Alyssa Milano stars in a Lifetime movie that’s a bit of a departure in terms of no one is trying to kill her character, the female lead. But that’s not to say she’s not in peril!
In Tempting Fate, the screen adaptation of the Jane Green novel of the same name, Milano plays a woman named Gabby who has a (mostly) idyllic marriage to husband Elliott (Steve Kazee, Shameless) – until she has a fling with a younger man, Matt (Zane Holtz, From Dusk Till Dawn: the Series) and finds herself pregnant.
The film, executive produced and co-directed by Kim Raver (Teddy, Grey’s Anatomy) and her husband Manu Boyer, is a character-based study on a woman who attempts to move forward with her life after making a mistake as she discovers whether it’s possible or not to reclaim the life that she’s lost.
Read on to get the scoop from Milano as to why she took this role and how today’s political climate affects what roles she accepts.
Full disclosure: I hadn’t read the book and so, I assumed that because this was a Lifetime movie one of your leading man was going to try to harm you on-screen. What attracted you to this part?
Alyssa Milano: Exactly that – that this woman wasn’t the victim. There was no victimization of the female lead character. She’s the one who feels empowered. Having a movie that combines the sensationalized idea of infidelity but still giving it something that is rounded and has depth and nuance. It’s a testament to [executive producers and directors] Kim [Raver] and Manu Boyer. I think this would have been a very different movie in different directors’ hands.
You play a mother to a teen girl in this movie. Is that a departure for you?
No. I play [Coralee Armstrong,] the mother of a child who’s serving in the military in Iraq and a 17-year-old in Insatiable. [Laughs] I’ve graduated to these type of mother roles!
What’s interesting is that the groundwork for Gabby’s betrayal is established after we learn that Elliott got a vasectomy without getting his wife’s input. That doesn’t exactly excuse her affair, but it helps explain where she’s coming from.
After she learns she’s pregnant – and as her husband, in all likelihood, simply can’t be the father — there’s a discussion in the script of terminating the pregnancy.
Yes. It’s funny. A while ago, when were [first] started doing press for this movie nobody was talking about that. Now, it’s coming up in every interview [as abortion has been in the headlines].
This is how I feel about any issue: anytime we start politicizing something, we dehumanize it. When we see things in film or in television through stories or art or theater, that makes it human again. I think that’s important.
Do the issues you give support to politically affect what roles you chose to accept or turn down?
Yes. I just turned down a role where [the character] would be slinging a lot of guns. I felt that this was not the time to do that.
Do you feel that there’s hope that people on opposite sides of an issue can actually meet in the middle?
Again, I think storytelling in film and in television is a great way to help people come together and see another side to an issue.
Will the political climate affect which roles you’ll accept in the future?
Probably. I think if someone’s going to hire me, they know there’s a certain amount of “baggage” that comes along with that. It’s all about utilizing what I do in a way that’s going to help the conversation move forward.
Can you talk about Kim Raver as a director?
Yes. Kim gave me these wonderfully helpful mantras for each scene we filmed. In one climatic scene, when Gabby is trying to save her marriage, she said to me, “You are just enough the way you are.” I’d go into scenes with whatever mantra she gave me and it helped give the scene layers. The audience may not know the specifics, but they’ll feel the emotional depth.
Tempting Fate, Movie Premiere, Saturday, June 15, 8/7c, Lifetime