A Day Out With Unforgettable's Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh
Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh
Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh are good sports. By the time the leads of CBS' new hit procedural Unforgettable arrive to scope out a late-afternoon Mets batting practice at Citi Field, they've already been filming since 9am — and when the MLB team takes the field later that evening for a home game, they'll be long gone, back to work at the show's nearby Queens studio. Luckily, those demanding days are paying off: The drama about a woman who uses her superhuman memory to help her cop ex-boyfriend solve crimes premiered last month to 14 million viewers, and the TV vets playing Carrie Wells and Al Burns are determined to keep knocking it out of the park — while cracking each other up in the process.
TV Guide Magazine: Here we are! Word is your exec producer Ed Redlich is a Mets megafan.
Montgomery: I'm a convert. I was nothing before — I was Switzerland — but now I'm rooting for the Mets.
TV Guide Magazine: Marilu Henner, who's a consultant on the show, is the inspiration for Carrie...
Walsh: I actually met her 20 years ago. Her then husband was an executive producer of a show I was in called Gabriel's Fire. A normal person would not have remembered meeting me. When I saw her again recently, she knew the date and [other specifics] — it was wild. It was exactly like our show.
Montgomery: It's intense. Marilu says it's like going to the "Chapters" menu on a DVD player and picking what part of the movie you want and hitting play. Personally, my memory is crap.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you two know each other before becoming costars?
Walsh: We dated in the '70s.
Montgomery: [Feigns shock] I wasn't even born! No — we met at the first read-through. The show was called The Rememberer at that point.
Walsh: Ererererer. Montgomery: So that became a fun joke. Anytime you had a line, it would be like, "Oooh, you're the Forgetererer." "You're the Unforgivererererer." Then we all went out for a cocktail.
Walsh: Or 17.
Montgomery: Or 20.
Walsh: In the show we're supposed to have history, and you have to act history after only shaking someone's hand. It's a little tricky. But fortunately we have chemistry.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you picture your characters still being in love?
Montgomery: I do.
Montgomery: I'm glad we're both on the same page!
Walsh: Yeah, that would have been bad. "I think he's over her!"
Montgomery: And then, "She's madly in love!"
Walsh: Here's the great thing: In the present tense, you have this sexual tension, but because of the memory theme, we go into these flashbacks — so you get to see the romance going on in the past.
TV Guide Magazine: Meaning: We see you hook up.
Montgomery: Oh, yeah. Like every episode! I'm always, like, rolling around naked in bed with him.
Walsh: For a procedural, it's pretty out there. A lot of these shows will just hint at the relationship and go 19 years without ever showing anything... But we went there right away.
TV Guide Magazine: Would you like to see Carrie and Al get back together?
Walsh: Hopefully, people are rooting for us... But the minute we get together, my guess is that's a different show. But we might do that show, too! That's Tuesday nights at 11!
TV Guide Magazine: There's an overarching mystery about how Carrie's sister was killed... How often will we return to that?
Montgomery: It's peppered throughout... Like they've done on The Mentalist with him trying to find [Red John]. I think it's a big part of who Carrie is, but it's not what drives the show, if that makes sense.
TV Guide Magazine: Poppy, you were on Without a Trace for seven seasons; Dylan did almost the same amount of time on Nip/Tuck. How'd this series lure you guys back to TV?
Montgomery: I'd taken two years off to be with my son [Jackson, 3, with actor Adam Kaufman] after Without a Trace. I read this script and loved it. I'd seen the 60 Minutes about memory ability. CBS is family for me. So everything fell into place.
Walsh: I was looking for contrast to Nip/Tuck. The way this character walks, talks — his feelings and habits are a totally different world. Some actors are off looking for those crazy shows on cable — I already did that, and I was actually looking for something like this. Filming in New York was a lot of it, too.
Montgomery: The energy and vibe and look that shooting in New York gives the show — you can't re-create that. And especially Queens, because you haven't seen it that much on TV.
Walsh: That's true. It grounds the show and feels like less glitz and more working-class.
Montgomery: We've met some really interesting characters while shooting. There was a woman in Whitestone who invited us in for a glass of wine. She had a baby grand piano that Rob, our Teamster, was playing like a concert pianist. And there was a giant taxidermy grizzly bear in the corner. I was like, "This is fantastic — and surreal."
Unforgettable airs Tuesday at 10/9c on CBS.
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