MeredithThomas’s blonde hair and girl next door looks have garnered her many roles in made for TV movies. This holiday season you can catch her on ION’s A Christmas in Royal Fashion premiering on December 16th. You can also catch her on the same channel on November 25th opposite Chevy Chase in Christmas in Vermont and all during December in Lifetime’s An Ugly Christmas Sweater. Entertainment Scoop caught up with the busy actress for an exclusive Q&A.
ES: Congratulation on your upcoming Christmas television film, A Christmas In Royal Fashion. Can you tell us about the storyline and about your character?
MT: Thank you. My character’s name is Melanie. She is the Manager of Events for a fashion line. Melanie is controlling and not very polite to others. She is certainly not nice to her assistant and does not see her assistant’s potential. Melanie must help a royal family put together a holiday fashion event to raise money for the less fortunate citizens of their country. When I first read the script I thought my character “Melanie” had a lot of similarities to Sigourney Weaver’s character in Working Girl.
ES: You have appeared in other holiday television movies like A Christmas in Vermont with Chevy Chase. What was it like working with such a comedic icon?
MT: Throughout my childhood I watched Chevy Chase movies like Caddyshack, Fletch and of course the classic Saturday Night Live episodes . It is always a bit strange when you finally work with someone that is a comedic legend because it often feels like they are an old familiar friend. Chevy was exactly who I hoped he would be. He was funny, quirky and charming.
ES: Do you have any special memories from when working on A Christmas in Vermont or The Ugly Christmas Sweater?
MT: I grew up on and loved the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies. One day on the set of A Christmas in Vermont, I was having a conversation with Chevy and Fred Olen Ray, the director. Fred was describing the time when he had traveled from Los Angeles to Buffalo, NY (where most of A Christmas in Vermont was shot) and a location scout took him right from the plane to see Niagara Falls. Fred said it had been about a 90 degree drop from the temperature in LA and Fred was not wearing a jacket here in NY. Here he was in front of one the natural wonders of the world and he is freezing and all he wants is to get out of there and get warm. The whole time Fred was telling us this story I am thinking that is just like when Chevy’s character in the first Vacation movie is at the Grand Caynon. I didn’t want to go all fan girl on set with Chevy so I didn’t say anything. Then all of the sudden, Chevy says “Hey, that reminds me of my scene at the Grand Canyon in Vacation!” I always remember that conversation.
ES: You seem to be Hollywood’s “go to girl” for made for TV movies for channels like ION and Lifetime. Why do you think you often get cast in these types of projects? Is there something about the types you play that appeals to audiences for these films?
MT: First and foremost, I have been really lucky to have broken in with certain casting directors, directors and producers who believe in me and like my work. Most of these television movies work at a super fast pace so I believe that I have earned their trust that I can show up and get the job done quickly. I look like the girl next door but I have a lot more edge which the camera seems to catch. This works well for TV movies as many of my characters are either very driven or are dealing with some sort of tragedy .
ES: It seems like actors were clamoring to get roles in Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette & Joan. You managed to land the role of a reporter. What was it like working in a scene with Jessica Lang, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Zeta-Jones?
MT: Ryan Murphy has been good to me. I was lucky because he gave me a small role on Nip/Tuck. When I did Feud, we shot at the same place the Oscars of 1963 were held, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. It was as if I had stepped back in time and I was there in 1963. I was not all that nervous but I realized that any nerves I might have had about working with these three big actresses, I could easily have used because I was playing a reporter interviewing their characters; Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. The nerves opposite these classic screen stars would have been appropriate for the scene.
ES: You have worked on The Orville, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rizzoli & Isles, Nip Tuck and other shows. Do you have a favorite story or memory that you will remember forever from any of these shows or any other shows you have worked on?
MT: I have been really lucky to shoot several of my TV movies on location and location shoots are always fun experiences and make for great memories. I got to “play” in the Bahamas for couple weeks for a SciFi movie and I shot an ION and Lifetime movie in Buffalo, NY. My trip to Niagara Falls with my cast from Fiance Killer will remain one of my favorite memories ever.
ES: How did you get started in acting? Do you remember your first paying job?
MT: I started acting when I was really young. My first professional theater experience was playing Tessie in Annie at the former Keene Summer Theatre in New Hampshire. My first paid acting job was doing summer stock theatre at Hackmatck Playhouse in Berwick, Maine and I think I made $75 a week. I built sets all day and preformed at night.
ES: You are often recognized for your work in many commercials. Which do you prefer commercials or television roles and why?
MT: I absolutely love being on set so I don’t really have a preference. Commercials are like mini TV roles. They move fast like TV movies but commercials usually only shoot in one day instead multiple days.
ES: You have been nominated for a number of theater awards and you won two Scenie Awards. What are the Scenie Awards and tell us a little bit about that experience.
MT: Scenie Awards are given out by StageSceneLA which spotlights the best in Southern California theater. One of my Scenies was an ensemble award for a classic comedy called Light Up the Sky. The second was for a leading role that I am very proud of in a play called Blueprint for Paradise. The Lead Actress in a Drama category that year included Christine Lahti and Sandra Oh so I was in excellent company.
ES: What is next for MeredithThomas?
MT: I am looking to produce and star in another web series in the spring of 2019. I also have a period feature film I’m looking into to produce and star in and of course it’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas movies for 2019!