'Smash' star Megan Hilty talks about her transition to television and working with Katharine McPhee

'Smash' still has a lot of stories to tell about her character Ivy and Ivy's background, says Hilty

Will Hart/HONS/NBC/AP
'Smash' star Megan Hilty (l.) plays Ivy Lynn, who is battling to win the part of Marilyn Monroe in a new musical against rival Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee, r.)

In anticipation of the opening night of SMASH — which on the off chance you’ve managed to miss NBC’s unprecedented promotional blitz, is this Monday after the Super Bowl — theTVaddict.com recently had the pleasure of talking to star Megan Hilty. Here, in our brief chat that took place during the recent Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Hilty — who plays Ivy Lynn, one of two actresses in the running for the coveted lead role in a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe — talks about what it has been like stepping the role of a lifetime.

On making the jump from stage to [small] screen: You know, I never expected it. But then I came out to Los Angeles and did Wicked for a couple of years, started to do a few spots on television and I kind of got bitten by the bug. I really really loved it and I looked around at the actor’s careers that I really wanted to emulate and I realized that the key to longevity is diversifying what you do so I thought it would behoove me to start working in other fields.

On how much research went into playing Marilyn: I’m a lot like my character [Ivy Lynn] in that I want to really immerse myself with as much information as I can and then take whatever I need and whatever I can use. And it doesn’t stop once the show starts, I’m constantly reading about Marilyn because there are a lot of scenes in this show [SMASH] that parallel her life.

On peeling back the onion that is Ivy Lynn: Very quickly you’ll see her relationships, her family life and the emotional roller coaster that is in store for Ivy that explains a lot about her behavior. We actually reshot a scene a couple of times [from the pilot] because we didn’t know what to give away about my mother, but you’ll find out fairly quickly how my family feels about my career choice and all of that.

On her off screen relationship with on screen rival Katharine McPhee: It’s so tragic when we’re mean to each other because the scenes are so much fun to play. But it’s great that we have such a great relationship offscreen because it allows us to have fun in between some really heavy takes.

On preparing for her life to change when SMASH becomes, well just that: How do you prepare for that! If it comes, I’m sure i’ll figure out a way to deal with it, but for now I don’t think there is any way for you to prepare or brace yourself of change anything.

The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.

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