JEN LILLEY is best known for her role as “Theresa Donovan” on NBC’s Days of our Lives and her portrayal of “Maxie Jones” on ABC’s General Hospital. She also appeared in the Academy Award-winning film, The Artist. Catch Jen starring in Eat Play Love, a Hallmark Channel Original Movie airing on Saturday, August 19th 9/8c. During the movie, live tweet and Instagram with Jen Lilley @jen_lilley and her co-star Jason Cermak @jasoncermak (pictured above) using the #EatPlayLove hashtag.
What is Eat Play Love about? And who do you play in it?
I play Dr. Carly Monroe. Described in the script as 26 years old, a nerdy but adorable veterinarian in a shapeless white doctor’s coat. She wears glasses and a long ponytail.
Eat Play Love is about a young Veterinarian named Dr. Carly Monroe who moves back to her hometown to take over her grandfather, Isaac’s (Lee Majors) veterinarian clinic. Isaac says he’s retiring, but he’s the type of man who loves his job and may never retire. Carly and her grandfather have an ADORABLE relationship. She splits her time between her grandfather’s animal clinic and volunteering at the Forever Friend’s dog shelter. Forever Friend’s Shelter is run by brother and sister duo, Michelle (Lucie Guest) and Dan Landis (Jason Cermak). Michelle is Carly’s childhood best friend, and Dan is Carly’s high school sweetheart. Carly is still in love with Dan, and vice versa, though both Dan and Carly deny their feelings. Plus, Dan agreed to marry his glamorous TV reporter girlfriend and mean girl, Kristi Waters. Hilariousness ensues when Michelle gives Carly a makeover to get Dan’s attention. After all, it’s every girl’s dream for her brother to marry her best friend. And a love story unfolds from there.
One thing I love about Eat Play Love is that post make-over, Carly incorporates her old look into the new. It’s who she is, and she doesn’t pretend to be something fake. Which I LOVE. So this movie has a positive message to young girls. Glasses don’t make you unattractive. Being your authentic self, and being kind and intelligent is what really makes you beautiful.
The other thing I love about Eat Play Love is I got to show my physical comedy skills!! I’m not sure how much of my slap-stick will make it into the final cut, but it was fun to exercise my chops and get the whole crew laughing.
With playing the role of a veterinarian, did you work with animals much? How was that experience?
I worked with animals almost every day. I love animals, but I’m allergic to cats and dogs (my dog is hypoallergenic). I took so many Claritins, I should be their spokesperson! I’ve always heard that there’s nothing more difficult for an actor than working with children or animals. So I was delightfully surprised when working with animals was easier than I anticipated. And I’m sure that’s mainly, if not entirely, because the dog trainers, the Woodley family, was SO incredible! In the scene with the goat, there was one hilarious take where the goat just went to the bathroom on the table, and another where it started eating my hair mid-scene.
This is your second movie for Hallmark, including the film A Dash of Love. What do you enjoy about making films for Hallmark?
I love everything Hallmark stands for: family, meaningful, heartfelt stories, peace, joy, and togetherness. Hallmark Channel treats their actors like royalty, their scripts ooze with positivity, and their sets are fun!
How was the experience of working with Jason Cermak, Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner?
Jason is a wonderful man. He’s the kind of guy you can trust to walk you home safely and care for your kids. He’s generous and kind and a wonderful actor.
Lee Majors (pictured above) is a legend, and yet before we even started shooting, he introduced himself to me via email, and said he had seen my work and was looking forward to working with me. I almost fell out of my chair. He’s old school Hollywood all the way; he has a wonderful sense of humor, and his acting is flawless. I adore Lee.
Lindsay Wagner (pictured above) is simply amazing. She’s inspires women today as much as (if not more than) she did as the iconic Bionic Woman. She does so much humanitarian work; she’s a strong, smart, and caring woman…and she’s the type of person you just want to take to dinner and let her talk. As an actress, she loves to run lines. She’s a giving performer; and she knows her lighting better than anyone I’ve ever met. And let’s not forget I worked with soap queen, Deidre Hall (pictured below along with Meredith Scott Wilson), who taught me immensely about lighting! Lindsay is another level. She could work as a grip. It’s insane. And while good lighting helps everyone look their best, I can tell you with absolute conviction that Lindsay Wagner is as beautiful in person as she is on screen.
And I need to mention how incredible it was to work with up and coming comedy icon, Lucie Guest. Lucie and I have ridiculously on point best friend chemistry. We fed off each other like Lucy and Ethel. She might have been my favorite part of this entire film, aside from working with my best gal pal director, Christie Will Wolf again. Lucie is a force to be reckoned with, and I’m confident she’s about to hit it BIG!
DAYS OF OUR LIVES fans enjoyed a sweet video message from your prior co-star Eric Martsolf who plays “Brady” (pictured above). He stated that there is no replacing you on the soap and sent out a humorous plea for you to come back. What did you think when you saw that video?
What I always think of when I see Eric Martsolf is that I unequivocally adore him. I would happily return to Days for a cycle or as a recurring performer.
Any other upcoming projects for you that we will be seeing you in soon?
Yes! I have a THIRD Hallmark movie coming out this September called Harvest Love, starring Ryan Paevey. And I just wrapped on two more features between my two Hallmark Channel films. They’re both thrillers, and they’re both AMAZING. They have working titles, so I’ll give you the information as it’s finalized.
Then I have still have two movies in the can that should come out soon. The first is called The Wedding Do Over. That was the first film I shot after I left Days of our Lives last June. That will air sometime on the Pixl Network. The second is called Off the Menu which stars Santino Fontana and Dania Ramirez; and that should premiere sometime in 2018.
Another fun thing to note. All 3 of the Hallmark movies I’ve done, have been directed by Christie Will Wolf.
Photo credits: Jen Lilley Facebook Fan Page; Hallmark Channel website
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