Fiona Gubelmann stars in the new Lifetime original movie Mommy’s Little Girl, in which her daughter Sadie (played by Emma Hentschel) is less than angelic. It’s the latest in the network’s line of thriller flicks, and LA Fan Cultures Examiner spoke to Fiona on Tuesday to discuss what she loved about the movie and if there’s really a cult following for Lifetime films.
What was it that drew her to this particular movie? “When I read the script, I just loved it,” she told us. “What I love about film work is that you get a script that you get to shoot from start to finish so you get to see the whole picture – the character’s growth, the journey, the arc of everything. Whereas in TV it’s a little different. You don’t have that, it’s rare where you get all the scripts. I was really excited to get a good script with a great character and get to play a mother, which is something I’ve never done before.”
It’s not the first Lifetime movie for Fiona, so we asked her about the stigma that seems to surround TV-movies. Some people can’t help but make fun of them (including an episode of Family Guy) while others love them (Lifetime now offers an entire online movie club for films on demand). But as someone who’s actually been in a few, she told us the response she’s noticed has been incredibly positive.
“People get really excited,” she said. “I know people that watch a lot of them. They like watching Hallmark movies and watching Lifetime movies. There’s some crossover between the two. I have some friends that love Lifetime movies. I think there’s definitely a huge fanbase for the stuff.
“Getting to work on them is so much fun,” Fiona continued. “I guess growing up watching them and then you’re actually in them or working on them is so exciting.”
As far as highlights of this particular picture, what she loves about Mommy’s Little Girl are the relationships that she was able to build with her co-stars, both on and off camera. “I was really proud of the relationship between Emma Hentschel and I,” she said. “Acting with her was so easy and so much fun. It was one of the greatest experiences I ever had.
“I learned so much and grew up so much as an actor working on that role. You can truly see we became friends in real life and cared about each other, and I think that really shows in our relationship.
“I was so lucky to work with such talented and kind people,” she continued. “James Gallanders, who plays my husband, is an absolute sweetheart. I made so many friends working on that film up in Canada and I still keep in touch with everyone.”
It’s easy to see how she got cast as the titular mother, because Fiona’s warmth comes through in speaking to her. You understand very quickly how she cares about everyone and wants the best for everybody. Unfortunately, that’s not what happens for her character, but that’s what will keep audiences on the edge of their seat tonight.
TV fans are likely to recognize her from her starring role as Jenna Mueller in FX’s comedy series Wilfred, but since that show ended in 2014 Fiona has been busy appearing in a number of great shows, including TBS’s Wedding Band, ABC’s Modern Family and Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. What have been some of her favorite roles in recent memory?
“I’ve been blessed to work on so many of my favorite shows since we’ve wrapped,” she told us. “A big thing for me was getting to be a part of the Mad Men series finale. That was just a huge honor, getting to work with Jon Hamm and Matthew Weiner. I recurred on Telenovela; I did a few episodes of that. And that was also some of my favorite comedic work that I’ve had the opportunity to do.”
And Mommy’s Little Girl might also be on that list: “I’m really proud of this movie,” Fiona added, “and I can’t wait for everyone to tune in and watch it.”
Mommy’s Little Girl airs tonight at 8 p.m. on Lifetime, with reairings on Monday.