On The CW’s new teen drama Star-Crossed, Deena Dill plays Margaret Montrose, who for reasons we’re about to reveal is generally not the kind of parent you’d want to hold up as a role model. In real life, she’s much more pleasant to be around. BFTV connected with Deena last week to talk about her Star-Crossed role and her history as one of the creators of another CW series. SPOILER ALERT: If you’re not caught up with Star-Crossed, this interview reveals one major spoiler.
If you haven’t yet jumped onboard with The CW’s latest original series, Deena helpfully provided us a primer for the sci-fi series created by Meredith Averill (previously a writer and producer for The Good Wife). “It’s a show about some star-crossed lovers. It’s sort of Romeo and Juliet, but it’s a sci-fi version of it,” she explained. “An alien spaceship crashed onto Earth ten years ago, and it’s about the relationship between the aliens and the humans. It takes place mostly within the high school world. Seven Atrian students get to go to the human high school…It’s a love story, but it’s a lot of social commentary as well.”
The character she plays is a whole lot more than just the parental figure supporting the teenagers’ storylines. “I have factored into the plot considerably the last two weeks. You thought that I’m just the nice loving mother of one of the main characters, Grayson [played by Grey Damon],” she revealed. “You find out that I’m the big baddie. You find out that I’m the leader of the [Red Hawks] hate group. And I have planned a terrorist attack on the Atrians.
“This past week, the girl that my son is in love with turned me in to the authorities, and I have been arrested and am sitting in jail,” she continued. “So now my son is torn between his parents and the girl he thinks he loves.” It’s safe to say Margaret is definitely not a candidate for Mother of the Year.
Star-Crossed is only half of Deena’s relationship with the folks at The CW. She also co-created the network’s musical chairs-themed game show Oh Sit!, which was hosted by Jessi Cruickshank and Jamie Kennedy. But even though they’re for the same channel, there’s no connection between one gig and landing the other. “It is completely coincidence,” Deena said. “I went in as an actress to audition for the [Star-Crossed] casting directors and got hired for the role.”
She also told us that Oh Sit! won’t be returning for a third cycle. “We had two good seasons on The CW and it played in several countries, but we did get the word that we’re not coming back,” she revealed. “I had one of those magnificent chairs, that were the musical chairs, just delivered to my garage last week.”
Rather than confine herself to one job description or the other, Deena is a bonafide hyphenate, with several projects in the works on both sides of the camera. “I’m finishing up Star-Crossed,” she told us. “I’m shooting an independent film which is kind of a cross between The Orphanage and The Sixth Sense. It’s a psychological thriller, and it’s really an amazing experience for me, because I’m playing an alcoholic, drug-addicted, abusive mother, and the typical characters I play are country club wives or upscale supportive mothers.
“I’m developing two game shows which I will be going out to pitch in the next few months,” she added, “and I just got a deal [with] a production company on a documentary series about first responders.”
One of her early supporters was none other than one of our friends, Richard Gabai. “When I first got to Los Angeles, Richard hired me for a movie he was directing [Pop Star]; I played Aaron Carter’s mom,” Deena told us. “He and I started talking at lunch on set one day, and he said, ‘You’re a good writer. You could write and you could produce. So keep the door open and see what other opportunities come your way.’ And I took that advice to heart.”
And now she’s intent on reaching for the – dare we say it? – stars. “One thing I want to do with producing is make shows that make a contribution to society,” she told us. “I don’t mean trying to save the world, but that’s the kind of programming that I want to put out.” Margaret Montrose might not approve, but we definitely do.