SWITCHED AT BIRTH fans will get to see a different — and slightly sexier — side of Vanessa Marano this weekend.
The otherwise wholesome-looking star, 20, finds herself scantily clad and rolling in the sheets with hunky U.K. actor Max Lloyd-Jones — (a SAB alum!) — in Lifetime’s original movie, RESTLESS VIRGINS, premiering Saturday.
“I don’t think I (was) planning to go on an edgy path or a wholesome path,” she told me, when we met up at a party recently in Los Angeles. “I just want to do good work.”
RESTLESS VIRGINS is loosely inspired by real life events at Milton Academy, a prestigious prep school in Massachusetts, where five members of the boys hockey team were expelled after engaging in sexual activities with a 15 year-old female student.
In the film, the scandal involves a group of lacrosse players.
“They decided to make a sex tape with one girl,” she says.
“My character, Emily, is kind of anti-establishment. She is the school newspaper editor, not very popular. So she is like ‘you rich jerks can’t get away with this. I am publishing it and you are all going to get expelled.’”
Here’s some more of our talk, a portion of which was published in today’s The New York Post:
Q: Emily is essentially the voice of the film…
She is kind of exposing the unfairness of a society that is built upon the idea that the wealthy get what they want. It doesn’t matter if you are smart or if you try hard. If you have money, you can buy your way out of anything. That is the stance on the film, the girl is saying “Enough is enough.” Even if I get in trouble, I am saying “Screw you, society.”
Q: Lifetime has been getting a lot sexier lately. How sexy is this?
Well, it is Lifetime, so it is nice that I can wear a bra! But it is edgy. It is definitely about sexual exploitation and a sexual awakening in high school.
Q: And a nice wholesome girl like you wants to be in a film like this….why?
I have had an opportunity from a young age to work in more advance roles. I worked on HBO and Showtime. On “Dexter.” “Switched at Birth” is the most wholesome thing I have done. Ever.
Q: You always hear actresses talking about how “brave” they are to take these roles…
I think there is a truth to that to each actress. I just never want to be bored.
Q: Are you getting bolder offers as you get older?
The thing about Hollywood is that when you actually are physically 21, you still are playing 16. There is definitely that change as you can legally do more, but those characters may not be there yet.
Q: What do your bosses at ABC Family think of this?
What is nice about ABC Family is they let you be. They are not a very controlling network. Best example is Shailene Woodley. Obviously “The Descendants” is an Oscar nominated film, but they didn’t know that at the time. A lot of networks are super controlling and like ‘We don’t want you working for other people.‘ ABC Family has been very giving.
Q: Are there debates over what you can and can’t do on SWITCHED AT BIRTH?”
There is definitely a conversation every once in a while. I would say, half the time the Standards and Practices people get their way. And then half the time the writers fight it.
Q: Any examples?
Well, my character, Bay, is a virgin and the character of Daphne (Katie LeClerc) is not. In season three, she starts dating her boss. She is 16 and he is 30. They got away with that.