Josie Bissett is back in Pregnant at 17, the latest Lifetime TV-movie. The actress stars in an interesting twist on an old role – her character discovers that her husband is having an affair, but rather than be the usual “woman scorned,” she sides with the other woman and fights to support her during an unexpected pregnancy. It’s not what you might expect.
LA Fan Cultures Examiner conducted a phone interview with Josie to find out why Pregnant at 17 appealed to her, and what she thinks makes a great TV-movie.
“I loved the script and I loved the character and the little twist in it that I just didn’t expect to happen,” she told us of why she signed on to the project. “I love that she’s the friend of the girl, the one that was having the affair with the husband and of course the girl didn’t know [he was married]. That’s usually why I choose to pick something.”
Pregnant at 17 is another movie in which a teenager gets in over his or her head, and as a parent herself as well as someone who has worked with children (she’s authored a children’s book and co-edited two more), we asked Josie if her own perspective makes her look at fictional stories like this one differently.
“It made me realize that it’s funny as a parent, sometimes your mind cannot let you go to certain places,” she said, “and I don’t think it would even cross my mind that would ever happen with my daughter…In my mind, she’s just my little baby girl!”
She’s a veteran of the TV-movie world, having appeared in several of them over her lengthy career, so she knows this space inside and out including how these projects often get a bit of a bum rap. So what would she say makes the difference between a forgettable TV-movie and one to remember?
“I think the story is the most important thing. Is it believable or not?” Josie said. “I think they’re making them so beautiful. We fly through these; it takes us fourteen days and then you can’t even believe it looks like a feature film. They really do such a great job.”
“I have one coming up that I’m filming in April and it’s probably my favorite script ever. I love it,” she enthused. “First of all, for actors it’s is it well written? When I say these words, does it sound natural? Does it sound normal? Because it’s really hard to memorize lines when they’re written in a way that we don’t talk.
“So I love the way the way it’s written, but it’s going to be so fun for me,” she continued, “because I don’t often get to play comedic roles – not that it’s comedic, there’s really great emotional stuff, but she’s quirky and she’s a bit funny but doesn’t mean to be. So I’m just really excited for that one.”
While it’s great for fans to see her range, that’s not all that’s fun about these movies. Being both a successful actress and a parent, Josie also gets to enjoy something else interesting: her kids watching her work. We asked her what they think about seeing Mom on television, especially in a project like Pregnant at 17 where she’s essentially playing a sort of mother figure.
“I think they’re just now starting to be interested,” she told us, “because people at school will say something like my mom saw this or your mom was on this show, and I think it’s a little weird for [them] to not know what they’re talking about.”
There’s one type of role that they’d probably never expect to see her in, that she’d love to tackle next. “I would love to play a character who’s from the down and out parts of the UK and have a drug problem or something where beauty’s not involved,” she said. “I don’t know why; I’ve always wanted to do that.”
Maybe that can be her next movie, because if it’s anything like her performance in this one, she’d knock it out of the park.
Pregnant at 17 airs Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.