'Satisfaction' Interviews: The Cast on Grace's Awakening, Keeping Secrets and Playing Guitar
'Satisfaction' Interviews: The Cast on Grace's Awakening, Keeping Secrets and Playing Guitar
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Get ready to be hooked by a provocative new drama airing on USA this summer. Satisfaction centers on Neil and Grace Truman, a couple who find themselves at a crossroads in their marriage. BuddyTV visited the set in Atlanta recently and talked with the cast. In our previous interview article, you heard from Matt Passmore and Katherine LaNasa. Now hear from Stephanie Szostak and Michelle DeShon as they further the discussion on finding their identity, having an awakening, singing and songwriting, and if Neil and Grace's daughter has any clue what's really going on in her parents' lives.

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Grace's Awakening

Both Neil and Grace are keeping secrets from the other. For Grace, this involves infidelity. But Szostak is quick to explain that this doesn't mean she's going through a mid-life crisis. "I think it's more of an awakening," she said. "And it's that stage where, especially women feel, you're a devoted mother, you're a wife, and all of a sudden you're like, who am I? And so that's where she's at." She sees this as an opportunity "to get her freedom back."

The awakening she mentioned has a couple different facets to it. First, there's her career. "Work is a great chance for her to have something of her own and feel alive and free amongst other things." As Szostak describes it, "It's almost when you get a little bit of a taste of something and you're like, ah, this is this feeling I've been missing." That easily applies not just to work, but also to a more intimate facet of her life: "There's also an awakening sexually. And I think that's what sort of starts it all, and it's not like she looked for it." This is where said infidelity kicks in.

Because Grace is holding onto this secret, part of what goes into keeping that secret is making sure no one finds out. "There's always these moments where you look at the other person and you're like, does he know? Does everybody know?"

Even though there's an infidelity storyline, Szostak also firmly believes that she shouldn't have to make sure her character comes off as likable, saying, "I think that's the death of an actor when you try to be likable, even though that has crossed my mind. ... You can't think like that. You really have to understand your character. And [Grace is] not thinking, am I likable? She's just going through her journey and she has a lot of pain." She added, "The show doesn't judge anybody either."

Being Neil and Grace's Daughter

Neil and Grace have a 16-year-old daughter named Anika. Szostak believes that both Grace and Aika are "going through a parallel awakening." For Anika, she's a teenager and still growing up, and trying to figure out who she is and her place in the world. For Grace, it's obviously a more adult version of having an awakening.

Anika is a singer/songwriter and guitar player, so she expresses her feelings through her music. As Matt Passmore said, "Some of what she's writing is symptomatic of what she's feeling is happening in the family."

Michelle DeShon, who plays Anika, teased that music will be an ongoing part of her storyline. "The music definitely becomes a big thing for her, which is stressful for me because I have to really work hard to learn the songs. ... The music, it's like a reflection of what's going on, even though it's on an unconscious level that she doesn't really know why she's writing these lyrics, but it reflects back onto what's happening." She went on to say, "I don't think she's consciously aware [of what's going in with her parents]." At least at first, she doesn't know there's issues with their marriage, but she believes that, with time, that'll change.

What makes learning the songs even more stressful for her is that she didn't know how to play the guitar before being hired for Satisfaction. She humorously recounted the story of trying to learn a song for her audition: "When I went into the audition, everybody else had a guitar and I didn't know. And I was like, oh my god, am I supposed to have a guitar? And I don't play, and I didn't even know I had to sing either."

So when she found out she did in fact have to sing, she went with a Carrie Underwood tune she heard on the radio when she was driving to the audition. But the process became even more tricky when she was asked to play the guitar for her network test. She ended up borrowing a plastic guitar from her 10-year-old neighbor and learned a song from YouTube. "I took like seven lessons in five days, and I learned a little song." It was obviously nerve-wracking, but the practice she did in such a short amount of time paid off.

Close Friends Off Set

Anika is closer to her mother than her father, especially since Neil works so much, according to DeShon. That closeness isn't just constrained to the characters. The actresses who play Grace and Anika have become friends off screen as well. "I live in the same apartment complex as [Szostak]," DeShon revealed. "And we have dinner probably every single night." Since she is pretty much a newcomer to the acting scene, "We'll go to dinner and just talk for hours about how to approach a scene." Both Passmore and Szostak have been extremely helpful, and have given her plenty of advice along the way.

But it's not all-serious-all-the-time. DeShon also revealed that she and Passmore love to play pranks on each other. "The first week we were here, I put a toilet monster in his trailer." They even make bets with each other and have to do embarrassing things around the set if they lose.

Szostak said the feeling is mutual: "We spend a lot of time together, driving together." And she even gushes about DeShon to her parents when they Skype, telling them, "I love her! I love her!" 
 

Satisfaction premieres Thursday, July 17 at 10pm on USA.

(Image courtesy of USA)

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