Friday, August 07, 2009

Interview: Nia Peeples and Citizen Jane, Part 1

It has been only a few months since we last saw Nia Peeples on television, as Karen Taylor on The Young and the Restless. Next month we get to see her in a new role in the Hallmark Television original movie Citizen Jane, with Ally Sheedy, Sean Patrick Flanery and Meatloaf. Nia plays Evelyn, Jane’s (Ally) best friend and ally in this harrowing true-crime tale. Jane’s aunt is killed and it comes down to Jane to find the murderer.

While Nia was drawn to the story about one courageous woman’s battle for justice, she also knew what great acting company she’d be in. Nia says: “I really wanted to work with Ally Sheedy, and also Sean Patrick Flanery and Meatloaf. They are a great group of people.

“This was the first time I had ever met Ally and was excited to be working with her. I had always really liked her work. She seemed like someone who has a really quirky sense of humor and she does. She was great. She’s very dedicated.”

Not only is Citizen Jane a crime thriller, but it is also a story about the power of friendship. “It’s a really empowering piece for women,” Nia explains. “To me, I felt that the most important relationship in there was the women’s friendship. I didn’t think the friendship was well developed, so it was my challenge to think about what little things I could do here and there to let the audience know how important these women are in each other lives without talking about it. Ally and I really worked at doing things — like sharing candy or a pat on the back, anything that a friend would do — just so that there was more being told than was what on the page.”

Nia can relate to the need for another woman’s friendship and the kinship felt between to women. “I am 47 now, and I am really starting to weigh women’s friendships. I can really understand the importance of the women in my life. I’ve had such a busy life as a mother and a wife and a career person, that I didn’t develop those support people. And really, they are the most amazing people in the world.

“They can’t replace your children or your husband, but they are such a grounding structure for women. Women sort of have that reputation for being very catty and backstabbing, but I think just to embrace ourselves and who we are to each other is really important. This is especially important in this movie. We women, we are the village, we really are.”

Evelyn and Jane’s relationship is paramount to the movie and to Jane’s ability to find justice. Nia explains: “As a friend to other women, you really have to find that place to be friend by allowing them to bounce their thoughts and their fears and their ideas off you and being able to give your opinion without taking over. You have to let them take the path that they need to take. It’s a really good lesson, and a good friend has to be able to do that. You have to love them enough not to control them. It was Evelyn’s challenge to stand beside Jane and allow her to take the journey she was going to take.”

You can see Jane’s journey on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on the Hallmark Channel. Stay tuned next week for more about Nia and what it’s like being one of the 100 most beautiful people, creating a line of health and beauty products, and helping those in need.