Tonight, Lifetime premieres the newest of its films in its “Summer of Secrets” lineup, Secrets of a Marine Wife
. The movie, which is based on real events, stars Sadie Calvano as Erin, the pregnant wife of U.S. Marine Corporal Jon Corwin (Evan Roderick), who went missing. After her body was found, suspicions grew in the Marine community. However, it was revealed that Erin was in a relationship with her neighbor, Marine Christopher Lee (Tom Stevens), which caused the paternity of the baby to be questioned as the investigation continued.
Stars Calvano, Roderick, and Stevens, along with the executive producer, Judith Verno, recently took part in a press conference to promote the film.
Stevens talked Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision about his favorite scene. “I’d say the pool scene. The pool scene was really fun to shoot. We were just in the pool all day, just swimming. It was great.” Roderick agreed.
Calvano had a different favorite. She told the site, “I actually think that I would say that one of my favorite scenes is the scene that we shot in the diner. I feel like it is really different from the rest of the film, and I think that there is a moment in that where we see the cracks really starting to appear.
“I think that we're able to see that [at the] end of the day, these are just two young kids that don't really know what they're doing, that are struggling to make decisions and doing the best they can. I think that's a scene where we’re really able to see their humanity in a way that is different from the rest of the film. So, that was one of my favorites to shoot.”
For more, be sure to check out the full transcript of the interview below.
Summer of Secrets Video Conference
Secrets of a Marine’s Wife
Star Sadie Calvano, Evan Roderick, Tom Stevens, and Executive Producer Judith Verno
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Hi everyone, thank you for joining us. I am very pleased to welcome our panelists from Secrets of a Marine's Wife,including Sadie Calvano, who plays Erin Corwin, Evan Roderick who plays her husband Jon Corwin, Tom Stevens, who plays Chris Lee,joined by executive producer Judith Verno…I wanted to start with one pre-submitted question that's for everybody. And that question is Erin Corwin's Story is very tragic. What do you hope viewers will take away from this movie? SADIE CALVANO:
I’ll start. Hi everyone, I'm Sadie.
I would really like viewers to take
away from this movie is that this isn't a
story that questions Erin’s sexual choices.
This isn’t a story that talks about
how because she had an affair;
she got murdered.
This is a story that is about complex
relationships about a young girl who
was looking for love and connection, and who was going through a really tough time in her life and looking for support and fell in the hands of someone who brutally murdered her. And I really hope that people are able to see the story of love and seeking and are able to fall in love with her and wonder. EVAN RODERICK:
Yeah. You know, and like speaking from Jon’s perspective too, it’s a story about forgiveness as well, and you know, because these characters are so young, I guess, there is such an expectation on this relationship to work too, so I think it was important to keep Erin in a [positive] light, and she was a really good person, and we had to honor her story. I hope people can see that when they see the movie. TOM STEVENS:
Yeah, I gotta say, jumping off of what Sadie was saying, they had a relationship that was kind of…It was too young.People got married very early and well. What we were telling the story of is what Chris and Aaron found was almost like an intimacy that they hadn't really experienced before. It just so happened that she chose to go with somebody that had some serious mental issues.JUDITH VERNO:
Yeah, I mean, I think that what's important is nobody should pay for their mistake with their life, and that's the message here. And to find stories that are relatable at their core but can also serve as a cautionary tale, especially for a younger generation. I think that's important to tap into for Lifetime. QUESTION:
Let me ask Tom, what do you think? What did you do to prepare for this very complex role?TOM STEVENS:
Yeah, Chris, he kind of travels through a lot of different emotional realms throughout the film. The guy is dealing with suicide. He's dealing with an unhappy marriage. Finding this new experience with his neighbor Erin and also everything that he's kind of dealing with, with his experience with going over to Afghanistan.
And I just kind of took it day by day…I've done a lot of military research myself. I knew the story. I knew the case very well, so I listened to the book, and I used the chapters about Chris, and I just I tried to find as much that I could use out of that book as possible to add color to him every day.QUESTION:
Evan, your role is almost saint like. I know actors usually they like to play the bad guy, because there's so many differentlayers, and you get to vent your emotions and all that kind of thing. What did you do to make your role speak to you and have fun with it?EVAN RODERICK:
As much as I think the center of it is he's just a guy that loves this person so much, you know. And I mean, personally, I know. I know what that feels like to love someone so much that you do anything for them. So, I think that kind of was the center of Jon.
But I've never shot a gun before this movie. I'm so Canadian, I know, but I spent some time at the gun range in the gym. I watched all the Dateline stuff to prepare as well, but, yeah, at the center of it, he's just a guy that’s just so in love with this woman. So, that was kind of what I always hung onto.QUESTION:
Sadie when they were doing the scenes where they were showing him strangling your character…Can you tell us how you did that? How it was done, sort of physically and special effects wise? Was there a stunt person? SADIE CALVANO:
Sure, yeah, there [were] some people involved.
However, Tom and I also participated. They had me in this like strapped suit and that clipped on to Tom's back. I wore a necklace that was made out of like elastic that looked like what would have been choking her, but it wasn't connected to anything so that I stayed completely safe, and then on the back of my suit there was a clip that the poles attached to for Tom. And we had some staff people help us out with different positions. Each shot kind of varied what the arrangement was, whether it was me with a stunt person or Tom with a stunt person or me with Tom. But we had really amazing stunt people that kept us very safe and were so sensitive to the nature of that scene and made sure that we stayedprotected emotionally and physically in what was a very strenuous scene. QUESTION:
Evan, you're playing a marine in this, and you touched on a bit about the physical aspect of it and getting into shape. Was there something different you did to prepare for the role of a marine, or you know, just you stay fit, and it was just more upping your time at the gym? EVAN RODERICK:
Good question. Well, I think when you're an actor, you kind of have to try to stay in shape all year round anyway, but I think mainly it was about learning about the culture of being a Marine. Like these people are living in these complexes a lot of the time, like in our movie, and it's just like this big tight knit family. So, I think the biggest learning curve for me was just kind of learning the culture and how they spend their time, and like I said, just trying to get the mechanics of being able to work a gun and hold a gun properly without looking like a fool. I think that was pretty important as well. So, just, yeah, a couple of those kind of things, but it was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun doing it, so yeah. SCIFI VISION:
So, do you guys have a favorite
scene that you could tease?
I’d say the pool scene. The pool scene was really fun to shoot. We were just in the pool all day, just swimming. It was great. EVAN RODERICK:
I think I agree. TOM STEVENS:
Anything in the complex. SADIE CALVANO:
I actually think that I would say that one of my favorite scenes is the scene that we shot in the diner. I feel like it is really different from the rest of the film, and I think that there is a moment in that where we see the cracks really starting to appear.
I think that we're able to see that [at the] end of the day, these are just two young kids that don't really know what they're doing, that are struggling to make decisions and doing the best they can. I think that's a scene where we’re really able to see their humanity in a way that is different from the rest of the film. So, that was one of my favorites to shoot. EVAN RODERICK:
I loved shooting that scene too. It was fun. QUESTION:
Sadie my question is for you. For Mom
fans like my mom, who are such devotees of that show and know you so well as Violet and maybe haven't seen you doing much else, what would you say to them before they watch you in this? SADIE CALVANO:
I'd say thank you so much for watching Mom
was such a huge part of my life and of my personhood. I was kid when I started on Mom
. You know I was 15, and so it shaped such a big part of my life and obviously of my career. So, first I would say, “Thank you so much and that I hope you like the finale, because it just aired.”
Secondly, I would say, “This is a really exciting project for you to get to watch, because it's not like Violet at all.” You know, I think the thing that was so exciting about this was that next to Why Women Kill
, this is one of the first roles where I really got to play a woman, a person who's not just like an angry bratty teenager. She has these like romantic complex relationships, and I think youreally get to see a different side of me in this project, and I hope you enjoy it. QUESTION:
My question is actually for Sadie. I was just wondering how familiar were you with this story before joining the project.Had you heard about it before? Or was it all sort of news to you? SADIE CALVANO:
That's a great question. I must confess in my day-to-day life I
am a bit of a crime junkie.
I really love watching murder shows
probably an unhealthy amount, but I did know about this
story before I got offered this job.
I grew up in LA.
My boyfriend's mom lives in Palm Springs,
and this was a huge story in that area particularly, so I was familiar with
the case. I remembered reading
about it when it happened and, yeah, I definitely was familiar.
Is there a chance you're going back to Why Women Kill
? SADIE CALVANO:
Oh, I would love that. I would love that so much. I guess time will tell. I know that with season 2 they wereplanning on doing all new cast and all new stories, but the door is, you know, always a sliver open, and we'll see what the future brings. I would love to work with Mark Cherry again in the future, so I don't know, fingers crossed
Thanks so much, Steve. Thank you Sadie. The last question is for Judith. As an executive producer for this movie, what interested you in Erin's story? JUDITH VERNO:
Well, I really do like doing stories that start with something where you feel it's relatable, and I do like doing storiesthat focus on a younger generation. It's an area that I've worked on before and I welcome it.
I think that, as Sadie and Tom and Evan alluded to, Erin is a really good person, and to be able to message that you can have flaws, make mistakes, be young, and not wind up dead is important to me. So, I love the true crime genre; I love the setting of this. I don't think there's been a lot of true crime that's in a military environment, but most of all, I really love working with young people. We had an amazing cast and to be able to pay tribute to Erin who is a victim in the truest sense, and have a teachable moment for viewers, but also be entertaining, it's a great kind of story to be able to have the privilege to tell.