Laurie Fortier is at the center of another Lifetime mystery. She stars in Sunday’s original film Picture Perfect Lies, which tells the story of a family who are definitely not as good as they appear to be. Before the movie’s premiere tonight, Laurie connected with me to talk about the project and what it’s like for an actress to be part of the Lifetime movie world that audiences are crazy about.
Brittany Frederick: You’ve done a handful of Lifetime movies before this. Is there a certain framework that makes a movie part of the Lifetime brand? Going into something like Picture Perfect Lies, do you as an actress know what to expect?
Laurie Fortier: A hundred percent, yes. I’m either the good guy or the bad guy. I prefer to play the villain. As the good guy, I’m usually the mom trying to save my 17-year-old daughter from an abductor of some sort. As the villain, I get to pretend that I’m normal; the first half of the movie usually establishes me as such. But then I usually seek revenge on someone who has crossed me or betrayed me. I prefer those roles, because there are more layers to play with.
As is the case with Picture Perfect Lies. I pretend that I’m this perfect mother and everything is perfect, almost in an OCD, creepy sort of way. But you come to find out that I kidnapped my daughter—and killed my sister in the process, because I didn’t want my secret to come out. Actually, I’m here in Oklahoma shooting another one called The Nanny Knows. More secrets and lies to tell.
BF: How did you get involved with this film specifically? Was it because of that prior association with Lifetime?
LF: After I did Zombie at 17 for Lifetime and [producer] Pierre David, he has been loyal to me and I have a ton of respectfor him. We hit it off. Once you start doing these types of movies, it’s a small group of people making and casting them. The producers know me. They know my work and they know I’m no drama. These schedules are grueling, but I love this kind of work, so I go in and get it done.
BF: You mention your character appears to be normal at first. When you started on Picture Perfect Lies, did you get the full script or an awareness that she was a killer? Or was that something you had to find out as you were shooting?
LF: I get the whole script when signing on to one of these. When I get the whole script, I like to prep it as though I was in the audience watching for the first time. I have an awareness of how the story might end, but in general, I don’t like to be cognizant of that when I am prepping. We always want the audience fully invested in the story so that when the twist happens, they never saw it coming!
BF: Were there particular scenes that you really had fun filming? What should viewers be watching out for?
LF: We filmed a really fun breakfast scene that reminded me of a robotic Stepford-esque type family. Our daughter starts to think that her whole life may have been a lie. This is, of course, accelerated by the fact that her aunt, my sister, winds up dead in our pool. She starts to become very suspicious. My husband and I start acting really weird. So there’s a scene where we have this very perfect breakfast, in which the director directed us to act in a sort of robotic and almost creepy way. Perfect smiles and perfect responses. Tons of fun.
BF: A fair amount of these Lifetime thrillers center around family in some way. How do you play the mom role without making it stereotypical in one way or another, especially since there is that sort of brand framework?
LF: I always try to find the root of whatever character I’m playing, the thing that grounds her. I do have a lot to draw on for sure, because I have teenagers. I’ve got a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, so I can easily relate to a lot of the storylines I’m given. I try to take what’s on the page and make it my own—something that stands out, and not just a kind of cookie-cutter [character].
BF: So when you’re doing a movie like Picture Perfect Lies, when you’re playing the killer mom of a teenager, how do your teenagers react?
LF: It’s weird. You would think that with two parents in the business they would be used to it by now, but they don’t like to see me when I’m the killer. It bothers them. Can’t imagine why? (laughs) So yeah, they stay away.
BF: You mentioned you’re already working on your next Lifetime project. What else is coming up?
LF: I’m in Oklahoma right now filming anther one for Lifetime. And then I have another one after this, which I’m really excited about, in which I play a Ghislaine Maxwell-type character.
Picture Perfect Lies premieres Sunday, June 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.