As kid sis Hilary welcomes MTV fans into her pop-star world with a new reality show, Haylie Duff is having a hard time sleeping. In the Lifetime movie Nightmare, premiering Saturday, April 7 at 8 pm/ET, Duff takes on a "smarter" role in a thriller that steers her away from the sweet, maternal character she plays on 7th Heaven (which, it was announced this week, will air its series finale on May 13). TVGuide.com caught up with Duff during her much-needed break to talk up her scare-filled segue as well as get a gander at Heaven's finale. Plus, find out which shows she'll be watching when she's not busy working.
TVGuide.com: Tell me about Lifetime's Nightmare.
Haylie Duff: Nightmare is about a graduate student who suffers from sleep disorders, so she ends up studying them in order to figure out her own life. I thought it would be interesting to play a girl who's really smart because a lot of times, especially as a girl actor, you don't get the opportunity to do that. I also liked the idea of doing something that was like a thriller.
TVGuide.com: It's quite a departure from 7th Heaven.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of which, have you already filmed the finale for Heaven?
Duff: We did, we filmed it about three weeks ago.
TVGuide.com: Did the cast expect this to be the end of the series?
Duff: Everybody had mixed feelings. I think we were all ready either way, [but] we would have loved to come back. The people who have been there for 11 years have had such a great run — I was there for two — and everyone's experience was so wonderful that we took away everything we wanted to from the show, which I think is what's special and important.
TVGuide.com: What has being on 7th Heaven meant to you?
Duff: It's a show that will go down in history, and to be a part of something like that, especially part of an Aaron Spelling show, is such an honor. He was so talented and had such an eye for making a show a hit and choosing the right actors and the right story lines. He was so involved in everything.
TVGuide.com: What can you tell us about the series finale?
Duff: I can't really tell you too much.... [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Is Nick Zano's Jonathan going to be on through the end?
Duff: He does come back quite a bit. I don't know what else to say.... When I first started this show, I got in a lot of trouble when I told a magazine that I was playing a pregnant teenager and they hadn't announced it yet. It was supposed to be this shocker and I was like, "Oh, great, my first day on the job and I've already ruined it!" [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Will any and all loose ends be resolved in the end?
Duff: There is a lot of resolution, yes, and a lot of new beginnings as well, which is kind of cool.
TVGuide.com: Have you watched your sister's MTV show, Hilary Duff: This Is Now?
Duff: Oh, the one about her tour? I haven't seen any of it. I have a DVD of it at the house, so we'll probably sit down and watch it and laugh at it together.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, you're on it a bit, when you're both at home.
Duff: Really? Did we do anything dumb? [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: No, no. You were just being yourselves and I think that's what's cool about it. We can see how crazy your lives are.
Duff: It's funny, [the crew] was at our house for so long. I'm in and out of the house so much, and so is my sister, so our kitchen is our "meeting place." Whenever we're running around, we meet up in the kitchen for 10 minutes and then we're off again.
TVGuide.com: Will you two work together on any upcoming projects?
Duff: We did an animated movie together called Foodfight! [due for release in November]. That was fun, it was with Eva Longoria, Charlie Sheen, Chris Kattan.... It's cute.
TVGuide.com: What else do you have coming up?
Duff: Actually, my closest friend from grade school goes to NYU and I'm going to film her graduate project, which I'm really excited about. It's so dorky, but I'm excited to work with young people and see that side of it, because I've never seen kids that age making films. And then I start a film in June with Tom Sizemore and Judd Nelson.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you'll return to TV?
Duff: I would love to find a show that I love. [7th Heaven] was nice because I was able to go off and do movies [when we were on hiatus]. I like the consistency of a television show and the lifestyle it provides you. You get to stay home for a guaranteed amount of time each year, and you're not traveling everywhere.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any downtime?
Duff: This is the first time that I've had any downtime in two-and-a-half years, and I'm going crazy. I don't know what to do with myself, and I've got five weeks off total. It's weird because when you travel so much, when you get time off you just want to be in your house. The film I have in June is in Oregon, so I'm trying to enjoy my house as much as I can.
TVGuide.com: Hey, you can catch up on your favorite shows!
Duff: Yeah, like 24.... I get the DVDs. I love Grey's Anatomy, I love Weeds. I love Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins, I think they're so talented. Oh, I've been watching Dirt a lot, too, but I don't think it's coming back [for a second season]. If they would only give it some time, I think it would find a good core audience.