Jennifer Love Hewitt is back on the small screen tonight, this time in a new Lifetime movie.
The Client List stars Jennifer as Samantha (Sam) Horton, a former Texas homecoming queen and physical therapist who loses her job. Her husband, played by Raising the Bar‘s Teddy Sears, is facing the same jobless dilemma and the two are close to losing the only home they have for themselves and their three children. When Sam knowingly takes a job within a prostitution ring, her monetary troubles fade away, but when her secret is discovered, everything else falls apart. The movie is inspired by a true story and co-stars Cybill Shepherd as Sam’s mother. Check out the trailer here.
I was fortunate to see an advanced copy of the movie, and it’s interesting to see how much this one person does for her family. You’ll love her and hate her, but I couldn’t stop watching to see what would happen next. I have to commend not only Jennifer Love Hewitt but also Teddy Sears on their performances. These are hard roles to play. Really, I just wanted to give Teddy Sears a hug the whole time, especially once he discovers the truth. I will contend that the end seemed a little…light…to me, but after that emotional roller coaster, I think the viewer needs it.
I was able to talk to the star herself in a recent conference call about the movie, and even she had a lot to say about how emotional the performance was. She had an interesting take on the character, basically wanting to make her as real and relatable as possible. It’s a little hard, what with the type of character she’s playing, but I think if you watch, you’ll understand.
Here are some highlights from the call:
On Sam: As Jennifer puts it, the character is “a lot of different parts of a lot of different women.” It’s easy to judge her, she said in the call, but she was a woman in a tough situation. She commended Sam’s strength, authenticity, and drive: “Role models are ones that do make mistakes and walk through it with integrity and grace.”
How she related to Sam: While she couldn’t relate to everything, Jennifer said that she related to Sam first by being that girl next door from Texas, but further, in her willingness of doing what she could for her family and her “gumption.”
On crying: “I tend to pick projects emotionally that I can relate to…this project in particular, I went on the journey with her. That’s all I really had to do.” Jennifer also noted the freedom of being able to be ugly when she cried, as opposed to Ghost Whisperer‘s Melinda, who often had to look beautiful, even through tears: “The worse [Sam] looked, the better the journey for the audience. It was very freeing.”
[Read more after the break!]
On working with Cybill: Cybill plays the hard-as-nails mother of Sam in the movie, and it’s only natural to wonder what it’s like to work with such a big star. “Cybill Shepherd is like an angel on Earth,” Jennifer said. She was intrigued to meet her, and they “connected in a very unique way.” She was amazing, really cool, funny… Jennifer couldn’t say enough about how great Cybill was to work with.
On working with Teddy: Teddy Sears embodied the Texas guy, according to Jennifer. She loved working with him and loved his height most of all. Working with him was very classic Hollywood, where she was opposite a big, strapping guy. “He made me feel like his little lady,” she laughed. But she did admit that his role was a very different character: “He doesn’t get to be the man…his pain is unfathomable.”
On lingerie: Yes, there are a lot of shots of Jennifer in lingerie in the movie–how could there not be? But Jennifer didn’t work out for this role. She was playing a woman who didn’t know what it was going to happen to her, a woman that wouldn’t have had time herself to get fit for the role. Jennifer wanted to make sure that in the end she “looks like a real person.”
On research and…pole dancing? Jennifer didn’t do any research for the role of a prostitute, she said. It was better to discover it all while she was doing it, since that’s what Sam had to do. But she did take some pole dancing lessons! She came out very bruised and battered. “It was really really hard,” she said. But she’s got a pole in her house now, and she’s made it part of her workout–so it must’ve paid off!
Favorite role she’s played: Originally, it was Audrey Hepburn, but now, it’s a toss up. Emotionally, Sam was one of the hardest roles she had to do, since she was crying the whole time, Jennifer explained. It’s a tie between Sam and Audrey.
On her love life: Considering Jennifer’s love life has been in the public eye, it’s no surprise someone asked, but at this point, Jennifer’s learned from them all and has better perspective and balance. She doesn’t regret any of her past boyfriends, and she finds herself to be very lucky. Her advice? “It’s so much more important that you love yourself before you love anyone else, and they need to love themselves before they love you.”
On babies: “I would love to have babies. I’m obsessed with babies,” Jennifer gushes. But no, she’s not pregnant, even if the paparazzi continuously suspects that she is. Jennifer jokes, “I’ve been pregnant for four years now, and I have yet to pop out a baby.”
On her TiVo? I’m happy to admit that Jennifer and I are both Vampire Diaries fans. Alongside that on her TiVo is So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Your Ass Off, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and The Bachelorette.
Her return to TV? Sorry, Ghost Whisperer fans. Jennifer doesn’t plan to rush into a new TV series right away. If she does come back soon, it would not be on a one-hour drama, she says, maybe something a little lighter. But she does have some projects in the works, so don’t think you won’t have a chance to catch more Jennifer.
Don’t forget to catch Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Client List at 9/8c tonight on Lifetime!
*images from Lifetime Television