As I sat and watched an early screener of Alyssa Milano‘s new Lifetime movie, Tempting Fate, I lost track of how many times I actually said out loud, “Oh shit.” In fact, there’s so many twists and turns I probably said worse than that. But when I meet up with Milano to talk about the movie and tell her this very story, she smiles in delight. “It’s really captivating, right?! This movie could have gone in a very exploitative, sensationalized direction, but there was a lot of depth and nuance. Plus, there’s the scandalous aspect of it.”
She’s not kidding. Tempting Fate is based on author Jane Green’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, and tells the story of what happens when wife and mom-of-two Gabby (Milano) is tempted by another man. It’s the kind of story that has been done a thousand times before, but under the direction of Kim Raver (Grey’s Anatomy) and Manu Boyer, it draws you in faster than one of Hannah Brown’s rose ceremonies on The Bachelorette.
Milano wanted to put her own spin on the character, and for that reason, didn’t read Green’s book ahead of filming. “I get really nervous reading books that people love and then going in and playing those characters,” she says. “I think I would obsessed over making sure I was giving the fans of the book what they felt they needed rather than giving the character what it needed to be a successful character.”
What the character is though is a flawed, multi-dimensional woman coming to terms with a not-so-honest husband, teenage daughters, and a life not quite as fulfilling as she’d like. “What struck me most is this is someone that was truly accountable for their actions,” she says. “Gabby’s like, ‘Yeah, I made a choice, my entire life blew up, and I gotta put the pieces back together even though I know it’s never going to be what it was.’ We don’t really see that so much in films.”
And you don’t see many actors like Milano, who are willing to pull back the curtain on the process, and what happens when life imitates art and vice-versa. Here, the impassioned activist opens up about all of that and more.
Glamour: Why did the role of Gabby appeal to you?