Donna Mills says her ‘V.C. Andrews’ Dawn’ villain is ‘not a happy person’

NEW YORK, July 8 (UPI) — General Hospital and Knots Landing legend Donna Mills says the source material she had to mine helped her give a nuanced performance as Lillian Cutler, the wealthy, manipulative matriarch in Lifetime’s new limited series, V.C. Andrews’ Dawn.

Premiering Saturday, the multi-generational drama includes four episodes based on Andrews’ best-selling Dawn Cutler gothic novels — Dawn, Secrets of the Morning, Twilight’s Child and Midnight Whispers.

Brec Bassinger plays Lillian’s granddaughter Dawn Longchamp, who returns to the mysterious Cutler family as a teen after she was allegedly kidnapped as an infant.

Jesse Metcalfe plays the man Dawn believes is her father, Ormand Longchamp; Khobe Clarke plays her brother/love interest Jimmy; Joey McIntyre plays her teacher Michael Sutton; and Fran Drescher plays her confidante Agnes Morris.

“Lillian is who she is. The wonderful thing, though, was that there is another book [prequel Darkest Hour] and that book is about Lillian and why she is the way she is and so I had that background to draw on,” Mills said during a recent virtual press conference. “That was very, very helpful.”

She added: “The things that happened to her, the things that she experienced in her childhood, in her growing up to be a woman, I felt those were the things that formed her and made her as hard and as brittle and unforgiving as she was. … She is not a happy person.”

This mars the first time Mills had a whole book on which to base a performance.

“I’ve played villains before, which I love. That’s my favorite,” she said.

“But, no, generally speaking, you don’t have that [resource]. You have whatever is in the script and then whatever you can make up for yourself, that you think may have happened. But very seldom do you get an actual blueprint,” she added. “That was a big plus for me.”

The actress also enjoyed being part of a twisted tale that was filled with secrets and lies.

“She was a lot of fun to play. I think she kind of drove the plot because she was responsible for a lot of the things that happened in the story,” Mills said.

“V.C. Andrews is really a good storyteller. To be an actor with that good a storyteller is Heaven,” she added, noting it is a treat for viewers, too. “It engages you. It makes you want to watch and continue to watch and you want to find out what is going to happen to poor Brec.”

Stargirl alum Bassinger loved being able to play Dawn as a character over the course of several decades.

“The story arc that I got to go through was very challenging, but very rewarding,” she said.

Firefly Lane actor Clarke agreed.

“When you usually tell a story as a character, it’s over the span of a couple of months or maybe a year, but we started this as 17-year-olds and then ended it with two kids, playing 30-year-olds, so adjusting for that storywise was pretty interesting.”

Metcalfe, who is known for his roles in Desperate Housewives and John Tucker Must Die, was drawn to the Dawn series because he never got to play a father before.

“I really enjoyed playing those emotions and I also enjoyed the fact that the first Dawn installment is a period piece, so I got to use a Brooklyn accent and play a character in the early ’60s,” Metcalfe said.

New Kids on the Block singer McIntyre joins the story as Dawn’s music teacher in the 1970s.

“To kind of disappear into a role gives you license to have some more fun with it,” he said.

“These aren’t the nicest people in the world, which makes it very interesting and very compelling. There is a lot going on and I enjoyed the process, even if my character isn’t the nicest guy.”

McIntyre accepted the role before reading the script, and recalled feeling a bit uncomfortable as he realized his character has an inappropriate relationship with his student.

“Of course, as an actor, you want to do what is right for the story and it’s my job to play this guy and go for what he wants and put my Joe to the side,” he said.

“You try to make a character somehow — even though where he’s coming from isn’t great — you want the audience to kind of get on your side,” he added. “There’s such suspense. I don’t want to give a lot of it away. It was challenging. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t like just show up on set and say the lines. There was stuff to roll around in your head.”

Authored by Upi via Breitbart July 8th 2023