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Jennifer Love Hewitt ('The Client List')

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Jennifer Love Hewitt as Sam in The Client List

© Lifetime

The Client List sees the recently laid-off Sam (Jennifer Love Hewitt) falling into the world of prostitution when she takes a new role at a massage parlour in small town Texas. She desperately wants to care for her family, but a police raid exposes her secret life and propels her to the limelight as the key witness. We caught up with Jennifer as she chatted about the Lifetime original movie...

What made you want to do this role?
"It was a new character and someone I hadn't played before. I really admired her need to do anything for her family. It really struck me, particularly with where we are in the world now economically. This is real stuff people are dealing with. It's usually the male of the household who sort of has to go out and do anything possible to take care of his family and I loved that in this, it was about female empowerment and I loved her struggle, how she falls from grace. I just loved it."

What are the differences between this and the true story it's based on?
"We didn't really spend a lot of time trying to come up with the differences. The character in the movie is a lot of parts of a lot of different women out there. What's intriguing about this story is that there will be parts when you judge her for the things that she did and ask could she have done anything else, but you also admire her strength and authenticity and drive to take care of her family and not let her husband be emasculated by his place in life. Sometimes I feel like the best role models and the people you should look up to most are the people who make mistakes because they show you how to overcome them and walk through that mistake with integrity and grace. What makes this great is you do root for Sam - you judge her, but you love that you judge her, and by the end of it you forgive her for all that she has done."

Do you see any parallels between what Sam did and the Hollywood casting couch?
"100%! There's actually a moment in the movie where she says it is like being an actress playing a part. I absolutely think there is a parallel between what she does and what happens sometimes in Hollywood. You are offered millions of things and there are millions of places you can go and things you can do if you're willing that can move you up the ladder faster and get you in the bigger movie or whatever it is. The ultimate decisions you make in Hollywood are really true about your character and what you're made off."

Could you relate to Sam?
"In lots of ways, definitely in being that girl next door from Texas - that's definitely my roots and where I'm from. I related to her willingness to do whatever it is she could for her family to support them, to be there for them, to not let them fall. I related to her gumption, I think when you are really passionate about something and you have a driving force behind you, it's important to do everything with real gumption and spunk and push yourself out there. Other than that there's a lot that I couldn't relate to, I think her story is very different to mine obviously."

How did you research for this role? Did you speak to any real-life madams?
"I thought about it. It was a world that I definitely had my judgments on and I thought maybe I should talk to some madams or women who have found themselves in this place, then I thought maybe it was better to discover it all and how I feel about it while doing it because that's what Sam had to do. She didn't get the opportunity to talk to anybody, to learn how to do it properly or hear what it is like. She had to learn along the way. I took a class with a woman who does striptease pole dancing and they teach you how to centre in on your own sexuality and feel how it might be to be in a power position, sexually and everything like that. I did little things like that but the actual research, research, I wanted to learn it as Sam was learning it and I think it helped me."

Do you think you'll keep up with the pole dancing lessons?
"It's hard! You have a different respect for those girls up on the pole. I was so bruised and battered - it was really hard but so empowering. It makes you feel so strong. I have a pole in my house now and I'm dedicated to it. It's good, it's part of my regiment now and you get an amazing shape. It works muscles you didn't even know you had. There's just something great about being able to do that. It's a different kind of sexy than you're used to. I'm really glad I did it."

Did you have any workout regiment before slipping into those skimpy costumes?!
"I actually didn't get that much time to really work out for the project, and I kind of liked that. I feel like in these types of movies when girls wear lingerie, you kind of wait for the moment where they take off something and you'll see the chiselled abs, the perfect arms, the super tight butt and the legs. What I liked about her - even though there were moments I was like, 'God, I so wish I had more time to get in the gym' - was this women didn't know it would happen for her either and she didn't have time to work out. I look like a real person, not someone who has worked out for six months knowing that they will wear a lot of lingerie in this movie. I think it will be beneficial for people watching because they won't have that normal moment we all have when we watch Hollywood movies and go, 'Oh God Cameron Diaz has been in the gym forever.' It doesn't take away from the part."

What have you got coming up next?
"I have a couple of film things in the works and I'm also looking at some other TV stuff. Nothing I can talk about at the moment."

Are you hesitant about jumping back into TV again coming off Ghost Whisperer?
"Definitely! Some of the TV stuff I'm looking at is comedy stuff, I think if I do something I would like to try something a little lighter and not a one-hour drama schedule. That's the most daunting part. My time on TV has been awesome, between Party Of Five and Ghost Whisperer I've been severely lucky in great long runs on TV series that were attached to the heart and got into the audiences' hearts. I definitely am not in a rush to move back into TV right away and if I do it will probably be under different circumstances. I don't think I'll be crossing people over!"

The Client List premieres Monday July 19 at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime
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