonderful experience to work with such a talented young actor playing my son.

QUESTION: If I can quickly ask Nik to respond.

NIK SANCHEZ: Yeah.

QUESTION: How was it working with Nicole?

NIK SANCHEZ: Well, she was amazing. She felt like a real mom to me, and both Boris and Nicole knew that this was going to be like their first movie project, so like they made sure like before, we had lunch together, and like they made sure that I felt comfortable and knew what was going on and, immediately, I already like knew that me and Nicole were going to get along, and it really felt like I had two moms on set because like, yeah, they were just amazing, and you and Nicole was amazing.

QUESTION: Thank you.

NIK SANCHEZ: Yeah.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Shout out to your mom, Naomi, who is incredible and also very kind and patient with me because part of revealing a relationship is what happens in private and between a mother and a son or a mother and a daughter. How do you really be there for your kid in crisis, and then in the confines of shooting it like what is the aspect that we can show in this moment. And Naomi, Nik’s mom, said these are the kind of things I do when I’m at home with Nik and Damaya (SP), and this is how I solve a crisis, and so I’m really grateful for her presence on set.

MODERATOR: Thank you, and thank you, Rick. The next question goes to Suzanne with “TVMeg.”

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Hi, Drea.

DREA DE MATTEO: Hi, Nicole. You look really, really, really cute right now.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: So do you.

DREA DE MATTEO: I was going to text you, but I’m like I’m just going to stay still. I’m going to be cool.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: I was thinking the same thing. I was like —

DREA DE MATTEO: I was like she looks smokin’.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Suzanne, go right ahead with your question.

QUESTION: Okay. Can you hear me now?

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah. Hi, Suzanne, speak up.

QUESTION: Okay, hi. Sorry. So I really love this movie. It’s such an interesting idea and has so many twists and turns. You didn’t know what was going to happen next. Boris, did you write the movie or just direct it, just to clarify for me real quick?

BORIS KODJOE: No, I did not write the movie. The movie was written by the amazing — I keep pronouncing her name wrong. Help me. Her name is… sorry. I did not write the movie. I made some tweaks and changes to accommodate the location and some of the aspects we have to deal with. Also, in terms of the characters I made some changes to accommodate all the amazing actors we have but, no, I did not write the movie and before you leave us I will have the name of the incredible writer who wrote this movie.

QUESTION: All right. And what attracted you to the script?

BORIS KODJOE: The mother/son relationship is what attracted me to the script. Obviously, there are circumstances that are high stakes and dangerous and suspenseful, which lent itself to heighten the stakes to the point where it’s life or death. But, to me, at the core was the mother and son relationship, because when you have a child on the spectrum, as a parent, you constantly put out fires. You deal with and you manage your child, and there’s a whole lot of things we project on our children, but throughout the movie the relationship between the mother and the son changes, and she really sees him in a different light, because he steps up and at the end, I can’t give it away, but really comes into his own.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you so much.

BORIS KODJOE: And her name is Nneka, by the way. Nneka, Nneka — How do you pronounce it? Gerstle?

NICOLE ARI PARKER: I think it’s Gerstle.

BORIS KODJOE: Nneka Gerstle is her name.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: And it’s N-N-E-K-A.

BORIS KODJOE: N-N-E-K-A, Nneka.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Watch her be like my name is [SOUNDS LIKE: Neeka Ga-still-lay].

(Laughter.)

DREA DE MATTEO: This is my favorite conversation.

MODERATOR: The next question goes to the “Hollywood Times.” If you could unmute your mic.

QUESTION: Oh, good morning. I have a question for Boris, and then I have a follow-up for Nicole. How was it stepping in behind the camera and directing the film? Did you find it challenging to direct and star in the film?

BORIS KODJOE: Thanks for the question. Actually, that was not the most challenging part. The most — Hello?

QUESTION: That’s not me talking.

BORIS KODJOE: Okay. Can you hear me?

QUESTION: Yeah, I can hear you.

BORIS KODJOE: The most challenging part for me was to get all my ideas and my vision into this very sort of constrained schedule. We didn’t have a lot of time, and it made it very challenging for me, and I had to be very creative with —

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Very quickly.

BORIS KODJOE: –with Jay Feather, my DP. We had to figure out ways to tell the story and to respect my vision while not going over budget. That was the most challenging part to me.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: You were also really nervous to meet Drea.

BORIS KODJOE: Yes, I was very nervous to meet Drea.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Because she’s the bomb.

BORIS KODJOE: That was the second most challenging part of shooting this movie.

DREA DE MATTEO: Oh, because I’m so scary.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: We did not know how sweet and kind and shy and delicate she was. You know, she has this massive presence and persona —

BORIS KODJOE: Persona, yes. She’s a delicate flower.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: She’s totally a delicate flower.

BORIS KODJOE: On a meadow, somewhere in a black forest. I had no idea.

DREA DE MATTEO: It’s the eyebrows, the mean eyebrows.

BORIS KODJOE: But we had a lot of challenges. We had flooding on the set. We had an active shooter in the neighborhood who made it really hard for us to continue.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: We had the cicadas, the 17-year, yeah.

BORIS KODJOE: Cicadas came and descended down —

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Right on the house with the sound department, and we can’t shoot anything.

BORIS KODJOE: And we had the camera truck stolen, so —

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Well, just the, the entire truck wasn’t stolen, just the cameras in the camera truck.

BORIS KODJOE: In the camera truck.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Yeah.

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah. So a lot of challenges but with these beautiful people here that you see, and the quarterback next to me, I was able to pull through; Jay Feather, the DP; obviously, Dominique Telson, our producer, and we got it done.

QUESTION: Nicole, you’ve shared seamlessly, actually, shared the screen with Boris over a decade, but was it easy taking direction from him because he is your real husband? And do you feel like he made it a point to try and exceed your expectations?

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Well, I think that we have such a great rapport back and forth because we did meet on “Soul Food” twenty years ago in a TV setting, so we know how a set runs. My first impulse was to collaborate, so he would tell me something day one, and I would be like, “Well, actually, if you just push in and then da-da-da-da-da,” and I realized like halfway through the sentence, because everybody was silent — I think, Mack, you were there that day — I just, in that moment, I was like we’ve got one take, and we have to do it in four minutes, okay? And he is the captain of the ship, and I have to just let him do it. So I pushed back like day one, scene one.

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: And then after that I just did what he said.

BORIS KODJOE: Well, she realized that a lot of preparation went into setting up these shots and, you know —

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Yes.

BORIS KODJOE: — I had the confined space, time, a lot of things to deal with, and I think she realized that I had through those things numerous times, and I had plan A, B, C, D, E, F, G ready to go.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Yeah. And I looked Mack’s face. I was like, “Because you’re an actor, right? Mack, you get it. You get what I’m saying, that if you just run in and then fall he can just shoot it from…” and Mack just looked at me like (Makes face.)

MACKENZIE ASTIN: Got to make this day, got to make this day —

BORIS KODJOE: He pled the fifth, he pled the fifth.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: He (totally pled the fifth @ 00:14:07).

BORIS KODJOE: He pled the fifth. He was hiding behind his mask. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thank you both for doing this today.

BORIS & NICOLE: Thank you.

MODERATOR: The next question is an email question for Drea. Drea, you have a huge fan following from “The Sopranos,” and in this movie you play the villain Rocco, who’s also a tough-talking type. Did you like playing Rocco?

DREA DE MATTEO: I really, really did. I think, well, this has been the month of me playing psychopaths, just the beginning of it. So I think I’m used to playing a victim, so it was nice to victimize somebody else. There’s a real freedom that comes with being a psychopath. You’re just not careful about anything, nothing is calculated. Everything is just, you know, it just all hangs out. So, yes, I really enjoyed being able to be this awful human being. There’s no redeeming qualities here.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Drea. The next question is from Karen Moul. Karen, if you can unmute your mic.

QUESTION: Hi, everybody. Hi from Baltimore. I’m calling you from my place in Baltimore.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Hi, Karen.

BORIS KODJOE: Hey.

QUESTION: In fact, Mack and I are neighbors and go to the same restaurant.

MODERATOR: Ask a question.

BORIS KODJOE: Wow.

QUESTION: When I read about this movie I thought Drea De Matteo and Mackenzie Astin as the heavies, that’s a little unexpected, and then halfway through the film I thought these two need like a spinoff like a workplace comedy with these characters, and I wonder if you could talk about where you guys found your chemistry together and for these two characters, and how you enjoyed playing them together.

DREA DE MATTEO: Go Mack.

MACKENZIE ASTIN: Well, I’ll go ahead and say that I think like the universe helped establish the chemistry. Drea and I have known each other for about twenty years now. An old friend of mine that I worked with ended up working with her and connected us, and we became friends. So I actually sort of got this job because Drea recommended me, so there’s an instant chemistry boost right there, but we’ve known each other twenty some-odd years now, so that stuff’s sort of already in there, which is great, actually. And the opportunity to work together after being friends for so long absolutely destroyed our friendship. (Laughter.)

BORIS KODJOE: Karen, I want to jump in here real quick because, yes, it’s not true. He didn’t get the job because Drea recommended him. He got the job because —

NICOLE ARI PARKER: He got the audition because Drea recommended him.

BORIS KODJOE: Exactly. He got the audition because Drea recommended him.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: And then killed it.

BORIS KODJOE: And he slaughtered and incinerated the audition.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: And I’m from Baltimore, and my mother and father still live in Baltimore, so I was like you got to give it to Baltimore, man. You got to give it to Baltimore.

BORIS KODJOE: No, he came in and it was scorched earth.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Yeah. He shut it down.

BORIS KODJOE: He took the role.

MACKENZIE ASTIN: Well, a lot of stuff conspired to make it all come together for which I’m super grateful, because it’s not that often that a job comes to town, and it was good to get onboard.

QUESTION: Well, Dominic and Rocco were a lot of fun and very scary, so thanks a lot.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Karen. The next question is from Noah Wilson.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It’s so great to be here with you guys. Boris, I wanted to ask you my first question. Congratulations on this being your directorial debut. It being with Lifetime, could you ever see yourself direct more movies with Lifetime down the road, because this is such a fantastic film. So many are going to love to “Safe Room.” It’s so intense.

BORIS KODJOE: Wow. Thank you. Thank you, Noah.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Wow.

BORIS KODJOE: Thank you for these kind words, and I was delighted to work with Lifetime. Tanya Lopez was amazing. She really supported the project. She loved it, as well as Mekita Faiye who was our executive over there. It was a delight. I’m forever grateful for them for thinking about me for this movie and, hopefully, yes, absolutely. I’d love to do more work with them.

QUESTION: Now how was it like to not only direct but star in the movie with your wife and get to work together as partners on this, because you don’t see a lot of Hollywood stars get to work with their husband or wife in a movie, so how was that like?

BORIS KODJOE: That’s true. Like my wife said earlier, we met on a set, so we were very much accustomed to the environment of a professional setting, and we thrive in that setting, and so working with her again was a dream because, first of all, she makes me better, and she is, you know, she was a top dog, and her energy and her professionalism sort of transcended the whole set. Everybody had to step it up a notch when she stepped on set, and I love to see that. And I’m forever grateful for these people here on our Zoom. They really came to play, which I loved. All I had to do was really set the stage and then get out the way. They were all phenomenal.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: I think Nik kind of stepped up everyone’s game.

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah. Definitely.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Yeah.

BORIS KODJOE: Nik’s energy —

NICOLE ARI PARKER: He was like that’s not your line.

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah. He was very specific about everybody’s lines.

NIK SANCHEZ: Thank you.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Are you (audio glitch @ 00:19:36).

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, you guys, I want to ask the rest of the cast that are on the Zoom chat how is it like to take direction from Boris? Did you guys think he nailed down his first directorial debut?

NICOLE ARI PARKER: No pressure.

MACKENZIE ASTIN: Yeah.

DREA DE MATTEO: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I —

MACKENZIE ASTIN: Hundred percent.

NIK SANCHEZ: Yeah.

MACKENZIE ASTIN: I don’t want to take up too much space in this, but I definitely — and I definitely talk too much — but like this guy, I don’t know, I absolutely loved it. This guy had a plan, and when stuff went wrong he had a way to counter it, and when stuff went wrong the second time he had a way to counter that. I don’t know where it comes from, but it was a treat to work with a guy who is such a natural at leading a team.

BORIS KODJOE: Wow. Thank you.

DREA DE MATTEO: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been on too many film sets, TV sets for sure, and I thought that Boris seemed like he had been doing this longer than all of the seasoned directors I’ve ever worked with.

BORIS KODJOE: Oh, my goodness.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: And I knew like, and it was funny when you were talking about Nicole, like, “Well, I want to do it like this,” and I was just like I’m just going to park and bark. I’m going to do whatever he says to do. I don’t know. Park and bark. Here I go. I’ll make anything fit into a tiny space, so it was easy. You really are awesome, Boris.

BORIS KODJOE: Thank you so much.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: You really are. Like there’s a confidence that you have that’s like and which it just there was no question. Okay, if he says do this then I’m going to do this. I don’t care.

(Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Thank you all. I’m sorry. We have to move on to our next question, because we just have a few more minutes left and we are trying to get through as many as possible. But thank you, Noah, and thank you to the cast.

QUESTION: Thank you, guys.

MODERATOR: The next question is for Starry Constellation Mag.

BORIS KODJOE: Wow.

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Nik, what was it like for you doing a character that’s on the spectrum? Did you study much about this in order to portray the character properly?

BORIS KODJOE: Hang on a second, hold on.

NIK SANCHEZ: Well, I mean, like playing an autistic, sorry, since I am autistic playing autistic just feels like, you know, a man playing a man. It’s part of who I am, but what I most like about playing Ian is the fact that it helps me learn more about like myself, and my own aspects of my own autism, and what other people on the spectrum go through, too. And Ian loves a lot of things like videogames, STEM, like gadgets, cars, basically, you name it. He’s a big geek, but I love those similar things. Ian and I are very similar when it comes to our character and our traits, and I really enjoyed playing this role. It made me feel like that if I was in a similar situation like he was I would be able to be brave and confident just like he was.

QUESTION: Well, it was wonderful to watch you. You really excelled in this role.

NIK SANCHEZ: Thank you.

BORIS KODJOE: Well said.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Nik. Thank you. I think we have room for one more question, and that will be the “Hollywood Times.”

QUESTION: Hi, there. One more time. Thank you. Do any of the writers or actors have experience dealing with children on the autistic spectrum, and how did you all ensure the authenticity of Ian’s character?

BORIS KODJOE: Well, first of all, we did a lot of research and partnered with organizations who support children and young adults on the spectrum. We wanted to make sure, again, we wanted to make sure that this comes across with full authenticity and truth, and that’s why I fought to hire and actor who was on the spectrum. And Nik, he superseded any expectations that I had going into this project, and I was so delighted and grateful to have him onboard. He really, like Nicole said, he made everybody step up around him and not just in front of the camera, but also just the energy on set changed when he stepped on the set, which is amazing to watch. Representation is everything. It is truly important, because it creates normalcy around whatever we’re talking about, in this case, autism. And we wanted to shed a light, because we want to make sure that young actors on the spectrum are supported, and the opportunities increase in the industry. It’s much needed. It’s time, and it’s completely normal. The problem has been that we project too much on these performers, on these kids, young adults, and that’s our own problem, and this experience has been eye-opening for me in that we should talk less and listen more, and Nik has taught us a whole lot in those four weeks we spent together.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: And it also helped us understand, and you, as a director, you were saying how you would hire Nik for anything.

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: It wouldn’t have to be the narrative around a child or a teenager on the spectrum; that his talent and his work ethic were so tremendous that he could, you know, play any role in any film —

BORIS KODJOE: Yeah. Hundred percent. So specific. So prepared. So professional. I aspire to be like Nik.

(Laughter.)

NIK SANCHEZ: What?

BORIS KODJOE: To be honest with you. And I thought I was prepared and disciplined being German.

NICOLE ARI PARKER: Oh, man.

NIK SANCHEZ: (Inaudible @ 00:25:25) like that.

QUESTION: Wonderful answer. Thank you. And thank you to the “Safe Room” team.

MODERATOR: Thank you to the entire cast of “Safe Room.” It’s been great having you. I really appreciate it and thank you to the press for asking your great questions. Just a reminder, “Safe Room” premieres Saturday, January 15th at 8/7 Central on Lifetime.

MORE INFO:

Preview

Safe Room centers on recently widowed Lila Jackson (Ari Parker) and her 14-year-old autistic son Ian (Sanchez).  Since the death of her husband, Lila is grateful for their kind neighbor Neil Hargrove (Kodjoe), who looks out for them.  After Ian accidentally witnesses a break-in in the house across the street and records the horrific murder of the homeowner, Lila becomes embroiled in a deadly struggle to protect her son from intruders Dominic (Astin) and Rocco (De Matteo), who will stop at nothing to retrieve the video evidence of the crime and silence them. Hiding and trapped in a makeshift panic room created by her late husband, Lila and Ian must use all of their strength and intelligence to outsmart the intruders to save themselves.

Additional cast members include Monica Calhoun who appears as Officer Armani and Julito McCullum as a repairman.

Lifetime has worked with the organization RespectAbility in review of the script to ensure as much authenticity as possible in the portrayal of Ian. The role of Ian is played by Nik Sanchez who is on the autism spectrumAs part of Lifetime’s advocacy efforts, resources to learn more about autism will be provided at the end of the film.

Safe Room is produced by Astute Films for Lifetime. Executive producers include Dominique Telson and Karen Kaufman Wilson. Boris Kodjoe directs from a script by Nneka Gerstle.

LIFETIME ANNOUNCES AIRDATES FOR “SAFE ROOM” AND “VANISHED: SEARCHING FOR MY SISTER”

LIFETIME SETS AIRDATES FOR
NEW ORIGINAL THRILLERS FOR JANUARY 2022

 SAFE ROOM
DEBUTS JANUARY 15
STARRING NICOLE ARI PARKER, DREA DE MATTEO,
MACKENZIE ASTIN, NIK SANCHEZ
AND BORIS KODJOE, IN HIS DIRECTORIAL DEBUT

 VANISHED: SEARCHING FOR MY SISTER
PREMIERES JANUARY 22

STARRING TATYANA ALIJUSTIN BRUENING, JASMINE GUY,
CAROLYN HENNESY AND ANTHONY “TREACH” CRISS

LOS ANGELES, CA (Nov 16, 2021) – Lifetime unveils airdates for two new suspense-filled original movies— Safe Room and Vanished: Searching For My Sister—scheduled to premiere on back to back weekends in January 2022. Marking his directorial debut, Boris Kodjoe directs real-life wife Nicole Ari Parker (Chicago P.D., Empire), Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), Nik Sanchez (The Rookie) and Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians) in the home invasion movie Safe Room (formerly known as Safe Space), premiering Saturday, January 15th at 8p/7c. The following weekend, the chills and thrills continue with the story of a sister who poses as her missing twin in Vanished: Searching For My Sister, starring Tatyana Ali (Love That Girl) playing both twins, Justin Bruening (Sweet Magnolias) and Jasmine Guy (Grey’s Anatomy). Vanished: Searching For My Sister premieres on Saturday, January 22nd at 8p/7c.

Full movie descriptions below.

SAFE ROOM
Premieres Saturday, January 15TH at 8p/7c

The Lifetime thriller, Safe Room, centers on recently widowed Lila Jackson (Nicole Ari Parker) and her 14-year-old autistic son Ian (Nik Sanchez).  Since the death of her husband, Lila is grateful for their kind neighbor Neil (Boris Kodjoe), who looks out for them.  After Ian accidentally witnesses a break-in in the house across the street and records the horrific murder of the homeowner, Lila becomes embroiled in a deadly struggle to protect her son from intruders Dominic (Mackenzie Astin) and Rocco (Drea De Matteo), who will stop at nothing to retrieve the video evidence of the crime and silence them. Hiding and trapped in a makeshift panic room created by her late husband, Lila and Ian must use all of their strength and intelligence to outsmart the intruders to save themselves.

Lifetime has worked with the organization RespectAbility in review of the script to ensure as much authenticity as possible in the portrayal of Ian. The role of Ian is played by Nik Sanchez who is on the autism spectrumAs part of Lifetime’s advocacy efforts, resources to learn more about autism will be provided at the end of the film.

Safe Room is produced by Astute Films for Lifetime. Executive producers include Dominique Telson and Karen Kaufman Wilson. Boris Kodjoe directs from a script by Nneka Gerstle.

VANISHED: SEARCHING FOR MY SISTER
Premieres Saturday, January 22nd at 8p/7c

Twins Jada and Kayla (both played by Tatyana Ali) could not be more opposite: Jada being the mild-mannered sister with an office job, and Kayla the wild child. Recently divorced from her husband Warren (Justin Bruening), Kayla asks Jada to watch her daughter while she sets up her new apartment.  But after a few days with no word from Kayla, Jada begins to worry and reports her sister missing. With no leads and the police investigation at a standstill, Jada takes matters into her own hands.  She disguises herself as her sister and gets pulled into a world of drugs and deceit in order to learn the shocking truth about what really happened to Kayla.

Vanished: Searching for My Sister also stars Jasmine Guy, Carolyn Hennesy and Anthony “Treach” Criss.

The film is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Leslie Greif serves as executive producer. Tim Woodward Jr. directs from a script written by Christina Welsh.

About Lifetime
Celebrating over 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, high-quality scripted series and breakout non-fiction series. Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long-running Stop Breast Cancer for Life, Stop Violence Against Women, and  Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content.Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for "Safe Room" on Lifetime

Interview with Ryan McPartlin, Jana Kramer and Maria Menounos

TV Interview!

Ryan McPartlin, Jana Kramer and Maria Menounos in Lifetime's "The Holiday Fixup"

Interview with Ryan McPartlin, Jana Kramer and Maria Menounos of “The Holiday Fixup” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This is a fun movie, particularly if you like DIY projects, and the press panel for the movie was highly entertaining. These are some very attractive people, for one thing. Ryan was on “Passions” years ago, and he still looks great! Of course, it goes without saying that everyone’s acting is top of the line, too. I’ve enjoyed all of the Lifetime holiday movies this year. I hope you do, too.

MODERATOR:

Hi, everyone. Our next panel is “The Holiday Fixup.” Please welcome EP and stars, Jana Kramer, and Ryan McPartlin, and star Maria Menounos.

JANA KRAMER:

Hi. Hi, guys. Hi, Ryan. Hi, Maria.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Hi, guys.

JANA KRAMER:

Hi.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Hi. Can you guys hear me?

JANA KRAMER:

The team’s all back.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

I know.

MODERATOR:

Before we get into the questions, today we have a pre-submitted question. What was it like filming a holiday movie all together in the dead of summer in Connecticut?

JANA KRAMER:

(Laughs.).

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

(Laugh.) I love your laugh.

JANA KRAMER:

Exactly that. Exactly that.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

It’s perfect. That’s it.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

It was hot. It was so fun though. I love these guys so much. Jana and Ryan are gems, and we just have the best time.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. I will say that, I feel like we got pretty lucky guys. Like it could have been —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah.

JANA KRAMER:

I mean, we had a few (hot) days, but the days that we were outside I felt like we were blessed with not like, you know (not too hot)– And I think there was only one day, I was like “I think I might pass out.” But, Ryan, it doesn’t matter if it was sunny or not, Ryan was going to always have a fan —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Oh, yeah.

JANA KRAMER:

Whether it was sunny, not sunny. I mean, that man sweats so much, like, thank God it wasn’t hotter —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

It didn’t help that I was taking a supplement that I found out afterwards —

JANA KRAMER:

Yep.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

— causes excessive sweating.

JANA KRAMER:

Uh huh.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

And then we’re in sweaters in the dead of summer, and I’ve done this multiple times, as Jana has as well, — so I’m always preparing the crew and production saying, hey, we need some ice packs. We need fans standing by. I need dryers to dry the hair. I didn’t want to hold up production…and somehow it’s always like the afterthought, right? And then when the sweat starts coming and you’re holding up production everybody’s like send as many people to the store as possible. We need to get fans. We need dryers. We need everything.

JANA KRAMER:

I needed Gatorade. That was my ask. I was like I need a Gatorade. I’m feeling lightheaded…but it was so fun —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

I was a little upset that when I was pouring sweat, I’d look at you guys and you’re like, no, not a drop.

JANA KRAMER:

We glisten. Ryan sweats. Maria and I didn’t —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. That’s right. That’s right.

MODERATOR:

Suzanne. Please let us know your question.

QUESTION:

Oh, hi, guys. I enjoyed the movie. I’m not really into DIY, but what about you? Ryan, do you do DIY in real life? (Laughter.)

JANA KRAMER:

Wait, can I answer that, please?

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Go ahead. Go ahead.

JANA KRAMER:

Because the first time that I ever met Ryan — Suzanne, thank you for watching the movie — but the first time that Ryan and I actually Facetime’d he was trying to hang blinds, I think it was, and doing a terrible job. So, Ryan,  —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

And that was the last time I’ve done anything around the house. Well, no, no, no…I had to fix a doorknob last night. I went to Home Depot and then Loew’s – had three different people explain to me how to do it, and I was like, I’m just going to hire somebody. It’s not my jam.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

QUESTION:

Okay. Well, and the snowball fight was the most fun of all the movie, I thought. Was that as fun for you to shoot as it was for us to watch?

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

It was super fun, and that was the hottest day, too, you guys. That was the only day that was excruciating —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

It was the hottest day.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. That was the hottest day, and then I feel like, Maria, you and I became a little competitive. Like we were legit pushing each other at the start of doing that. We’re like “it’s going down” —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

That was Brian Herzlinger, our director – he wanted to have his “Saving Private Ryan” moment where he was going to get all this camera action and get the really artistic movement as — Well, you see it in the trailer as Maria and Jana are just unloading on each other and getting very competitive with each other.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

It was so fun

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

QUESTION:

Oh, thank you.

JANA KRAMER:

It was kind of funny, too, Brian wanted a “Saving Private Ryan” moment. Like you do know this is a Christmas movie, right? But it was so much fun —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Oh, and actually these guys championed my husband having a cameo in the movie, and that was the scene he made the snow. He’s Nick the Snowman.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Nick the Snowman.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Um hm.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

QUESTION:

Oh. Great. Thank you so much.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Thank you.

MODERATOR:

Thank you. That’s awesome. Damina, your question next?

JANA KRAMER:

Oh, you’re muted, sweetie. Can we unmute her?

MODERATOR:

We can come back. We’ll come back – – Oh, there you are. Damina? Okay, we’ll come back. Steven, you’re up next. Steven.

JANA KRAMER:

How’s the photo, Ryan? Do you need your ID?

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

I got you. I got you. You always get me every time and I never know it until later.

QUESTION:

Did you guys call me?

MODERATOR:

Yes.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah, it’s your turn, buddy.

QUESTION:

Thank you. Here we go. All right. So, yes, talk to us about this amazing film. Ryan, I see that you’re doing your thing. You’ve still out here ever since the “Passions” days.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Thank you for that.

QUESTION:

Oh, yeah. You look amazing. All of you look great.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Thank you.

QUESTION:

Happy holidays.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. Happy Holidays to you. Go ahead, Jana.

QUESTION:

So, talk to us about the film, and how is it? Is it challenging coming up with the chemistry between cast members? How long does that normally take?

JANA KRAMER:

Ryan, you kick it off.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Well, we got to Zoom…Jana and I, fortunately, had all these Zoom’ing sessions with our writer who is amazing, Jessica Etting. And so there was a couple times that Jana and I were on the same page — but not some of the other voices, because there’s a whole lot of voices — and you just look at the camera in one of these Zoom meetings and you’d kind of look at each other and try and stifle a little of laughter…it was like being in class and just locking eyes with somebody who was in on the joke. And so Jana and I felt like we were in on the same joke that everybody wasn’t in on, and that kind of kicked off our friendship.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. No, we had…I mean, pretty much instant chemistry. The same with Maria and I. Every time I’ve been with Maria, we had that and I’m like, oh, that’s going to be easy to play best friends with her, because every time I see her I feel like she’s such a close friend. And then with Ryan it’s like we had that kind of, you know — that brotherly/sister, fun banter, fun – it’s that good energy. So that part was really easy, to have the chemistry. And then we were all teammates together. We all helped each other out, and when I got super tired, Ryan was there to pump me up.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

There was no pumping you up when were that tired. When you’re that tired nobody can do anything about it. But I will say, back to the chemistry with Maria, too — Maria and I started talking about trying to do something in the Christmas space together at least two years ago, right? Sometime around two years ago…

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

And when I saw her at a Christmas party, I was like, oh, my God, I got to talk to Maria about being in this space…and Maria and I have known each other for years. I threw a touchdown pass, or was it you to me? No, it was me to you, right?

MARIA MENOUNOS:

You to me, yeah. (I throw it back @ 00:28:34) —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. It was, yeah, we have the footage. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

I’m such a giver.

Ryan McPartlin and Jana Kramer in "The Holiday Fixup" on Lifetime 11/8RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. Well, you did throw an extra point then. You were playing quarterback and played like — did a two-point conversion. It was amazing. I got the footage.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Oh, you’re right.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yep. But, no, Maria — when I saw her at this party that we were at, I was like, Maria, you have to be in this Christmas space and then…you go, Maria, I don’t want to monopolize this conversation.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Not at all. Yeah, I’ve said this, I think it was just super cool. Ryan saw a little doc that I did on my experience with my parents getting COVID at the same time, and I did this little like 19-minute piece, and he saw it and sent me this beautiful email about how much it moved him, and how he was going to really kind of cherish those moments with his family even more, and it was just a beautiful letter…and one thing led to another and all of a sudden, I was getting on a plane to Connecticut to make this movie with them. And it was very much needed for me at the time. I just lost my mom, and I got to go back to Connecticut, and stay in my bed, and be with my dad, and get to have fun with these guys every day. And I do think that it’s super rare to have just such instant chemistry with everybody, and we all just clicked so fast and so easily. I was doing Jana’s makeup at one point. Jana’s fanning Ryan. Like everybody was helping each other, and it was really special. So, I told them, I’m like, I just want to be able to do this every summer with you guys, because I love them so much, and we have just such a great team all around.

MODERATOR:

That’s really beautiful. Thank you. Thank you so much. And, Jana, wow. Ryan really coming for you about being tired on set. We have your back.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Thank you.

MODERATOR:

And, Jamie, the next question is from you. Jamie Ruby, sorry. We have another Jamie.

QUESTION:

I was going to say which Jamie.

MODERATOR:

Sorry, Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:

It’s okay. And, Maria, I think you sort of just answered this partially but maybe you can add more to it, but for all of you, what was it originally though that made you want to do this film?

JANA KRAMER:

I’ll start — because I had had a meeting about a different movie a few days prior to talking to Ryan and the producers of this film, and it was something about… Well, one of the reasons I really wanted to do it, because I’ve always wanted to work with Ryan and it was cool because there wasn’t a script, so I was able to kind of put my two cents into it. This is Ryan’s idea that he’s had for a long time, so it was cool to be able to actually collaborate and help bring the story to life as opposed to showing up on the page. Because usually we just get the script and we read it, we like it, or we don’t. But to be able to kind of have a say was really cool and one of the main draws of doing this film. I was like, okay, cool, I can actually have a little bit of a say in it, and Ryan was open to all of that. So that was neat.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

She had a lot of say in it, not just a little bit of say, because when — It’s not that you’re that over opinionated, Jana –It’s like I really respected her opinions and she had very good input, ideas, story points. She’s done this, you know, she’s done as many of these as probably I have, I’d say. And you don’t want the redundancy of doing the same story over-and-over-again. So, you look for ways to say how can it be different? How is it different than the other stuff out there, and that’s what I’m really proud of — especially how we would talk out some of these things, if it was a real relationship and a real life and we were playing real exes. And the way that I saw the story ending is not necessarily the way that Jana saw it from her perspective. So, when our writer, Jessica Koosed Etting, heard her response if I said one thing and then Jana said, well, I would say this — it just turned everything. So, you got to kind of play like you would in, you know, onstage in a theater, in a class together. And you go, oh, that’s interesting…if that’s how you would really react let’s work that into the story and still tie it up nicely to deliver to the audience what they expect, but in a different way than that expect it.

JANA KRAMER:

Sure, yep.

MODERATOR:

Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

QUESTION:

Hi, thank you guys so much for your time. Jana and Ryan if you could talk about how you stepped in as executive producers. Was this something of a passion project that came across your desk, or did they offer you a role of EP after you singed on to the film?

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

No, this was something where if you are involved creatively as an actor, from the get-go, like we both were you know — this started with Jessica Koosed Etting and I flushing out a different story, but then we adapted it towards Christmas a little bit, and then quite honestly the whole thing changed when Jana came onboard. We just started talking about the movies we loved. Jana, if you want to talk about that and some of the romantic comedies, some of the Christmas movies we loved…and we started saying, okay, what are those themes that we want to play with.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah, and that’s something, too, because Ryan and I have done so many of these Christmas movies it was something that I had a conversation with Lifetime about and was like, I really want to be able to bring my ideas to the table. So, I would like to moving forward be able to executive produce, just so that way I, you know — because making Christmas movies are so much fun. They’re easy. They’re light. They’re fun — but I also want to bring a little bit of complications to things, or a little bit of my own touch to things and to have that voice, and that way. I don’t know, Ryan, if it felt the same way for you, but I felt really, really, really, proud of this one, because I felt like I had so much more to…I offered so much more in this film than I have in the other ones. And, yeah, I loved all the other ones, but this one…I was like, man, this is — It’s the first thing I’ve ever executive produced! So that was kind of cool to just be like — I was proud of myself and I was proud of you. It was fun.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. And I feel like, you know, Maria, hopefully, you felt your voice was the heard the same as, any producer or actor would be — come on in if they had ideas and wanted to play. It was nice because it was like a safe artists’ space, you know. That’s what we wanted to create.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

A hundred percent. I will say they were amazing executive producers. Not only did they feed the crew, got coffee trucks — they did all the things that really great producers do to keep everybody happy, keep everybody going. They always say it starts at the top and literally it was a perfect experience all the way through for everybody. We all loved it. We all had the best time. Everybody was excited, and everybody was onboard with making the best movie we could while having fun. So that is why I’m committed to how do we do this every summer together? How do we add in some time where we always can make a movie together, keep the same crew, keep the same thing…

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. I’d love that. And we also got to give credit to Stephanie and Margaret, our other executive producers —

JANA KRAMER:

Absolutely.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

— they really gave us that freedom to jump in and produce alongside them. They did a lot of the hard, dirty work, I’d say, as producers dealing with the budgets and the overtime and the schedules and all that stuff since we really want to stay in the creative space, and that’s what we were able to do, thank God.

JANA KRAMER:

Although, I think that part’s fun, but I’ll do that later.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah.

MODERATOR:

Thank you. Our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:

Hello, everyone. Maria, have you ever interviewed Jana? Is that where this friendship started, and if that is where it started, how do you remember the interview going?

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Well, I will say that I have zero memory. This is where I throw my brain tumor card down. I can’t remember anything. My husband’s my USB drive…but, yes, I know I’ve interviewed Jana — but we were also friendly just in the business and with Ryan the same thing. So, I can’t say I remember the first moment I laid eyes on this beautiful woman.

JANA KRAMER:

I remember you helped me out with “Dancing with the Stars” because I remember you were there at “Dancing with the Stars” and Val was your partner, right? He was like you —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah. No, Val, he was like the fake doctor on the set.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. He’s like you need to talk to Maria, because she also hurt her ribs or something like that. So, I just remember you being so nice and just so willing to… I mean, we talked for a while and then it just, again, it just felt like — man, we’re talking like we’re real friends. It was such a friendly conversation —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah.

JANA KRAMER:

I just remember hanging up on that and being like, wow, she’s special, a special person.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Thanks. Thanks, friend. Yeah, I never remember how I meet anybody, to be honest, because I am just I’m so excited to see everybody and meet people when I meet them that it just floats away.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Except for when someone throws you a touchdown pass.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yes. But you just had to remind me that I threw you a two-point conversion. I don’t remember —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. That’s right.

QUESTION:

Thank you.

MODERATOR:

Thank you.

JANA KRAMER:

Thanks, (Jay @ 00:38:09).

MODERATOR:

We have time for one last question. Samantha.

QUESTION:

Hi. Jana, I’m really curious about with the social media aspect of this role, I loved how you all really leaned into the positive aspects of it just with the world complaining so much about the problems, and I’m just curious about the intention behind making that such a large part of your character’s job in the film.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. It was fun. I mean, especially because I’m like “I don’t know how to do this.” Meanwhile, my whole entire life is social media, so that was kind of fun to do that. But also, I think what I learned…actually, yes, we showed how it can bring people together. But, for me, personally, what I took away from the movie the most is actually about putting the phone down. It’s what we always talked about, the one character, Rita’s character — where it’s back in the day when we didn’t have the cell phones and we were able to just disconnect and be in a room together and not be glued to Instagram or the phone. And that’s what I took away from it the most – it is just having that distraction away to really just be present with the people in front of me. So that’s something that I would like to lean more into.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

I think that social media caught us all by storm, you know, and there were no rules. There was no teaching moment. We didn’t come up in school with teachers saying you should compartmentalize this. And then the job of these apps and the social media companies is to see how many hours they can get out of your day spent on these apps. So, there is a lot of benefit to it and there’s a lot of, you know, businesses that thrive from it. Our small business that we have came about because of social media and there’s a lot of charities that do very well — but it is a danger, and it’s going to be. It’s interesting that the back-and-forth that our characters had about compartmentalizing and what to use it for, and how to use it, and I think that’s a real conversation that should be had in every household right now.

JANA KRAMER:

Um hm.

MODERATOR:

Thank you so much. Thank you to the cast and Eps of “The Holiday Fixup.” Please make sure to tune in on December 11.

JANA KRAMER:

Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Thank you very much —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Thank you.

JANA KRAMER:

Thank you very much.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Bye.

JANA KRAMER:

Do we hang up now? Okay. Bye, guys.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Bye, guys.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Okay, bye.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

We’ll talk to you all later.

JANA KRAMER:

Okay.

MORE INFO:

Preview

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME Programming Event Beginning November 12th, Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME

Programming Event Beginning November 12th

Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days

Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Talent Around the Tree This Year Includes

Kelly Rowland, Reba McEntire, Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, Jana Kramer, Marie Osmond, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Tatyana Ali, Roselyn Sánchez, Jacky Lai, Mýa, Ryan McPartlin, Thomas Cadrot, Bresha Webb, Candice King, Emeraude Tobia, Aimee Garcia, Haylie Duff, Ricki Lake, Kirk Franklin, John Schneider, Maria Menounos, Chad Michael Murray, AnnaLynne McCord, and Many Others

Los Angeles, CA – September 28, 2021 – Get ready for the most cheerful holiday season yet! Lifetime announces its largest holiday movie slate ever for the network’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming event, kicking off November 12th with five new movies Fridays and Saturdays, and a premiere on Sunday, November 21st.  Then, once the Thanksgiving feast is over and for the first time ever, Lifetime will premiere 30 new movies, in 30 days, with a new movie EVERY DAY from November 26 through December 25. As the #1 holiday movie destination, Lifetime’s 2021 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate will feature 35 new movies and over 1000 hours of holiday programming.

In case that’s not enough excitement for you – get ready for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Holiday Movie Preview hosted by Tia Mowry (star of this year’s Miracle in Motor City)! This special will preview Lifetime’s upcoming 2021 Christmas Movies and will be available on VOD beginning October 24 and will premiere on Lifetime November 7 at 10am ET/PT. In addition to sneak peeks and cast interviews, Tia will share a special holiday treat or cocktail recipe to go with each movie previewed!

At Lifetime it’s never too early to get in the spirit! Beginning October 15, Lifetime VOD will have 10 of your favorite holiday titles available to screen. And if you just can’t get enough – starting November 12, LMC will have 50 of Lifetime’s best holiday movies available to stream!

The Holiday Fix Up

Starring Jana Kramer, Ryan McPartlin & Maria Menounos

12/11 at 8pm / 7c

When Sam (Jana Kramer), the designer behind a popular home renovation show, returns to her hometown during the holidays to help renovate the Bell Harbor Inn, she gets paired with Coop (Ryan McPartlin) as her lead contractor. The only problem – he’s the guy who broke her heart and she’s the one who got away.  Sparks fly as they work closely to get the renovations done in time for the inn’s annual Christmas Eve Harborfest. Will they be able to fix the mistakes of their past to build a future together? Maria Menounos also stars.

The Holiday Fix Up is produced by Off Camera Entertainment with Stephanie Slack, Margret H. Huddleston, Jana Kramer and Ryan McPartlin as Executive Producers. Written by Jessica Koosed Etting and directed by Brian Herzlinger.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for "The Holiday Fixup"

Interview with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman

TV Interview!

Interview with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of "Christmas Dance Reunion" 12/3 on Lifetime

Interview with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of “Christmas Dance Reunion” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This was part of a Lifetime Christmas press panel. I really enjoyed seeing the movies and speaking everyone. What made this movie so special is all of the great dancing. It was nice to chat with these two. Corbin used to be on “One Life to Live,” so I was thrilled to speak with him.

MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone, and welcome to our third panel for today.  I would like to introduce Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu of this year’s “A Christmas Dance Reunion”.  We’re gonna go ahead and get the questions started.  Noah has the first question.  Noah?

QUESTION:  Hello.  It is so great to be here with you guys.  By the way, you look fabulous and happy holidays to both of you.  My first question is to you, Corbin.  We see two high school dance partners get back together for the holidays.  So many fans from “High School Musical”, including myself, will watch this and think this is the perfect holiday storyline for the two of you, as you both have worked together on the Disney Network in “High School Musical”.  But how does this holiday story throw us back to some of the “High School Musical” memories?  Because I did see a photo when I screened of you and Monique, and it was back during — I think in the gym of “High School Musical”.  I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is fantastic.”

CORBIN BLEU:  Honestly, getting to work on this project settled so many dreams coming true.  At this time, I mean, it was October of 2020 when we went out to go shoot, so coming on the tail end of a quarantine and not working for a period of time.  It was also election time.  There was a lot of — just a lot of chaos at the time and in our minds.  And all of a sudden, we go on this journey to go to Canada, get out of the U.S. for a minute.  And we get to reunite in this film that we haven’t been on screen together in 13 years.  And when I tell you every single moment on set was just comfort.  And there are a lot of moments in the film that when I watched it looking at just how easy the romance comes and how easy the connection came, and that was real.  I mean, it just — it’s…it truly is such a beautiful, wonderful thing to be able to work with a person that you love from the bottom of your heart.  I mean, Mo, I love you.  You’re, like, you’re —

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I know.

CORBIN BLEU:  You’re my sis.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I’m like, oh my God.

CORBIN BLEU:  There was just so — honestly, I could go on and on so much because then on top of it, my wife, Sasha Clements, is also another lead part in the film.  So there was all of this just love, just this lovefest on camera and on set.

QUESTION:  Now, Monique, just speaking of “High School Musical”, there was a lot of dance that would go on in the show.  Because it was a musical, there was a lot of dance routines that would happen.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  I really think dance brings us together and I think that definitely shows in this holiday movie.  So lastly, how was the process of nailing down a dance routine with Corbin Bleu when you guys got to reprise and really just do this again, just be able to dance together?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.  I think Corbin really said it well.  The thing is that we were safe, you know?  We felt like we were safe, we were comfortable.  And that is such an important part of telling any story is making sure that you have that connection.  But another thing that I think is really interesting is Corbin started dancing when he was two or three years old.  I started dancing when I was in fourth grade.  And something that’s really interesting is that our lives didn’t begin with “High School Musical”.  Obviously, that is an amazing part of our journey, and it’s a peak, and we’re so — we will always be so proud of it and excited to talk about it and share.  But what I thought was really interesting was that this story to me brought the two of us back further than where we were when “High School Musical” started.  It brought us back to the roots of who we are and it reminded me that I danced as a kid.  And this moment didn’t make it in the movie, but there are photos in the hallway of my fictional house that are pictures of me when I was 10, 12, 15, 17 years old with these big dreams in my mind.  And to see that and then to actually see photos of us from when we were on tour — one of the photos is actually from the Macy’s Day Parade.  And I remember that so distinctly.  And I remember how I felt in that moment.  And then to fast forward to today and to be able to bring all of who we are together and for that to be on screen, I think it absolutely captures the magic that you all felt when you saw “High School Musical”.  But I also think that this movie is going to do something really special and allow you to get to know Corbin and I in a way that you probably honestly haven’t seen prior to now which is really, like, who we’ve always been.

QUESTION:  Thank you guys for your time.  I appreciate it.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  Thank you.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Noah.  Alright, up next I have Mike from TV America.  Mike?  I’m gonna give him a moment.  Oh, there he is.

QUESTION:  Okay, can you hear me now?

MODERATOR:  We can.

QUESTION:  Can you hear me okay now?

CORBIN BLEU:  Hi, Mike.

QUESTION:  Okay, good deal.  Hey, Corbin, I wanted to ask you to kind of continue on what Mo was saying a minute ago.  Because we have a lot of movies that are about singing, not as many movies that are based on dance.  And dance has been so much a part of your life forever.  I mean, talk about starting to take dance when you were two or three years old.  Talk about what it was like as a kid and how important it is to be able to get back to a dance-based show like this sometimes.

CORBIN BLEU:  Well, again, this movie is a lot of art mimics life and vice versa.  There’s a lot of meta moments.  I started dancing when I was about two years old.  And I started with tap and ballet, and that was always my first love.  And I started acting early, as well, and I started singing early, as well.  But dance was just always my form of expression.  And to this day, it’s just the one thing that just comes naturally, just comes easy.  If there’s ever — you know, there are times when people just — they just want to sing and it just needs to come out of them.  And my body just expresses it through dance.  And when I tell you the character, both of them, both of the characters are just so rooted in realism.  They both found this joy and this love of dance at an early age.  My character, Barrett, actually continued on with it and went on to become a Broadway stage performer, very much like real life.  And Monique’s character goes on to actually become a lawyer and dance is still this joy, this love that’s just hanging right behind her that she’s just wanting to turn back and find again.  And I know — I’m gonna just speak for Mo a little bit, yeah, I know that she has gone on to do just such incredible serious, wonderful things in this world.  I mean, she’s a U.N. ambassador.  So again, I know for me getting to dance with her and her getting a chance to also re-find a joy of dance and that love in this, it was incredible.  And I’ve got to also do one more shoutout to our director and our choreographer —

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  …Brian Herzlinger and Christian Vincent because the turnaround on this was not “High School Musical”.  You know, “High School Musical” we had…

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Time?

CORBIN BLEU:  …like, at least — at least — two days per number, at least.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  This we shot — I think majority of the final dance routines were shot in one day.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  In a day, yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  One day.  And the other dance routines, everything else that you see was shot in one other day.  So just an insane amount of hard work.  And to top it all off, there were things that were implemented that weren’t originally in the script, one being my tap number.  One number in the movie that really is such a pivotal story moment that you actually get to really see Barrett’s love for dance and where his spirit really flies is this tap number that was never in the script, was never a part of rehearsals, until we were like three — I think we were three or four days from getting ready to start shooting.  And I knew that they were gonna do this other tap number and I said to Brian, I was like, “Brian, you know that I tap, right?”  And he goes, “Wait, what?”  I was like, “Yeah, I love tapping.”  And he said, “We should implement that.”  And Christian, freaking incredible man that he is, threw together this tap number.  And we worked on this over the next couple weeks before we had to shoot it and implemented this number.  And it turns out to be such a beautiful moment in the movie.  Just really, really wonderful that they allowed such input and organicn-ess to free flow.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Okay, cool.  Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Thank you, Mike.  And our next question is from Suzanne.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Hey, Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Hi.  I really enjoyed the movie.  I loved watching it.  It really made me wanna go to the Winterleigh.

CORBIN BLEU:  Awesome.

QUESTION:  Where was it actually filmed?

CORBIN BLEU:  We shot up in Vancouver.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.  Toronto.

CORBIN BLEU:  I’m sorry — Vancouver — Toronto.  We filmed up in Toronto, I’m sorry.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Up — yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  The other side of the country.  We shot up in Toronto at the…

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Where were we?  I’m like…

CORBIN BLEU:  Horseshoe.  Horseshoe.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  That’s right.

CORBIN BLEU:  Mm-hm.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  Yeah, the hotel.

QUESTION:  Oh, okay.  Great.  And Monique, what was the thing about it that was the most challenging for you?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I think letting it be easy.  That was the most challenging thing was just allowing it.  You know, we’re in an industry that can just be so difficult in so many different ways.  And this was an experience that Corbin was speaking of earlier that was in the midst of a very active world pandemic.  We were in the midst of a very intense election in the U.S.  And we’re storytellers.  And we kept reminding ourselves that we got to be the magic makers of the moment.  We get to be the lightworkers.  We get to be the ones that are going to be a part of helping people to have the joy that we all deserve when this all is over.  And so for me, to be honest, yes, learning the dances was challenging.  Spending two weeks in quarantine and then going from basically zero to hero and having not worked pretty much all year long, having definitely not danced or been in a studio at all.  And I actually turned 40, so I was like my knees are not — they’re not capable of doing this which is actually really hilarious because that is something that Lucy talks about as her character.  But it’s very real for me ’cause I’m like no, but really.  I can’t just jump in like that.  But at the end of the day, I guess I always knew that this was supposed to be fun and it was supposed to bring joy.  And if there was anything that I felt like I couldn’t do, I knew that I had the support to change that.  So I knew that with Corbin that I was safe with my partner.  I knew that with Christian, he wanted to make sure that we looked good.  And Brian is just like all-around so incredible that there wasn’t really any pressure.  There wasn’t any extra tension.  So you know, I think, yeah, obviously the most challenging part was going from not dancing or doing anything and being in a pandemic to going full throttle.  But even that is a blessing and it’s a gift.  And so I don’t even like to look at that as really any more than just the challenge that comes with being privileged to be able to do something that you love for a living.

QUESTION:  Awesome.  Thank you guys so much.

CORBIN BLEU:  Thank you.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah, thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thanks, Suzanne.  We’re going now to our final two questions.  Cynthia?

QUESTION:  Hello, can you hear me?

CORBIN BLEU:  Yes, we can.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Hi.  I’m Cynthia Horner from “Right On! Magazine” and “Word Up! Magazine”.  And Corbin, you and Monique used to appear in our magazines all the time.

CORBIN BLEU:  Yes!  Absolutely!

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I know!  I was like “Word Up!”!

QUESTION:  Yeah.  What is it like now being grown people that really got your start as teenagers and you continued on with your craft?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  One of us was a teenager.  The other one wasn’t.

CORBIN BLEU:  (Laughs.)

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I’ll let you guess which one.

CORBIN BLEU:  Homegirl, you still look fly as hell.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Thank you!

CORBIN BLEU:  Honestly, just like life, there are aspects that just get better and better and then there are other parts that you go, oof, that hurts a lot more.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  You know, I think that there truly was an appreciation on this film.  When we were working back then, at least I can speak for myself to say that I was just a teenager.  And as much as I really was a hard worker and I was always focused on what I was doing and I appreciated everything that was going on, it still was just about enjoying that ride.  And it all happened so quickly that there are times where you have to — you forget to remind yourself, let me really take in this moment.  And I feel like I was able to do that a lot more working on this project.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  Just as an adult, in general, those times where it really is special.  One thing that I would love to talk about that I was able — a moment that I was able to look around and go, wow, this is really beautiful, was the representation in this film.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  And its diversity.  I mean, what’s so beautiful is to see these lead actors, Black actors, and that has nothing to do with the driving force of the storyline.  The storyline is a romance story.  It has nothing to do with the fact that we’re Black.  And yet, you get to see all of this diversity and all of this representation in there.  And I feel like that to me is something that as a kid, I don’t necessarily — I wouldn’t necessarily pinpoint as much.  Now, I see it and I go this is something that I wish I was able to see a lot more of on screen when I was a kid and watching all these holiday movies.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah, that’s literally exactly what I was feeling, Corbin, was that that is the biggest shift that has happened since that time.  We were just in a different era and now to be these characters that are not just supporting someone else’s story but to be the story and yeah, that is definitely different and exciting.

QUESTION:  Well, thank you so much.  And merry Christmas in advance.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Thank you.  You, too.

CORBIN BLEU:  Merry Christmas in advance to you, too.  And happy Thanksgiving.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Thank you, Cynthia.  We’re gonna wrap with Samantha.  Samantha?

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thank you both so much for touching on the diversity piece because that’s really what I wanted to ask about.  I was reading about Monique you know just a part of how Taylor’s — the headband became — like, a piece was not really having people that could do Black hair.  And I’m just curious what your experiences have been through the start of your career to now being in the industry where it’s really embracing and prioritizing diversity?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.  It’s definitely shifted so much.  The fact that we can even have this conversation and be open about it is I think definitely progress.  And I think one thing that Corbin and I both do is we are very collaborative in the process.  So we don’t take a backseat to what we’re doing.  We really want to be involved every step of the way.  And so it’s been really wonderful to watch the industry catch up and also personally to be able to make stronger and different choices about how I want to be presented and so forth.  So I feel like there’s a lot more room.  And not just diversity amongst — like racial diversity, but also diversity within a race.  I think oftentimes, I have been cast in roles that someone could perceive as a token role.  Like, oh, here we’re fulfilling the diversity quota because we’re both very safe people.  And that’s not to…it just is what it is.

CORBIN BLEU:  Yeah.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  And so oftentimes, we’re put in this position and it’s like there’s so much diversity within being Black.  It’s not just, okay, we’ve got someone that’s it.  And that is something that is so special and beautiful about “A Christmas Dance Reunion” is that you just have this family.  You’ve got these people and they just are different shades of Black and it’s not just one note or one tone.  And that is really very exciting to see what the possibilities are now that these other universes are opening up where we can see ourselves from here.

CORBIN BLEU:  One hundred percent with everything Mo just said.  And it’s such an important, important thing for what she’s talking about, as far as diversity within the diversity.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  And this movie by the way, there’s representation with LGBTQIA community.  There’s–

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.  Age.

CORBIN BLEU:  In age, in differently abled.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  And our writer, one of our co-writing team, you know, Brian Herzlinger but majority of the heavy lifting on the writing was Megan Henry Herzlinger.  We have a female writer.  Yeah, right?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  It’s so good.

CORBIN BLEU:  So really, I mean, all that is there but again, what’s so amazing and so important to me about this film is that all of that goes unsaid.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Mm-hm.

CORBIN BLEU:  To me, for what I grew up watching, the stuff that I — you know, I grew up watching all of the MGM classic musicals and never really getting a chance to see representation of myself in that character.  And most of the time growing up, if I was watching someone of color, then it was the token.  And usually the phrases that were coming out of that person’s mouth or the kind of demeanor of a certain — it always was a very specific category.  Or they were there because the driving force of their storyline was because they’re Black.  It has to do with their struggle.  It has to do with the fact that they’re not represented.  And we have romance stories, too.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  We have positivity without the struggle, as well.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  That’s always there.  That struggle is always there because we aren’t represented in that way, but we will only see that struggle and only see that representation if those are the only stories that we continue to tell.  So that’s why this really to me was such a beautiful, beautiful experience and really important.  And I want to see more of it and Mo and I need to do more of that together.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes!

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Well, thank you both so much for participating today.  We all love that you’re here together and reunited.  So be sure everyone to tune in to “A Christmas Dance Reunion” on Friday, December 3rd, at 8/7 Central only on Lifetime.

MORE INFO:

Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of "Christmas Dance Reunion" 12/3 on LifetimeA Christmas Dance Reunion
Friday, December 3 at 8pm / 7c

Successful attorney Lucy Mortimer (Monique Coleman), along with her mother Virginia (Kim Roberts) returns to the Winterleigh Resort to help celebrate the hotel’s final Christmas season. Once there, Lucy is reunited with the owner’s nephew and her childhood Christmas Dance partner, Barrett Brewster (Corbin Bleu). Though the resort has fallen on hard times and has stopped most holiday events, Lucy leads the charge in recreating the beloved Christmas traditions, including the popular Christmas Dance, to bring together new families and new hope to the resort. Now, Lucy must decide if she’s willing to take a risk on love and partner up once more with Barrett for what could be the last Christmas Dance.

A Christmas Dance Reunion is produced by Off Camera Entertainment and Brain Power Studio with Stephanie Slack, Margret H. Huddleston and Beth Stevenson as Executive Producers. Megan Henry Herzlinger and Brian Herzlinger serve as writers. Brian Herzlinger also directs.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of "Christmas Dance Reunion" 12/3 on Lifetime

Interview with Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor

TV Interview!

Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor of "Miracle in Motor City" on Lifetime

Interview with Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor of “Miracle in Motor City” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This is a fun movie, set in Detroit. In most ways, it’s your usual holiday TV movie, but the Motown music makes it a little extra-special, as does using Smokey Robinson as a major plot point. The acting also elevates it above the usual films we see this time of year.  Tia Mowry-Hardrict (Sister, Sister; Family Reunion) is effervescent as busy social worker and foster mom Amber (who’s volunteered to take over the church Christmas pageant), and Canadian Mark Taylor (Coroner, Frankie Drake Mysteries) is great as her ex-boyfriend, Eddie.  Smokey doesn’t appear right away, and he has a relatively small part, but the real star that outshines them all is Markeda McKay, the adorable actress who plays Lily, Amber’s foster daughter.

Lifetime had a press day for some of their upcoming Christmas movies, so it was great to be invited to be there and ask questions. I had a fun time chatting with them. Make sure you watch the movie Sunday, November 28 on Lifetime.

MODERATOR: Hi, all. Thank you for joining us for our last panel. Please welcome our panelists, executive producer and star, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor.

TIA MOWRY: Hi, guys!

MODERATOR: Hello.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: (Makes kissing face.) Back atcha!

TIA MOWRY: Oh my gosh, I miss you guys!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I miss you, too. Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, you guys look so great!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You’re the one.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: How you doing, Mark?

MARK TAYLOR: I’m good, man. Good to see you again.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Good to see you, man. Yeah.

MARK TAYLOR: How you doing?

MODERATOR: Thank you all for being here. Our first question is from Suzanne.

TIA MOWRY: Oh. We’re — right off the gate.

QUESTION: Hi.

TIA MOWRY: Hi, Suzanne!

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Happy holidays.

MARK TAYLOR: Happy holidays.

TIA MOWRY: Happy holidays to you.

Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor of "Miracle in Motor City" on LifetimeQUESTION: I just finished watching your movie this morning. I really enjoyed it.

TIA MOWRY: Yay! (Claps.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Wonderful. Yeah.

QUESTION: I like that it was set in the city because so many of the Christmas movies are set out in the country somewhere, and they imply that the city is bad and the small town or country is good. So… I’m a city girl, I like that yours was different.

TIA MOWRY: Yay!

QUESTION: Mark, I love your character in “Coroner,” and I really love that show.

MARK TAYLOR: Oh, thank you. Wow, thank you.

QUESTION: The singing and guitar playing that you did in the film, was that something that you’ve done a lot of before?

MARK TAYLOR: I sing in the shower and…

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I know that tune.

MARK TAYLOR: And guitar, I used to play guitar when I was about 12. I did that for maybe a couple of years and, you know, real minute stuff, so…I had to take lessons and kind of relearn it.

TIA MOWRY: But you guys, here’s a little kind of behind-the-scenes situation. I thought what was really cool about Mark is he’d always walk around with the guitar. Like, when you weren’t on camera, behind the scenes, he was always walking around with it. I guess was that an actor’s choice to just feel really comfortable with the guitar?

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, I just wanted to get it as good as I could and make it as realistic as possible.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

MARK TAYLOR: And it was fun. It was also fun, you know? So it was good to learn some songs and connect.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You know, I’ve tried to learn to play the guitar about three or four times. I cannot do it.

MARK TAYLOR: Really?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: It just would not — and the tricky part was my favorite instrument.

TIA MOWRY: Wow.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: The guitar is my favorite —

TIA MOWRY: Oh.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: And I wanna play it so badly, but I just can’t get it. My right hand and my left hand do not coordinate on the guitar, you know. But my guitarist told me, he says, “Man, if you wanna learn how to play the guitar, keep it in your hands at all times.”

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, yeah.

TIA MOWRY: See?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I understand what you were talking about, man. But I did that and that didn’t work, either. So…

TIA MOWRY: I don’t — you guys, I don’t know how to play any instruments. Like, I…I’m terrible.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: What?

TIA MOWRY: That is one thing — no. Like, that’s — sports and music is I just — I can’t. So kudos to you guys.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Not sports, don’t say sports.

TIA MOWRY: Oh God, no, I can’t even — when I was a kid —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: No sports?

TIA MOWRY: No, no, no sports. Like, when I was a kid, my dad, he tried to put me in what is it t-ball? You know, where the ball is like teed up for you?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: I would strike out on that. So I’d like —

MARK TAYLOR: Wow.

TIA MOWRY: What is it, hand and eye coordination? No. Not good. Thank God, you know, I have other things that I can do.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Well, t-ball is over, honey, by the time you’re six or seven.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You don’t even play t-ball anymore, so that was way back when.

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.) Okay?

QUESTION: Tia, can you sing at least?

TIA MOWRY: Yeah, you know, I can sing.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: She’s got a good voice.

TIA MOWRY: I mean, I grew up with singers in my family. My mother, she actually sang in the choir at church. So I can sing but what’s so funny about this character, Amber Dupont, she doesn’t know how to sing. And actually, Eddie, he picks on me throughout the movie about how I can’t carry a tune. So I thought that was pretty funny. But yeah, I mean, I can carry a tune.

QUESTION: Well, the voice is an instrument, so it counts.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Yeah, she can. She’s got a good voice.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you, all.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you! Thank you!

MARK TAYLOR: Welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION: Hi, guys.

TIA MOWRY: Hi, Jeannie.

QUESTION: Hi.

TIA MOWRY: Or Jamie, is it Jamie?

QUESTION: Jamie. Jamie, yes.

TIA MOWRY: Hi Jamie!

QUESTION: Hi. This is for all three of you. I was wondering, is there anything filming this that surprised you that you found out? Like, what was the most surprising thing?

TIA MOWRY: How hot it was in Canada.

(Laughter.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: My most surprising thing was that I could do it at all.

TIA MOWRY: Aw. I mean —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: That was my most surprising.

MARK TAYLOR: You were great. You were great.

TIA MOWRY: Look, y’all, Smokey —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I love you, too, Mark.

MARK TAYLOR: You were great.

TIA MOWRY: You were fantastic. I mean, you’re a legend, you know what I mean? Come on, Smokey.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: (inaudible @ 01:26:29)

TIA MOWRY: You’re awesome. You’re wonderful. Go ahead, Mark. You wanna answer?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I had a wonderful time.

TIA MOWRY: Oh.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I had a great time. And everybody was so beautiful, you know? Before it even happened, I was looking forward to seeing Tia because Tia is like my daughter. I mean, you know, I just —

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: …I love her so much and so happy to see —

TIA MOWRY: Aw, I love you, Smokey!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: …that she was gonna be there. That was great. And then, meeting everybody and getting the chance to — everybody. I mean, the crew, everybody was just fantastic. So I had a wonderful time.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: Aw. What about you, Mark? Was there anything that you were surprised about?

MARK TAYLOR: What was I surprised about? Um…you know what? I don’t know if I was surprised, but it was just an amazing experience.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, I like that.

MARK TAYLOR: Everyone’s so cool and everyone had a good time. And it was just — I guess maybe the experience I didn’t know was going to be so amazing you know?

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

MARK TAYLOR: But I’m definitely happy that I was a part of it, and I feel like it was meant to be.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, that’s awesome.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: I think, yeah, for me I think the most surprising part — I mean, I don’t know why it’s always surprising but I think a lot of people, they expect for — you know, these Christmas movies they’re — it’s supposed to be snow on the ground, it’s supposed to be wintertime. But in reality, we film a lot of these movies during the summertime. So we’re wearing jackets, and coats, and scarfs, and it’s so incredibly hot. So you have to —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Except for at night.

TIA MOWRY: Except for nights. Yeah, except for night.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: It was like the instant drop, like it’s 75 until six o’clock and at 6:01 it’s 30. (Laughs.)

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.) No. Wait, I will say this though, too, you guys. I think we film these movies in such a short period of time, right? So when I first started doing these Christmas movies, I think the thing that I was most surprised about is how many scenes you shoot in a day. Just for perspective on some movies, most movies, you’ll shoot maybe two-to-three scenes a day. But with these movies, you’re shooting, like, eight or nine scenes a day. So it’s a lot of dialogue to memorize and you’re working long hours. So that can be kind of surprising I think for viewers to know about.

MARK TAYLOR: It’s a grind.

TIA MOWRY: It’s a lot of work.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, it’s a grind.

TIA MOWRY: We shoot these movies in such — I think it’s what, 15, 16 days? When a lot of movies go for 21 maybe even 30 days. So it’s a grind. But it’s a good grind.

MARK TAYLOR: Oh, yeah.

QUESTION: I was gonna say, too, coats in the summer may be better than wearing a bathing suit when it’s freezing out or something. I don’t know.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

QUESTION: I guess it depends.

MARK TAYLOR: They’re both bad. They’re both bad.

QUESTION: Yeah, that’s true.

TIA MOWRY: You know what? I’m with you, Mark. I think they’re both just ew. But I mean, hey, you know, you do what you love.

MARK TAYLOR: Right.

TIA MOWRY: And I love what I do, so…it’s all worth.

QUESTION: Alright, thank you so much.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you, Jamie.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Jamie. Our next question is from Mike from TV America.

QUESTION: Yeah, for Smokey. One of the good things about this movie is it reminds us of how important those church Christmas pageants are. So could you recall, back when you were a kid and so forth, what was important to you about it? Did you do church Christmas pageants? What did they mean to you?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Well, you know what, Mike? I was involved in a few of them but my mom was one of those people that went to church three, four times a week, you know? She was a real lady, though. She would cuss you out in a minute but she would go to church three, four times a week.

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: And actually, to be truthful with you, when I was a child, man, church used to scare me because of the fact —

QUESTION: (Laughs.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I’m serious about that, man. I was scared to death at church because the church that I went to was a Baptist church, Baptist preacher. And he’s preaching and hollering and hooping and just falling out. And the women are coming up there and they’re putting smelling salts and they’re passing out. I was afraid to death of church, man, until I got to be grown. I really was. I wasn’t really, like, a church-going person as a kid. I went if my mom made me, if she made me. So when she made me go, I went. And she would send me to Sunday school in the morning and then I’d have to go back to church with her in the afternoon. That was really a grind for me, man. But like I said, after I got to be grown and I understood a lot more spiritual things, I understood it more. And so I got to be more relaxed with it. But as far as growing up, man, I was…it was a trip for me.

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.)

QUESTION: Thanks. I wanted to ask you one other thing, Smokey. Even though you shot it in Canada, this gives Detroit a really good look because it used a lot of stills, second unit shots. It makes life in Detroit look very attractive. Do we kind of underestimate how good Detroit is right now?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I hope so, Mike. I really do because Detroit has been devastated for a while. But it’s because of the economy, because of no jobs and all that. See, Detroit is a job city. And when I was growing up, the auto industry was what kept Detroit going. Detroit was the auto industry, really. So after all the auto plants moved out and the manufacturers and stuff and then we had Motown and…I’m so proud of the fact that right now, they even call Detroit Motown. So we created a lot of jobs and things like that in Detroit, also. And we left and the auto industry left, so Detroit suffered for a long time. And I’m very, very happy to see that it is kind of on the rebound.

QUESTION: Oh, thanks.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Mike. Our next question is for —

TIA MOWRY: Thank you, Mike!

MODERATOR: Thank you. Noah, you’re up next.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It is so great to be here with you guys. By the way, Tia, I feel your holiday energy. I have the holiday energy, too. I feel like you’re just gonna bust out into a Christmas tune. Yes, yes, oh yes!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Go, Tia. Bust it out, Tia.

QUESTION: Come on, Tia.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, thank you.

QUESTION: Give us a little “Jingle Bells”.

TIA MOWRY: No! Oh my God! Jingle bells, jingle bells. I’m, like, nervous to sing in front of Smokey.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you, Noah.

TIA MOWRY: You know, Christmas happens to be one of my favorite holidays. I really look forward to it every single year and that’s one of the main reasons why I love doing these movies. It’s something that my family — especially my mom, like, she’s a huge fan of every Christmas movie I do. And we sit down and we have hot cocoa, glasses of wine, and just really enjoy ourselves. So…

QUESTION: Now, Tia, I want to ask you first off, what attracted you to wanna be part of this? Because we have seen you and your sister, Tamera, be part of a lot of Christmas movies. And I just must say I love watching you two on screen.

MARK TAYLOR: Aw, thank you!

QUESTION: I’ve been a longtime fan since “Sister, Sister”. I just recently binged that, by the way, just aside.

TIA MOWRY: Really? With — yes. Okay, yeah, because it’s in syndication right now.

QUESTION: Yes. Yes.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you! You know, what really attracted me with this script in particular is Mr. Smokey Robinson. You know, they had told me that he was going to be a part of it and I was like no way. I didn’t believe them at first. I was like I have to see it to believe it. I’ve known Smokey ever since I was a young, little girl and I’ve been a huge fan. And I just feel like Motown, it’s been very influential, especially within the African American culture and the community. So to be able to have that Motown flair and to have, like, Smokey be a part of the story, I was on-board from the beginning. And then when they told me that Mark was gonna be a part of it, Mark and I, we had done a movie over 20-something years ago, like aging ourselves but —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: When you guys were babies? You did a movie when you were babies?

TIA MOWRY: A baby! A baby! We were, like, in our 20s.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Twenty years ago.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah, basically. So I just — when I found out who the cast was and all of that and then just the story. I’m a huge believer in just giving women an opportunity. And Rhonda Baraka who is the writer of this movie, she wrote such an incredible script. And she’s also an African American woman which I just think is so phenomenal. So yeah, I was really excited about this project and I hope people enjoy this movie as much as all of us did making it.

QUESTION: Now, Mark, you have worked with Tia and Tamera on a movie in the past titled “17 Again”. I don’t know if that’s what you were just talking about, Tia, but that’s the movie that I’m talking about.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, it is.

TIA MOWRY: Yes, it was. “17 Again”, that was what I was talking about.

QUESTION: So now, we see you and Tia, you have feelings for each other in this holiday movie that we’ll see on Lifetime. What was it like to personally work with her once again for this project?

TIA MOWRY: Aw.

MARK TAYLOR: I mean, Tia, you know, she got the big, bright energy, you know? Her spirit is so giving and bright and caring. She’s always checking in with you, making sure that you’re alright.

TIA MOWRY: Yep.

MARK TAYLOR: And she just makes everyone feel involved, like everyone’s on the same level. So it was great. Like I said, it was a great experience.

TIA MOWRY: Yay.

QUESTION: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. You have a good day.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you, Noah!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You, too.

TIA MOWRY: Bye!

QUESTION: Bye. Happy holidays.

TIA MOWRY: Happy holidays.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for one final one. Jay, you’re up.

QUESTION: Oh, thank you very much. Hi. Smokey, my question is for you. You’ve got such a catalogue of songs, obviously, and quite a few of them actually are Christmas songs. What kind of conversation went into exactly what you would perform in the movie?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You know, Jay, not too much because I was gonna be on board — see, first of all, they sent me the script. And it’s a beautiful, warm, wonderful, warm story. And it was like Tia said, about Black people and about how they celebrate Christmas and what they do and all that. So that got me right there. And then, they told me Tia was gonna be involved. I hadn’t met Mark before filming this, but Tia like I said is my baby. I love her. And they told me she was gonna be involved and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. And then, it’s about Detroit and all that. So I was on board from getting the script and finding out all that information about what was going on. And like I said, the script is beautiful. It’s a warm, wonderful, Christmas story and I was very flattered to be a part of that.

TIA MOWRY: Aw.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, when it came to the songs, did they ask for your input about what you might like to perform, maybe from your own catalogue?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: No, no, no, no, no, man. They had some songs in mind that they wanted me to do and I did those. Because whatever they wanted me to do, like I said, I was gonna be on board for. And so I didn’t really pick any songs to sing or anything like that. I just wanted to be a part of it because it seemed so wonderful.

QUESTION: Thanks very much, Smokey.

TIA MOWRY: You know, wait, Smokey, I have to say one of my favorite moments in the movie is when you walk through the church doors. And you have this — I mean, you have this, like, swagger to you, the way you’re just walking. (Laughs.) Down the aisle. And then you start singing. It is just — I just cannot wait for people to see that moment. I mean, I just started bawling and I just started crying because it’s just — it’s such a beautiful moment. And I know that you’re saying that you’re very grateful to be a part of this movie, but I just want to say thank you for being a part of this movie. I mean, you’re such a legend. And Mark and I, we talk about you all the time. You’re just — you’re so — I mean, you’re a legend, you know what I mean?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: (Over-talking @ 01:38:44) And so I really, really want to take this time — I’ve already told you so many times before, but thank you for lending just your energy and your talent to this story because you did an incredible job. So thank you.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Well, thank you, sweetheart. I appreciate that. And I got your vitamins, too. I got the vitamins.

TIA MOWRY: Yay!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: Yay! I love that!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Me too.

MODERATOR: That’s awesome. Thank you so much to the cast of “Miracle in Motor City”. Make sure to tune in November 28th at 8/7 Central only on Lifetime.

(Goodbyes.)

MORE INFO:

Preview

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME Programming Event Beginning November 12th, Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME

Programming Event Beginning November 12th

Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days

Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Talent Around the Tree This Year Includes

Kelly Rowland, Reba McEntire, Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, Jana Kramer, Marie Osmond, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Tatyana Ali, Roselyn Sánchez, Jacky Lai, Mýa, Ryan McPartlin, Thomas Cadrot, Bresha Webb, Candice King, Emeraude Tobia, Aimee Garcia, Haylie Duff, Ricki Lake, Kirk Franklin, John Schneider, Maria Menounos, Chad Michael Murray, AnnaLynne McCord, and Many Others

Los Angeles, CA – September 28, 2021 – Get ready for the most cheerful holiday season yet! Lifetime announces its largest holiday movie slate ever for the network’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming event, kicking off November 12th with five new movies Fridays and Saturdays, and a premiere on Sunday, November 21st.  Then, once the Thanksgiving feast is over and for the first time ever, Lifetime will premiere 30 new movies, in 30 days, with a new movie EVERY DAY from November 26 through December 25. As the #1 holiday movie destination, Lifetime’s 2021 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate will feature 35 new movies and over 1000 hours of holiday programming.

In case that’s not enough excitement for you – get ready for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Holiday Movie Preview hosted by Tia Mowry (star of this year’s Miracle in Motor City)! This special will preview Lifetime’s upcoming 2021 Christmas Movies and will be available on VOD beginning October 24 and will premiere on Lifetime November 7 at 10am ET/PT. In addition to sneak peeks and cast interviews, Tia will share a special holiday treat or cocktail recipe to go with each movie previewed!

At Lifetime it’s never too early to get in the spirit! Beginning October 15, Lifetime VOD will have 10 of your favorite holiday titles available to screen. And if you just can’t get enough – starting November 12, LMC will have 50 of Lifetime’s best holiday movies available to stream!

Miracle in Motor City

Starring Tia Mowry, Mark Taylor & Smokey Robinson

11/28 at 8pm / 7c

CID_31
Amber Dupont (Tia Mowry) bites off more than she can chew when she takes charge of her church’s annual Christmas pageant and inadvertently promises to deliver a special performance by Motown Legend Smokey Robinson. When her best friends secretly enlist Amber’s former flame Eddie (Mark Taylor) to help – the pair reconnect in a quest to find Smokey and convince him to appear. With the clock ticking, family, friends, and superstar Smokey Robinson come together to stage the most special pageant yet.Miracle in Motor City is produced by Cineflix Media with Tia Mowry, Charles Tremayne, and Jeff Vanderwal serving as executive producers. Gaylyn Fraiche consults on behalf of Tia Mowry. Alfons Adetuyi directs from a script by Rhonda Baraka.

Markeda McKay, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor in "Miracle in Motor City" on Lifetime

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

picture

Interview with Reba McEntire, Candice King and John Schneider

TV Interview!

John Schneider and Rebe McEntire in "Christmas in Tune" on Lifetime

Interview with Executive Producer and star Reba McEntire, and stars John Schneider, Candice King, Justin David, and Norm Lewis of “Christmas in Tune” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This press panel was a lot of fun… and I like this movie, which airs 11/26 on Lifetime. It was hard to choose which person to interview, since I love the top three stars. I asked my questions of Reba and Candice, and John chimed in, so it worked out well.

MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. Thank you all for joining. Our first panel for today is Reba McEntire’s “Christmas in Tune.” Please welcome executive producer and star Reba McEntire, and stars John Schneider, Candice King, Justin David, and Norm Lewis. Thank you, guys, all so much for being here today. Our first question —

REBA MCENTIRE: Our pleasure.

MODERATOR: Our next question is from Suzanne.

QUESTION: Hi. It’s great to see you all. Reba, I was wondering if you could tell us who wrote the music, the original songs, and will there be an album from this movie?

REBA MCENTIRE: Ooh, we haven’t talked about an album for the music from this album — from the movie. I’m trying to remember the lady’s name who wrote “I Needed Christmas Too”. It’ll come to me about the time we all hang up, but my band and Doug Sisemore did all the arrangements and put the music together. We went in to Dark Horse Studios where we got to shoot part of the movie and record the songs there. So I’ll get back with you on that young lady’s name, and the other songs had been recorded before, but I think the selection of the songs were to the point and just wonderful. Oh, her name was Trannie Anderson who wrote that song “I Needed Christmas Too.” Thank you, Mark.

QUESTION: Thank you. And, Candice, you used to sing backup, I read, on the “Hannah Montana” show. Did you have any spare time where you got to sing with these folks for fun, or —

Executive Producer and star Reba McEntire, and stars John Schneider, Candice King, Justin David, and Norm Lewis of "Christmas in Tune" on LifetimeCANDICE KING: Oh, no. Oh, no. Nope. I save these dusty pipes just for my little baby.

(Laughter.)

CANDICE KING: They’re a little rusty —

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Dusty pipes. Dusty, rusty pipes.

CANDICE KING: Yeah. No, in another life, yes, I was a singer and a backup singer for Miley Cyrus on the “Hannah Montana” tour. So it’s a great ice breaker, conversation starter but, no, luckily, I just got to listen to the legends.

QUESTION: Oh, maybe a sequel movie where Candice gets to sing…?

CANDICE KING: We’ll see.

QUESTION: Thank you, guys.

MODERATOR: Jay Bobbin, would you like to give your question?

QUESTION: Why, sure. Hello, everyone. Good to see you.

NORM LEWIS: Thank you.

QUESTION: Reba, Reba and John, both of you have, I mean, Reba, it geos without saying and, John, you are certainly well known for your singing voice, can the two of you talk about singing together? And then I’ve got a follow-up for you, Reba.

Reba McEntire on Zoom with usREBA MCENTIRE: I thought it was a lot of fun. I had a blast singing with John. He’s, um —

WOMAN: John Schneider and Reba McEntire.

REBA MCENTIRE: Thank you. I had a great time working with John singing. He was fun. He knew what he was going to sing and prepared and —

WOMAN: She’s going to be in a show called Christmas, “Christmas in Tune.”

QUESTION: This is not me, by the way. This is Jay. I’m not doing the narration.

MODERATOR: Hi, everybody. If anyone that’s not speaking can please mute themselves that’d be very helpful.

REBA MCENTIRE: Okay. Now we ready?

QUESTION: Yes, Reba. You were saying? I’m sorry.

REBA MCENTIRE: Okay. Yeah. John and I had a wonderful time on the movie getting to sing together, act together, and he’s a lot of fun to sing with, and the songs we got to sing were marvelous, some of my favorite songs to get to sing.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: And what was so great about this is we got to sing in the studio, the real studio. Before we filmed, we got to hear all the music and work on the music, and then we got to come to the set and sing that music again. So we really kind of had the opportunity to do everything that in the music world we’d been doing for decades, dare I say it, and it was so wonderful to sing with Reba. I’ve never sung with Reba before, at least she didn’t know. I mean I was singing with her on the radio, but it was so wonderful to be singing with her on the same mic and on the same stage, wonderful to share a stage with you —

REBA MCENTIRE: Thanks, John.

QUESTION: Thank you, John. Reba, my follow-up for you. Christmas has become kind of a tradition for you whether you’re doing a movie, or you’re hosting “CMA Country Christmas” or whatever. Could you talk briefly about your relationship with Christmas TV, your thoughts about it?

REBA MCENTIRE: I love it. I think it’s a warm, wonderful way to express your feelings. Music goes a long way with getting everybody in the holiday mood, and it’s also given us a chance to reflect on the year that we’ve had, all the wonderful things that have happened and our many blessings, and we remember the reason for the season. So, I love to be a part of television during the Christmas holidays.

QUESTION: Thank you both very much.

REBA MCENTIRE: Thank you.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Jay. Our next question is going to be from (Steven McCoy @ 00:08:06).

QUESTION: Hi, how are you, everyone?

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Hello, Steven.

QUESTION: Hi, Mr. John and Ms. Reba. I wanted to ask you, I mean, this is such a beautiful story, by the way. You have a parent who was once (in a group @ 00:08:20) in the past, and now get a chance to reunite. Now for you individually, have you guys ever gone through anything like that where you had to reunite with someone from your past and try to get into a warm spirit such as this one in the film?

REBA MCENTIRE: I have.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: I tried it once. It didn’t work out so well for me. It worked out much better in the movie.

(Laughter.)

REBA MCENTIRE: In those situations it is pretty much like acting, and you have to move along with things to make it great for the rest of the family; yes.

QUESTION: What is a good moment that happened between you guys on set? Like what is the most funnest moment that you can give us?

REBA MCENTIRE: (Inaudible @ 00:09:09).

JOHN SCHNEIDER: You know, my fun, my most memorable moment was when we were doing that scene where we were being interviewed, and we started to look at each other. Our timing became exactly the same, and I don’t think we realize it, but the crew breaking up because we were so funny together. So that was my favorite part, kind of like doing what we’re doing right now, but the Zoom thing makes it a little awkward. We’re much funnier when we’re not on a Zoom call.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thank you, guys, so much.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: You’re welcome.

REBA MCENTIRE: Thank you.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: And have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas —

QUESTION: Happy Holidays.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We’re going to try Jamie Ruby again.

QUESTION: Hello, can you hear me this time?

MODERATOR: Yes.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yes.

REBA MCENTIRE: Yes.

QUESTION: Oh, sorry about that before. Hi, guys. So you talk about what’s so much fun, can you talk about what you found the most challenging doing this film?

REBA MCENTIRE: I think the most challenging thing that all of us can speak for was trying to film a Christmas movie in the heat and humidity of Nashville, Tennessee. That was the hardest part, but we endured. We got through it, and everybody had a wonderful time.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Yeah. The hours were not bad at all. It was hot, obviously, but you always do a Christmas movie in July, as you always do a beach movie in November and December. I didn’t have any difficulty with anything except maybe not eating all the snacks, because they were great.

QUESTION: All right. Thank you so much.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: You’re welcome. You have a great day.

QUESTION: You too.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We actually have a question here for Norm. Norm, your character is Duke who plays the musical director, and he also sort of plays the mediator between Georgia and Joe. Can you talk a little bit about your role?

NORM LEWIS: Yeah. First of all, being in this movie was exciting for me with these two OGs right here. And then working with — You know, we’ve seen Candice grow up on television, and now she’s got her own family now, you know, with a blended family. And then this amazing young man Justin, working with this great crew, it was so much fun. But to answer your question, yeah, I was happy to be a yenta. I was happy to be that person knowing that these two actually are meant to be together. I’ve actually had situations like that before, so I pulled from those experiences to try to bring that into the movie.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you so much, Norm. Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

QUESTION: Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for your time this afternoon. Candice, it’s so incredible to see you have these iconic actors as your parents. Talk about working with Reba and John.

CANDICE KING: Yeah. I mean, that was one of the most exciting things when I was flying into Nashville to do this was just knowing immediately being in a room with so many talented people that I’ve admired for years. It couldn’t have been a warmer welcome. I think that, you know, the tone on set usually starts from the top, and the tone on set was happy, jolly, you know, beautiful — all the Christmas feelings you could ever imagine, and I think that is attributed to, you know, Reba and John, the joy that you each brought to work every day. So, and, honestly, I just had to try not to geek out the whole time every time they were singing live. I mean, they had to rehearse in front of us, and it was so beautiful. John was always just strumming his guitar whenever he had a guitar in the scene, and I think that it’s just imperative on sets that someone’s always in a room playing a guitar.

NORM LEWIS: Yeah.

CANDICE KING: I think that needs to be a new like rule —

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Good idea.

CANDICE KING: –because it is so soothing, and just it was a blast of an experience.

QUESTION: Justin, you and Candice have such great onscreen chemistry as well. Did you feel that instantly as well, or did you guys spend some time together to flesh out this on-screen relationship?

JUSTIN DAVID: I think right off the bat when we met each other we had a good, you know, relationship right there and just like also just getting to know each other on like a friendship level just because we’re going to be working so closely together, you know. And it was very nice. Like it flowed in the story and like, you know, work alongside everyone, because it is essentially like a family that I’m working with, you know. Like we got Reba being Belle’s mom and John being Belle’s dad. Like it was really easy. It was awesome, honestly. Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you all so much for your time.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Jamie.

REBA MCENTIRE: Thank you.

NORM LEWIS: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Rick Bentley.

QUESTION: John and Reba, both of you have done projects where you’ve had to sing in them, and then other projects where there was no singing involved. When you have a role where you have to sing, does that feel like I’m going to do something with an old friend, and it makes it more comfortable? Or does it add another layer of, “Oh, my gosh. I now have to not only know my lines and do the acting, but I also have to sing.”

REBA MCENTIRE: Go ahead, John.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Well, I tell you, it was — thank you — it was, it truly was getting to work with an old friend. Reba and I met each other quite some time ago, and for me — because I’m a theater brat, I started doing theater like Norm. I started doing theater when I was very young, eight years old — so when the opportunity came about for me to do this, this is actually the biggest musical production that I’ve ever done on camera. So I very much looked forward to it. It didn’t scare me. It kind of wrapped itself around me like a warm, Christmas blanket, to be honest with you, and to be able to do it with Reba was icing on the cake, absolutely.

REBA MCENTIRE: Aww. I echo those sentiments exactly. I had a wonderful time singing with John, adding music to the story was wonderful for me, and I totally enjoyed it.

QUESTION: Thank you.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Noah Wilson.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It is so great to be here with you guys. By the way, I must just first off say, I don’t think anyone has said this yet, you guys look phenomenal. You loo amazing. Festive. All holiday-ish. I love it. And my first question is to you, Reba. I want to ask you playing Georgia Winter in Reba McEntire’s “Christmas in Tune,” could you see similarities between yourself in Georgia as she’s also a country artist in this film?

REBA MCENTIRE: Definitely. And I think that’s what made it so much more easy for me to perform and play that part, because a lot of the decisions that Georgia made are the decisions that Reba would make.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Uh huh.

REBA MCENTIRE: And the things that she would say Reba would say, so I definitely think there was a similarity there.

QUESTION: Now, John, we see Georgia and Joe have had some bad blood between them from years past as a singing duo, but eventually we see them rekindle their relationship in the movie through the power of music. What was one of your favorite songs to perform with Reba in this holiday movie?

Zoom panel with the actorsJOHN SCHNEIDER: Oh, it must have been “The Mistletoe.” Hands-down. What a beautiful song.

REBA MCENTIRE: Gorgeous.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Got a wonderful meter to it. I can’t remember who did the orchestration and the recording of the music, but it is fantastic. And we talked earlier about it. It’s very difficult to write and perform a new, great, Christmas song, because there’s a lot of wonderful Christmas songs out there. I think that this particular song is going to withstand the test of time. I think it’s going to be a new favorite Christmas song on radio for years to come,

QUESTION: And my last question is to you, Candice. We will see your character Belle work with the U. S. Army to put on their holiday fundraiser for the Snowball Event. How important is it to think of our troops during the holiday season as they fight to serve our country —

JOHN SCHNEIDER: (Right @ 00:17:07).

QUESTION: — as they fight to serve our country every single day out of the year?

CANDICE KING: I think it’s incredibly important. I mean, I think collectively, as a world, we experience what it’s like to be separated from family and not be able to immediately see people we want to see when we were all, you know, quarantined last year. And so those that are not only sacrificing their lives, but their time away from loved ones for very long periods of time, I think it’s important to just keep them in our minds and our hearts, especially — you know, all year round — but also during the holidays.

QUESTION: Absolutely. Thank you for your time.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

CANDICE KING: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. That’s all the time we have today for the “Christmas in Tune” panel. We want to say a big thank you to the entire cast for joining us today, and everybody please tune into the movie on November 26th.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Thank you, everybody.

REBA MCENTIRE: Bye-bye.

NORM LEWIS: Merry Christmas.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Bye-bye. Merry Christmas.

REBA MCENTIRE: Merry Christmas.

CANDICE KING: Thank you.

JOHN SCHNEIDER: Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget Thanksgiving.

NORM LEWIS: Oh, yeah. That.

QUESTION: And, Norm Lewis, good luck on Broadway and everything. I’ve seen you on Broadway on —

NORM LEWIS: Thank you. Thank you so much.

MORE INFO:

It's a Wonderful Lifetime Press Day invitationLifetime Unveils Full Slate for “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” 2021

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME Programming Event Beginning November 12th, Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Talent Around the Tree This Year Includes Kelly Rowland, Reba McEntire, Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, Jana Kramer, Marie Osmond, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Tatyana Ali, Roselyn Sánchez, Jacky Lai, Mýa, Ryan McPartlin, Thomas Cadrot, Bresha Webb, Candice King, Emeraude Tobia, Aimee Garcia, Haylie Duff, Ricki Lake, Kirk Franklin, John Schneider, Maria Menounos, Chad Michael Murray, AnnaLynne McCord, and Many Others

Los Angeles, CA – September 28, 2021 – Get ready for the most cheerful holiday season yet! Lifetime announces its largest holiday movie slate ever for the network’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming event, kicking off November 12th with five new movies Fridays and Saturdays, and a premiere on Sunday, November 21st. Then, once the Thanksgiving feast is over and for the first time ever, Lifetime will premiere 30 new movies, in 30 days, with a new movie EVERY DAY from November 26 through December 25. As the #1 holiday movie destination, Lifetime’s 2021 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate will feature 35 new movies and over 1000 hours of holiday programming.

In case that’s not enough excitement for you – get ready for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Holiday Movie Preview hosted by Tia Mowry (star of this year’s Miracle in Motor City)! This special will preview Lifetime’s upcoming 2021 Christmas Movies and will be available on VOD beginning October 24 and will premiere on Lifetime November 7 at 10am ET/PT. In addition to sneak peeks and cast interviews, Tia will share a special holiday treat or cocktail recipe to go with each movie previewed!

At Lifetime it’s never too early to get in the spirit! Beginning October 15, Lifetime VOD will have 10 of your favorite holiday titles available to screen. And if you just can’t get enough – starting November 12, LMC will have 50 of Lifetime’s best holiday movies available to stream!

An Ice Wine Christmas

Starring Roselyn Sánchez & Lyriq Bent

11/12 at 8pm / 7c

One of Philadelphia’s top wine sommeliers, Camila (Roselyn Sánchez) goes home to the magical vineyards of Evergreen, NY, to take part in the town’s annual Ice Wine Christmas Festival and harvest. While there, Camila spends time with her mother Sunny (Maria del Mar) and sister Beth (AnnaMaria Demara), who manages the local winery for Camila’s former ice wine mentor, Henry (Richard Fitzpatrick). But Camila discovers changes are coming as Henry plans to retire, scaling down the Christmas Festival. Beth also recently hired wine specialist Declan (Lyriq Bent) who plans to take the operation to full year production. Believing in the importance of preserving the magic of ‘Christmas in a bottle’, Camila shares with Declan her passion for Christmas and what an authentic ice wine harvest can bring.

An Ice Wine Christmas is produced by Cineflix Media in association with Wishing Floor Films. It is executive produced by Danielle von Zerneck, Jeff Vanderwal, Sherri Rufh & Charles Tremayne. Jill Carter directs from a script by Kelly Fullerton.

A Picture Perfect Holiday

Starring Tatyana Ali, Henderson Wade & Dina Meyer

11/13 at 8pm / 7c

Fashion photographer Gaby Jones (Tatyana Ali) is eager to make a name for herself and finally gets her chance when she lands a coveted job at a magazine. Encouraged by an editor (Dina Meyer) to attend the annual Christmas Photography Retreat in the small town of Pine Falls to ramp up her skills, Gaby reluctantly signs up despite not being a huge fan of the holidays. When she arrives, she learns her rental has been double booked with wildlife photographer, Sean (Henderson Wade) but soon discovers there’s more to a photo than what you see through the lens. As the two fall for each other, their life choices start to get in the way and the two must decide if they’re willing to take a risk in order to share a picture perfect holiday together.

A Picture Perfect Holiday is produced by HYBRID, LLC and includes an original song sung by Tatyana Ali.

Dancing Through the Snow

Starring AnnaLynne McCord, Colin Lawrence & Bianca Lawrence

11/19 at 8pm / 7c

Michael Foster (Colin Lawrence) is a firefighter and devoted single father to 8- year-old Lily (Bianca Lawrence), an aspiring ballerina. After a video goes viral of Michael and Lily doing an adorable ballet routine, Michael becomes the most eligible bachelor, as women everywhere want to date this adorable Dad. However, the only woman Michael has eyes for is Lily’s ballet teacher, Olivia (AnnaLynne McCord). Will Michael be able to dance his way into Olivia’s heart?

Dancing Through the Snow is produced by Champlain Media. Barbara Fisher, Tom Berry and Gilles Laplante serve as executive producers. Paul Shapiro directs from a script by Adam Rockoff.

You Make it Feel Like Christmas

Starring Mary Antonini, Michael Xavier, Stephanie Sy & Alex Poch-Goldin

11/20 at 8pm / 7c

Emma (Mary Antonini) is a talented designer who finds herself too busy to return home for the holidays after her work catches the eye of design guru Kate Marguiles (Stephanie Sy), much to her father, Tom’s (Alex Poch-Goldin) dismay. When her ex-boyfriend and childhood best friend Aaron (Michael Xavier) returns home after active military duty, he makes it his mission to get her home to celebrate their Christmas traditions.

You Make It Feel Like Christmas is produced by MarVista Entertainment. Suzanne L. Berger, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew and Marianne C. Wunch serve as executive producers. Lisa France directs from a script by Jessica Glassberg, Michael Varrati and Guy Yosub.

Baking Spirits Bright

Starring Rekha Sharma, Dion Johnstone, Aadila Dosani, Praneet Akilla, Manoj Sood & Nimet Kanji

11/21 at 8pm / 7c

Mira Varma (Rekha Sharma) takes pride in her family’s business of making fruitcakes, despite the decline in its popularity of once being America’s most-gifted holiday confection. When Mira’s parents decide to hire Brady Phillips (Dion Johnstone) and his high-powered marketing company to boost sales for the holidays, Mira must fight to hold onto the heart of the company she loves so much.

Baking Spirits Bright is produced by BRB Pictures and Nicely Entertainment. Executive producers include Kristofer McNeeley, Chaya Ransen, Vanessa Shapiro, and Jenni Baynham. Aubrey Arnason directs from a script by Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou.

Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune

Starring Reba McEntire, John Schneider, Candice King & Justin David

11/26 at 8pm / 7c

Years after their personal and professional breakup, the singing duo of Georgia (Reba McEntire) and Joe Winter (John Schneider) agree to reunite after their daughter, Belle (Candice King), asks them to participate in a Christmas Charity concert, only to find themselves getting back in tune on stage and off.

Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune is produced by Hartbreak Films with Paula Hart, Reba McEntire and Melissa Joan Hart serving as executive producers. Emily Moss Wilson directs from a script by Juliet Giglio and Keith Giglio.

Merry Liddle Christmas Baby

Starring Kelly Rowland, Thomas Cadrot, Bresha Webb, Latonya Williams, Jaime M. Callica & Nathan Witte

11/27 at 8pm / 7c

This holiday, the Liddles have much to be merry about! Jacquie Liddle (Kelly Rowland) and her husband Tyler (Thomas Cadrot) are preparing for the arrival of their first baby. Meanwhile, Jacquie’s sister Treena (Latonya Williams) and her husband Julian (Jaime M. Callica) are thinking about adopting a baby themselves, and spirited, fashionista sister Kiara’s (Bresha Webb) relationship with Chris (Nathan Witte) is heating up. With Jacquie’s family expanding in ways she could never have expected, the Liddles are headed for a crazy Christmas filled with merry mayhem and lots of love and laughter.

Merry Liddle Christmas Baby is produced by Liddle Road Productions III Ltd and Charles Cooper. Kelly Rowland, Loretha Jones, Tim Weatherspoon and Denielle Jackson serve as executive producers. Allen Lewis and Bianca Versteeg serve as supervising producers. Kelly Fyffe-Marshall directs from a script by Andrea Stevens.

Miracle in Motor City

Starring Tia Mowry, Mark Taylor & Smokey Robinson

11/28 at 8pm / 7c

Amber Dupont (Tia Mowry) bites off more than she can chew when she takes charge of her church’s annual Christmas pageant and inadvertently promises to deliver a special performance by Motown Legend Smokey Robinson. When her best friends secretly enlist Amber’s former flame Eddie (Mark Taylor) to help – the pair reconnect in a quest to find Smokey and convince him to appear. With the clock ticking, family, friends, and superstar Smokey Robinson come together to stage the most special pageant yet.

Miracle in Motor City is produced by Cineflix Media with Tia Mowry, Charles Tremayne, and Jeff Vanderwal serving as executive producers. Gaylyn Fraiche consults on behalf of Tia Mowry. Alfons Adetuyi directs from a script by Rhonda Baraka.

Welcome to the Christmas Family Reunion

Starring Michelle Argyris, Alonzo B. Slater & Asia’h Epperson

11/29 at 8pm / 7c

Event planner Amy (Michelle Argyris) helps rising singer Tiffanie Christmas (Asia’h Epperson) plan her holiday family reunion. Along the way Amy must navigate some challenging family dynamics, especially amongst Tiffanie’s aunts as well as her own growing feelings for Tiffanie’s cousin, Calvin (Alonzo B. Slater). Will she be able to pull off an amazing Christmas family reunion? Vanessa Williams, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Catherine Haena Kim co-star.

Welcome to the Christmas Family Reunion is produced by The Ninth House and Nicely Entertainment. Feras Khatib, Raed Odeh, Vanessa Shapiro and Melody Tsai serve as executive producers. Jake Helgren writes and directs.

Saying Yes to Christmas

Starring Erika Prevost & Romaine Waite

11/30 at 8pm / 7c

A magical Christmas wish makes a career-obsessed June (Erika Prevost) say “Yes” to every invitation while she’s home for the holidays. But when an old flame, Blake (Romaine Waite) joins her hectic schedule of Christmas activities, past feelings are reignited. June must choose between saying yes to her career and life in the city or to her heart in her hometown.

Saying Yes to Christmas is produced by Champlain Media. Laurence Braun, Barbara Fisher, Tom Berry and Suzanne Chapman serve as executive producers. Graeme Campbell directs from a script by John Dion.

Match Made in Mistletoe

Starring Natalie Lisinska & Damon Runyan

12/1 at 8pm / 7c

When talented interior designer Emily Barnes (Natalie Lisinska) is hired by a foreign embassy in DC to decorate for their annual holiday charity ball, the newly appointed ambassador Magnus Andersson’s (Damon Runyan) “minimalist” approach creates a roadblock between them. As Emily’s undeniable love for the holiday season begins to thaw his heart, an unexpected romance begins between the two.

Match Made in Mistletoe is produced by Champlain Media. Suzanne Chapman, Laurence Braun and Tom Berry serve as executive producers. Adrian Langley directs from a script by Jennifer Edwards, Jennifer Miller and Shannon Latimer. Story by Jennifer Edwards and Amy Taylor.

A Christmas Village Romance

Starring Jake Epstein, Jeni Ross & Oliver Renaud

12/2 at 8pm / 7c

When romance novelist Diana (Jeni Ross) learns that Maple Creek, a charming pioneer village, is struggling to stay afloat, she uses her notoriety to help generate interest in the town by sponsoring a Christmas gala. Diana rallies her family and friends to pitch in, but she’s challenged at every turn by the village blacksmith and town historian, Carter (Jake Epstein). Sparks fly as the two must work together to save the village in time for Christmas. But when her gorgeous cover model and secret crush, Greg (Olivier Renaud), surprises Diana the night before the big Christmas gala, she’s torn on who to choose and must take a page out of her novels to figure out her true happily ever after.

A Christmas Village Romance is produced by Neshama Entertainment and MarVista Entertainment. Marly Reed, Marianne C. Wunch and Arnie Zipursky serve as executive producers. Max McGuire directs from a script by Scotty Mullen.

A Christmas Dance Reunion

Starring Corbin Bleu & Monique Coleman

12/3 at 8pm / 7c

Successful attorney Lucy Mortimer (Monique Coleman), along with her mother Virginia (Kim Roberts) returns to the Winterleigh Resort to help celebrate the hotel’s final Christmas season. Once there, Lucy is reunited with the owner’s nephew and her childhood Christmas Dance partner, Barrett Brewster (Corbin Bleu). Though the resort has fallen on hard times and has stopped most holiday events, Lucy leads the charge in recreating the beloved Christmas traditions, including the popular Christmas Dance, to bring together new families and new hope to the resort. Now, Lucy must decide if she’s willing to take a risk on love and partner up once more with Barrett for what could be the last Christmas Dance.

A Christmas Dance Reunion is produced by Off Camera Entertainment and Brain Power Studio with Stephanie Slack, Margret H. Huddleston and Beth Stevenson as Executive Producers. Megan Henry Herzlinger and Brian Herzlinger serve as writers. Brian Herzlinger also directs.

Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas

Starring Demetria McKinney, Chaz Lamar Shepherd & Kirk Franklin

12/4 at 8pm / 7c

When Olivia (Demetria McKinney), a young assistant pastor, gets assigned to be a lead pastor at a new church a month before Christmas, she’s fearful she can’t manage the transition, including getting the choir ready to open the town’s annual Winter Jamboree. Banding together with her new congregation, Olivia discovers a new home for herself, and even finds a little Christmas romance along the way! Featuring a special appearance and songs written and arranged by Kirk Franklin.

Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas is produced by Swirl Films and Big Dreams Entertainment. Executive produced by Kirk Franklin and Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd and produced by Leslie Greif, Eric Tomosunas and Ron Robinson. Erica Sutherlin directs a script by Kourtney Richard.

My Favorite Christmas Melody

Starring Mýa & Rainbow Sun Francks

12/5 at 8pm / 7c

Once a promising singer-songwriter, Abby (Mýa) now finds herself writing uninspired jingles for commercials. As she heads home for the holidays, she’s enlisted by the local high school music teacher to help save the school arts program. In the process, Abby rediscovers her voice and regains the confidence to go after her dreams and lets the possibility of love in too. Rainbow Sun Francks also stars.

My Favorite Christmas Melody is produced by Champlain Media. Lexi Lewis, Barbara Fisher, Tom Berry and Suzanne Chapman serve as executive producers. Michael Kennedy directs from a script by Lauren Balson Carter. Story by Josh Brekhus and Lauren Balson Carter.

Secretly Santa

Starring Alicia Dea Josipovoc & Travis Nelson

12/6 at 8pm / 7c

Miranda (Alicia Dea Josipovic) and Paul (Travis Nelson) are business rivals who accidentally meet at a costumed Santa crawl and spend a romantic evening together without learning each other’s identities. As their anonymous romance continues online, their businesses merge, forcing them into an unwanted partnership. As they clash while working together on a holiday gift-giving app, their hearts must reconcile their online love when unexpected feelings develop for one another.

Secretly Santa is produced by Champlain Media. Laurence Braun, Jayde Siwy, Tom Berry and Suzanne Chapman serve as executive producers. Sharon Lewis directs from a script by John Dion.

Christmas Movie Magic

Starring Holly Deveaux & Drew Seeley

12/7 at 8pm / 7c

When entertainment writer Alli Blakeman (Holly Deveaux) is assigned a story covering the anniversary of a classic Christmas movie in the small town where it was filmed, she agrees on the condition that it could lead to a big promotion. When she meets a local theatre owner Brad (Drew Seeley), they unravel the mysterious origins of the movie’s signature song and Alli learns that movie magic isn’t always just on-screen.

Christmas Movie Magic is produced by Chesler/Perlmutter Productions. Lewis Chesler, David Perlmutter, Robert Vaughn, Julie Di Cresce, Robin Dunne, Fariba Jahanbin, Jennifer Gibson, Alan Mintz and Marek Posival serve as executive producers. Robert Vaughn directs from a script by Rickie Castaneda & Megan Hocking. Story by Caitlin English and James Blakeman.

Christmas With a Crown

Starring Marcus Rosner & Lisa Durupt

12/8 at 8pm / 7c

After Cassie (Lisa Durupt) returns to her hometown to revive her family’s traditional Christmas festival, she meets a dashing stranger, Nicolas (Marcus Rosner), who’s volunteered to help organize the event. Sparks begin to fly between them, but little does she know that he’s really a prince in disguise, longing to find the true spirit of the holidays. It will take a Christmas miracle of royal proportions for their hearts to meet as one.

Christmas with a Crown is distributed by Vision Films and produced by Northern Gateway Films. Lisa Durupt and Marcus Rosner serve as executive producers. Andrew Scholotiuk, Michell Molineux, Michael Lazarovitch and Dylan Pearce serve as producers, Dylan Pearce directs from a script by Michael Varrati.

A Fiancé for Christmas

Starring Marie Osmond, Amanda Payton & Adam Gregory

12/9 at 8pm / 7c

Perpetually single Sawyer (Amanda Payton) makes a fake wedding registry, hoping a shopping spree with a scan gun will be the ultimate retail therapy. But when the registry is discovered and the whole town throws her a surprise bridal shower, she’s too embarrassed to tell the truth. Instead, she finds a fake fiancé to help her navigate through the lies and holiday festivities. However, as real feelings develop between Sawyer and her fake fiancé, they may turn into the real deal after all. Adam Gregory and Marie Osmond also star.

A Fiancé for Christmas is produced by GO FILMS and Happy Wives, LLC. Greg Sperry, Darla Sperry and Stephen Craig serve as executive producers. Ryan Little directs from a script by Angeline Olschewski.

Holiday in Santa Fe

Starring Mario Lopez, Emeraude Toubia, Aimee Garcia & Gia Lopez

12/10 at 8pm / 7c

Casa de Milagro is a family-owned business that makes holiday ornaments and décor, inspired by Mexican Christmas traditions. Their award-winning designs, created by matriarch Milagro Ortega, are highly sought after each holiday season. Siblings Tony (Mario Lopez) and Magdalena (Aimee Garcia), with help from their dad (Efrain Figueroa), run the shop in Santa Fe, but when their beloved Milagro unexpectedly passes, the family struggles to find its heart. With Milagro gone, Belinda Sawyer (Emeraude Toubia), an executive at one of the largest greeting card and holiday décor chains, sees an opportunity to acquire the company. When sparks fly between Belinda and Tony, Belinda realizes there is more to Casa de Milagro than meets the eye.

Holiday in Santa Fe is Executive Produced by Mario Lopez, Co-Produced by Jeff Stearns and Produced by Mark Roberts. Jody Margolin Hahn directs from a script by Cristela Alonzo.

The Holiday Fix Up

Starring Jana Kramer, Ryan McPartlin & Maria Menounos

12/11 at 8pm / 7c

When Sam (Jana Kramer), the designer behind a popular home renovation show, returns to her hometown during the holidays to help renovate the Bell Harbor Inn, she gets paired with Coop (Ryan McPartlin) as her lead contractor. The only problem – he’s the guy who broke her heart and she’s the one who got away. Sparks fly as they work closely to get the renovations done in time for the inn’s annual Christmas Eve Harborfest. Will they be able to fix the mistakes of their past to build a future together? Maria Menounos also stars.

The Holiday Fix Up is produced by Off Camera Entertainment with Stephanie Slack, Margret H. Huddleston, Jana Kramer and Ryan McPartlin as Executive Producers. Written by Jessica Koosed Etting and directed by Brian Herzlinger.

People Presents: Blending Christmas

Starring Haylie Duff & Aaron O’Connell

12/12 at 8pm / 7c

The Hacienda de la Sierra is Emma’s (Haylie Duff) favorite place to spend the holiday season and her boyfriend Liam (Aaron O’Connell) has been secretly planning to propose to her there, surrounded by both their families. Emma is delighted when she arrives to find the whole family bunch there. Of course, no holiday gathering is complete without drama, and soon the families are bickering over every detail! The added stress from trying to blend the two families eventually takes a toll on Emma and Liam, who start questioning their own relationship. Now just days before Christmas, the two families realize that they’re going to have to work together in order to reunite Emma and Liam! Blending Christmas also stars Beth Broderick, Christopher Knight, Greg Evigan, Mike Lookinland, Barry Williams, Susan Olsen, Robbie Rist, Telma Hopkins and Jennifer Elise Cox.

Blending Christmas is produced by HYBRID, LLC.

Maps and Mistletoe

Starring Humberly González & Ronnie Row

12/13 at 8pm / 7c

Emilia Martin (Humberly González), a cartographer of school maps, has plans for a cozy Christmas at home until her boss has a last-minute project for her, designing a novelty treasure map of the North Pole. Emilia decides to seek out the expertise of North Pole explorer Drew Campbell (Ronnie Rowe), who reluctantly agrees to help her. As the two work closely, they discover more than either of them ever expected.

Maps and Mistletoe is produced by Christmas Explorer Productions, Inc in association with Johnson Production Group. Executive Producers are Timothy O. Johnson, Andrew C. Erin, and Dawn Wolfrom. Max McGuire directs from a script by W. Stewart.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Starring Annie Clark & Dan Jeannotte

12/14 at 8pm / 7c

Ellie (Annie Clark), a serial “ghoster” on dating apps, is told by a fortune teller that she must resolve her past and make amends with all of those she ghosted before Christmas, or she is destined to never find true love! Over the course of one week, she takes it upon herself to track down all the men she ghosted before the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve and discovers love in the process.

Ghosts of Christmas Past is produced by Champlain Media. Lexi Lewis, Barbara Fisher, Tom Berry and Suzanne Chapman serve as executive producers. Virginia Abramovich directs from a script by Shannon Latimer.

The Enchanted Christmas Cake

Starring Erica Durance & Robin Dunne

12/15 at 8pm / 7c

After recently losing her grandmother, Gwen (Erica Durance) is struggling to run their bakery, regain the Christmas spirit, and figure out her grandmother’s magical recipe for the town’s legendary Enchanted Christmas Cake. So, when a high-end chef comes to town to film a Christmas special, Gwen reluctantly agrees to help the producer Gavin (Robin Dunne) prepare for the shoot to help support the bakery. As sparks fly, will she discover that Gavin is the secret ingredient she was missing all along?

The Enchanted Christmas Cake is produced by Chesler/Perlmutter Productions. Lewis Chesler, David Perlmutter, Robert Vaughn, Julie Di Cresce, Robin Dunne, Erica Durance, Alan Mintz and Marek Posival serve as executive producers. Robert Vaughn directs from a script by Linda Kupecek, Robin Dunne and Robert Vaughn.

Christmas by Chance

Starring Winny Clarke & Jacob Blair

12/16 at 8pm / 7c

Chance Charleswood (Winny Clarke) owns a struggling gift shop called “By Chance Gifts.” As the Christmas shopping season approaches, Chance is hired by William Richards (Jacob Blair), a wealthy and popular entrepreneur, to help him organize the perfect proposal for his girlfriend Leyla Brooks (Celeste Desjardins). When Chance needs to get closer to Leyla to find out what she likes, they devise a plan to have her attend their Christmas party as an old friend of the family. Chance and William continue to spend more time together with the hopes of devising the perfect proposal, but Leyla does not seem to be ready for marriage and each plan seems to fall apart. As Chance and William get to know each other more they begin to bring out the best in one another and are able to find their true selves along the way.

Christmas by Chance is produced by Defiant Empire and Northern Soul Film Company. Andrew Cymek, Brigitte Kingsley and Patrick McBrearty serve as executive producers. Andrew Cymek directs and Brigitte Kingsley writes and produces. Concept by Patrick McBrearty.

Mistletoe in Montana

Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Duane Henry & Jamey Sheridan

12/17 at 8pm / 7c

Welcome to Paradise Ranch, where city slickers get to be cowboys and cowgirls. Merry (Melissa Joan Hart), who owns the ranch has been unlucky in love, but that’s about to change when a single father, Mark (Duane Henry), and his two kids book the ranch for Christmas week. Adventure is on the menu, the holiday spirit is everywhere, and love is in the air.

Mistletoe in Montana is produced by Hartbreak Films with Paula Hart and Melissa Joan Hart serving as executive producers. Kellie Martin directs from a script by Don Perez.

Toying With The Holidays

Starring Chad Michael Murray & Cindy Busby

12/18 at 8pm / 7c

Workaholic designer Danielle (Cindy Busby) returns to her hometown of Holly Pines for the holidays with her young son Paul with hopes to introduce him to some beloved holiday traditions, in particular the town’s North Pole Express train. Once home, she discovers that the North Pole Express has been sidelined. Determined to help, Danielle reconnects with her former high school classmate Kevin (Chad Michael Murray), now a hobbyist and model train enthusiast himself. Together, Danielle and Kevin attempt to pull off a Christmas miracle that would get the old North Pole Express running–and quite possibly give Danielle many reasons, one of them romantic, to consider staying in Holly Pines for good…

Toying With the Holidays is produced by HP Tracks Productions Inc., in association with All Canadian Entertainment and Brad Krevoy Television. Brad Krevoy, Amanda Phillips, Eric Jarboe, Amy Krell, Lorenzo Nardini, Jimmy Townsend, Steve N. White, Susie Belzberg Krevoy and Kathy Ceroni serve as executive producers. Chad Michael Murray serves as co-executive producer. Bradley Walsh executive produces and directs from a script by John B. Mullino and Emily Moss Wilson.

Under the Christmas Tree

Starring Elise Bauman, Tattiawna Jones & Ricki Lake

12/19 at 8pm / 7c

Marketing whiz Alma Beltran (Elise Bauman) and Christmas tree whisperer Charlie Freemont (Tattiawna Jones) cross paths when Charlie finds the perfect tree for the Maine Governor’s Holiday Celebration – right in Alma’s back yard. While they initially spar, romantic sparks soon begin to fly between the two women as the enchanting tree and some Christmas fairy dust from the town’s pâtissière extraordinaire (Ricki Lake) bring out the best in them and spark each other to take leaps of faith and fight for love and Christmas magic.

Under the Christmas Tree is produced by Neshama Entertainment in association with MarVista Entertainment and Wishing Floor Films. It is executive produced by Danielle von Zerneck, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew, Suzanne Berger and Arnie Zipursky. Lisa Rose Snow directs from a script by Michael J. Murray.

Candy Cane Candidate

Starring Jacky Lai & Jake Epstein

12/20 at 8pm / 7c

Natural-born leader, Julia (Jacky Lai), returns to her hometown of North Falls for Christmas to drown her sorrows in eggnog, cookies, and Yuletide after her recent political campaign for city council ended in a landslide loss. It’s the perfect place for Julia’s holiday escape – until she realizes coming home means running into her old high school rival, Parker (Jake Epstein), the arrogant know-it-all who beat her in a race for senior class president. When the North Falls mayor resigns, the town holds an emergency election, and Julia and Parker find themselves once again facing off. But as Julia and Parker campaign their way through the Christmas season and plan a toy drive together, Julia begins to see a different side of Parker, and the ice between them slowly begins to thaw. As their political race comes to a head, Julia and Parker discover winning isn’t everything.

Candy Cane Candidate is produced by Neshama Entertainment in association with MarVista Entertainment. It is executive produced by Megan Ellstrom, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew, and Arnie Zipursky. Pat Kiely directs from a script by Melissa Bustamante.

The Christmas Ball

Starring Deidre Mullins, Nick Hendrix & Caroline Langrishe

12/21 at 8pm / 7c

When lead ballerina Clare Fitzgerald (Deidre Mullins) is let go before the Christmas season’s Nutcracker, she’s beyond devastated and jumps at the opportunity to visit her Aunt Bridget (Caroline Langrishe) in England during the holidays. Once there, she meets Liam (Nick Hendrix), a local professor and historian who is helping Aunt Bridget preserve the family manor. Clare discovers that Christmas Regency balls were once held at the manor, prompting Aunt Bridget to propose they hold a ball as part of Liam’s presentation to the preservation society. As Clare and Liam work together, the two also waltz into a new romance.

The Christmas Ball is produced by Headlong Entertainment and MarVista Entertainment. Milos Djukelic, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew and Marianne C. Wunch serve as executive producers. Amy Barrett directs from a script by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin.

It Takes a Christmas Village

Starring Brooke Nevins, Corey Sevier & Alli Chung

12/22 at 8pm / 7c

In order to make the town’s Christmas market a reality, Mayor Alex Foster (Brooke Nevin) must convince the reclusive Darcy Hawkins (Corey Sevier) to loan out his family’s historic mill, which is no easy task thanks to a long-running family feud. But as Alex slowly chips away at Darcy’s frosty exterior, their feelings grow beyond the interest of the town, leading this unlikely duo to the prospect of love.

It Takes a Christmas Village is produced by Vortex Media. Justin Rebelo and Bill Marks serve as executive producers. Corey Sevier directs from a script by Kate Pragnell.

Rebuilding a Dream Christmas

Starring Meggan Kaiser, Zane Stephens & Bryson JonSteele

12/23 at 8pm / 7c

Successful real estate broker Abbey (Meggan Kaiser) is forced back to her hometown to repair a Victorian house she inherited from her grandmother. She decides to sell the house and hires single dad, Josh (Zane Stephens), to help with the repairs. Working together brings up memories from her past and as her relationship with Josh and his eight-year-old son Noah (Bryson JonSteele) grows, Abbey finds her calling and makes a home for herself.

Rebuilding a Dream Christmas is produced by American Cinema Inspires with George Shamieh executive producing. Sandra L. Martin directs from a script by Amy Bircher, D.F.W. Buckingham and Robert Tiffe.

Hot Chocolate Holiday

Starring Aubrey Reynolds & Jonny Swenson

12/24 at 8pm / 7c

Colette (Aubrey Reynolds) runs a coffee shop that is known for her secret and famous hot chocolate. When Marcus (Jonny Swenson), a new dessert shop owner, starts to draw in Colette’s customers with his very own specialty hot chocolate that tastes exactly like the recipe from her beloved grandmother, she is determined to expose him. But as she gets to know Marcus, sparks fly between the cocoa connoisseurs

Hot Chocolate Holiday is produced by Silver Peak Productions and Candlelight Media Group. AJC Pennyworth and Elisa Jan serve as executive producers. Brian Brough directs from a script by Brittany Wiscombe.

Writing Around the Christmas Tree

Starring Krystal Joy Brown & Curtis Hamilton

12/25 at 8pm / 7c

Mikaela (Krystal Joy Brown) a successful romance novelist who has had bad luck in love, visits a quaint bed and breakfast for a Christmas writer’s retreat near a snowy lake town each year. Upon arriving, she meets dashing writer, Levi (Curtis Hamilton) who soon convinces Mikaela that she shouldn’t be writing about love, if she doesn’t allow herself to get out and actually experience it.

Writing Around the Christmas Tree is produced by The Ninth House and Nicely Entertainment. Vanessa Shapiro executive produces, and Jake Helgren writes and directs.

ABOUT LIFETIME

Celebrating 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, high-quality scripted series and breakout non-fiction series. Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long running Stop Breast Cancer for Life now in its 25th year, Stop Violence Against Women which relaunched in 2018, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television(R), LMN(R), Lifetime Real Women(R) and Lifetime Digital(TM) are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

John Schneider and Rebe McEntire in "Christmas in Tune" on Lifetime

Interview with Gloria Reubens

TV Interview!

Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina, and Camila Nunez of "Torn From Her Arms" on Lifetime

Interview with Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina, and Camila Nunez of “Torn From Her Arms” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

I haven’t seen this movie yet, but it sounds like a good one. I enjoyed chatting with the women on the panel.  The little girl was super cute! Don’t miss it October 30.

MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone.  Thank you for joining us today.  Please welcome our panelists: Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina, and Camila Nunez.

JUDY REYES:  Hello.

MODERATOR:  Before we get to some of our questions for today, Camila, can you tell us a little bit how you prepared for your role in this film?

CAMILA NUNEZ:  Yes.  Hi, everybody.  I did with my acting coach, with the director Alan and (Mama Fati @ 01:14:49) in the movie (inaudible @ 01:14:50) and do a good job.

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Thank you so much.  Suzanne, you’re up.

QUESTION:  Gloria, can you tell us something about your character in this movie, because I didn’t get to see it?

GLORIA REUBEN:  Well, Ginger Thompson is the journalist who broke the story.  I don’t know how much I’m able to disclose, but I will — You know, it’s common knowledge that a tape was leaked, and Ginger got hold of the tape from inside the detention center, one of them, that’s all I’m going to say, and she broke the story.  She, as soon as she heard the tape, she was up all night documenting it, writing about it, and submitted it to “ProPublica” and, yeah, the rest is history.  The whole world ended up knowing about what was exactly going on.  It’s great.  She’s amazing.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Great.  I can’t wait to see it.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Suzanne.  Jamie, you’re up next.

QUESTION:  It’s such an incredible movie.  Judy, for you, what was it that really drew you to this project?  I mean to have four strong female leads is probably enough, but also the subject matter has to be a little strenuous on you as well though.

JUDY REYES:  I mean, I was immediately attracted to the story.  I’ve been a huge follower of the issues on the border for the last four years since it gained all that attention, and it really mattered to me as a mother.  I’m completely heartbroken by the fact that a government would separate the children from their parents.  I can’t imagine what it’s like and the thought of it always made me cry.  It felt like a bit of a gift to me when it came in my direction to be able to participate in the telling of the story, and I was just excited and really honored to be a part of it along with, you know, if — The truth is if women don’t do it, it don’t get done.  And so this particular film with all these women fighting for each other, for themselves, for the truth, and for what’s right.

QUESTION:  And for Camila, you have to cry on camera so much.  It was so sad watching you with all those tears —

FATIMA MOLINA:  I know.

QUESTION:  How did you get into that frame of mind to be so sad?  And then how did you shake off those sad feelings?

FATIMA MOLINA:  It was really easy, you know, when you know the part, when you know the characters, and I had the possibility to talk to Cindy Madrid, who is the real character in real life, and when she told me what she had to — what happened to them, to her and her daughter, it was like so painful.  It was like really, really strong for me and you cannot go in, into that kind of part, into that feeling knowing everything what them was going through.  And, I don’t know, for me and for actresses, actors, it’s I know that what we do is to entertain, but if we can leave a message to the world this is ideal.  And I think this movie, it’s doing a risk.  For me, it’s really, really important that the world know this story, this history, and I know it’s a great, great movie and that you will enjoy it.

QUESTION:  Actually, my question was for Camila.  Camila, can you hear me?

CAMILA NUNEZ:  Yes.

QUESTION:  She’s on – – I was asking you it must have been very difficult for you to have to cry so much during the movie.  How did you shake off all those sad feelings?

MODERATOR:  Camila, we can come back to you if you want to think about it.  Judy, do you want to answer in the meantime —

CAMILA NUNEZ:  (Speaks Spanish.).

JUDY REYES:  She said she felt it.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

JUDY REYES:  And it was, I mean, it’s the simplest way to put it.  She’s a really extraordinary young actor and who has a real, real understanding and a connection of the story that she’s telling, and it was a real thrill to be around her.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yeah.

JUDY REYES:  And a real inspiration.  I mean, she’s a very powerful young actress.

GLORIA REUBEN (?):  She is.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Jay?

QUESTION:  Hello.  My question is for Gloria.  Actually, a two-pronged question for you, Gloria.  Did you actually meet Ginger and, if so, how did you find her?  And, also, journalism, as we know, is going through the times it’s going through, and reporters are being regarded and the way they’re being regarded.  Did you feel a special responsibility to portray journalism in the positive light that the story reflects?"Torn From Her Arms"

GLORIA REUBEN:  Right.  Well, I think the truth of the story reflects that kind of positive light on its own.  And, unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet Ginger in person.  I came on quite late in the process just prior to the film starting production, but I did end up meeting with her via Zoom shortly thereafter.  And, again, needless to say, she is extraordinary.  She’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and has been a journalist for I don’t know how many decades now, but she is extremely committed to the truth, and as you said, journalism has been under attack, particularly under the leadership of the same person that implemented Zero Tolerance Policy, right?  So I think that that both kind of goes hand-in-hand with the destruction of the truth and humanity and what many of us experienced either as unfortunate witnesses or part of the destruction of those two things as the story reveals.  So, again, Ginger, as you can imagine during that time when the story broke and she did travel to Texas, that she was not the only journalist who wanted to get the story, needless to say.  That’s how our story unfolds, but there was, and I believe very strongly, a continuous effort and dedication and drive and commitment to true journalism making its mark, because eventually the truth is revealed.  Now whether people choose to believe the truth we have no control over, but for those journalists like Ginger Thompson the fight continues.  So it was — I know this is said a lot, and I have portrayed actual living people before, but this one is — it’s pretty cool, if you will.  It’s too general a term, but she’s kind of a rock star in my book, so that says a lot.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

GLORIA REUBEN:  Welcome.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And there is some Spanish dialogue in this movie.  Can you speak to how important that was?  Anyone can take that.

JUDY REYES:  For me, it was very important.  It speaks to the authenticity of the story that we’re telling although it challenges the audience to actually keep up, but the fact is is that’s probably part of the challenge of the situation that caused this so-called Zero Tolerance Policy when people are not familiar.  But it gives us an opportunity to step into a world, into another’s person struggle through their very experience.  So, for me it was exciting to have a film that presents the Spanish and that we struggled to keep it in.  It was very important to all of us, everybody that you see on the screen, for the very reasons that that’s the story that you’re telling, and there’s really no reason not to.  Obviously, you have to allow a balance but I think that we did a really, really wonderful job, and I appreciate Life time for bringing the story to you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Howard, you’re up next.

QUESTION:  This question is for Judy.  As Gloria stated, the previous administration instituted this policy of zero tolerance and a separation of family, but that situation still is instituted.  It’s still occurring.  How many families are still separated and the reparation of the family members, how is that coming along?

JUDY REYES:  I can’t speak to the actual number, but it’s an unacceptable number.  It is in the thousands of the families that are still being separated from their children.  Some have been sent back.  Others are still here.  It’s been such a chaotic and disorganized and dreadful process that a lot of parents are having trouble seeking and finding where their children are.  I know that the current administration is doing what’s in their power to reunite the children, because they do acknowledge it.  We all wish, I know I wish, that it could be done faster, that more attention can be given to it, but I’m hopeful because attention, a light has been focused and given of the story of Cynthia and Jimena, and how the truth about the reasons that people come here, the struggle that they have getting here, the attempts that they make, the multiple attempts because things back home where they live are that bad, and the desensitization of the people who are in charge of these facilities, for lack of a better term, and always looking for that one light, because people who actually risk coming here are of extraordinary hope and faith and because they don’t want to surrender to the struggle, to the crime, to the threats, especially with their children, and I do appreciate the efforts that are being made by the current administration.

QUESTION:  Do you find any irony in the fact that this is a nation of immigrants and the fact that the person who instituted the policy was the son of a — a grandson of an immigrant and, yet, there seems to be a thought process that my family should be the last family that’s entered?

JUDY REYES:  Of course it’s absurd and it is rooted in a lot more than irony, and I also, as well as Fatima, got to speak to the people who play.  I got to speak to Thelma, and the thing about Thelma is that she’s been doing this for decades, because she knows that’s how it is and that’s how it’s always been, and our attempt in telling a story like this is it is that it changes, because it’s simply wrong.  It can’t be that because you came here before me or because your people came here in another way, on a boat, on a plane or whatever the heck, or undocumented, that you get to be the last one.  It speaks to a lot of the things that we have to pay attention in other countries where people leave for this very reason.  Nobody wants to leave their own land.  They want to leave fear and crime and danger.

GLORIA REUBEN:  Climate.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  (Makeesha @ 01:27:29).

QUESTION:  Yes.  I had a question for Fatima, Fatima.  Am I saying your name right?

FATIMA MOLINA:  Fatima, yes.

QUESTION:  Fatima.  Yes, I love your name.  Yes, I loved you on “Who Killed Sara,” and I wanted to talk about how —

FATIMA MOLINA:  Aw, thank you.

QUESTION:  Yes.  This is a very different motherhood role for you.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  And thankfully because we didn’t even get a — Well, I don’t want to ruin it for anybody.  But, anyway, can you talk about is that one of the reasons you wanted to take this role? And are you hoping to sort of broaden your audience and get more exposure on this side of the mat?

FATIMA MOLINA:  Well, I have no doubt of this story, you know.  I think this is a (call about @ 01:28:17) has happened and continue happening, and for me it’s real important that so many people can watch this movie, this story.  It’s really, really important for me as a Mexican.  I know that we are speaking for a lot of people, and this is really important for all the team that we are part of this.  And I’m so sure that so many people are going to understand what we want to say, this is not correct, and we want that things change in these kind of situations.  We really need changes in all the world, and I’m so glad to be a part of this project.  I’m so happy to share with these amazing people.  They’re amazing actresses, and I’m just so happy to present this.  I know this is a big, big call to a lot of people, and I feel good.

QUESTION:  Me too.  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And our final question before we go is for everyone.  If you could tell us what it was like filming on location in Mexico.

GLORIA REUBEN:  No comment.  No, I’m just kidding.

(Laughter.)

JUDY REYES:  You know, for me, because there was so much Spanish in the film it spoke to — it really challenged me.  Spanish was my first language, but I’ve communicated in English most of my life, and I’m from the Caribbean, and this is a, obviously, a Central American country.  There’s something palpable about the struggle that shooting on location brings you.  It kind of almost puts you in that place.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yeah.

JUDY REYES:  I think as actors we also have a tendency to create it.  It’s not like we’re dramatic or anything, but it was — I thought it was really essential.  It brought a lot to me and that I’ll always have with me, and the wonderful people that we work with just worked really hard to realize this film.  I think they received a challenge as well through the story that we were telling.

GLORIA REUBEN:  Yeah, no question.  I just have to say, Judy, to echo that, for sure, the crew was awesome.  It was amazing.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yes.

GLORIA REUBEN:  And I didn’t do a lot of exterior stuff but of course to have that kind of, you know, the stuff, the scenes that I know were shot exterior, you had to have it there and you had to film I there, because it’s literally in the air.  Everything looks different.  Everything feels different when you’re actually on the ground in the areas where, you know, that are very indicative of the true story so, yeah.  But, again, the crew, awesome, amazing, hard working and it was terrific in that regard, for sure.  Great director, too, so.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  Thank you to all our panelists today, and stay tuned for our next panel.

JUDY REYES:  Thank you.

MORE INFO:

Trailer Lifetime Site

Torn from Her Arms is the timely story of Cindy and Jimena Madrid, a mother and daughter who fled violence in El Salvador, only to be separated at the U.S. border. Detained in different centers, Cindy and Jimena’s story gained national attention when a gut-wrenching audiotape of six-year old Jimena crying for her motherwas leaked, helping to alert the world to what was happening to undocumented immigrant families at the border. Torn From Her Arms shines a spotlight on the harsh child separation policies in place as part of the zero-tolerance policy and the struggle to reunite families.

Lifetime Partners with KIND (Kids In Need Of Defense) on New PSA Featuring The Cast of Torn From Her Arms

LIFETIME PARTNERS WITH KIND (KIDS IN NEED OF DEFENSE) ON NEW PSA FEATURING THE CAST FROM TORN FROM HER ARMS PREMIERING OCTOBER 30

PSA to Run on Air and Be Featured on Lifetime and KIND’s Social and Digital Platforms
To Help Bring Awareness to the Ongoing Family Separation Crisis

View PSA Here.

Los Angeles, CA (October 14, 2021) – Lifetime is proud to partner with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the country’s preeminent nongovernmental organization devoted to the protection of unaccompanied and separated children, on a PSA featuring the cast from the network’s upcoming film Torn from Her Arms.  Additionally, Lifetime is donating $10,000 to KIND, to help in their efforts to raise awareness to the ongoing issue of family separation at the border.  The PSA, which features stars Judy Reyes, Fatima Molina, and Vicky Araico, will air on Lifetime following the premiere of Torn from Her Arms on October 30 at 8/7c and will run on both the network and KIND’s social and digital platforms.

“KIND is grateful to Lifetime for reminding audiences of the needless suffering caused by family separation. It’s pain that continues to this day as many children remain separated from their parents and live each day with this trauma,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Lifetime’s generous support will help KIND’s continuing family reunification efforts and our representation of separated children. Torn from Her Arms depicts a policy that must never happen again and encourages us to consider a more humane treatment of the most vulnerable seeking safety at our borders.”

Amidst the ongoing crisis at the U.S. border, Torn from Her Arms depicts the harrowing true story of a mother and daughter who must find their way back to each other after being separated. Judy Reyes (Devious Maids, Claws) takes on the role of Thelma Garcia, a Texas Immigration lawyer who works tirelessly to reunite the pair, and Gloria Reuben (Mr. Robot, ER) portrays Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist ProPublica reporter, Ginger Thompson, who broke the story. 

The movie follows Cindy Madrid (Fátima Molina, Who Killed Sara?) and her six-year-old daughter, Ximena (Camila Nuñez), who fled violence in El Salvador for safety in the U.S., only to be separated at the border as a part of the Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy. Detained in detention centers in different states, Cindy and Ximena endured inhumane living conditions and inadequate medical care, but that was nothing compared to the emotional toll of being apart. Their story would gain national attention when a whistleblower leaked a gut-wrenching audiotape of six-year-old Ximena crying for her mother. The onslaught of media attention incited by Ginger’s story alerted the nation to the cruelties being committed against undocumented immigrant families at the border.

ABOUT KIND

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is the preeminent U.S.-based nongovernmental organization devoted to the protection of unaccompanied and separated children. KIND envisions a world in which every unaccompanied child on the move has access to legal counsel and has their rights and well-being protected as they migrate alone in search of safety.

In 2008, KIND was founded by the Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie to address the gap in legal services for unaccompanied minors. KIND now has offices across the United States and in Mexico that provide unaccompanied children with holistic care that includes legal assistance and social services. Through strategic partnerships, KIND provide pro bono legal representation for refugee and migrant children across the country. Since its inception, KIND has received referrals for more than 27,000 cases and now serves over 5,900 children annually in partnership with nearly 700 law firm, corporate, law school and bar association partners.

Beyond U.S. borders, KIND’s Mexico-based offices and its programming in Central America works with partners on the ground to address the root causes of migration, protect children during migration, and connect repatriated children to essential services. Through its European Initiative, KIND and partners in Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, and the United Kingdom work to ensure access to high quality pro bono legal assistance for unaccompanied children in Europe.

Each of these efforts informs KIND’s robust state, national, and international advocacy and public education work to champion policies and laws that protect unaccompanied children on the move no matter where they are in their migration journey

ABOUT LIFETIME
Celebrating 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, high-quality scripted series, and breakout non-fiction series.  Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long running Stop Breast Cancer for Life now in its 25th year, Stop Violence Against Women which relaunched in 2018, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers, and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Torn From Her Arms" poster

Interview with Elisabeth Röhm, Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels

TV Interview!

Elisabeth Röhm, Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels of "Switched Before Birth" on Lifetime

Interview with Elisabeth Röhm, Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels of “Switched Before Birth” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This was from Lifetime’s “Fall Press Panel” last month. It was great to speak with these amazing actresses and directors. I’m a huge fan of Elisabeth, not only from “One Life to Live,” but also from “Angel” and “Law and Order,” among many other movies and shows. She directed this movie rather than appearing in it. It’s her second time directing. She seems to really enjoy it. It’s a good movie, which Machado and Samuels star in, so make sure you check it out 10/23 on Lifetime.

MODERATOR:  Our next panel for today is “Switched Before Birth” starring Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels and directed by Elisabeth Rohm.  Hi, ladies.  Thank you all for being here.  Our first question is from Suzanne.

QUESTION: My question is for Elisabeth.  I remember you on “One Life to Live” by the way, so.  I’ve been watching you a long time.

ELISABETH ROHM:  That definitely dates me by a couple of decades.

QUESTION:  Aww… So how often does this sort of thing happen, the IVF switching thing that they show in the movie?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Well, you know, statistically speaking 15% of couples will struggle with getting pregnant naturally.  I was one of those and you know, look, it’s a not-regulated industry, federally regulated industry, so it’s hard to say percentage-wise what kind of mishap, how many times a mishap like this will happen, but you know it’s frequent enough that we really hope that this film makes you take a good, long hard look at the fertility industry.

QUESTION:  And as a follow up, do you prefer directing over acting or do you like both?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Well, if I get to act with women like this, I want to be acting.  No.  But directing, listen I feel really privileged that Lifetime has the Broader Focus program and Tanya Lopez created this opportunity for me to pivot in my life and career.  And I really love directing, especially when you get to direct a friend like Justina Machado who I starred opposite and just, you know, Skyler Samuels and all the actors in it.  So, I have a big place in my heart for directing right now.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Elisabeth, my question is for you, too.  You have taken some very big and emotional swings with your directing so far, “Girl in the Basement.”  I remember the last one of these you talked about how emotional it was to work with the actors on that.  For your second project, were you looking for something as emotional in a different way or would you have been satisfied with something like “Psycho Intern” which is also in the Lifetime can?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Well, to be honest I probably would have accepted any job from Lifetime.  I have a deep gratitude to the network and I’m excited about developing other projects with them.  Justina and I have some exciting things that we’re working on together.  But I felt very privileged to be given the opportunity to direct something about IVF because I really went through my own journey, and it was painful and difficult.  And these actresses really captured what is deeply personal to me and it’s like lightning in a bottle to watch these two act in this movie, so I was lucky I got a good second swing.

QUESTION:  As a follow up, knowing the subject as you did personally and also having gone through the prep for the first film, did you find it — I’m using the word “easier” hesitatingly, because I’m sure subject-wise it’s not necessarily easier.  Did you find it a smoother process this time around directing for the second time?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Maybe ignorance is bliss.  I think the first time was a little bit easier.  The second time you know all the things that are required in a different way.  But I think it was easier because I had actresses that were my friends playing the lead roles and I felt really supported by them to just thrive and succeed.  And it really does take a village.  And, you know, I have the utmost respect for these two.  So, I would say — I guess I would say it’s easier.  It’s just I knew the stakes were high.

QUESTION:  Thanks very much.

MODERATOR:  Thanks, Jay.  Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

QUESTION:  For Justina and Skyler, what kind of research did you do on this kind of surrogacy and the pain, both of — on both sides of the women’s viewpoints?

JUSTINA MACHADO:  I can’t see anybody.  I never know.  I guess I’ll go first.  You know, we all know people — we all know women.  I mean, I certainly know women who have struggled with fertility, who have had to go through these cycles to try to get pregnant and the ups and the downs and all of that that comes with wanting a family. You know, it’s a very, very human story which is why I was so attracted to it.  But also, I think the second part of your question was how our characters — was that the second part of your question?

QUESTION:  Yes, the pain that a woman on either side feels in this situation.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  Right.  And that’s what’s so beautiful about this movie because you really get those two points of views.  I mean, no one is wrong here.  No one is wrong in the movie.  You know, Olivia’s character is — this is what she feels, she carried this baby.  My character is like this is my egg.  So, no one is wrong, but we’re both so passionate, both those characters are passionate about their point of view.  I was all for Anna’s point of view. I truly believe that if that were to happen to me that would be my point of view. I want my baby. So the beauty of this is you get to see two very valid points of views.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Yeah, I completely agree with what Justina said.  There is no right or wrong.  It is complicated and messy. I watched it. I still don’t know, and I pray to God I’m never put in a position where I would have to choose that.  But you know like Elisabeth was saying, IVF mishaps happen far too often.  It’s not regulated.  And the fact that anybody could be put in that position is unthinkable.  And as far as research for the role, interestingly enough, I have a couple of close girlfriends who throughout 2020 had been going through some real fertility struggles.  And in the pandemic of it all, you know, I think that was another tier of isolation.  You know, being in a pandemic is isolating.  Fertility struggles are isolating.  Put those together, and it’s a really, really challenging time. And you know getting to sort of be on that journey with them trying to be supportive and trying to understand how they feel both physically and emotionally and the fact that there are things that women who go through this process can’t explain to their husbands or their partners.  Like as much as they want them to know there’s something that’s happening in you that’s just so raw and confusing and complicated that it can be hard.  And there was a really beautiful thing which happened which was on our first day of filming.  I’m in my sort of funny pregnancy, you know, my fake pregnancy belly.  And I had sent a picture to my best friend being like, you know, look who’s got the belly.  And she sent me a picture with a positive pregnancy test.  So, my girlfriend who had been struggling all year and had gone through this process, I found out that she got pregnant the day we started this movie.  So that kind of felt like my good luck charm going into this.

QUESTION:  And then you had to start bawling and ruin the scene.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Well, yes.  I do a lot of bawling. This is true.  Skyler cries a lot in this movie.  And while I’m, you know, not a mother myself, I hope one day.  I’m very familiar with what grief feels like and with loss.  And I think that that is universal to all of us.  So, though this movie is about motherhood, I think more than anything it’s about a sense of belonging and a sense of grief and how to sort of live with loss that you just — you can’t make sense of.  And I think that’s something that everybody can relate to.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Steve Gidlow.

QUESTION:  Hey, my question is for Justina and for Skyler.  I’m just wondering what it like is being directed by somebody who has acted as opposed to someone who’s just a technically trained director.  And how different is it again, on top of that having a friend direct you on the project?

JUSTINA MACHADO:  I always — I don’t necessarily think you have to be an actor to be a great director, you know.  But I do think that that’s a big plus.  And there’s just things that they understand, actors-turned-directors.  I feel like there’s an understanding with how to deal with different personalities on set — how to speak to people on set because they know how they like to be spoken to.  They know how they like to be dealt with.  And like the little kookiness that sometimes we as actors can have that they will understand and not think it’s a different kind of behavior.  That always helps because somebody has been there.  And then when you’re working with a friend, it’s just even more — you’re even more free and more vulnerable.  I felt I could be freer and not be judged by certain things that I thought or was thinking, or nothing was a dumb question, or nothing was something that that they didn’t have time for.  And Elisabeth and I are dear friends.  I mean, we met doing “Family Pictures” a couple years ago for Lifetime.  So just being able to work with somebody that I already have such a great rapport with, just made work a lot easier and fun as much as we had to cry.

ELISABETH ROHM:  I was going to say.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  And we got to feel like this.  It was fun.

ELISABETH ROHM:  No more crying.  You did it perfectly.  Now it’s done.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  So that was my experience.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Yeah. I think there’s always a benefit having someone direct you who’s been in your shoes.  But I think there’s actors-turned-directors, actors who are friends and there’s Elisabeth Rohm.  Elisabeth is my biggest girl crush of all time.  She knows this.  I announce it wildly to the world.  I met her over Zoom last year and I got off the call and I said to my reps, “Yeah, so I want to grow up to be her, so let’s figure out how we can be best friends” because I absolutely adore this woman and what she’s done.  And how absolutely poised and creative and intelligent and thoughtful she is in everything that she does.  No question this was some of the hardest work I think I’ve done in my career to date.  This is the closest character I’ve played to myself which is a lot more challenging than I anticipated.  And I don’t think I could have done the work that I did without Elisabeth.  She gave me permission to take up space and be free in a way that no one has before, and it’s been a gift moving forward.  I don’t know that how I feel about my job and my abilities would be the same without Elisabeth.  She’s just — I don’t know she’s my acting guardian angel always.  She’s a magical person.

ELISABETH ROHM:  I love you guys.  I think I’m going to —

QUESTION:  Your turn to cry now.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  I can’t help but cry.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

ELISABETH ROHM:  And so really, it’s a love story between these two, you know?  That’s really — outside of it being like a film that’s also — Lifetime’s so good at making not just movies, but movements.  This is a movement in a sense, but it’s really a love story between friends.  So, the friendship between them is really felt and like they both said, navigating grief and finding each other through it all.  So thanks, thanks for that, you guys.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thanks, Steve.  Our next question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi, guys.  Thanks for talking to us.  Skyler, you started to say how like playing something more towards yourself was more difficult.  Can you kind of talk like expand on that?  What was it that you found difficult about bringing that?

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Yeah, I mean you know I’ve been very lucky that I’ve worked for many years and gotten to play many parts, you know, a lot of which have been you know sort of like supernatural or superhero and I’m kicking ass and doing all kinds of fun things.  And I’ve loved those parts.  They’re wonderful.  But I think there’s something that when you prepare as an actor to play a role that feels like you, when I read the script, there are things that Olivia Crawford says that I’m like, “Oh god, that’s like straight out of my mouth.”  Or just like the way that she moves through space, it felt like me.  And I think what was both challenging and liberating about that experience was that I had to work through my own grief in real time doing this movie.  That there is no barrier between sort of — the barrier between Olivia Crawford and Skyler Samuels was like paper thin.  And I’m not used to being that close to the character.  And I think that it made — everything emotional that happens in the movie is as real as can be.  I had to really be okay with bringing my own real-life grief and experience and struggles and triumphs and just sort of putting it all out there in a way that I haven’t had to do before.  And like I just said, I couldn’t have done that without the guidance, love and support of Elisabeth Rohm and Justina.  What a partner to just like let you do your thing because it’s challenging.  But it’s also really liberating to be able to do that.  It sort of sets a part of you free.  That’s the best way I can describe it.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question and that’s going to be Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Justina, this is for you.  You’ve been at this career a long time.  And sometimes it takes that one galvanizing thing like “One Day at a Time” where things really break open and opportunities like this come your way.  Is it safe to assume this is an especially sweet time for you now?

JUSTINA MACHADO:  You know, it’s so bizarre because it’s so not a sweet time in the world with everything that’s happening.  But it’s kind of been, you know, I’ve been okay.  And I’m grateful.  I’m grateful for that.  And you’re absolutely right, I’ve been at it a long time.  So, I’m grateful to still be here, still at it.  And “One Day at a Time” did open this whole new world to me, for me.  And it feels good.  It feels really good to be in a place where you’re not just the person behind the camera, that people really — I mean, in front of the camera.  People really want to know your opinion, you know.  It’s valued what you have to say.  It’s more of — it’s the most I’ve ever collaborated in my life in my career, this time in my career.  So, it’s been wonderful.  And these movies — this movie that we did, Elisabeth and Skyler and I, and then Elisabeth was talking about the fact that we’re also working on some other things — it’s been liberating, exciting.  And yes, I’m happy because I’m getting old — so I’m happy.

ELISABETH ROHM:  And everybody’s who loves you is dying for you to direct.  That’s what’s going to happen next.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  Exactly.  I want to move to that, too.  I want to direct.  I want to do all these things.  Yes, that’s how I feel so yes.  It feels very good, Jay.  Thank you, it feels good.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  A big thank you to all our panelists.  Ladies, we really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today.

ELISABETH ROHM:  Thank you.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  Thank you.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Thank you, guys.

MORE INFO:

Preview and more

Switched Before Birth
Premieres October 23 at 8/7c

Switched Before Birth follows Olivia Crawford (Skyler Samuels) and her husband Brian (Bo Yokely), who after multiple miscarriages, numerous failed IVF trials and stretching themselves to the limit financially, finally receive the joyous news that she’s pregnant with twins.  While going through her latest round of IVF, Oliva meets and becomes fast friends with Anna Ramirez (Justina Machado), who is struggling to have a child after years of focusing on her successful restaurants.  When Anna becomes pregnant as well, the ladies celebrate and begin to prepare for their babies.  Olivia is also there for Anna when she suffers a devastating miscarriage and struggles to move forward while her marriage to restaurateur Gabe Ramirez (Yancey Arias) crumbles. When Olivia and Brian finally welcome their twins Olivia’s life feels complete, but the happy couple’s world is turned upside down when they discover that not only are the babies not twins, but one of the babies is also biologically Anna and Gabe’s that was implanted into Olivia by mistake.  Now pitted against each other, Olivia will do anything to keep the baby that she carried, while Anna will stop at nothing to bring her son home.

Switched Before Birth is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Swirl for Lifetime.  Leslie Greif, Laurie Pozmantier and Stacy Mandelberg serve as executive producers and Elisabeth Rohm directs a script from Kelly Fullerton. Eric Tomosunas also serves as executive producer and Alex Kerr and Ron Robinson serve as producers.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Switched Before Birth" poster

Interview with Heather Locklear

TV Interview!

Panelists for the movie "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" on Lifetime

Interview with actor Heather Locklear, executive produers Meghan McCain and Maura Dunbar, and author Kristine Carlson of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This was a fun panel. These women clearly enjoyed the story they were producing and became great friends. I was very happy to speak to Heather Locklear, who is about my same age (as it turns out). I used to watch her all the time on “TJ Hooker” and “Dynasty,” and then later on “Spin City,” and of course, “Melrose Place.” She’s very good in this movie, too. I’m glad to see her doing more acting. She had some personal and legal problems in 2018, but it sounds like she’s cleaned up her act. That’s great because we all missed her. She seems so nice in this interview, and I just love that chair she’s sitting in. It was such a great group of people. It’s the first time that I ever saw a star stop the panel from ending so that she could tell everyone how much she loves them! That was very sweet.

Don’t forget to watch “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” this Saturday, October 16 on Lifetime!

Heather Locklear and Kristine Carlson

MODERATOR:  Hi, everybody.  Our last panel today is “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story.”  We’re pleased to welcome and have with us today Heather Locklear, and I think she’ll be on camera in just a minute, who stars in the movie, author Kristine Carlson, and executive producers Meghan McCain and Maura Dunbar.  Thank you all for joining us, and I think we’re just going to give Heather just one more second to get on camera and then we will get started.  Just a reminder to anyone who’d like to ask a question, use the raise your hand button at the bottom of your screen.  If you have the newer version of Zoom it’s by hitting the reactions button, and if you have the older Zoom version use the participants’ button, so that’s just how you can raise your hand.  Just give us one more second and we will get started, so thank you so much.  While we wait for Heather to get on camera I’m going to start with a question I just received for Maura.  Maura, it seems like “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” has been a passion project of yours for years in the making.  Can you briefly share with the audience your personal story behind making this movie a reality?

MAURA DUNBAR:  Thank you so much for that question, yes.  This project, this little book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” has been a 21-year passion project of mine.  It started because, sadly, 27 years ago I lost four immediate family members in my life, and Richard’s book came out about six or seven years after that, and I found that book, and the book, even though it’s about not sweating the small stuff, and I was enveloped by the darkness of loss and grief, the little pinpoints of light that Richard so beautifully distills in his books about not sweating the small stuff in everyday living became the little footholds that I was able to grab onto, and as you started to string those little pieces of light together, when you’re so overwhelmed and you can’t see your way through, those little lights became beams of light, became rays of light that began to light up the room where I began to find my way through, and when you’re so lost and you find that pathway it became the pathway to healing for me.  And so I had the privilege of, when I left ABC as a network executive after sixteen years, of being introduced to Richard by his publisher, and I drove up.  I flew up and met Richard, Dr. Carlson, and Kris and had the pleasure of spending a weekend up there and getting to know them and got the rights, and it’s been an honor and a privilege, and it’s just been a passion of mine for the last 21 years to be a steward of Richard’s in getting this story out there, and Kris has been amazing and in indulging me for forever coming back to her, knocking on her door and saying, “I’ve got another chance, I’ve got another chance.”  And now with the incredible support of Tanya Lopez and Lifetime, who was my first agent, by the way, when I sold it for the very first time twenty years ago at ABC as a half hour.  So thanks to Tanya Lopez and my producing partner Mark Teitelbaum on the project, who’s not with us, and to Meghan McCain.  So thank you.  It has been an amazing journey.  I cried the first day of filming.  And to Heather Locklear who has just done, I want to say, the most unbelievable, breathtaking job taking on the role of Kris Carlson and has been one of the most amazing professionals I’ve ever working with in the business under sweltering heat conditions that I’ve never seen anyone be so unflappable on a set with such a great sense of humor.  I think it’s her best work to date.  So thank you for the question.  It’s been the most important movie I’ve made in my 37-year career.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much, Maura.  And welcome, Heather.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Hi.

MODERATOR:  And the next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hello, everyone —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh.  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Hi, Heather.  Actually, my question if for Meghan.  How did it come to be that you became attached to this material, and maybe this is me watching “The View,” and bravo on your years there, but are you kind of surprised this is your first TV movie as opposed to something maybe a little more political?

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.  It’s funny.  This is the only — the second thing I’ve ever executive produced, and the last one was a very serious political documentary, so it’s I’m delighted to be doing something that everyone in my life will want to consume because, obviously, politics is incredibly divisive, and this is something that is meant to be, you know, feel good and it’s going to bring people together.  I had read “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” at different incarnations in my life.  I read it when I was much younger when my mother had read it when it first was released, and I told Kristine and Maura when I first met them it was a book that my mother had on her nightstand in her bedroom growing up, and I can remember just the very distinctive title and it always being sort of like something I remembered, and then after my dad died I went on Amazon and just looked up books that were good for grief, and the book came up again, books for good — the good books about in moments of crisis in your life.  And then my agent had come to me saying Lifetime was possibly interested in partnering with me on projects, and I said it would have to be something that would be organic and something that I would have to be authentically passionate about, otherwise, it wouldn’t work.  And when Maura came to me with “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” I felt like it was incredibly serendipitous, because I had started rereading again for some of its meaningful and evergreen messages during COVID, and I just was so excited at the idea of this medium being turned into a film because, again, I have a lot of friends who are incredibly busy and they don’t have time to read all the time.  Sometimes they don’t have the bandwidth, and I just think Kristine’s story and Richard’s story is something that so many people can relate to, especially post COVID during this time of such pain and loss.  And I’m just really proud of it, and I’m really excited to be doing something that everyone I know and everyone I respect has been excited about and will be excited to watch.  And this is a movie that you’ll be able to watch thirty years from now and fifty years from now and sixty years from now.  I really believe this is going to be one of those movies that’s going to stay in our lexicon just like the book has.  So it’s really just a privilege to be working with these incredible women and to be a part of this project, and I’m really delighted, and I just am so excited for its release coming out soon, and it’s around my birthday, and I just — I don’t know.  It’s just been — This whole experience has been wonderful and I’m really, really honored to be a part of it.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jay.  We thank you, Meghan.  The next question is from Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question is for Heather.  Did you meet Kristine before the filming of the movie and talk to her to get an idea about your character at all?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Yes.  I did meet her.  I flew up on a coach flight, just saying, to meet her, and she picked me up and was a little late but, yeah, I went up, and I spent the night, and we spent a night with our friends, both of our friends that happened to know each other, which is all synchronicity.  And I had read the book before, and I had talked to her a lot saying I can’t get through your book right away, because it’s making me cry.  It’s giving me — which happens every time I talk about it.  Anyway, so, meeting her was such a joy and such a light in my life, and I can’t imagine what she was and is in everyone else’s light — life, but meeting her, and I went to dinner, and she talked about all kinds of stuff and showed me Richard’s jacket that was in her office that stayed there since he passed — that’s fifteen years, by the way — and told me different stories and told me stuff that I was afraid of, to do, to play, and how, you know, what happened.  And then I got to have coffee with her in the morning in her bed, and I felt like this must have been what Richard and Kris together.  They sat there with their coffee.  They meditated right here, and it felt so unique and so special and on a different level than I am on.  I would like to be her level, but I’m not quite there, or their level.  And it was so, so special, so special that she’s coming out for my 60th birthday to stay with me, yay.  What more can I say?  Oh, I can say something else that has nothing to do with that question.  So my mom says today that Meghan is her favorite person.  She’s watched her.  Yeah, and but she actually happens to love your husband.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Then she is hardcore, she loves my husband —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  She’s hardcore.  She’s definitely.  She’s so hardcore that I have to stop her and go: “Enough, don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t sweat the small stuff.”  But she’s in love with your husband and thinks you’re fantastic.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Thank you.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  And that’s all I wanted to tell you and let you know that.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Thank you very much.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Yeah.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Tell her, please, thank you.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh, trust me.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Suzanne.  Thank you, Heather.  The next question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thanks for talking to me.  Heather, obviously, you’ve been acting for quite a long time now, but is there anything that you still find challenging when you do a project like this?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh, no.  The challenging part was it was so fearful to me, and it was the second to the last day is when I get on the phone, and I find out that Richard has passed.  And Kris had told me — oh, my God.  I’m going to die — she had told me this is what I did, this is what I did, and I said I’m so glad that you’re telling me because I don’t want to ask this question of how it felt or what it did.  And she said, “It’s almost like a child died.”  And that stopped me in my tracks, and I’m like I can’t go there.  I can’t do it.  So it’s always my fear of the whole, like, when is this going to be scheduled that I have to take in when her husband died.  And I’ve read her book and what happened and all that.  And I’m like, okay, I’ll go back to these pages before I do this, and we talked on the phone the morning of, because they wanted to know certain things, the producers and director wanted to know certain things about what happened and blah, blah, blah, and I go I can get her on the phone right now.  And so my fear was I’m not going to where my child passes.  I could never do that.  So that was my fear and what am I going to go to.  I don’t even know what I went to, because it was the spirit of Richard, the spirit of Kris, so that was challenging, and they did it great.  They did all kinds of shots and all, and so it felt — I felt very safe, but that was my biggest fear.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much

MODERATOR:  Thank you both.  The next question is from Francine Brokaw.

QUESTION:  There we go.  Yeah.  I read the book ages ago.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  But I want to know from the whole panel have you really perfected the art of not sweating the small stuff, because in this crazy world, I mean, it’s hard to just go through life all the time and just be la-la about the really small stuff, but they do affect us.  So how do you deal with that?  Have you perfected that art?

MAURA DUNBAR:  Well, I can say it’s sort of an ongoing process, but it’s having read these books and lived with these books for so long and being dear friends with Kris.  In fact Kris and I have the same birthday, July 5th.  I don’t know if it’s July 5th girls, but it’s about being mindful and treasuring the journey, as Kris often says, and just being centered in not getting caught up in those small, little things and being in gratitude for so much, and life is filled with those little joys if you just change your perspective and focus on that, and that’s what being with Richard and being with Kris and reading these books and being with this material for so long has taught me.  So I really do try, and it kind of starts to come naturally after a long time, and after 21 years it’s kind of come naturally by now.

QUESTION:  Meghan?

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Oh, my gosh.  Well, if you’re asking me if I’m good at don’t sweat the small stuff, not all the time, but I am working on it.  And one of the mantras from the book that always helped me is “make peace with imperfection.”

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  (Inaudible @ 01:50:53).

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  I find myself, yeah, it’s my favorite one, I find myself saying that to my — in so many — I have a almost one-year-old daughter, and there’s something about motherhood that you just really have to surrender and make peace with imperfection, and there are so many small pockets of wisdom in the book that I and hundreds of millions of other people find so accessible.  And I think all of us, no matter who are you, I think are going through some kind of existential moment in the past two years because of the nature of the crisis that have happened in the world.  And I think the best part about “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is that it is accessible and it’s not overwhelming for people that want to grow and want to sort of make changes in their life that are more accessible than say, you know, whatever, reading the Dalai Lama.  I have given this book to, I have it on my Amazon list, and I have sent it to eight people in the past few months just saying, “This is a book that will really help you, and it’s not overwhelming, and you can just read ten pages at night before you go to bed, whatever.”  And some of my friends, I think, sometimes when things are so popular people just are thinking that maybe it’s not evergreen, and so many of my friends have just been saying how much it’s helped them; how much it’s helping them get through this moment.  And I’m trying, but I also find that the book is something you can really just continue reading and dip in and out of.  And there’s other incarnations of it like, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms,” and, etcetera, and I think that I’m certainly trying, and I think that’s all we can hope for anyone.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  I —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  I’ll — oh, sorry.  No, go, Kris.  Go, my friend.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Oh, no.  Go ahead.  You go ahead, Heather.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  No, you go.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Oh, yeah.  I was just going to say that “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is really a life philosophy.  It’s something that is the way you practice every day, and like Meghan just so beautifully said, it’s the small ways that we practice life that makes the biggest difference in our lives.  And what’ happened over the last 25 years of the series is that the book tends to do very well in times of crisis, because people need to get back to the basics and, certainly, what we’ve all been through this last two years shows us that life is very basic, and if you don’t get back to the basics you’re going to get lost in all of the worry and the concerns and the troubles that we see ahead of us.  And I also want to say that when you have a real-life crisis happen to you, what you were sweating the day before that crisis happened never gets on your radar again.  And, certainly, as you recover from crisis there are small things that get to you at different times.  I will never say that I am the one that never sweats the small stuff.  That simply is not possible nor true, but like I said, it is a philosophy, and it helps you to focus on what matters most to your heart when you don’t sweat the small stuff.  And at the very cornerstone of the philosophy is to be grateful for the small things in life, because life is incredibly precious.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Okay.  Now I’ll speak.  I didn’t know that it was make peace with imperfection.  I thought it was make peace with perfection, but that’s from the script.  I don’t know.  And, you know, they write whatever they write.  But I think one of the things that Meghan was talking about is imperfect or perfection that we learn every day.  We learn something new, hopefully, if we connect with people.  And I would always say on the set, I’m such an a-hole, I would say, now only to Maura — maybe I would, because she was a little bit uptight; just a little involved — I would say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’s a movie.  The sun will go down.  The sun will come up.  We’ll be alive or we’ll be dead.”  And I used to do that on other things that I worked with that I was in fear of, in front of an audience.  I would go, “Okay, the sun’s going to go down.  I will be alive when it comes up.”  And so being a kind of jerky person, I would say to other people, because they’re going we’re trying to get the lights, I’d go: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’s just a movie.”  But it’s a beautiful movie and it’s a beautiful story, but I kept trying to say that, and even in my fears of what I was doing: “Heather, you’re going to be okay.  Everything’s going to work out.  Everything will be okay.”  And I actually came into this book I think in the nineties maybe, and I was so busy working — So I read it.  I did read it, and until you’re kind of solid and not busy doing things in your life in a busy world, you don’t really grasp it, but I think in the last year-and-a-half it was easier to grasp, and because we’re all sitting still, and it’s so simplified —

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  And like Oprah said that she put it on her night table, I had it in my bathroom.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Because that’s where we don’t sweat the small stuff according to my boyfriend.  Maura (inaudible).  But reading a little bit at a time, because you can only —

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  It’s so specific and so good that if we just take the one step that we read that day, it’s almost like reading a Bible verse or something, maybe that’s too much, and you take that into your day and you can learn something, you can remember it, you can’t remember it, you can go back.  So that’s all I’ve got.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.

MAURA DUNBAR:  Well, she did help me on set.  That’s true.  I do tend to sweat the small stuff when I’m working on set, but in my personal life I do try to make peace with imperfection ergo the not sweating the small stuff.  But, yes, as a producer, yes, I want everything to be perfect.  I admit it.  I’m sorry.  But that’s why we have such a beautiful movie, I believe.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Don’t be sorry.  You were amazing.  You were effing amazing, and you brought the world down.  When she would come, the first day of set, I think after we finished the first day, she gave this story about Kris and it’s not about Maura.  It’s about Kris and Richard, but it’s about Maura and all of her trying to get this together, and it would bring people to tears, because it was so heartfelt and so real and what she’s worked on and all, and then I have to go: “Wait, this is Kris and Richard, because they’re combined lives of Maura,” and it’s all their story together.  So it was always a blessing to have you there, my friend.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Francine.  We’re going a tiny bit over.  I know we started a tiny bit late.  So we’re going to try to squeeze in two last questions.  The first person to ask would be Dana and then followed by Steve Gidlow.  Dana?

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question is for Heather.  Why was this the right project for you to return to TV with, and how did it feel to be back?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  It felt like what I was praying for, and I’m like God-driven, and I was praying for something solid for me that had to do with something spiritually that was important, and that was really what I was praying for, because I didn’t want to do light — I’ve done lightweight stuff.  I didn’t want the dumb stuff.  Sitcoms are great but unless they’re “Veep” they’re not my kind of sitcoms.  And so it’s weird that when you pray for something it comes or it doesn’t come, but it seemed to come.  And that was super important to me and spirituality and God, and I don’t know how this happens, but it landed in my lap.  And then these two great people showed up, Maura and Mark Teitelbaum, and I was just so — I felt so blessed, and it was just something special that I go I can do this, and then I had Valerie Bertinelli tell me, because I was scared, and my makeup artist who does her, too, and I said, “I’m scared remembering lines,” and blah, blah, blah, and it came back in seconds.  And she said, “Heather, it will, you will, it’s like riding a bike.”  It’s so easy, and it was so easy.  I don’t know why we’re so fearful of memorizing lines.  How about getting the emotion across?  I don’t know.  But that was just it felt really good to hear from someone else fearing the way I feared, and it’s always been important for me to memorize lines.  I’m always nervous.  But these great people came and then Kris came and Meghan came, and it all fit together.  I love that I see women, four women.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.  It’s pretty cool.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  I think it’s fantastic.  I’ve always been a woman’s woman.  I’ve always been competitive with men, which does not mean men are bad, but I used to race them and would come in second to one man and four boys.  So I’ve always been competitive, and because I don’t think there’s a difference, but then there’s love and there’s opening your arms to sisterhood, and I think Ellen Pressman being our director, was unbelievable about women, right, about women and the softness of her direction, which wasn’t hard and do this and this is important, this scene, or this angle is important.  It was incredible, and she came to me with flowers.  I’m like what are you doing?  And I was in sweats and stuff.  I’m like, “Oh, you’re being so formal.”  But it was just amazing that Maura put together a great bunch of women that can support each other.  No bashing on men because we have Mark. Mark’s my (inaudible @ 02:01:49) who I love.

MAURA DUNBAR:  He loves women, too.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  And he apparently does.  No, not apparently.  No, no, no.  He’s very married.  But, yeah, so I thought it was an amazing project.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Heather.  Thank you, Dana.  And the last question for today is Steve Gidlow.

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question’s actually for Kristine.  Given you’re collaborators on this, obviously, you’re all cheering about it, how safe did you feel having the story told?  And second part is how excited were you that Heather was the one that was going to be telling it?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Tell the story of Pepperdine.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Which one?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  I don’t know.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Yeah.  Oh, well, I will tell that story.  So, first of all, I want to say just my heartfelt thanks is really to Maura Dunbar, and to the writer that was hired, Shannon Colleary, because I knew that they had my back on this, and I knew that they were going to share the story with their whole hearts, and that made me feel a lot more comfortable just knowing that.  It’s a very vulnerable position to share probably what you could consider the worst of year of your life and the worst year of your children’s lives.  And, of course, my kids are grown now.  They’re thirty and thirty-two years old, and I have five grandkids now.  And so it was very vulnerable for me to bring them into it in such a public way as well.  So, I really trusted Maura and trust her, and I trusted Shannon, and I worked very closely with Shannon, and I just knew.  I just knew that this was going to be a good thing for people.  I knew that, I believe that it’s how we learn is through story, and I believe that it’s part of the hero’s journey is to share your story and to bring home a message of hope and healing to other people.  And you can’t really take advice on grief from somebody who hasn’t gone through it.  You can’t really understand or people don’t think you understand unless you’ve been through it.  So I’m really hoping that story sheds so much hope.  And also a pathway for people to follow so that they know they can return to life again and return to joy and that life continues, and you have to learn to continue with grief.  So that said, I was absolutely, I mean, truly just — I don’t think there’s any woman alive that wouldn’t be thrilled to have Heather Locklear play them.

(Laughter.)

KRISTINE CARLSON:  I mean, I think she was the — You know, she’s just, in my mind, I mean, I, of course, was a big fan always.  She was at UCLA when I was at Pepperdine.  We have all these very weird, common synchronicities that have happened.  And she said that she put up this prayer for this project to come by, and we had this really amazing synchronicity where one of her college roommates turned out to be one of Richard’s very first crushes in junior high, and it’s one of her very best friends, and we find out all of these common threads and that really not six degrees of separation, but more like one-and-a-half degrees of separation, and I really felt that this was very divinely orchestrated, and that Heather was picked and hand chosen by my husband Richard to play me in this movie.  So it’s been amazing.  It’s been an amazing journey to get to know her and to just really fall in love with who she is as a beautiful woman and just a woman with just tremendous heart and empathy.  So I’m thrilled.  Like I couldn’t have asked for — But she was everything I had hoped for and more, way more.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Steve.  And thank you, Kristine, and special thanks to all of our panelists for “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”  We really appreciate you sharing your stories today.  That concludes Lifetime’s fall movie press day.  To all of you —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Can I just say I love everyone on this panel.  I think I look like Jennifer Aniston in this — I don’t know who that is in the freaking left, I don’t know who, but I feel pretty.  But thanks Maura and Meghan and Kris.  I’m so grateful to be a part of this and thank you.  You all move me.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.  Thank you too —

KRISTINE CARLSON:  And then I just have to say really quick that my daughter, when she found out that you were involved was like, oh, my God, she is such a kick ass woman.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  I’m really just so honored to be a part of this, and everyone is so inspiring.  And, Maura, thank you for even thinking of me to begin with and Kristine.  And, obviously, Heather, you’re a fucking icon, so it’s incredible to have my name attached to anything you’re attached —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Meghan your name is attached to my parent so big I’m just —

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Okay.  I’m going to have my husband make a video for your mom, which he does, because women over 60 love my mom and my husband.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh, my gosh.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  So I’m happy to have him make a video for you, but I’m just very —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  But she loves you, too.  She loves you, too.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  But I just hope —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  And then she went off on your husband.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Thank you.  I hope people — You know, grief has been a big theme for all of us.  It’s been something we’ve all experienced.  Maura, when you originally shared your story about the immense amount of grief you went through losing so many family members.  Obviously, Kristine and Heather, I know you have as well.  And one of my passions in life is helping people get over grief, because I don’t think it’s something that we talk about enough in culture, in anything, in any medium.  Americans are very fearful of talking about grief, and this is a very accessible, kind story that has a philosophy, literally, a book and philosophy behind it, and I really think this is going to help and heal people in a time when people really need helping and healing.  So that’s why I’m so passionate about this movie as well, and I just think it’s going to be hugely impactful and hugely healing for a lot of people.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  You are spectacular.

MAURA DUNBAR:  (Inaudible) for Meghan.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Yeah.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Actually, all three of you are spectacular —

MAURA DUNBAR:  You’re awesome.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  As are you, Heather.

MODERATOR:  I concur.  And thank you all.  Really appreciate it.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  And thank you to all of our attendees who tuned in today hearing about our entire fall slate, and thank you very much.

(Goodbyes.)

MORE INFO:

Trailer

poster for "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story" on LifetimeDon’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story
Saturday, October 16 at 8p/7c

Co-authors of The New York Times bestselling book series, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Kristine Carlson (Locklear) and her husband Dr. Richard Carlson (Jason MacDonald) had an amazing life with their two daughters.  But when Richard tragically passes away, Kristine is knocked off balance.  Comfortable with living in Richard’s shadow, she is now forced to navigate the unchartered territory of becoming a single mom while dealing with pressure to become the new face and voice of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff brand.  Looking deep inside herself, Kristine comes to understand the true essence of emotional authenticity and not sweating the small stuff, which leads to the resilience and confidence needed to carry on the legacy of the beloved brand.  

Selling over 25 million copies, the groundbreaking inspirational book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, teaches how to put challenges in perspective, reduce stress and anxiety through little daily changes, and guides how to let go of the small things to attain peace of mind in order to achieve goals.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is produced for Lifetime by The Johnson Production Group and Teitelbaum Artists.  Maura Dunbar (The American Bible Challenge, What Should You Do?), Mark Teitelbaum (Superior Donuts, The Crazy Ones) and Meghan McCain (The View, Moms) are executive producers.  Ellen S. Pressman will direct from a script written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Poster for the movie and the panel

Interview with Kelly Hu, Shannen Doherty, Sylvia Kwan and Roxy Shih

TV Interview!

Kelly Hu, Roxy Shih, Shannen Doherty and Sylvia Kwan of "List of a Lifetime" on Lifetime

Interview with Kelly Hu, Roxy Shih, Shannen Doherty and Sylvia Kwan of “List of a Lifetime” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This is such a good movie. It’s a bit sad but very enjoyable. The characters are great. I love Kelly Hu, anyway (from shows like “Arrow” and “Warehouse 13”), and she’s really sympathetic as the sad woman, Brenda Lee, who finds out she has cancer. It’s a heartwarming tale, and you won’t be disappointed.  Sylvia Kwan is great as her daughter, Talia. Brenda finds Talia, whom she gave up when she was a baby.  Shannen Doherty plays the woman who raised Talia. The story is all about how Talia gives Brenda reasons to fight her cancer by creating a bucket list.

The women were really fun on the panel. I hope you enjoy it!

TANYA LOPEZ:  Hi, everyone.  I’m Tanya Lopez, EVP of scripted content for Lifetime, and thank you all for joining us today.  As you saw, we have a lot happening this fall, as the leading producer of original movies it’s exciting for all of us to be able to continue to create these films despite the pandemic and, no, it’s not easy, but the team really makes it look that way.  I’m so proud of the incredible talent that we have here today; that we brought together to tell these stories both in front and behind the camera.  We have Shannen Doherty starring not in one but two Lifetime movies in the month of October.  The remake of “Dying to Belong” with Favour Onwuka and Jenika Rose, executive produced by Danielle von Zerneck, and “List of a Lifetime” from director Roxy Shih in which Shannen stars alongside Kelly Hu and Sylvia Kwan; but that’s not all.  Our beloved and talented Shannen also directed the special content that follows the film as part of our Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign.  It’s amazing and, Shannen, I know you’re out there.  You’re going to be directing more for us.  Let’s start with off with “List of a Lifetime.”

MODERATOR:  Hello, everybody, and welcome.  Our first panel for today is “List of a Lifetime.”  Please welcome stars Kelly Hu, Shannen Doherty, Sylvia Kwan and director Roxy Shih.  Thank you so much for joining us, ladies.  Our first question today is going to be from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi, guys.  Thanks for talking to us today.  What I wanted to know, and this is kind of, I guess, the obvious question, but what’s on your bucket list for all of you?

KELLY HU:  Oh.  Mine is literally pages and pages long.  I’ve been acquiring a bucket list for over thirty years now, so it would take up days to tell you about it.

SYLVIA KWAN:  I definitely have a lot on my bucket list, too.  I think Kelly and I are very similar in that way.  I definitely want to backpack the Chilkoot Mountains.  Mount Whitney is on my bucket list.   I was supposed to do it last year, but didn’t get to do it.  Sky diving, I want to go sky diving.  I want to make a movie.  Oh, I just did.

(Laughter.)

ROXY SHIH:  Yes.  Get it, girl.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Yeah.

ROXY SHIH:  I wanted to go to Iceland with my best friend for our ten year friendivarsary, but then COVID hit, and then that didn’t happen.  I really want to see the aurora borealis.  I like anything that just sort of helps us appreciate nature and all the amazing gifts that she allows us to see in certain moments at the time and to take care of our environment.  So that’s probably my biggest one yet.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I have no bucket list.  I think, for me, I just think a bucket list is odd in my particular situation, because it means that I’m sort of trying to check things off before my time runs out.  So I’ m very much like there’s no bucket list because I’m going to be the longest living person with cancer.  And so I guess it would just be, if I had to say one, it would just be living.  Like that’s the only thing that’s on my list at this point.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is going to be from Suzanne from TVMEG.COM.

QUESTION:  Hi, great to see you all today.  Kelly, I’ve seen you in a lot of shows where you’re a very strong, literally, a kick-ass woman, and you’re very passive in this show, at least for — in this movie for a long time.  Was that difficult for you?  Or how did you go about processing that?

KELLY HU:  I think it really was.  It was definitely a different kind of character for me.  I never get to play these kind of characters.  I think everybody always sees me as, you know the martial arts girl kicking butt, but kicking cancer’s ass, I think, is the hardest role that I’ve had to take on so far.  I mean, this was really — It was a role that I had the most difficulty preparing for, and it had the biggest payoff at the end.  It was absolutely amazing and so thankful to be able to do something like this.

QUESTION:  All right.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

KELLY HU:  Is the mute button on maybe?

QUESTION:  Oh, excuse me about that.

KELLY HU:  No worries.

QUESTION:  Such a pleasure to speak with all of you.  Shannen, this was such a labor of love and a personal story, actually, probably close to your heart since you did have breast cancer.  Were there any emotional moment for you while you were advising the stars, or maybe when you were behind the camera?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Well, first, Roxy was our wonderful, amazing director and leader for “List of a Lifetime,” and I didn’t have to give anybody advice because between Roxy and these beautiful ladies who did such an amazing job with their own preparation process.  They knew their characters.  They knew the story.  They did cancer proud, because they did all their due diligence.  I had the easiest job.  I got to show up for four days and be a part of their world.  So I really I did nothing.  They did everything.

KELLY HU:  No.  Shannen, you showed up.  Oh, my God.  You were amazing.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  So, I mean — thank you, and we all showed up.  And, honestly, it’s, for me, this was truly like an unbelievable pleasure to be a part of, and I was blown away every second that I got to work with these amazing ladies.

ROXY SHIH:  Thank you, Shannen.  Love you.

(Laughter.)

KELLY HU:  Yes, we love you.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Somebody else has got to talk.  I’m like ohhh.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  We’re going to move on to our next question from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hello.  My question is for Shannen, too.  Shannen, that weekend, this kind of bundles “Dying to Belong” in also, that is quite a weekend for you in many ways, and it kind of represents everything Lifetime is: serious, socially-minded dramas, also the content you directed to go along with that, plus also what we more technically call a Lifetime movie with “Dying to Belong,” that type of film. Can you talk a little bit about running the gamut of what Lifetime is in a single weekend among all these projects?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I mean, I think what’s amazing about Lifetime is that they really support women, and they do support social issues from this movie about breast cancer to my other movie that’s really about bullying and like what society, the pressure that society can put on young people today, and I think working with a company like Lifetime and a studio like Lifetime is that you feel very supportive and very, very, very nurtured and, more importantly, you feel heard, and I think women all around the world who tune in also feel heard.  It’s their movies connecting with people at the end of the day.  I had no idea I was doing two Lifetime movies, and I’m really honored that they both ended up on Lifetime.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this family.

QUESTION:  Also, if I could do a follow up.  With “List of a Lifetime,” the content that you directed following it, did those kind of come hand-in-hand or did your directing come about once you started filming “List of a Lifetime”?  Were they both originated at the same time?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  No.  So the special content it was sort of broached to me later if I would want to direct it, and the response was absolutely as long as this amazing group of women are comfortable with me directing them, and they were and they were amazing.  Every single one was easy to direct, even Roxy, my director.

ROXY SHIH:  I was so awkward.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  She took direction perfectly.  Like it was a really —

ROXY SHIH:  The roles were reversed.  It was amazing.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  It was, right?  I felt weird, like — but you took it so well.  I mean, everybody did.  It was one day, and as I posted on my Instagram, I was like this is like one of the best days of my life, and it was really was.  I just had such a good time, and everybody made it very easy because they’re all pros.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

KELLY HU:  I just have to say before anybody else talks that this was such a sisterhood.  Seriously, this project was really the best project I have ever been on.  Everyone was absolutely amazing, and the sisterhood, the bonding that happened during this project was like no other project that I’ve ever worked on, seriously.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I agree.

KELLY HU:  Yeah.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I agree, and we’re missing our other — you know, we’re missing Autumn, our producer who, you know, just —

KELLY HU:  And Patricia —

ROXY SHIH:  Yeah.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  And Patricia.  Like, yeah, I agree with you.  Out of, I’ve worked on, obviously, a lot of projects, and this is probably one of my favorites because it was just a big bonding — And you guys welcomed me in, because I came a little later.  It was pretty fantastic, a phenomenal cast, phenomenal crew.  Our director was okay.

(Laughter.)

ROXY SHIH:  Step up.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  You’re the best.

ROXY SHIH:  The love fest between us.  And we forget that there’s other people in the room.  Sorry —

Poster for "List of a Lifetime"SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Right.

KELLY HU:  I know.

MODERATOR:  We have a question over here for Roxy.  Roxy, did you feel it was important to have strong AAPI representation behind the camera for this movie?

ROXY SHIH:  A hundred percent.  I feel like the rise in inclusive storytelling that has been happening over the past few years as well as the rise of female stories being authentically represented by female filmmakers is just such a game changing sort of movement that’s happened for all of us, but not only is that important, it’s like we see the shift happening behind the scenes as well.  Just because it’s happening in one aspect doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be happening in all aspects, as well.  So I think with this one I think everybody on here can also say, as well, it was important to me that I had inclusive, diverse key crew, also women and queer people of color and just, you know, it was really just a — and these are all my friends also, so I think that’s what made it really comfortable just because it’s a safe space for me to feel supported on the schedule like this.  But, in all essence, I think that change does need to happen in our industry, and it’s happening by that, like, happening as well.  So I just think if one person starts doing it, if it’s just that one decision, allows more space at the table rather than fighting for that one seat.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.

ROXY SHIH:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Our next question is from Mekeisha Madden.

QUESTION:  Hi, ladies.  Thanks so much for making the time to talk to us.  Okay, I have to ask this.  This is a nerd out N.C.I.S. moment.  Kelly and Sylvia, did you bond over the N.C.I.S. connection?

KELLY HU:  Wait, we have an N.C.I.S. connection?

SYLVIA KWAN:  Yeah.  I think we were both on N.C.I.S. before.

KELLY HU:  Oh, wow.

QUESTION:  You didn’t know?

KELLY HU:  Were you a victim too?  How funny.

SYLVIA KWAN:  So funny.

KELLY HU:  Wait, I’ve done a couple of N.C.I.S.  I wasn’t always a victim.  Yeah.

(Laughter.)

SYLVIA KWAN:  You weren’t always a victim.

KELLY HU:  I think I might have shot someone.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Oh, my.  That’s hilarious.  That’s really funny.

QUESTION:  And a serious question to piggyback on what Roxy said.  It was just really great to see women of color in front of and behind the camera.  Can you talk about that?  And just sort of just I’m hoping this is the upward trend that keeps happening.  It was just great to see your story.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Absolutely.  I definitely think as more stories get told, especially with “Shang-Chi” coming out, which was amazing, like I love seeing —

ROXY SHIH:  You looked so hot, yeah.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Huh?

ROXY SHIH:  When you look — Sorry, go, go.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Sorry.  I was like what?  No.  It definitely is incredible, and it definitely was such an incredible space.  Like even on Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, sorry, we all wore red, which was so special.  It’s something that I’ve never really experienced being on a set.  I got a little emotional that day.  I got to say, when I walked in and everyone was wearing red I was like, all right, this is different, you know.  So I think it’s so important, and I love that this project had so much diversity behind the camera as well as in front of it.  So I was just really, really grateful to be part of that and kind of part of the change like Roxy was talking about.

KELLY HU:  And, this, I have to say, this was Sylvia’s first film, and we kept teasing her, like don’t get used to this because it doesn’t happen like this.  Like being on set with this kind of love and sisterhood and positivity was so unique, but hopefully there will be more like that.  Maybe, hopefully, Hollywood will be changing and there will be more projects like this where people can come together and really bond the way we did.

QUESTION:  I hope so, too.  Thanks, ladies.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  Our next question is from Luaine Lee.  Luaine, you might be muted.

QUESTION:  I don’t see the unmute.  Can you hear me?

MODERATOR:  Yes, you’re good.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Shannen, your career has been so colorful.  Was there ever a time when you wanted to just give it up?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  (Laughter.) Every day.  No.  I wouldn’t say give it up.  And, thank you, it has been colorful.  I’m going to take that as a big compliment, because I would hate to think that I was beige, so knowing that my career’s been colorful is — I’d like to think that I’ve chosen projects that are relatable but that are different that challenge me as an actor.  And there were times where it got a little rough as far as the press goes, and that can feel — you can feel a bit defeated, absolutely, but that hasn’t been in so long.  I think, I mean, it’s like thirty years ago, so.  I haven’t felt that in probably like thirty years, and now I just sort of look at like there’s all these new chapters and new opportunities for my career hat I’m super excited about and just ready to keep charging forward.

(Laughter.)

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Roxy.

ROXY SHIH:  Yes, bitch.  Get it.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Francine Brokaw.

QUESTION:  Hi, yes.  For Shannen, you’ve popped up a lot on shows that have to do with cancer.  I know you’ve had your struggles with it, I have as well.  Have you gone through any point in your life that says I don’t want to hear the word?  I don’t want to watch anything?  I just want to ignore it for the time being?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I think this is the first acting thing I’ve done about cancer, because I’ve been pretty careful about bringing the acting into that world.  But, again, when I read the script, and I found out who all was involved, and I felt like I had to be a part of it, and I was super honored to be a part of it and, again, like what Kelly has been talking about, like, the sisterhood, that made this film even more special.  Like, yes, the topic is special, and everybody’s performances are special, but the sisterhood behind the scenes sort of blows everything else out of the water for me, personally.  And, no, I mean, I don’t — I feel like I have a responsibility in my more public life, which I separate from my acting life, I feel like I have a responsibility to talk about cancer and to perhaps educate people more to let people know that people with stage four are very much alive and very active and more than capable of working, and just to sort of raise money and spread awareness.  So I don’t really get sick of it and in my very close-knit quarters it doesn’t really come up.  My husband says that you would never know that I had cancer.  I don’t ever complain.  I don’t really talk about it.  It’s just it’s part of life at this point.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question.  That’s going to be Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Oh, hi.  Who wrote the movie? And do you know why she named the main character Brenda Lee?  I just noticed that as I was watching.

KELLY HU:  You want to take that, Roxy?

ROXY SHIH:  Yeah.  The script was written by Jessica Landry.  Jessica and I haven’t connected.  Like basically the script was given to me by Autumn, our amazing producer, and I read the script.  I was really burnt out at the time.  I read like fifteen pages into it, and I’m like I just have to do this.  So I connected with her and I’m just like, “Yo, girl, really great job on this.  Hey, we shot it.  It was amazing.”  And I think that we’re going to connect in the future, but I think the Brenda Lee thing was probably super random.  Does that have a personal reason with you?

KELLY HU:  Shannen.

QUESTION:  With me?

ROXY SHIH:  Yeah.  Or is it —

QUESTION:  Oh, no.  Just the famous singer Brenda Lee —

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Brenda Lee.

ROXY SHIH:  Oh, no.  I don’t think —

KELLY HU:  Oh, that Brenda Lee.

QUESTION:  Oh, I’m probably too old.  Never mind.

ROXY SHIH:  No, maybe I should have — Oh, wait.  Kelly, we should have rethought your character.

KELLY HU:  I know.

(Laughter.)

ROXY SHIH:  We didn’t do our research apparently, so.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  That’s okay.  Thank you.

ROXY SHIH:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you all for taking the time to be on our panel today, ladies.

MORE INFO:

Preview

Presented by Native Deodorant, List of a Lifetime premieres October 10th at 8pm ET/PT and tells the story of Brenda Lee (Hu) who’s prompted to look for the daughter she gave up for adoption decades ago after a breast cancer diagnosis.  After finding Talia (Kwan) and sharing her devasting news, Talia convinces Brenda to make a bucket list of everything she wants to do, promising to help her complete everything on the list.  While keeping Brenda a secret from her adoptive mother Diana (Doherty), Talia grows closer to the mother she never knew.  Meanwhile, Brenda discovers a meaningful relationship with Talia she didn’t know she needed, and a reason to fight for her life.

Following the movie, the aftershow Beyond the List with Shannen Doherty will debut, featuring exclusive conversations with Doherty and the movie’s cast, new never-before-seen photos during Doherty’s breast cancer journey, as well as information from top oncologists Dr. Elise Port and Dr. Philomena McAndrew.  The aftershow also features intimate testimonials from within the A+E Networks family featuring employees affected by breast cancer.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Stars of "List of a Lifetime" on Lifetime

Interview with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka, and Jenika Rose

TV Interview!

Shannen Doherty and Favour Onwuka star in "Dying to Belong" on Lifetime

Interview with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka, and Jenika Rose of “Dying to Belong” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This movie is a remake of a 1997 film. It’s very sad that sororities and fraternities still have hazing, even all of these years later. I enjoyed the movie, which airs Saturday, 10/9. I hope you do, too.

LIfetime had a press day, which included this movie and part of its cast.  Shannen Doherty plays the mom of a girl, Riley, that is hazed at her university’s sorority. Favour Onwuka plays the girl’s friend, Olivia, who is also hazed and tries to get information about the sorority for a newspaper article. It was great to speak with them all, and the executive producer, Danielle Von Zerneck. Shannen has been battling cancer for a while, but she looked great!

My question has my name on it. All of the other questions are from other journalists.

MODERATOR:  Our next panel is “Dying to Belong.”  Please welcome back Shannen Doherty alongside executive producer Danielle von Zerneck and our stars Favour Onwuka and Jenika Rose.  Thank you guys for being here.  We really appreciate your time.  Our first question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi, guys.  Thanks for talking to us.  This is for the actors.  I’m just curious did you know how many people die from hazing at sororities, because I definitely learned about that after watching this, and how did that affect how you played your characters?

JENIKA ROSE:  You go first.

FAVOUR ONWUKA:  Yeah, that was something I found out about while researching on this project, because being in Canada you don’t really have sororities here, so it was a new thing for me to learn about, and it’s so sad to find out that people are still dying.  It’s still happening.  It’s terrible because it’s so senseless.  It’s such a senseless way to die.

JENIKA ROSE:  And in the ways that they die, how they’re provoked by their so-called “sisters,” it was just it was really chilling to read and learn about.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is going to be from Suzanne.

Suzanne:  Hi.  I was wondering, Shannen, you’ve been acting since you were a little kid.  There are a lot of young women in this movie.  Did you have any particular advice for them?The girls in an initiation on "Dying to Belong" on Lifetime

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I don’t think so.  You would have to ask these two, beautiful girls.  Yeah, I don’t think so.  I got very, very, very lucky this year in the people that I got to work with.  Danielle and I have done a movie before together, and as a producer she’s phenomenal and she’s caring.  She understands you.  She hears you.  She never gets flustered.  You don’t.  I mean, she’s really, really, really special and wonderful.  Our director, Gail Harvey, who I’ve also worked with before, it’s just I love her madly.  But working with these two girls was sort of a, you know, I’m going to be brutally honest, you never really know what you’re getting with people this age, you just don’t, and what I encountered was not only two hard working girls who constantly were putting their best foot forward, but they’re also kind and considerate and intelligent.  I don’t know if this is answering your question, but I just felt like I had to say that about everybody in this room right now, because I was really taken aback by how wonderful — and I think I said something to Danielle like maybe first or second day — I was like, God, like they’re really talented — really, really talented.  So I don’t know.  Did I give you any advice?  I didn’t have to.  Like they’re pros.

BOTH:

You did.

JENIKA ROSE:  You did a lot without like specifically being like, “Hey, here’s a hot tip.”  It was more just like observing you, and then you’d just like come over to us and just say something and then walk away, and it was wisdom, but I don’t know if you knew that it was, but it was very helpful, and there are lots of like little things that just pushed us forward.

FAVOUR ONWUKA:  Yeah.  And to add to that, it was a lot of modeling, at least for me, because this was my first lead, so I was taking notes from you.  I was like, “Oh, okay, that’s what Shannen’s doing, and she looks relaxed.  I should be relaxed.”  You know, I was just watching you and learning, and there were times where I’d come up in between — There was one particular time where I came up in between and I was like, “How do you do it,” and you were just like, “Well, this is what I’ve learned,” and you told me that, honestly, it takes time.  It’s something you build up over the years and, yeah, I really — I wrote, I took down notes.  Everything you said I was like, “Must do this.”  So, yes, thank you for all your advice.  It was amazing to have you.

JENIKA ROSE:  Thank you so much.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Thank you for being, like, the absolute, you know, beautiful, dedicated actors that you both are.  You honestly blew me away, and I have seen the movie.  I understand that neither one of you have yet.

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  No.

JENIKA ROSE:  No.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  But I have seen it and you guys are phenomenal in it.  Everybody did a great job and, Danielle, obviously, you should be proud, which I know you are.

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  Very proud.  And I just, sorry — not to make this a love fest — but, at the same time, Shannen, like, the generosity of spirit that you bring, obviously, to every frickin’ thing you do was so — It was a beautiful thing to see all of these really newer to the form actors — (phone rings.) Oh, shit.  Sorry, guys.  And —

(Laughter.)

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  Oh, my God.  I’m sorry, guys.  Okay.  Newer to the form, but watching you, they were so in awe and you just, as they said, watching that kind of generational thing, it was gorgeous.  Okay.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Did I start this by saying that she never gets flustered, because we just saw her get all flustered.

(Laughter.)

Suzanne:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, guys.  Our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question, actually, is for Danielle, and if your phone goes off again feel free to say anything you want; I’m fine.  Your dad is one of the prolific greats in this field, and when you tackle a project, and I know you’ve been on this side of the camera for a while, do you consult with him about the projects you want to do?  And then I’ve got a follow up for you.

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  Okay, yeah, yeah.  I mean, how many people can get mentored by their father and it be meaningful?  I mean I feel very, very grateful to have that human in my life, and I love that Shannen’s been a part of both of those as well; like, that’s crazy, you know.  And, yeah, no, I love — Yes, I did always talk to him and not just about sort of — I think for me it was a little like, “Oh, I really think that there is a new way for this story to be told,” so that was like always my impulse with both movies and, especially this one, I was like (makes noise.)  I was talking to Favour and Jenica about this.  Like it’s like sorority movies are like female-ish — male gaze, normally and really thought like, “Oh, let’s put a female gaze on this all around.”  And my dad has always been incredibly supportive.  He loves it.  He loves that TV movies are still have something to say, and I think are really having an interesting renaissance, and I love that the definition of a TV movie is changing, and it’s nice to be part of that and to sort of still have my dad be here to see it.

QUESTION:  My follow up for you is – you did so much work in front of the cameras, what do you feel your arc was as a producer, because you knew what it was like to have the camera on you, how was it for you to be behind the camera?  When I say calling the shots I mean that loosely, not like a director, but how was that transition for you?

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  It was long and arduous and the only thing I can say is that being an actress for a small amount of time the best thing about it is that every time you do an audition you’re basically selling yourself.  You’re selling, right?  And so when you move into producing and you’re selling a project it was so much easier to sell something that wasn’t me.  And, so, that, in a weird way, the acting stuff was really, really helpful, all the skills I learned.  And what’s crazy now, like I really don’t remember being an actress, it feels very foreign to me, so I’m always like so in awe of actors, because they have to — I don’t know.  I just feel like the work that they have to do is sometimes not noticed as much because they have to keep it different.  It’s like I get to go and I sign things and I run around, but actors sort of have to keep their emotional sanity about them, and these skills that now I just feel like I don’t know how you do it.  I really don’t.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question and that’s going to be Jamie.  Jamie.

QUESTION:  Sorry.  I’m just going to say did you guys research anything like into mental health?  I was just curious kind of how you prepared for that part of it.

JENIKA ROSE:   Yeah.  My character has severe general anxiety disorder, and I didn’t know too much about that.  I just sort of knew about people have anxiety, but this was a specific heightened part of anxiety, and I actually have a severe learning disability, so a lot of my character’s experiences were things that I’ve experienced myself in the past when I was younger and being around girls, especially.  So a lot of the situations that my character was in like really rang true, and I did have a best friend that I’ve had for a really long time, that was sort of Favour’s character, that helps one through those times and those people are really special.  So I really connected with that part of the anxiety and just I really wanted to show it in its true light and represent it properly, because I’m sure some people that have it, I didn’t want them to watch it and be like, “Mm, I wouldn’t be like that in that situation.”  So I just really wanted to do my best to make it as truthful as possible.

MORE INFO:

Preview

SHANNEN DOHERTY, FAVOUR ONWUKA
AND JENIKA ROSE
HEADLINE REMAKE OF THE 90’s CLASSIC FILM
DYING TO BELONG

DTB_04242021_DP_0295_TD

Los Angeles, CA (August 10, 2021) – Lifetime brings the classic film Dying to Belong to a whole new generation, with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka (Supergirl) and Jenika Rose (iZombie) starring.  Revealing the harsh realities of toxic friendships and sorority hazing culture, Dying to Belong is a remake of the 1997 film of the same name, which starred Hilary Swank, Sarah Chalke, Jenna von Oÿ and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Dying to Belong will debut this fall on Lifetime.

When journalism major Olivia (Onwuka) meets Riley (Rose), a shy freshman who suffers from anxiety, they become fast friends. Riley, whose mother Katherine (Doherty) was a legacy Pi Gamma Beta, decides to rush in hopes of following Katherine’s footsteps and is ecstatic when Olivia joins her. Sensing the opportunity to go undercover to write a story about hazing practices, Olivia soon discovers there are deadly secrets involved in being part of the “sisterhood.”

From 1959 to 2019, there has been at least one hazing death reported each year, and thirty reported within the last decade1. 95% of students hazed do not report it to officials2. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was the first year no hazing deaths were reported. Within the first two weeks of students returning to campus in 2021, two hazing deaths have already been reported.

Dying to Belong marks Doherty’s second movie for Lifetime this year as she also stars in List of a Lifetime, the network’s centerpiece of the Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign, for which Doherty directed special content that will roll out in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As part of Lifetime’s commitment to hiring women in key production roles under the Broader Focus initiative, Dying to Belong is produced by Pink Buffalo Films and Wishing Floor Films with Danielle von Zerneck (The Christmas Set Up) executive producing, Gail Harvey (Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos) directs from a script from Caitlin D. Freyers (Wynona Earp). Shawn Angelski (Story of a Girl) also serves as executive producer. The original film’s producers included Frank von Zerneck, Danielle von Zerneck’s father.

 

 

 

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Shannen Doherty and Favour Onwuka star in "Dying to Belong" on Lifetime