Tonight, the season one finale of the supernatural drama SurrealEstate
airs on Syfy. The series follows Luke Roman (Tim Rozon) and his team of real estate agents that handle the houses no one can sell: ones that are haunted or have some kind of otherworldly phenomena surrounding them.
Tennille Read plays the role of Megan Donovan, who started dating Luke after he came to her rescue when there were malevolent spirits in her house. She may be ready to sell, but that doesn’t mean that the house is empty. In the latest episode, August Ripley (Maurice Dean Wint), the technology specialist of the Roman Agency, entered the house and found out that there may be more to the portal in the cellar than they at first thought.
Recently, Read talked to Jamie Ruby in an exclusive interview for SciFi Vision about working on the series, teased the season finale, and more. SCIFI VISION: To start out, can you talk about just how you got the role?
I auditioned for the role of Megan Donovan back in July of 2020, and it was during pandemic times, so there was no in person auditions. So, I submitted a self tape and forgot about it until pretty much a month later when my agent called to offer me the role. I was a bit surprised, to be honest, because there were no callbacks or chemistry tests or the usual format that auditions usually led to. So, it was a very pleasant surprise…When I first read the script for Megan's audition, it was incredibly inspiring, and I enjoyed the writing so much that I really had hoped that it was a part for me, and so the surprise after a month was even richer because of that.
I was just going to ask you, but I’m guessing then the answer is no, but I was going to ask if you screen tested with anybody on Zoom, because Tim before had talked about having to do some of those tests over video chat.
Yeah. Bizarre experience to not have a chemistry test, especially with Tim, because our characters are are so interwoven, but thank goodness that worked out, because I do think that there's chemistry there.
Can you talk about working with Tim?
I had a lot of fun working with Tim. He's a lovely person, really grounded, just a regular guy, so to hang out with him off camera, and then to be able to act with him on camera, was such an easy and fluid transition to make.
Did you do anything in particular to prepare, like research or anything? I mean, I know you don't necessarily have to know about per se the ghost side of it, but maybe medical the side.
I did look into what med school entails as Megan is starting off her journey in med school, some of the labs that are required, definitely the scheduling of how intensive that would be, just to give myself a better idea of how busy she would be and the kinds of subjects that she'd be studying.
Other than the script, is there anywhere else that you took inspiration from while creating her?
I am a big fan of Jodie Foster in the film Contact
. Her character in that film is very scientific and a little bit skeptical as well, and I enjoyed watching that and kind of drawing from her points that Megan had as well, that skepticism, the kind of non-believer, and then the openness to still kind of explore things and see how far down the rabbit hole she can go.
I'm thinking back to it. It's been a long time since I've seen that movie, but yeah, I can see that.
Yeah, it’s a great film. I highly recommend watching it again.
So, how are you most like and most different from your character would you say?
I'm most like Megan in the sense that we're both very logical and heady, very pragmatic, and we both compartmentalize things. So, if a house happens to be haunted, if it's out of sight, [it’s] out of mind. Since the Roman Agency goes into the cellar and closes up that portal to the paranormal world, she's able to continue to exist there. That makes sense to me. I'm like, “Yeah, if the portal is closed, I can at least stay in that house long enough to find a new one.”
Where they're different, or where I'm different from her, I mean, I don't think I could ever be a doctor. I admire that profession, incredibly, but I am very queasy about things and still to this day faint when I get [laughs]
blood taken. So, I can rule out that profession. …You just make me wonder, you said you don't like blood and stuff, but how do you think that you would handle something like what happened to Megan, if it was real, like if it happened to you? Would you be okay with it, or would you be freaked out?
I think if I saw [some of the] entities that show up in the show in real life, I think I'd be pretty freaked out, for sure. I think most people would run, yeah.
Yeah, especially if it's like, my own home when my bookshelf explodes, or, like, the fire in the fireplace reaches out and tries to grab me. I'm gonna 100% run out that door! [laughs] She went through quite a lot in that house. I don't think I would have put up with quite as much as she did.
Do you believe in this kind of thing and did anything freaky ever happen while you were on the set?
I tend to be a non-believer with ghosts and paranormal. I realize that there's energy that kind of transfers over from [the] living to the beyond, but in terms of the extent of how the show explores paranormal entities, I don't tend to believe in that. That being said, I'm not trying to welcome every demon and spiritual being to come visit and knock on my door and be like, “Hey, by the way we exist.” [laughs]
And did weird ever happened on the set?
No, nothing really strange happened, thank goodness. Where we shot in St. John's, Newfoundland, the homes are extremely old. There's so much history there, and if any house is haunted, it would be found in St. John. [laughs]
But from what I've heard from other cast mates, of all the houses that they went into, and they went into quite a few, since every episode features a new house, there weren't any. There weren't any reports of paranormal activity.
Now, I don't know if you have an answer for this, but somebody sent me the question, so I'm going to ask you. They want to know if you could live in one of the houses that were haunted on the show other than the Donovan house, which one you would pick? [laughs] You’ve probably not thought about that.
I mean, ghosts [aside], I would like to live in the coastal house that the influencers moved into in Episode 104. I don't know if you remember it, but the view that they had in the day was just breathtaking. I wouldn't mind waking up to that every morning.
Yeah, me either.
So, do you have a favorite scene from the season?
Good question. I think I really enjoyed playing Megan possessed by the roadie demon, and I got to act with Sarah [Levy]. We don't have a lot of scenes together, so it was a pleasure to be able to play with her. It was also fun, because Megan's character is such a sweetheart, and she's so kind, to be able to flip that and play something demonic is very satisfying. [laughs] I was gonna ask you about that. Did they use contacts, or is that all digital? Sometimes it's hard to tell. I assumed it was probably digital.
Yeah, it sometimes hard to tell. It was all digital, yeah.
So, you didn't have to go through not being able to see with the huge contacts.
No, thank goodness. Yeah, they took care of us. We didn't have to do that, and I didn't actually have to rotate my head 360 degrees. [laughs]
They had me on this, what I’d like to call a Lazy Susan. I was sitting on a turntable, basically, and they manipulated it from there to twist my head. I mean, I don't know how they did that, but it worked.
Yeah it definitely worked.So, I assume there's been no news about a season two yet?
Yeah, we still don't know…We check in with each other so frequently, feeling it out, being like, “Did you hear [anything]? Does anyone know anything about anything?”
If there is a season two though, do you know where your character is headed? I mean, not that you can tell me what it is if you do, but do you know that, or have they not really said anything?
No, I don't know where she's headed. I mean, George Olson, our fabulous creator of the show and showrunner, wrote me a note once, and he kindly said, “If I had my say, Megan in season seven would be bringing home a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in medicine.” [laughs]
I was like, “Oh, that’s a nice journey. I wonder what she has to go through along the way?” but I like how he’s thinking.
Yeah, at least he’s thought about it. So, is there someone that you'd like to have more scenes with that you haven't gotten to work a lot with?
I mean, I'd always love to act more with Sarah, since our storylines didn't cross over to too much in season one. She's just such a gem. She's very friendly and easy to work with, so, of course, I would love to work with her some more. I feel very grateful that they did right in the scenes where we had some stuff to do. That was fun.
Yeah, you [in the last] episode had a scene with August too finally. I'm just thinking of that, because I recently talked to Maurice. I know you guys finally got to work together.
Oh, yeah, I would love to do more things with him, too. He's wonderful to perform with. He’s so detail-oriented, and he talks about the scene with you, so we both are able to get on the same page before we start rolling, and I love that kind of process, and in a heartbeat, I'd love to have more things with him, for sure.
So what have you found to be the most difficult part of this whole journey?
I think the most challenging thing has been not knowing if we're getting a season two. The cast and crew really jelled and bonded on this project, and everyone is just incredibly kind and wanting to make the best show possible. So, the energy on set was just wonderful. It's so magical, and, of course, we all want to continue to work in that kind of environment with these people, and not knowing if we get to or not, it's just a lot to have to wait for.
Well, I definitely hope you get another season. I really like the show. It's a lot of fun.
Oh, yeah, they're easy to watch back-to-back, and they also stand alone, because each episode features a different home and ghost, technically. It's a good show. It's smart.
Yeah, I enjoy too that they're not all necessarily exactly ghosts, like it's all something different. It varies. I think that gives it some longevity.
Yeah. Is there something that you can maybe tease about the finale without spoiling it?
Yeah, I mean, I think it's safe to say that Megan has been reaching her breaking point in how far she wants to go in believing the world of the paranormal and believing in what it is that the Roman Agency does. So, she is at a crossroads where she needs to assess which way she wants to go, what reality she wants to believe in.
So, I know one thing I want to ask and obviously we won’t talk about specifics, but were you surprised by some of the the revelations in the finale?...I did not expect what happened.
Yeah, right? What a twist. I think that the finale does what finalities should do best and that [is it] blows up certain storylines and opens new possibilities, and that is exactly what that finale does.
Yep. I guess the only other thing I was gonna ask you is if you could describe your character in three words, I know sometimes that's hard.
Logical, skeptical, and heart.