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Daytime Royalty interview with Jen Lilley
Topic Started: Jul 26 2013, 02:16 PM (2,388 Views)
Ellie


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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Panda Panda
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Good interview. It's nice to know a little bit more about the character and her current & past relationship with her parents.
Edited by Panda Panda, Jul 26 2013, 04:48 PM.
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OliveAnn


Great interview!
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LuvingLumi
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♥ Jax Teller♥

As always...another great DR interview....you guys truly do ask the questions everyone wants to hear answers to.

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DiMeraFan67
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Nice interviews. I loved her answers and I'm glad that Shane and Kimberly seem to play such a prominent role in why Jeannie is how she is and it seems like they will be on their way back to visit too so that makes it even better. Days is really doing this right, IMO.

I loved her answer about Shane, although that made him sound VERY similar to Frisco Jones from GH and I think there's a big difference in the two characters, while they do have SOME similarities. Really loved what she said about Kimberly because I think any person would feel the exact same way. Like okay mom, let me learn for myself because you did it that way.
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Supergirlx2
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"Right now what I like most about Aiden is Hope" ~ DC

thanks for the interview. :)

If Jen wants less mushy "Shane & Kim" scenes, she should look at the storylines from their beginning- how Shane & Kim met, them teaming up with Bo & Hope in London, which was the start of Kim's blindness, then going through to Miami which was really the moment when their love for each other was solidified. Then, of course, there's the Kern River stuff with Kim giving birth to Andrew and all the kidnapping stuff that happened after. I think most of this is online - i know London & Miami are for sure.

My Kim/Shane knowledge loses a bit of steam after that since I haven't seen anything late-80s past Bo & Hope's departure. their 90s history is fuzzy as well since they weren't really part of the COD storyline (the cruise part) & by the time Hope was no longer dead, Shane & Kim were gone. if she wants more recent scenes, there's always Shane's return in 2002, Kim & Shane's randomness in 2010 when they came back for Alice's funeral, and then Shane's most recent return last year.
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Supergirlx2
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"Right now what I like most about Aiden is Hope" ~ DC

Panda Panda
Jul 26 2013, 02:23 PM
Good interview. It's nice to know a little but more about the character and her current & past relationship with her parents.
i hope that some of this relationship info will be revealed on-screen so that those that don't read this interview will come to know this background.
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mirabella


Thanks, Ellie. I really enjoyed that interview. Jen seems like a really nice person. She also seems to really understand her character which is great.
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SoapGal1
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Great interview, Ellie!

I think I really like this girl. She seems to be very honest & open.

Also sounds like she's really trying to develop a backstory for Theresa & I appreciate that.

Kudos all around!
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Spencer Hastings
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Great interview! She really seems to understand her character and she really does seem like the sweetest person ever. I like that she's gong out of her way to research Shane and Kim--that's what every actor/actress should do.
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Casey
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#BringBackMartha

Great interview, DR! Jen Lilley and her character have long-term potential. I hope that she sticks around for the long haul. Also, I really appreciate when an actor/actress takes the time to learn the history behind the character that they are playing. It's one of the things that made me like Chandler Massey when he first joined the show. He took the time to do all the research behind the character and how that character came to be in the first place.
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JarlenaLante
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Another great DR interview. I like how respectful Jen Lilley is to the actors (PP and CS) who play her parents (she mentioned in another interview how she is a big fan of The Nanny).
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KMan101
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Another fantastic interview!

I love how DR just gets right down to business and asks actual interesting questions instead of the same old same old you see.

It was great to hear how she's doing research, the work going into her character on the writers' part, etc.
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DrewHamilton
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Great interview!

I loved her insight into Theresa's relationships with Shane and Kimberly, and how their actions have molded who Theresa is. Sounds like Lilley has a lot of faith in the writers with the material she's been giving so far. I'm hoping to see more layers to Theresa.
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Donovanfan


Thanks for sharing the interview. I'm impressed she took the time to find out about who her character's parents are some of their history.

I'm surprised her character knows her mom was a prostitute. I guess she doesn't know that Shane didn't acknowledge her for a year and her cousin usurped his affection in the meantime. Not to mention Kayla. If she's this screwed up about him not being around, the girls going to end up in the psych ward if she finds this out.

i do like the character and once she has exercised some of these demons, I hope she gets to grow into a role that will be more than "kim and shane's daughter" - Nothing like constantly having to live up to other peoples expectations-- fictional or not.
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ShaneDOOLFan


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqt-jPQJwp4

Jen watched this scene I guess. Little Theresa.
Edited by ShaneDOOLFan, Jul 26 2013, 10:08 PM.
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Dreamy
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Love the interview. JL's Theresa is awesome!
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jwsel
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That was a fantastic interview. It really is great that Jen Lilley has spent so much time trying to get inside the character. She really seems to want to understand Jeannie Theresa.

Just one correction, though. Shane didn't leave when Jeannie was one. Kim left Salem before Jeannie was born. She was born in Los Angeles in September 1990 after Kim left (in August). At the time, they didn't think Jeannie was Shane's; they thought she was Cal Winters' daughter and Kim had lied to Shane, first about being pregnant and then about who the father was. Shane stopped her from having an abortion, but was cold to her, so she left town. Kim tried to sneak away during Steve and Kayla's second wedding, but Shane figured something was up and confronted her before she could disappear without telling him.

Kim came back to Salem five months later, in February 1991, right when Shane was beginning to develop feelings for Kayla. It wasn't until November 1991 that Shane learned Jeannie was his daughter. Then, almost immediately after Shane learned the truth, he was sent on an ISA assignment and, before he returned, Kim decided to return to Los Angeles with the kids. I thought Shane should have been pretty bitter about that, since it prevented him from ever getting a chance to bond with her, but things were complicated by the fact that Shane and Kayla had finally slept together.

Kim next returned to Salem in June 1992 to tell the family that she was engaged to Phillip Collier, but she was hit by a car. By that time, Shane and Kayla had split, and Kayla had moved to LA. Phillip brought the kids to Salem in August, and they all lived at Shane's. Kim's multiple personality disorder had manifested by this time, and one of her alters, "Lacey," decided that Shane needed to go, so she arranged for him to get assigned overseas by the ISA. He left in October. Another of her alters, "Claire" didn't like having the kids around, so she arranged to have the kids shipped off to England to live with Shane in November. They were still living there when Kim left Salem for good in June 1993. In fact, some of Kim's last scenes involved her and Marlena going to visit the kids before Kim and Phillip moved back to Los Angeles. When Kim and Marlena returned, they got a call that Jeannie had broken out with the measles, which caused a scare for Marlena, who was pregnant.

So, actually, we know Jeannie did live with Shane for a time when she was younger. It was never established when Jeannie and Andrew came back to live with Kim, assuming they ever did. Of course, who knows how much Shane was around Donovan Manor given his job. The kids may have been raised primarily by Simmons, whose last appearance came approximately around when the kids moved to London. Shane and Peachy talked about Andrew following Shane to Eton and, with SORASing, he would have been closing in on boarding school age.

Also, at the risk of sounding self-promoting, if Jen Lilley wants some clips, can I suggest some of the background posts on Shane and Kim that I wrote for my old blog? It's not the easiest site to navigate and was created for a fanfic that is on hold, but I wrote some essays on to help some readers that knew nothing about Shane and Kim to understand the characters in 2010. The posts have a bunch of links to YouTube clips in them, though some may be dead links by now. The main posts that would be useful are:

Early Kim and Shane

Shane and Kim: Love and Romance

Shane and Kim: The "Bad Times"


If Lilley is really brave, she can learn all about Shayla too. Part One, Part Two, Part Three :drunk:
There also are some other essays that discuss family, friendships, and the history with Victor. They all are tagged "background."
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am103
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Great interview!

I love, love, LOVE when actors do research/homework on their characters. It makes the characters seem so much more important when the actor knows about a character's past, imo. Kudos to Lilley for that!
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michr544125


Great interview you did with Jen. I love how she answered about her religious beliefs and how it fits into playing Theresa. I love what she said about that.
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