Jen Lilley took some time out from her busy schedule to answer some of the questions on her fans minds.
TVRage: How does it feel to be cast in the role of the daughter of two iconic characters on Days Of Our Lives?
Jen Lilley: It’s incredible. It’s a humbling experience. In addition to being an iconic super couple, Patsy Pease and Charles Shaughnessy are incredibly talented actors. I have big shoes to fill, and I feel completely blessed to have such a great challenge.
TVR: Did you find it difficult stepping into the role of Maxie on General Hospital after the character had already been established by Kirsten Storms?
JL: It was extremely daunting. I didn’t even know I was auditioning for the emergency Maxie recast until after I had booked it. I had less than 15 hours after my callback to be back on set, ready to go. And Jill Farren Phelps (former Exec. Prod., GH), whom I adore more than words can describe, told me to mimic Kirsten’s version of Maxie, adding “I know you’re nervous, and I don’t want to put anymore pressure on you. But this is the most critical time in this character’s life, and the most critical time in this show’s history, so I really need you to pull this off.” Um, sure, no problem...what?! I respect Kirsten Storms, and I think she’s a fabulous actress, so it was quite the Herculean task. I’m so grateful I got to walk in her heels.
TVR: Where you pleased by the fans reaction to the way you portrayed the character?
JL: Well at first, I received extremely personal and harsh feedback from the fans. As an actress, it’s my job to understand what motivates people’s behavior. So, I just took on the fans perspective and empathsized. I understand why recasts are so difficult to accept, and this is the best anology I can give to explain why: Dexter is my favorite television show, and to me, only Michael C. Hall is Dexter. So if Brad Pitt suddenly came in to replace Michael, I would be livid. And I love Brad Pitt’s work. He is extremely talented; but he’s not Michael. So I just empathsized with fans, chose not to engage in the negativity, and stayed positive. After 5 months of relentless hatred, the fans came around. They finally understood you can like us both. We’re just different flavors of ice-cream. There’s no need to only like one. Now I have the best and most die-hard fans anyone could ask for. Every cloud has a silver lining.
TVR: Are you still in contact with anyone from General Hospital and did you enjoy your time working on the show?
JL: I loved working on General Hospital! I got to be part of television history. I wish I had come in under different circumstances, but I fully enjoyed the time I had. I mostly keep in touch with Kelly Sullivan and Kristen Alderson. I love the entire cast, and when any of us run into each other, it’s always a warm exchange. I hope I get to work with someone from General Hospital again soon.
TVR: Having now worked on two daytime shows would you eventually like to move into primetime and if so what sort of shows would you like to work on?
JL: I would love to work on primetime again. My first love is comedy. I’ve booked several comedic pilots that never got picked up, but I know some day I’ll book one that gets the green light. However, I need balance in my life. I can’t just do drama, or just do comedy. Ideally, I would be able to juggle a primetime comedy and still work on Days. It’s possible. Just look at Alison Sweeney. She hosts The Biggest Loser, she’s a leading lady on Days of Our Lives, she’s an author, a director, a wife, and a mother. You really can have it all. Why settle for less?
TVR: Having appeared in the movie The Artist would you like to appear in more films in the future?
JL: Absolutely! Directors, writers, and producers: I have film “outs” in my contract. Call me!
TVR: Do you prefer life as a blonde or a brunette?
JL: Good question! It depends on the type of character I’m portraying. Right now, I love playing an edgy brunette, but in real life, I’m a blonde.
TVR: What are your long term goals or ambitions?
JL: I want to become a successful children’s book author, host a design show on HGTV, design my own home decor line, land a leading role in a biopic, record an album, and have children. I like staying busy.
TVR: If you hadn't become an actress what other sort of career would you liked to have followed?
JL: I would have gone into interior design, become a kindergarten teacher, or pursued law school.
TVR: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans around the world?
JL: Around the world? Whoa! That’s amazing. Ok, well then, hello, ciào, bonjour, hola, hallo, shalom, xin chào! My fans are my friends, so thank-you for being my friend! I value you more than you know. Tweet me! @jen_lilley