In Lifetime’s new movie “A Lover Betrayed,” a woman’s one night of passion sparks an unhealthy obsession and it forces her to protect herself and prove her innocence. Jamie Luner brings her tenacious and radiant spirit to the role of Tess Ford. Having pushed for everything she has wanted in her life, Jamie’s performance layers the character of Tess so you feel her longing, frustration, and sheer will-power she delves into in Tess’ pursuit of justice. In an exclusive interview, Jamie shares what appealed to her about this multi-faceted character and what she has learned in her own personal journey as a working actress in today’s Hollywood.
What appealed to you about portraying Tess Ford and working on Lifetime’s “A Lover Betrayed”?
JAMIE: I love the strength of this character and her determination to turn a devastating experience this something I can help others. That’s close to my heart. She also demonstrates the power woman have to overcome incredible odds. I love playing smart and inspiring woman.
How would you describe Tess?
JAMIE: She is truly an inspiration as she has taken an unthinkable experience, and used it to help others heal. She is courageous, empowered, self reliant, full of heart, and has a determined spirit to do what’s right.
What do you most admire most about Tess?
JAMIE: Her conviction to live a life of the highest integrity.
What was it like working alongside Jason Brooks and Maurice Benard?
JAMIE: Both Jason and Maurice were such a pleasure to work with. Jason kept me laughing, as well as finding multiple layers to every scene. Maurice is so seasoned, he kept the level of honesty in our scenes so rich.
Any favorite scenes that you can share from working on “A Lover Betrayed”?
JAMIE: So many great scenes, it’s hard to pick, but I enjoyed the tables turning on Tess, and her fighting for the truth. It was both frustrating and determined, multi-layered.
What has been your favorite part about working on “A Lover Betrayed” as a whole?
JAMIE: I love the full arc of what my character goes through. It’s quite a journey as an actress to hold an entire film that covers so many emotions. I love the depth of that challenge and always so grateful for the opportunity. I also love the inspiration I can bring to so many other women going through different phases in their life.
Then, as an actor, what has been the one thing you haven taken away from the experience of working on “A Lover Betrayed”?
JAMIE: As an actor, I grow from every project I do. This one reminded me how important the depth of prep work I do is. We shot this on a tight schedule, always so very out of order too, and it made all the difference navigating this characters emotional arc.
What has surprised you most about your career so far?
JAMIE: This business has so many ups and downs and my career keeps evolving. Very little still surprises me, but I am so grateful to continue be compelling entertainment. What’s surprised me most is the longevity, and being able to cover such a wide spectrum of creative projects? I’m most excited to be moving into my first co-producing project on a feature film, “Honeymoon in Paradise.”
At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the roles and projects you have worked on?
JAMIE: How to connect with a deeper sense of self. I’ve learned I have so much respect for directors who have a creative vision…the writers…the whole kit and caboodle. How many people it really takes to make a whole entire project succeed.
Then what are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
JAMIE: I’m always grateful when films are offered to me. Grateful to move into the producer and co-producer space. Grateful to have stayed humble this long. I have a body of work that is worldwide, so it’s truly a gift when I receive an offer to work on an upcoming project. This is something that I do not take for granted as I know there are others out there auditioning constantly waiting for their big break.
If there were one previous role you would like to revisit, which would it be and why?
JAMIE: I would revisit the role of Peyton in SAVANNAH because really, 20 years later, as an empowered woman — there’s a lot of fun that could be had in this day and age as an empowered woman in her 40s…as that sassy character specifically.
Do any of your characters and the situations they find themselves in ever leave a lasting impression on you?
JAMIE: In my last movie, “A Lover Betrayed,” I thought about what it would be like to lose a child. I’ve had someone in my family lose a child. The preciousness of family is so profound, and that’s something that’s really stayed with me. What stayed with me the most was what she did stemming from something so horrible…taking unthinkable situations in our life and using them for our greater good.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten about working as an actor?
JAMIE: Yes. We are our vessel. The more honest we can be with ourselves, the more honest we can be within our character’s world.
What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
JAMIE: Perseverance. I want to tell them not to give up… I’ve been there. It’s frustrating. It’s what this business is. You will have success and then you won’t. Things will ebb and flow in this business. I’ve been there. Find your place along the ride of this crazy roller coaster. And find peace within it. Have a full, rich life. Have other things that make you happy. Don’t give up on your dreams.
Are you actively involved with any charities. Which charity do you work with most? And which would like to see your fans become more involved with and support?
JAMIE: I’m about to launch a candy company in support of the Unstoppable Foundation, which creates sustainable communities in Africa. This model will soon be brought to the U.S. as well.
At a time when women’s voices are rising to be heard and respected around the country and world, what do you recommend your fans do to lend support in that endeavor?
JAMIE: Speak up and speak out. If it moves you, be proactive. Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in around friends and family. Don’t be afraid to post about what you believe in on social media. Your truth matters.
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
JAMIE: Yes, I have an upcoming film that I star in and co-produce called Honeymoon in Paradise shooting this October in St. Lucia. I’m also launching a gourmet chocolate company this holiday season called Nuggets of Goodness. Stay tuned for more on both of these ventures!
To see Jamie’s cheer worthy performance as Tess in “A Lover Betrayed,” be sure to tune in for the premiere on Saturday, September 9th at 8:00 p.m. on Lifetime. Then to find out what Jamie is up to next, you can follow her on Twitter @JamieLuner.