By Mark Edward Wilows
Imagine being lucky enough to star in a movie that is being shot in your hometown? When Jen Lilley (Theresa) of Days of our Lives found out that a film was being shot in Roanoke, Virginia, she was like "sign me up!"
"When the breakdown came out, my manager called me to ask if I had any interest in doing the project," Lilley shared with Soapdom. "I told them to send me the script, which I loved. And because this film benefit's a charity I personally know and care about, and it just happened to shoot on my week off from Days. I had my manager call the producers and make the deal."
The title of the film is called "Crossing Streets," an independent film about an organization called Straight Street in Roanoke, VA. Lilley said that her family has supported Straight Street (http://straightstreet.org), a charity dedicated to helping youth, families, and single moms rehabilitate their life and relationships during and after life's hardships and incarceration. Proceeds from the film will go to the charity.
The always effervescent Lilley plays Cate Anderson, an FTO (Field Training officer), with a rookie officer that she supervises. While filming, she met real life FTO "extraordinaire," Susanna Camp, of the Roanoke Police Department. Camp is the inspiration for Lilley's character. "I met lots of new friends, who I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life," Lilley said. "Susanna will be one of them. We laughed way too much on and off the set! I can't wait to go back home and hang out with her again. I couldn't adore her more."
Lilley added that her best friend, Julie, visited her on the set, and that was really neat for both of them. "Julie kept saying, I can't believe this is actually your life. You said you were going to do the acting thing, but you're really doing it!" Lilley explains. "Julie is adorable. She's a huge reason I even went into acting."
Lilley also met a local fan, Barry Kincer, from the Roanoke Fire Dept, who stopped by the set to bring her a dozen Boston Kreme doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts. "I have to say, it was awesome meeting a fan, hearing his story, and sharing a donut together," Lilley said.
Coming back home was surreal for Lilley. "It was a realized dream I didn't even know I had. Roanoke, Virginia is such a charming town, the people are charismatic, passionate, hardworking, professional and loving," she said. "It was incredible to work in unity alongside such a talented group of people from all over North America to serve a common goal and benefit the community of Roanoke and its future."
Executive Producer of Crossing Streets, Barry Armstrong, said that having Lilley along for the project was a delight. "She is and was a delight to work with. She has roots in the community which generated a local interest," he said. "Jen was fabulous. I'd work with her again in a heartbeat."
The movie will have a wide theatrical release. Plans at the moment are for the fall.
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