I spoke with Deena Dill about her role as Mrs. Montrose on Star-Crossed, Oh Sit!, and much more. It was an absolute pleasure to speak with Deena and find out more about the show. You are not going to want to miss a single episode. Star-Crossed airs Monday nights at 8/7c on The CW.
Lena: Judging by the preview, I think it’s safe to say that we will really be meeting Grayson’s (Grey Damon) parents on Monday night’s episode of Star-Crossed. Your characters have had a very limited amount of screen time, so far, but you’re a very important part of the story.
Deena Dill: Yes, you are. You are going to learn quite a lot about us. My husband and I are about to become more considerably important. [Laughing] The next few weeks are going to be really fun for the Montroses.
Lena: Where do you film the show?
Deena Dill: We film in New Orleans. It’s a great place to film.
Lena: So, you really film in New Orleans. That’s fantastic and also a great backdrop for the show.
Deena Dill: The actors and producers think so but hair and makeup doesn’t. They hate how humid it is.
Lena: What can you say about Monday night’s episode?
Deena Dill: We’ve learned from the trailer that the Montroses are Red Hawks and the leaders of the Red Hawks. You’ll learn what extremes they will go through to promote their agenda of hatred and aggression towards the Atrians. You’ll learn a little bit about how our son, Grayson, feels about our participation and leadership in the Red Hawks.
Lena: They certainly have powerful connections. They were able to pull some strings to get Grayson out of trouble and make Eric (Jesse Luken) think that he was getting a good deal.
Deena Dill: Oh, yeah. Poor Eric is definitely getting thrown under the bus. They definitely have connections high up and they pulled some strings to make sure that their son wasn’t in trouble. We found a great scapegoat in Eric, played by Jesse Luken. They are definitely a power couple. They are definitely fueled by hatred of the Atrians that extends from our first son being killed in the altercation on arrival day. He was in the National Guard and you’ll learn a little bit more about that this week. The Montroses have definitely suffered a great loss at what they believe to be at the hands of the Atrians.
Lena: I also can’t wait to find out about how they feel about Grayson’s conflictions.
Deena Dill: This week the Montroses are throwing a big charity ball and the Atrian 7 are invited and Emery (Aimee Teegarden) shows up and Mrs. Montrose has an interesting conversation with Emery—just trying to understand where Emery is coming from and where her loyalties lie. Mrs. Montrose is a protective mother of Grayson and also has an interest about where Emery’s loyalties lie regarding the Atrians in general, and Roman (Matt Lanter) specifically.
Lena: Can you talk about working with the cast?
Deena Dill: The cast was so great to work with. Tom Hillmann plays my husband and he showed up on set and you don’t meet us until episode three and when we showed up the entire cast and crew was so friendly and so welcoming. When you’re a new character coming on to a show it’s intimidating when you are first meeting all the regular cast and you are hoping that everyone will be friendly. Everyone on that show is. In fact, I stay in touch and talk to quite a lot of the cast on a regular basis. Honestly, a lot of them are quite younger than me and Tom, because we are playing their parents, but they are still very talkative and gregarious and interacted with us a lot, which made the whole experience a lot of fun and very pleasant.
Lena: That’s nice to hear that the cast is as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. [Laughing] That’s The CW for you.
Deena Dill: [Laughing] I’d say that all of the Atrians and the humans in that high school are very good looking.
Lena: You’ve only been in a couple of episode so far, but you’ve made a fashion statement. Your wardrobe is gorgeous.
Deena Dill: I get to wear some of the most amazing clothes. The stylist is so great on that show and I love my wardrobe this coming week. My character wears such a beautiful and amazing dress to host the ball. It’s stunning. It’s straight off the runways in New York, and I felt amazing in this dress. It’s interesting, as far as wardrobe goes, it had to be a real challenge to dress an entire cast cool and fashionable and make it look fashion-forward since it’s a futuristic show. It’s not in the too distant future so you want it to resemble current fashion but you need it to be a little bit edgier, a little bit trendier, and a little futuristic looking. Caroline Marx is the costume designer and she was just superb and great to work with.
Lena: I can’t wait to see your dress.
Deena Dill: Everyone’s was amazing at the Black and White Ball. If you think they are good looking when they go to high school… They clean up and dress up pretty well.
Lena: You’re one of the creators of Oh Sit! Is the show coming back?
Deena Dill: Unfortunately, we just found out that it will not be coming back to The CW. It was certainly an amazing dream come true for me. That was the first show that I ever created and pitched. It was such a blessing that The CW liked it and picked it up and we had it on the air for two seasons. It’s very different being an executive producer and creator of a show rather than showing up and being an actor on the show.
Lena: Jamie Kennedy was hilarious.
Deena Dill: Oh, thank you. We loved Jamie. He did a great job for us, and he is just as stunning when the cameras are not rolling as when the cameras are rolling.
Lena: Are you going to shop other networks?
Deena Dill: I think that we are just going to have to let that one go. We did win a Eurovision award for Best International Game Show in 2013. It was on in a few countries, but we will not be producing any new episodes.
Lena: Are you working on something else?
Deena Dill: I’m out pitching another show right now and I just got a deal with a production company. We are about to start pitching it to networks. I am staying busy with the executive producing. It’s a documentary style show about first responders. I also have two game shows in development.
Lena: You are keeping very busy.
Deena Dill: [Laughing] I try. When you are an actress, even when you are working, there is a lot of downtime. I’m Type A personality and I like to stay busy so I found that creating content and trying to create shows and pitch shows is something I can do between acting.
Lena: I would think that would also help you with acting because you realize what goes on behind-the-scenes and it makes you more focused.
Deena Dill: You are absolutely correct. I used to think that the talent showed up on the set and that being an actress, we were the most important part of the process but as soon as I started producing I realized that there are months and months, even years, that people have worked to get a project on the air before they even think about who they are going to hire to be the actors. As an actor, usually the executive producer or the producer protects you from having to know all of the politics that go on. As an actor, you kind of never know why certain decisions get made—you just stay in character and hit your mark, remember your lines and create a nice character arc. I usually describe it as when I go out as an actor I am a team player and when I’m an executive producer/creator I show up sort of as the team manager. All of television and film is definitely a collaborative art, everybody is important. It’s always a team effort.
The one thing that I loved about working on Star-Crossed is that the creator, Meredith Averill, and the producers were very open to talking to the cast about how we wanted to develop our characters and how we saw our characters, which was really lovely and made everybody feel empowered.
Something interesting happened when I auditioned to be Mrs. Montrose. I didn’t know that Mrs. Montrose was going to become important to the Red Hawk movement. I auditioned to play a nice, upscale mother to Grey. I was so excited, once I was cast in the part, when the creator and executive producers came to me and started talking about what they wanted to do with my character. I ended up being more pivotal to the show in things that are going to happen in the future with Grayson than we ever imagined, than I ever imagined. [Laughing]
Star-Crossed airs Monday nights at 8.7c on The CW.