Fans of General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful alum Ashley Jones (ex-Parker Forsyth; ex-Bridget Forrester) won't have to fuss over making plans this weekend, because the actress stars in a new Lifetime film premiering on Friday, December 8.
Titled You Killed My Mother, the drama tells the story of nineteen-year old Joanna "Jo" Flay (Carlena Britch, Lip Sync Battle) as she races her mother into the emergency room at midnight. The doctors are barely able to save the woman's life, and Nurse Lynn Darcer informs Jo that her mother is dying of liver failure. Hospital director Miriam Preston (Jones) refuses to appeal her failed transplant request because she is an alcoholic, which sets off a dramatic and emotional turn of events.
States the official release for the film: "In a fit of violent rage, Jo holds a knife to Nurse Darcer's throat and demands they save her mother, but Jo is overpowered, arrested and sent to a mental hospital for two years. With her mother dead and her life blown away, Jo plots an insane and elaborate scheme of revenge against those she still holds responsible. Trained terrifyingly well by her abusive, militant father in the deadly art of booby traps and arson, Jo makes no mistakes as she takes out her targets one by one, even framing Miriam's boyfriend David (Noam Jenkins, Longmire) for one of the murders, getting away clean every time. Last on Jo's death list is Miriam's young son, Bobby, whom she plans to seduce and steal away from mommy forever -- and if that doesn't work, she's going to send him straight to hell. As Miriam discovers the dark truth behind Jo's brilliantly pathological killing spree and races against time to save her son, Jo becomes more and more obsessed with Bobby. . . until the final, terrifying showdown, which only one of them will survive."
Soap Central caught up with Jones about the film, and she not only goes into detail about some of the moral and philosophical questions the film brings up but also how it affected her views of motherhood and so much more.
soapcentral.com: So the synopsis for You Killed My Mother makes it seem like this is one of the craziest Lifetime movies ever, and that's saying something!
Ashley Jones: Yeah! If you saw the original promo that allowed everyone to see little clips of the movie so they could get a feel for it, there were so many twists and turns. You thought it was going one way, and then it went a different direction. It's really going to be a ride for the audience to go on. A fun ride.
soapcentral.com: What made you want to be a part of the movie? Was it the storyline or the character?
Jones: Well, two things. One is that I've worked with a lot with these people before, and there is something to be said about really knowing that you're going to love the cast and crew when you get on set. I hadn't worked with the cast before, but the crew, the production company, the network. When you have that comfort, it makes it easier to say yes or no. And two, people sometimes associate what they read or see with what's going on in their own life, and I just had a baby, so I had this insanely intense mother hen, mother/child protective thing going on. And the script, especially the last half, is the character wanting to make sure her son is okay. Against all odds, against anything that the world could ever throw at her, she will die trying to save her son.
soapcentral.com: Do you think now, being a mom yourself, it's easier or more difficult to play a mother on-screen?
Jones: For me, it's a lot easier. I played a mother on-screen many times before, but I drew upon my friends' experiences and what I imagined it would be like. And imagining what something could be like and really putting yourself in that situation is wonderful and great, and it works a lot of the time. But being able to draw on your own experience is a completely different concept.
soapcentral.com: But I imagine it's a little different, being that Miriam's son is a teenager.
Jones: He's eighteen but not yet in college. Miriam had him young, which a lot of people do in the Midwest and where I'm from. She had him in her early twenties, and he turned out to be this wonderful man. She's having to learn that separation and how much do you separate the boundaries and how much do you keep them close to you. There are a lot of different things that you could delve into and psychoanalyze. So she tries her best to balance the keeping him close but letting him live his own life. And it gets a little intense because of that.
soapcentral.com: Carlena Britch is the star of the film and seems to be the one who drives the story forward. What was it like working with her?
Jones: It's so much fun getting to be around her. It's interesting, because we didn't work together for that much of the movie. It is a cat and mouse game, and we play this game really well. We did see each other a lot, though, because obviously the movie doesn't shoot in order; it shoots around sets and locations and timing and people's schedules -- everything but the order of the script! So we would see each other and commiserate, and we were able to go to dinner and things like that. Personally, I find her fascinating. She is a strong, beautiful woman. She has a dance background and is a professional dancer, so she brings this discipline to set that is unparalleled. Dancers have a different kind of discipline that varies from a lot of other artists. I've been interviewed a couple of times now, and people have asked if I was able to show her the ropes and teach her a couple of things! She reminded me, and I learned from her as well. It was a pleasure getting to be around her.
soapcentral.com: Essentially, it's Miriam's decision not to give Jo's mother the transplant that sets Jo off. In real life, do you think she made the right choice?
Jones: I think she followed the rules. There's a protocol that happens during things like this. She's the operating officer at the medical center, and she was actually at home when the call had to be made, as far as if you give the transplant to her or not. And this is what she does. This is routine for her, and she's done this for years. So there is a checklist, there is a protocol that you go by, and it was followed. So it's hard to ever go back and say, "Was it the right thing to do?" When there's a young child that needs it, versus an older woman who has been an alcoholic and in and out of rehab that came in and wants to get to the top of the line, when there are hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line for a transplant, I think the usual protocol would be, I don't think you get a liver transplant overnight. With that said, who knows if she made the right decision. Look, she made a choice that changed the course of her life and caused her so much grief, she almost lost everything. So it's a very interesting question, and I would love to ask that on Twitter! Do people think she made the right choice?
soapcentral.com: I think we can all relate to making a choice that changes the rest of your life. Obviously not that specific choice, but it's a relatable situation in its own way.
Jones: And things that we do, business choices that we make, or things that we do that we just think are routine, just following the books and living our life the way we're supposed to be living it based on everything that we've ever been taught. And one move can change so many things down the line. And if you look at certain things in your life and you try to backtrack, it is fascinating. Like, when did this exactly start? What choice did I make that led me to be here, right this second? It's a fascinating concept, and you can get philosophical or religious about it, and we did on set. It's always a fun topic to have. And I hope people, once they're watching it, start thinking along those lines, because there is a lot of depth to the script.
soapcentral.com: I imagine every role must teach you something about yourself or acting in general -- what, if anything, were you able to take away from this role?
Jones: Of course, you try to. On a practical matter, I had my son with me on location, and I learned a lot about balancing the work and family life and having to really prepare before you get to work, and you kind of compartmentalize, so to speak. While you're at work, you really focus. You know your child is okay, and you check in on them, but when you're on set and the camera is rolling, you've prepared so much that it's okay for you to focus on that for a few minutes. It's part of the working mom concept. The other thing I learned, it was really fascinating to start to think about how I'm going to raise my own child. I have a son, and my husband and I, what kind of boundaries do we give him? And how much leeway do you give them when they're trying to grow up and find their own way to live their life. We have a five-year-old stepson right now who we'll be sharing custody with his mother, and we have two different trains of thoughts on things a lot of times, and how is that going to affect the next ten or fifteen years of our lives? So it brought up a lot in me, and I drew upon my own experiences as much as I could. But it gives you a lot to think about. I met my stepson when he was two and a half, and I tried to be a friend and a mentor and a parental figure, but not necessarily his mother, because he has a mother. And then having my own child, he was only eight and half months at the time. You don't know what you're doing, really, and you just hope you do it right and you try to enjoy every moment.
soapcentral.com: Jo does a lot of crazy things in the name of love. What's the craziest thing you ever did for love?
Jones: Oh, goodness, I don't even know where I would begin! Things have happened with family members where you don't even think about a thing and you just get on a plane to be with them. But I don't really have that type of experience to draw on. That would be where you really are acting. I haven't had a mother figure in my life pass away or something that life changing. I've been through hardship and been broken, and it's hard. It's hard to figure out the right way to stand up and move forward in life. Jo chose to stand up, move forward, and get revenge. Hopefully other people chose to stand up and live their best lives.
soapcentral.com: I know you're probably asked all the time, but people really do want to know: when are soap fans going to see you on daytime again?!
Jones: Yes, that's the question I'm asked all the time. Hopefully sooner rather than later! I don't have any set dates to go back, and I don't have a script in hand, so I don't have anything to reveal or any secrets -- yet! But the beauty of daytime is it starts to happen very quickly when it does happen, so it could be at any given point in time. I love the genre, I love what's going on on General Hospital, and I have such deep roots on The Bold and the Beautiful. I played Bridget for so long. I love the Bell family, I love the writers there, and the producers, the crew, it's such a family. So to go back and be able to play Brooke's daughter, any time they want, if it worked out, I'm there. You never know. There's a lot going on on both shows right now, new characters and old characters coming back. I know they have to kind of get their bearings and see where their storylines are going to go.
soapcentral.com: Which of the two characters -- Parker or Bridget -- do you find yourself thinking more about? As in what she's up to and what her life is like today?
Jones: Honestly, probably both of them! Bridget finally got the baby she's been wanting for so long, so I can really relate to that. And I think about if I go back to the show, how old is Logan? And I wonder if Bridget wants another baby, and who would she be with? Would she bring Logan with her and ask her mom to help her raise him. I think about things like that. But Parker is obviously more recent. She just skipped town and went to Oregon and is living on her parents' land in a house there. It's like, they just literally skipped town, so surely they're coming back, right? They're not going to be gone forever.
soapcentral.com: Fingers crossed!
Jones: They need to come see Kristina's family. And what kind of life are they going to have there? They're inevitably going to want to come back and see what Port Charles has to offer to them now that they're a couple, even if they have their own conflict, which -- it's daytime, so inevitably, they'll have a conflict! It depends on if the writers want to go in that direction and write for that. They have a lot of options right now, and I'm really excited for them and the shows. It's nice to have two characters that are still alive! [Laughs] And that people love and would love to see come back. So for that, I'm very grateful! And I have no doubt I'll be back on daytime. It won't take long.
You Killed My Mother airs Friday, December 8, at 8PM PT on Lifetime.
What do you think about the premise of You Killed My Mother? Would you like to see Jones return to daytime? If so, as GH's Parker or B&B's Bridget -- or in a new role? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.