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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