Alyssa Milano has spent a huge portion of her life on television, starring in two long running series: Who’s the Boss and Charmed, both of which lasted eight seasons. She has also had roles in shows ranging from Melrose Place to My Name is Earl and she most recently starred in ABC’s short-lived comedy Romantically Challenged.
Alyssa’s latest project is SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S, a Lifetime Original Movie based on the same-titled James Patterson bestselling novel. Alyssa stars as Jane Claremont, a successful businesswoman about to marry up-and-coming actor Hugh McGrath. As a child, Jane survived her mother’s neglect and multiple marriages by spending time with Michael, her imaginary friend, but he had to leave her when she turned nine. Picture Jane’s surprise when, as an adult, she sees Michael again and realizes that her imaginary friend might just be her true love. You can watch a preview and see photos from Sundays at Tiffany’s here.
Daemon’s TV was there when Alyssa answered questions about what drew her to Sundays at Tiffany’s, working with Stockard Channing, and what’s next for her.
On what attracted Alyssa to Sundays at Tiffany’s
When asked what the best thing about Sundays at Tiffany’s was, Alyssa said, “I think the best part about it is actually how romantic it is. That’s what I was first attracted to when I read the script. It’s really a modern day fairy tale in a way. It’s also such an original concept, which you don’t see that often anymore.”
There are a couple of elements Alyssa looks for in a project. She explained, “The first is if the complete package is something that I know will produce a great movie. What I mean by that is that it’s such a crap shoot with so many elements to go into that. I think that having the story and having it be based on a James Patterson novel helped and the cast and producers–all those other things are super-important to me.”
For the other element, Alyssa said, “As far as characters go, I love playing women that you see grow on camera. someone who’s flawed and they end up in a different place than where we first found them. I’m really attracted to flawed characters because I think that we’re all flawed. I feel like it’s more challenging to portray something that’s more real than something that doesn’t exist.”
On the character of Jane
Alyssa remarked, “What I was attracted to when I read the script was that [Jane] was hurt in her past and she, out of a protection mechanism, suppressed the romantic that she was and I really like that aspect of her because I think that the most interesting characters are the ones that are flawed.”
Alyssa liked the journey that Jane has to travel. “I think that her arc is that she was really hardened off to love and then through magical circumstances, she learns to love wholly again and I think that is what I really liked.” That arc was also a challenge. “I think that the most challenging thing was coming up with a character who was hardened off and protective of herself and making sure that didn’t come off as bitchy,” Alyssa explained. “I wanted to see a distinct change in who she was at the beginning of the film and who she was at the end of the film, but I didn’t want her to come off as too icy or bitchy in the beginning because she did have to be likeable.”
On working with Eric Winter, and Ivan Sergei, and Stockard Channing
When Alyssa was asked what she most enjoyed about working on Sundays at Tiffany’s, she raved about the cast. “Everyone just did an amazing job and made it not only easy but also an experience where we all felt like we were doing something great.”
Alyssa had worked with both Ivan Sergei and Eric Winter before. Ivan had a recurring role on Charmed and Alyssa once shot a pilot with Eric, so this was a happy reunion for her. “To have both of those guys there was awesome,” she said. “We went to Second City on our days off and sat and laughed. Anytime that you’re reconnected with people that you’ve worked with before, people you admire and respect, it’s a great feeling.” That chemistry translates on screen and Alyssa’s favorite scene to shoot was one where Jane and Hugh are having dinner and Michael shows up. “It was one of those scenes where everything was working much better than expected and everything just clicked.”
As for Stockard Channing, Alyssa said, “She is exactly what you would hope working with Stockard Channing would be like. I’ve always been a fan of hers, but I’m even more of a fan now. She’s lovely and smart and her instincts are always dead-on. Working with her is a great reminder of why, after thirty years in the business, I still love my job. It’s because I get to watch people like her work and still learn.”
As with several of her recent projects, along with acting in Sundays at Tiffany’s, Alyssa is also a producer. When asked how the two jobs compare, she answered, “I definitely think producing a project makes you a little more emotionally invested. When you’re hired to just act, it can sometimes be difficult to grasp the vision that everyone has. When you’re also producing, you know what that vision is like the back of your hand because you’ve had meetings about it and are involved in all aspects. I feel like tonally it puts you immediately on the same page as the creatives involved.”
On future plans
Alyssa has a role in the upcoming Farrelly Brothers comedy ‘Hall Pass,’ which stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as two married men whose wives give them a week of freedom. On her part in the film, Alyssa said, “I play Andrew Wilson’s wife–he’s Owen Wilson’s brother, you know–and he’s playing a buddy of the guys, so I play a friend. The Farrelly brothers directed it, so it’s very funny.”
Alyssa said she definitely wants to do another series. “I like the stability of television, especially with a series,” she explained. “Knowing, at least for that season, that I have a job allows me to enjoy the rest of my life a little bit more because I don’t have to stress about where my next job will come from.”
When asked about any potential Charmed follow-up, Alyssa said, “I would love that. I don’t know if it’s a possibility, but I would absolutely love that.”
Alyssa will also expand her Touch clothing line for female sports fans while continuing her impressive philanthropy, including her work as a UNICEF ambassador, something Alyssa has been since 2003. Alyssa credits her extracurricular activities to her day job. “I think everything that I do besides acting–acting has been the platform that enables me to do it,” She said. “I’m not so sure that any of the other things could have happened without my acting career and that’s part of why I’m so grateful to still be working after all this time.”
You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @Alyssa_Milano and be sure to watch her in Sundays at Tiffany’s on Lifetime Monday, December 6 at 9pm eastern/8 central