Drea de Matteo is Getting Stalked by Lifetime
by Ilyssa Panitz
Fugetabout Adriana! Drea de Matteo wants you to meet her new TV persona, Detective Diane Harkin of the Lifetime movie, “Stalkers.” The two-hour film is based on Rhonda Saunders’ book “Whisper of Fear: The True Story of the Prosecutor Who Stalks the Stalkers,” and hits the small screen on Saturday, April 13th. Unlike her former on-screen character who had mob ties, this time the award-winning actress is armed with a badge and she’s not afraid to use it.
DivineCaroline: What attracted you to this role?
Drea de Matteo: Not only did I need to work right now since I’ve been busy making babies for a few years, but this was the first decent part I have been offered in a long time. I also have wanted to play a cop since I tend to play the victim a lot. It gave me the opportunity to work on a show that really centered on women since most of the things I am known for, such as “The Sopranos,” were strong male programs.
DC: Describe your character.
DDM: She is not very refined yet she is very street smart, very tough, and has a hot head with a temper. Diane is also very protective of her own. Although she is brave and courageous, Diane has a dark past and she is on a mission to protect herself and her son.
DC: How did this role challenge you?
DDM: I don’t look for roles that are challenging. I like to take on roles that I am right for and ones that I could be good at. I also like roles that speak to me. In terms of challenging myself as an actor, playing Adriana on “The Sopranos” was challenging, especially because I had to really learn how to speak in that accent. I like characters that are homegrown, have roots, and that I am familiar with.
DC: You talk about relating to the characters you portray. Having said that, have you ever been stalked and can understand what Diane experienced?
DDM: I had a bad situation once. Mine started before I started acting and then it lead into it. Having any bit of notoriety doesn’t help the situation, rather it exasperates it. It is a scary place to be. It completely controls you and that is what the stalker intends to do.
DC: Because you were the victim of a stalker do you feel you it was easier to get in character?
DDM: I am not going to lie and say yes to that. I am also not gung ho on being in that position again. It only takes one person to put you back in that position again. It is a scary position to be in and one I don’t want to repeat. It only takes one person and one idea to spark it and then “boom” they are right back on you.
DC: People still remember you for your memorable role as Adriana on “The Sopranos.” How does it feel to finally be the one with all of the power?
DDM: I wanted to play a part where I can feel empowered. Yet every part I play I become the victim, including Diane. She had to get to a place where she could empower herself. Don’t get me wrong; Diane is a victim because she is still scared throughout the course of the show until she finds the strength to get her life back.
DC: You made reference to being a mom. Because you have small children are you more selective about the roles you choose?
DDM: I really have been hibernating with my children, which is why you haven’t seen me. Now that I have decided I am ready to come back to work this role came along. I liked it because the character has both power and substance, whereas the other roles were weightless.
DC: How did your own family life help you portray your character?
DDM: My life has changed so much since I have had babies. All I have to do is see an image of my children in my head and I can’t even go there. It is so hard to act now because I can’t even imagine the things I used to imagine. Everything I do is effected by them.
DC: Drew Barrymore recently said women can’t have it all. Do you agree with that statement?
DDM: I absolutely think we can have it all. I think we just have to work harder than any man has ever worked.
DC: Your former co-star Jamie-Lynn Sigler is pregnant with her first son. Has she called you for any advice?
DDM: Wow, is she pregnant? You are telling me this for the first time. I am really out of touch but I am so happy for her.
DC: If Jamie called you for advice, what’s the best tip you would share with her?
DDM: No one ever gave me advice. I feel like I was the one giving all of the advice. While I let my daughter guide me I also guide her. I am going to catch her every time she falls. The best thing you can do is let them feel their feelings.
DC: Having been stalked and headlining this movie, do you ever fear for your children’s safety?
DDM: Playing a role likes this reminds me that there are a lot of crazy and creepy people in this world. It is so hard to go for me to a playground and man both children. I sometimes think of the parents who lose children to violence and fear sets into me. I can’t even go there.
DC: You say Diane has a dark side. Did Drea ever have one?
DDM: Yes. I know about addiction in my own life and I have battled it myself. I do have sympathy for it but I also know it is about the choices you make. What I have learned is you either get your s**t together or you don’t.
DC: Aside from “The Sopranos,” people also recognize you from your time on “Sons of Anarchy.” Any chance you’ll be returning next season?
DDM: I think so. I think they left it where I need to come back (laughs).
DC: I thought there was talk awhile back of bringing “The Sopranos” to the big screen. What ever happened to that?
DDM: I don’t know but wouldn’t that be great.
DC: I guess David Chace would have to bring you back in a dream sequence since you got whacked in the end!
DDM: (laughs) I would have loved a “Sopranos” movie and still do. David are you listening?