In 2009, Hartley joined the cast of another NBC soap opera, Days of our Lives, in the role of Arianna Hernandez. The following year, Hartley signed on to play the new character of Cara Castillo on ABC's All My Children. After landing her first lead in a movie entitled, Perfect on Paper, for Hallmark Channel, Hartley joined the cast of Pop TV's Queens of Drama. Most recently, Hartley starred in Nightmare Nurse, for Lifetime.
Her latest project is another Lifetime Movie, Dying to be Loved, which premieres Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. She plays Jill Yates, a successful lawyer, engaged to Connor (Dan Payne), a self-made business man. Jill’s 18-year-old daughter, Emily (Paloma Kwiatkowsk), is a freshman in college. Extremely introverted and suffering from bouts of depression, Jill is thrilled when Emily asks if she can invite a young man to dinner. But Gary proves to be more dangerous than anyone thought when he is involved in a road rage incident while out with Emily and he ends up killing a man. Emily is also charged with the crime because she handled the gun – even though she was trying to keep Gary from using it.
Gary is convicted of manslaughter but released into the custody of his brother, a policeman, before going to prison. He convinces Emily to run away with him. She leaves a note for her mother saying life is not worth living if they can’t be together.
|Lindsay Hartley as Jill in Dying to be loved|
Serial Scoop recently spoke with Hartley about her time on Passions, Days of our Lives and Queens of Drama, and got a preview of Dying to be Loved. Read our exclusive interview below.
SERIAL SCOOP: Do you ever make it through an interview without someone mentioning Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald from Passions? [laughs]
LINDSAY HARTLEY: No, I don’t. [laughs]. But I am okay with that. I love that, actually.
SERIAL SCOOP: What do you think it was about Theresa that still resonates with viewers all of these years later?
LINDSAY HARTLEY: I think it was the way that she was written. There were all these super dramatic and very traumatic events that kept happening to her, but she somehow, after being knocked down, over and over again, kept getting back up and pursuing this vision that she had, this dream. Not considering the actual concept that we’re talking about because they aren’t real--like going to hell and meeting all these dead people; jumping off the wharf and killing herself, and still coming back to life; marrying four different people in the same family, or whatever she did. [laughs]. All of these crazy things happened to her, but in life that is kind of what happens, right? We have all of these seriously traumatic things that happen to us. It’s all relative. Relative to who we are, when they happen at the time of our life, all of the factors involved. There can be extremely traumatic events that happen quite a few times in our lifetime. We have no choice but to either give up or forge ahead. It’s so difficult sometimes, very, very difficult to not give up. That is what she [Theresa] would do, forge ahead. She continued to believe in herself and believe in this bigger picture, that she has always had in her heart
SERIAL SCOOP: In the end, Theresa got her happy ending
LINDSAY HARTLEY: She did! That was so exciting.
SERIAL SCOOP: Speaking of soaps, how do we arrange to bring Arianna Hernandez back from the dead on Days of our Lives?
LINDSAY HARTLEY: I have to tell you, first of all, thank you. I would love to go back. I’m very fortunate that I have fans that keep me updated on what’s going on at Days, constantly. They are asking the same question, ‘Everyone’s there now, every time the Hernandez family gets bigger, bigger, and bigger, people are getting more emphatic, where are you, why aren’t you there, the baby is named after you...’ [laughs]. I don’t have an answer. I want to be there. I would love to be there. I guess it wasn’t the right time for me on that show.
|Lindsay Hartley and James Scott as Arianna and EJ on Days of our Lives|
LINDSAY HARTLEY: : I was brought on actually for EJ. I filled in to be with Brady (Eric Martsolf), to create what we had with Passions, and then I was supposed to end up long term having a kind of romantic relationship with EJ. I was told this is where we were going to go. I don’t know if you remember but there were these jail cell scenes. That is when it was going to happen, and then I don’t know what happened. It just kind of went away. I was bummed, because you could always throw Arianna back with Brady, that was always going to be there, but the other thing was going to be different. So I was bummed. You know, everybody’s over there now, even Jordi [Vilasuso] from All My Children, whom I love to death. Vincent [Irizarry] is over there, Rob [Wilson] is over there. So people from All My Children and Passions are over there, and I’m like, “Awe.” But it’s okay. I see them at events, and I talk to them through social media.
SERIAL SCOOP: I can tell you there are many fans who have talked about your chemistry with Vincent Irrizary from your All My Children days, and they are saying, “We want Lindsay back on Days of our Lives to reunite those two.”
LINDSAY HARTLEY: I guess you never do know exactly what happens on soaps, but I appreciate them, and you never know what could happen. Ever. That is what is so great about them.
SERIAL SCOOP: Exactly! Would you consider another soap?
LINDSAY HARTLEY: Oh, yeah, 100%! I love that genre. I am a huge, huge, soap opera fan. I’m a fan myself. I know the kind of people who watch the shows. And I know the kind of people who work on the shows. I’m lucky. I get to see the support from both sides. It’s great to be receiving the support, and it’s great to be in front of the camera giving it all back, because our performances are how we thank the viewers. That’s what I think.
SERIAL SCOOP: I have to ask about Queens of Drama. Is there going to be a second season?
LINDSAY HARTLEY: I don’t think so. They’ve tried. I think Pop has gone in another direction unfortunately, which was such a bummer. You never know what the future holds, but I don’t think so.
|The cast of Queens of Drama|
LINDSAY HARTLEY: It was based on the idea of this movie. It came about because I was going to do this movie, but it wasn’t really real. It was the idea of it. I personally don’t have a problem with playing a “mother” role. But for the drama on Queens of Drama, we kind of spun it a little bit to add a little excitement. I am a mother [laughs]. It’s my best accomplishment, hands down. She’s extraordinary. She is going to be 12 on July 3. I’m very excited. She’s just an angel. But they [Queens of Drama] wanted Crystal to be younger than me, and to have that dynamic. So they were going to start out our introduction with me having a little bit of a conflict with being older in Los Angeles. If they call it loosely scripted, like in reality television, this was one of those loosely scripted moments.
SERIAL SCOOP: : I’ve watched your new movie, Dying to be Loved, and you’re great in it. I watched it twice actually [laughs] I have to say, it’s hard for me to believe that you’re playing the mother of an 18-year-old daughter.
LINDSAY HARTLEY: We did the math; I’m going to be 38 on April 17, so if I was 20, I could have had her.
SERIAL SCOOP: : True. But, seriously [laughs]. You were very believable in the role. The acting was spot-on. But in my mind, I see Lyndsay Hartley and think, ‘No, it can’t be’.
LINDSAY HARTLEY: That’s funny. I don’t know if you caught it, but there is one quick short reference to the fact that I [Jill] had her at a very young age. But I don’t know if that was expressed enough in the movie. Maybe we should have written a little bit more around that.
|Lindsay Hartley and Paloma Kwiatkowski as Jill and Emily in Dying to be Loved|
LINDSAY HARTLEY: In a certain way, yes, you can have that feeling of how a mother would feel, but quite honestly if you think about your own daughter... I don’t know if you’ve heard other people say this, but sometimes when you use real real circumstances--if I were to really pretend--your body does not allow you to go there, it’s kind of like, “No!’ That territory does not exist for me. The mother in me was definitely way more real than if I didn’t have one, because I am a mother. And I know what I would do for my child. I would do anything for her. But as far as the circumstances in the movie, that’s when the character would come into play. Then I can get more emotional. And it could be as raw as they wanted. They wanted this one to be very raw, like full of heartache. I hope it was clear. She believes her daughter is dead, then she finds out she really is dead, and then she finds out she isn’t. It’s definitely a journey for Jill in this movie. It was an exhausting one to play. But I loved it.
SERIAL SCOOP: After playing those exhausting scenes, and your character is put through the ringer in Dying to be Loved, how do you put those emotions away, and go about living your real life?
LINDSAY HARTLEY: I believe it comes from being on Passions, and playing Theresa. There was just no way I could get up, do that role, and then come home and work on my scenes for the next day. The pages that we had to learn, and the monologues, and the dialogue we had...if my body didn’t naturally figure out how to let it all go, and start again, you know what I mean? My body naturally goes, “It’s over. Moving on. Next!’ We’ve done it. And quite honestly, who wants to sit in that forever? You definitely don’t want to sit in your daughter is dead for more than the camera gets [laughs]. The camera goes on and you’re thinking, “Let me do this, and are we done yet? Can I come back to joy? [laughs]. Can we come back to reality, please? Because this is not as fun. But I always like to go as far as I can so that when you’re watching it, you believe it. I want you to believe the story.
SERIAL SCOOP: I believed it. I believed that Jill was in extreme pain. Having watched it twice, I lived Jill’s life too [laughs]. Without giving away any of the story, do you have a favorite scene that you filmed?
LINDSAY HARTLEY: Oh gosh. There were so many. First of all, I enjoyed the entire production. I loved the director, [Paul Shapiro], and I’m actually having dinner with him in two weeks. He was so sweet. He really pushed you to just keep going, and was so complimentary. The actors were awesome to work with. I just had such a blast with everybody in the production, and the crew. Everybody. It was such an amazing experience. I feel very lucky that I got to be a part of it. I would say the last scene of the movie was my favorite only because it was the first scene that we shot. So we literally are in hair and makeup getting ready to shoot our last scene of the movie and we don’t know each other, we don’t know anything. We don’t even know our chemistry. We’ve literally just met. And it’s like, “Okay, you're going to shoot the finale scene and when you come through the door, we want you guys laughing hysterically, and we just want to feel the joy and laughter. And we had to start laughing and stuff. Since it’s our first scene on the shoot, you’re getting familiar with your surroundings, getting familiar with the crew, blocking, brand new people, you’re meeting everyone for the first time. I feel like it looks like it wasn’t the first scene.
|Lindsay Hartley and Paloma Kwiatkowski as Jill and Emily in Dying to be Loved|
LINDSAY HARTLEY: It’s a movie about a mother who has a depressed child, who has lived with a child who is clinically depressed. She has fought to protect her, and now has her entire world turned upside down. Basically, everything she has done to protect her, has been completely taken from her, and flipped upside down. It’s that journey. And I hope you guys like it!
SERIAL SCOOP: Your fans are going to like it. It’s a Lifetime movie too! [laughs]
LINDSAY HARTLEY: Yay, we love Lifetime movies! [laughs]