Jenna Dewan-Tatum recently announced her pregnancy with husband Channing Tatum, but before motherhood hits the top of her list, the actress lands on America’s most wanted list in the Lifetime TV-movie She Made Them Do It (Saturday, 8/7c).
Based on a true story, Dewan-Tatum stars as Sarah Pender, a convicted felon turned fugitive who finds herself at the center of the double-murder of her college roommates. “It’s dark, intense and emotional,” says the American Horror Story: Asylum actress of the tragic case that left two victims shot to death and one young woman sentenced to 110 years in jail. In what seems to be a deal gone wrong, Pender, who sold drugs to pay for her tuition, was charged for masterminding the murders, but insists she is not guilty.
“I thought of her as somebody who really believed her own lie – if it is a lie,” says Dewan-Tatum. “Once of the beautiful things about this story is that no one really knows what’s true or not true.” While incarcerated, Pender goes to all lengths to prove her believed innocence. “She’s a manipulative character with a survivor mentality,” says the actress. “She’s naturally very charismatic and knows how to work people without them knowing it.” One person she works into her plan is the prison guard, whom she has an affair with, and she also schemes her former inmate Jamie Long (Mackenzie Phillips) who ultimately helps her escape. “I was really inspired by her,” says Dewan-Tatum of her costar Phillips. “People go through rough times in their life, but end up getting their life together and becoming a wonderful human being.”
Another wonderful human being is her husband, People’s Sexiest Man Alive. “He’s so supportive and sweet and is there for me at all times,” raves the mother-to-be. “But this is not lighthearted material so he did get his earful of my whining – my brain was on overdrive while filming.”
Why did she sign onto such an emotionally grueling role? “I grew up watching Lifetime movies with my mother almost every day,” admits the Texas native. “They’re guilty pleasures!”
Speaking of guilty pleasures, will she be back on American Horror Story? “Even though it seems as if I’m dead and skinned alive, I’m shockingly in another episode,” reveals Dewan-Tatum. And there will be blood, screaming and probably more torture. “Anything is possible on that show.”