Amanda Righetti – Love at the Shore
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I’m gearing up for an independent feature. I can’t really get too much into it yet. I’m not sure a release date on it, but hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it in the next six to eight weeks. I also have a feeling that Season Two of “Colony” will be released on Netflix any day now.
Q) Please tell us the premise for Love at the Shore and about your character Jenna.
A) I play Jenna Thompson, who is a novelist. She rents a beach house for the summer to spend time with her two kids and finish writing a book. She unexpectedly falls in love.
Q) Hallmark movies do a great job of mixing humor and heart. How does this movie follow that formula?
A) It’s very much akin to what hallmark does. There is a nice balance of heart and humor. It’s part of their “Summer Nights” programming. It’s a light feel good movie. Sometimes when we turn on the news there are so many dire things happening in the world that we need to tune into something and not worry about the heaviness – that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Q) love and lessons that Hallmark creates as well. With Jenna’s rigidity and Peter’s relaxed personality, where does the love and lessons come in.
A) It’s funny. There is something a little bit juvenile about how it all unfolds. I think for Jenna she is still licking her wounds still from a divorce. Though it’s not fresh, she’s still fresh enough for her that she feels she has to be in full control. She thinks she isn’t ready to move on and she has convinced herself that she has tried, this is where she is and she doesn’t have time. So, when Peter’s character, Lucas, comes along, there is still a lot of fight in her that she just can’t quite give over to the idea of it. There are things about him that are completely opposite to what she thinks she is attracted to. When she relinquishes control and allows herself to lean into love, she realizes it’s not such a bad thing after all.
Q) How does being a single parent of two children play into the storyline as well?
A) son is really trying to make the swim team and it’s all about his timing and these kinds of things. Lucas (Peter Porte) her son out and her kids are really drawn to him, despite her best efforts to sort of keep them separated. They sort of still find themselves co-mingling and Peter’s character sort of fights the idea of having children in his life. That’s kind of the arc for his character – the things he thinks he can’t deal with or want to deal with seem to pale in comparison that is the spark between he and Jenna. So, there is a little bit of an arc for Jenna’s son and he kind of grows up a little bit over the course of summer and he has Peter’s character to thank for it in a certain regard.
Q) I like that the novelist learns not to judge a book by its cover.
A) Yes! I think initially she’s really up out for judging a book by its cover and as she starts to open it and read it she realizes it is really not that bad as she has made it out to be and her judgments are off. So, it’s kind of her coming into her own and growing and making peace with herself and her past and then her ability to move forward.
Q) There is a great cast. Also, a lot of times in Hallmark movies with the setting it can also feel like an extra character. How does the setting seem to feel like a character being at the shore?
A) It was a great time being in Savannah, Georgia. The weather hadn’t turned to super hot and humid yet so we really lucked out. We still had some of the elements of the wind and stuff like that, but it was one of those things where the backdrop of being at the beach and it very much being a part of the story falling in love with someone outside of her comfort zone. She is coming from the city and this is something she has allowed herself to be a part of for the summer. And I think there is something really cathartic and therapeutic about being at the beach. I think that kind of plays into the storyline too.
Q) Talk a little bit about what some of your favorite moments were from filming.
A) Being on the beach was great. Happy, the dog, is part of the movie. It was his first big feature debut and he was really, really sweet to work with. He was a really fun loving dog. It was great. It was just very light and sweet. From the last couple projects I’ve worked on, being very heavy and dramatic, it was a fun, light project to be a part of and something completely opposite from what I’ve been working on the last couple years. So, I welcomed it with open arms.
Q) You have played a lot of strong, resilient characters over the years. What have you taken with you from them?
A) We could be talking all day as I run through the list! Every project has given me something unexpected and something I learned that I didn’t think I was going to learn was the emotional thruline that I didn’t truly see until I got into it. With “Colony,” that was an emotional thruline for the character that there is an unpredictability about Maddie that I fell in love with and appreciated what the writers had done with her and as she sat there and tried to power play and muscle her way into a position of power and how it just completely backfired on her. Her moral compass was tried and she had nobody to blame but herself. I think there are sometimes life lessons in those moments. With Grace on “The Mentalist,” I never in a million years I’d learn tactical takedowns and how to fire a gun and talk about ballistics and blood splatter. There was a lot of cop stuff. I had a new found respect for law enforcement by doing that show and really what they go through and the sacrifices they make for the community. I learned a lot in the process of it. I went through a lot of life changes on the show, too. And I kind of came into my own as a woman and as a mother. I became a mother while I was on that show. She, as a character, came into her own as well with the naivete she started with that she did not end with. There was a growing up that happened. She really stood in her power. The way they wrapped it up, it was something that her and Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) felt they needed to do. They needed to move on and get on with their lives and do something a little more independent for them. Friday the 13th had its own things. I know that it is a horror movie, but I made such wonderful friends on that show and had such a wonderful experience with the cast and producers. Every show has given me and enriched my life in some capacity. I think that’s the beauty of being an actor and becoming a part of shows. You don’t really know what to expect and you’re not sure what you’re going to expect. The unpredictability makes it really exciting.
Q) What do you hope viewers take away from watching Love at the Shore?
A) I just hope they enjoy it and they have a good time. It’s an opportunity to be entertained and not feel heavy walking away from something, but to feel a little bit lighter. I think it’s not rocket science. It’s just entertainment and I hope people enjoy it and have fun with it.