Thursday, January 23, 2014

‘Unforgettable’ actress returns to ‘very physical’ cop role

(Published Jan. 6, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“The biggest challenge is that it’s a very physical role—it has a lot of action and stunts,” related actress Poppy Montgomery, who talked to Asian journalists about her “Unforgettable” cop character Carrie Wells during a recent teleconference.

“Especially in season two,” she continued, “because I went back to work three weeks after I had my daughter (Violet). I was still recovering from that!”

Montgomery, 38, elaborated on Carrie’s uncanny ability to vividly remember the details of events—a real mental syndrome called hyperthymesia.

She said: “I think people really identify with Carrie and her gift and they’re really intrigued by the fact that her memory ability is a real thing. And people love that because it’s a real-life superpower.”

She admitted that her own memory is currently erratic. “I’m really good at remembering lines. [But] I find myself walking around with my sunglasses on my head, looking for them for 45 minutes. My memory, it’s definitely in and out especially after I had Violet.”

The Australian actress, who moved to the United States in her teens, declared that this “most action-based role” in her career was a pleasant surprise. “It’s just got a lot more stunts now so that’s definitely the new skill I learned as an actress. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and now I want to do all-action stuff.”

 Playing the detective didn’t require much training, Montgomery revealed. “I played an FBI agent in ‘Without a Trace’ for seven years so I kind of already had a good background  [to playing a cop].”

To enhance Carrie’s gift of precise recollection, “Taxi” actress Marilu Henner was consulted. “She has this memory ability in real life; she actually guest-starred in the first season. So that was really helpful because she told us how it feels, how to work it into each script.”

Montgomery had guest appearances in 1990s shows “Party of Five” and “NYPD Blue.” She eventually played the late Marilyn Monroe in the miniseries “Blonde” (2001) and author J.K. Rowling in the TV movie “Magic Beyond Words” (2011).

Her artistic influences, she enthused, included people dear to her, as well as entertainment icons: “My mother has been a huge influence, probably the strongest in my life. She taught me to be independent and strong. My closest friends and the people I’ve worked with have all influenced me … And I love Nora Ephron; I love Marilyn Monroe. They’re amazing.”

She added that the entertainment cultures of Australia and the US had significant similarities. “They’re very easy-going and very liberal,” Montgomery said. “The US is much bigger than anything I’ve experienced; everything is 24 hours and you have access to everything …  I think I have the best of both worlds.”

(The new season of “Unforgettable” debuts Monday, 9 p.m., on Lifetime.)

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