Ashley Scott – Manny Dearest
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) Please tell us the premise for your film Manny Dearest and about your character.
A) [laughs] The title is pretty self explanatory. I watched the movie and I think it is my favorite one that I have ever done. This genre is really, really fun. Karen Clark has two kids and she loses her husband so she has to go back to work. She is looking for someone to come in and take care of the kids. She finds herself relinquishing control, like most moms do. Instead of a nanny, it’s a male nanny. He comes into their lives and has this deranged idea that they are going to fall madly in love. Things get rough and she has to go save the say.
Q) Was your chemistry with costar Mitch Ryan instant or did it take some time to develop?
A) We had great chemistry. He is a really fantastic actor. He’s just a lovely, lovely guy all around. He’s a very talented guy. It was fun to be in Vancouver. When you shoot movies like this, it is shot in fourteen days. So, you spend a lot of time together – whether you like or not. [laughs]
Q) Was there anything you added to Karen that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
A) No, I don’t think any major changes. Really what happens is you get the script and by the time everyone gets together you creatively start to adjust and if dialogue changes need to be made it happens on the day.
Q) What did you find the most challenging part of the role?
A) I think it was just being the Mama Bear. When you trust someone to take care of your kids and let someone into your home it is a little disarming when they turn out to be someone you can’t trust.
Q) Was there a piece of advice that director Chad Krowchuk gave you that you took to heart while filming?
A) He’s such a wonderful director. I so enjoyed working with him and look forward to doing another one. He’s an actor as well so he was just really open to us exploring our own ideas and how to make these characters deeper and stronger. He really trusted us to do our own jobs, which I appreciated. And the movie is better for it! It’s really a fantastic film.
Q) What were some of your most memorable moments from filming?
A) [laughs] Learning to play Foosball. There was a Foosball machine near our trailers and we would play a lot.
Q) What is it like working with the kids in the movie?
A) They are so cute and so adorable! They were professional and really fun. That’s the thing I love about working in Canada is that there is a great stock of actors that is there, especially in Vancouver. There is so much work and I’m always excited to work with a new crop.
Q) What makes Manny Dearest a good fit for Lifetime?
A) It’s the story. It’s really about life. That’s what I love about Lifetime movies, in life in general there are always potholes and ups and downs. I just love how these female characters supersede circumstance. I think it is just true to life. I think women in general are badasses and we can overcome so much in our lives if we listen to our internal voices and intuition. We’re led by our hearts and maternal energy. I think if we could just continue to tap into the inner strength that we have and watching shows and movies like this…There is some drama, which is fun to throw out and get into that. In Lifetime movies the women always end up on top and I like that.
Q) You were on “UnREAL” as such a controversial character. What does that legacy mean to you?
A) That was such a gift. That whole job was just a gift that kept on giving. From the other cast members and my experience with them and our own friendships that developed from it. Being able to work with Marti [Noxon] and Sarah [Gertrude Shapiro] and some really strong females. It was just great and of course the part of Mary is one of my most favorite stories to tell as well. Unfortunately, it was a sad story, but it happens. Adult suicide is very real and the storyline came right after Robin Williams had passed so I was particularly sensitive to the situation.
Q) You were also a part of the series “Birds of Prey,” which was at the forefront of female superheroes. Now, we have such a resurgence of that. How do you feel about current female centered superhero shows and how do you feel BOP helped with that legacy?
A) I love it! It’s funny because I was just thinking about that the other day. I thought, “Gosh, I used to do all these superhero roles.” Then, I was hiking the other day I do the same thing, but just for moms. [laughs] “Birds of Prey” was such a strong, strong message and I love working with other women. I find there is great strength that comes from that. It was a little bit before it’s time, but that’s okay! As long as it happens.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I’m grateful and appreciative. I’m just telling the female story, the feminine divine of this part of the journey. I hope I can continue to make these and that people enjoy them. I hope that the people that watch these or the women that watch these movies feel some empowerment and that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. That they are this well of strength.