A few weeks ago, when it was somehow much colder than it is today, I got to visit an on-location shoot for the hit CBS drama Unforgettable. (Actually, that’s where I was headed when I got pulled over for running a red light.)
Cathy & Sheri, from Have U Heard, watching Unforgettable being filmed
The wind was really whipping along the waterfront in the Queens park where the shoot was happening. A group of bloggers put on headphones and watched the monitors as series star Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace), playing detective Carrie Wells, filmed a touching scene with guest star Marilu Henner (playing Carrie’s aunt), for the episode airing tonight:
Once the scene was done we escaped the cold into a trailer, and got to hang out for a bit with Poppy and Marilu, peppering them with questions about motherhood, acting, Unforgettable, and the incredible memory that Marilu has – a condition called hyperthymesia.
Hyperthymesia, also known as superior autobiographical memory, has only been confirmed in twenty people. Marilu can recall details from every day of her life since she was eleven years old. She’s the inspiration for Poppy’s character on Unforgettable, and a consultant for the show. Poppy’s character can also remember every day of her life, except for one: the day her sister was murdered.
Marilu’s character, in an ironic twist, appears to be suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s.
Marilu Henner & Poppy Montgomery
Acting probably seems glamorous from the outside looking in, but it can be brutal on families. Marilu and Poppy discussed how working on a one-hour drama is pretty much the hardest acting work in terms of hours, with extra-long days being the norm. Poppy complained that she leaves home when her child is still asleep and comes home after he’s gone to bed, which causes her to be “nice mommy” on the weekends because she feels guilty for being gone all week. I think that’s a feeling many working mothers encounter, but as Marilu quickly pointed out, when you mother out of guilt you make mistakes.
Marilu didn’t have such issues when her children were little, though, since she was doing a lot of stage work. She seems to have integrated acting into family life fairly easily, taking her children on tour with her when they were younger. On one tour they went to twenty-two cities in thirty weeks, being homeschooled the entire time.
I’ll have much more about Marilu later in the week – we were able to follow up with her during a conference call last week that was fascinating. For now, I urge you to tune in to CBS tonight at 10pm to watch this episode. If you like police dramas as much as I do, you’ll probably love this show.
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