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Lifetime's DOOMSDAY MOM Q&A w/ Cast Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Patrick Duffy, Linda Purl

Maj Canton - June 24, 2021




On Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 8pm ET/PT, Lifetime premieres the shocking true crime, made-for-television movie, DOOMSDAY MOM: THE LORI VALLOW STORY as part of the network's “Summer of Secrets” programming. Immediately following the movie, the mini-doc “Beyond the Headlines: Doomsday Mom” debuts, featuring those close to the investigation to examine the ongoing case. Lori Vallow gained national attention when her children, JJ and Tylee, were reported missing from their Idaho home in the Fall of 2019. As investigators learned of Lori and her husband Chad Daybell's involvement in a doomsday-prepper group, a trail of mystery was revealed spanning five states and numerous questionable deaths, before the bodies of JJ and Tylee were found in the backyard of Chad's home in June 2020. On May 25, 2021, Vallow and Daybell were indicted on the charge of first-degree murder. This is a must-see for true crime fans.


Q&A with Cast of DOOMSDAY MOM: THE LORI VALLOW STORY -- Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy

Earlier this month, TV Tango participated in virtual press event with the cast of DOOMSDAY MOM, which included Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy. Here are a few highlights (edited for clarity and readability) from that event.

Question: How familiar were you with the Lori Vallow case before taking on this role? And what was the most surprising thing you learned about the case that you wanted to make sure it was portrayed on?

Lauren Lee Smith: Wow, no, I actually wasn't familiar at all. It first was brought to my attention through our director, Bradley Walsh. He had reached out to me a couple of weeks before shooting and we were just sort of catching up and he was asking me like what I would like to do next and then I said that I was looking for something to sink my teeth into and challenge me in a new, exciting way. And one thing led to another and I found out that that I would be coming to do this film with him. It was a shock to find out exactly who this this woman is and what had happened.

Marc Blucas: I had known a little about it and first thing I did get on the Internet. Boom, you type these two in and the first thing that came up was the mug shot and to me two things came to my right mind right away when I saw them that really attracted me to the project and taking on the role of Chad which was when I saw these two people I saw remorse an in his and hers I didn't. It really felt like we have a lot here, we don't have all the answers to just yet. I just thought that was a fascinating study, not only is as an actor, but as a singular character, but seeing how we could make that relationship evolve. We don't know is what happened behind closed doors between these two people and exploring that to see this journey and how they get to make these decisions that they made, I thought, was an interesting study/

Question: These characters are based on real life people, is what part of yourselves did you bring into the roles -- how did you connect to them as people?

Marc Blucas: At the end of the day, these are not great people and it's our jobs as actors to kind of find how we can like them ourselves and portray something that's three dimensional and real. I'm a very committed and passionate person and I’m about different things that I think that Chad was committed and passionate about and what he tried to do or what he tried to bring people together as a leader, I guess in this. But you can't question the fact that they had a conviction of what they believed, and I may not be in the same category in what they believed, but having that kind of conviction I could relate to and start there from.

Lauren Lee Smith: Yeah, exactly like that's really sort of all you can do. You know with these characters you try to find the little moments you where you see some humanity, you know, I'm a mother, so trying to sort of find those moments where you could see her love for children and sort of really infused that as much as possible. But other than that it was that wasn't the easiest part of this job.

Patrick Duffy: Well, we have the easier track of these characters. We had to be the sort of calming, and rational side of looking at all of these horrific things that were happening. So, you know, we were grandparents in the film and as a grandparent myself I know what that feels like and was able to completely support what Linda was doing as really the firebrand of the two characters that we played. She was the relentless one that was in pursuit of justice in an ongoing situation, which is even more difficult in making this film. And I credit with being able to thread that fine line of fiction that we are doing based on a real story but keep these, especially those two characters, you know keeping them in a humanity arena so that it does not become, cartoonish, in its evilness.

Linda Purl: We're all parents, and so it ignites certainly the Mama bear in me and I mean it. It's actually unimaginable. This unbelievable journey of not knowing where your loved ones are, was interesting to visit.

Question: Patrick and Linda, were the two of you cast a package deal?

Patrick Duffy: Well, we were driving to Colorado from California when the phone rang and we almost made a U turn but we said we gotta get back to change our underwear and then go back to work so. But I actually I think you know, in deference, I think Linda's name might have been mentioned first in terms of this when I look at the chronology and the phone messages. I think the sequence was Linda and Patrick, not Patrick and Linda.

Linda Purl: I think it was Patrick and Linda.

Patrick Duffy: But it doesn't matter. It was our first chance to work together. Our first chance to actually play a husband and wife, it the first time as actors we've ever walked to the set holding hands with the person you’re with.

Linda Purl: It felt weird but I guess it's OK. At the end of a scene, Patrick patted me on the bottom and said nice job honey and I thought, well, that's the first time that's ever happened. It was fun.

Patrick Duffy: It was wonderful and yeah, and it was a great thing for us because you never know.

Linda Purl: It could have been a disaster.

Patrick Duffy: We could have completely polar opposite ways.

Question: Linda and Patrick if you could give us any background as to what you think your characters were like before the movie started, and then how they progressed?

Linda Purl: We don't know that much really. I mean just what's available on the on the Internet and what the script gave us, but they seem to be very hardworking, family-oriented people, smart successful in their careers and then suddenly this. You know, they were a very closely-knit family.

Patrick Duffy: And if you're if you're asking the question personally, what happens to us after doing something like this? Although we weren't in the depths that Lauren and Marc were, but, you are affected by it, especially when you have children. And now that I have four grandchildren, it is inconceivable to right-minded people that these things happen. And by having occupied their space for a moment, you look at your children differently because you know what the potential is and it does affect you, and it affected me, not deeply in the sense that I'm tormented by it, but I am aware of it in different depth now of what the potential is in the human being.

Linda Purl: I thought it was brilliant. It was really. I was in the Grand Canyon with my son, who was then about 8 years old and I lost him for the ten longest minutes of my life, and it's an out of body electric shock experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone. So I was able to, you know, sort of conjure that up when we're looking for justice when we're looking for the grandkids, or were when we know my brother's been killed. This tends to highlight that gratitude in our lives when you walk down, even for a few minutes, the road of these people who have lost so much. I have no idea how you recover from that.

Lauren Lee Smith: I think play around with my own sort of interpretation of this character, even though you know she's very much alive. I create this sort of back-story in my own head for her so you know it's very strange. It's unimaginable to me how someone can go from having this loving family, to becoming this person who would do these absolutely heinous things. I guess the only way that that I was able to sort of come to terms with it is to sort of yeah to really come up with my own back story.

Marc Blucas: This is real, and how do we tackle this because this is it, I give Lauren a lot of credit because we really had to approach these characters together in a sense as one because, I was in the process of gaining weight, so I kept saying can we meet back at the croissant place? We kind of kept going to anywhere I could eat massive amounts of food to keep gaining weight for the role and trying to tackle and make sense of that question and going through beat by beat of saying OK, here's the arc of this, when does this moment happen? Where they decide to go beyond the point of no return, almost.