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Viewing Single Post From: Daytime Royalty interview with Jen Lilley

Daytime Royalty: Can you talk us through how you got the role of Theresa?

Jen Lilley: I'm not one hundred percent sure how it began. I've known Marnie Saitta for about five and a half years. I met her when I first moved to LA, and we've kept in touch, which I appreciate a lot. I know that Ken Corday and some of the other execs were familiar with who I was from General Hospital. Also, Lisa DeCazotte's husband was one of the producers on The Artist, which I was in. I had met Lisa at a party and talked to her. So I knew a lot of people were aware of me. I also knew Ari Zucker from some charity work we had done together, and I know that she called Marnie and put my name in. I'm not sure whether they called my agent. There were actually two characters that came out: Theresa, and the character that Chrishell Stause is playing. Chrishell and I both went out for both characters, and it was kind of weird since we were both auditioning for two very different characters at the same time.

I got to skip the first audition, which is called a pre-read and is an audition to audition. So then I auditioned with everyone else, and I got to do my screentest twice, which is very unusual. I was the only girl who got to do that, so I went first and last. The reason they had me do it twice is that I wore my hair curly, and I have a really young face, and they said that I looked too sweet and innocent and young with the curly hair. So they straightened my hair and had me do it again. On the second take, I knew that I had nothing to lose. I had already done a perfect first take, and they told me it wasn't going to get better than that so I could do whatever I wanted. I just did everything out of the box, and that's what got me the job. I mean I took the guy's shirt off in the scene! I told the actor that this is a character with no concept of personal space, so I asked him if it's ok if I touch him. He said that was fine and it was my screentest. So I took his shirt off and I threw some props at him at the end. I broke all the rules, and I think [the casting staff] thought, that is that character.

I know in the past you've said in interviews that you, as a religious person, have concerns playing characters who conflict with your religious beliefs. Was that an issue playing Theresa, who clearly has issues of her own - she's on drugs...

That's a wonderful question, and you're the first person to ask me that. I have several other Christian friends out here who are actresses, and we all meet for coffee sometimes and bounce things off of each other about what we would do and what we would not do. My view and our take on it - - and I don't want to look like a hypocrite -- but my view is that somebody has to play this character, and I'd rather it be someone with a lot of morals, whether religious or not, who is not promiscuous and doesn't do drugs, as opposed to someone who is promiscuous and does drugs. This is so that with young girls who are looking up to me, I can say, You know what, Theresa's not cool. She's not satisfied with her life, and this is not how you find happiness. You don't find happiness by having sex with lots of men and doing drugs. It's a downhill spiral. I feel fortunate that I can play a character like this, because it gives me an opportunity to speak out against it without coming from a place of judgment.

That's a great point. I know you're doing these interviews now, but have you had a chance, though social media or other means, to address these young people you're talking about?

Not directly about Theresa. I have had the opportunity to talk about how, on the inside, she's a little broken. I don't make excuses for her behavior, because I know a lot of people who come from places of being broken, and they're the most inspiring people you'll ever meet. Patsy Pease is one of them. She's very open about how she was a victim of child abuse, and she's just such an inspiration. But not, not directly. I would love to address the drugs and sex issue when the time comes.

You mentioned Patsy. What is Theresa's relationship like with her parents? What we're expecting is basically that she hates them.

I'm glad you're asking this too. I think she doesn't really hate them. She wants them to accept her and she wants them to love her, and she doesn't really know who she is. There are many layers to her that I appreciate. I haven't gotten to meet with the writers, though I hope to do that one day, because I cant tell you how much I appreciate all of the research they've put into this role, even just psychologicially. Shane left when she was one year old, if even. I watched the episode...

I was going to ask you that, if you've done any research on Kim and Shane.

I'm doing as much research as I can. Obviously it's tricky because there are a million Kim and Shane clips, but most are the lovey-dovey ones, so I keep asking fans to send me any clips they think I should watch. [DR Note: Put them in this thread and we'll make sure Jen sees them!] I'm concerned with doing the job right. So anyway, [Theresa] has daddy issues, since her father is a spy and he left when she was young, and every time that Shane has shown up in her life, he's just wanted to put a bandaid on the situation. He just wants to do a quick fix and he leaves again. I don't know this for a fact but in my mind, it's like he gets a phone call when you're in mid-sentence and says he has to take it, while you're crying. Then with Kimberly, she's a single parent and has to compensate for the fact that there is no father figure. So, she's probably overly strict on Jeannie, who goes by Theresa now, and Andrew. Also, Theresa knows that her mother was a prostitute. That's a sticky situation because even though Kimberly has turned her life around, and I believe --obviously I'm a person of faith and I think that people can change, and I think Kimberly has changed. But at the same time, it's hard to hear from a parent that [the child] is doing things wrong, when it's like, Really Mom? You were a prostitute. So I think she struggles with rejection, and she wants to be loved and doesn't know who she really is, and there's a lot of pain.

One final question. I remember you made a tweet which was kind of harmless, comparing Maxie and Theresa, and it turned into a whole thing on Twitter. If you have any comments about that, I'm more than happy to put them in the interview.

I think social media is tricky; there's a disconnect, and we don't do things one-on-one. It's so easy for things to get blown out of proportion or misinterpreted, since you can't hear the tone in someone's voice. I just want to encourage people on social media to be positive, not to be nasty and to have a sense of humor, myself included. There's not enough time in the world to be nasty, and it's such an unfulfilling life.
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Daytime Royalty interview with Jen Lilley · DAYS: News, Spoilers & Discussion