Shining Vale Stars Talk Finding Reality in the Unreal

The upcoming STARZ series Shining Vale blends together drama, comedy, and outright horror to tell a compelling tale of a woman dealing with personal demons, only to discover those demons might not be entirely internal after all. Main character Pat is played by Courteney Cox, a performer who has embodied a number of characters over the years who have captivated the attention of audiences, who herself recently reflected on the toll that playing a character for a number of years can take on her and how her own personality influences a role. Shining Vale will premiere on STARZ on Sunday, March 6th.

“On Friends, it was I think I was playing I think pretty much one of the creators of the show. And then as the years went on, I think that they started writing towards some of my tendencies,” Cox shared with of on-screen roles impacting her own identity. “So, people always think I’m Monica. I have a lot of similarities, but I am actually not as competitive. She’s cleaner, I’m pretty neat, though, I will say. I feel a lot like Pat in some ways because I am of that age and I’ve been through some of the things, marital problems, and not really depression, but some of the things that she’s gone through. I can separate, but I love delving into this character because I’ve never experienced a part that has that many layers.”

Shining Vale is a horror-comedy about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Pat, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed — turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Patricia “Pat” Phelps (Courteney Cox) is a former “wild child” who rose to fame by writing a raunchy, drug-and-alcohol-soaked women’s empowerment novel (a.k.a. lady porn). Fast forward 17 years later, Pat is clean and sober but totally unfulfilled. She still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband (Greg Kinnear), and her teenage kids are at that stage where they want you dead. She was a faithful wife until her one slip-up: she had a torrid affair with the hot, young handyman who came over to fix the sink while Terry was at work. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, she and Terry cash in all their savings and move the family from the “crazy” of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs that has a storied past of its own. Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real.

Cox plays the lead role of Patricia “Pat” Phelps, with Kinnear playing her ever-optimistic husband, Terry Phelps, whose patience and self-control will be tested like never before. Sorvino plays Rosemary, who is either Pat’s alter ego, a split personality, her id, her muse, or a demon trying to possess her. Merrin Dungey plays Kam, Pat’s oldest friend and book editor. Gus Birney and Dylan Gage also star as Pat and Terry’s teenage kids, Gaynor and Jake.

The nature of the premise poses some challenges for Kinnear’s character, as he can’t merely be the downtrodden and depressed husband, as he has to get the audience to invest in and support his idiosyncrasies. The actor addressed the collaborative process of finding the right perspective on the character.

“First of all, they had a wonderful pilot, and I think [producer] Jeff Astrof — I hadn’t worked with him and I hadn’t worked with [producer] Sharon Horgan either, but I’d seen her work,” Kinnear expressed. “And I always liked how she always kept it on this side of the reality boundary. I felt like I just wanted to make Terry’s journey, I wanted to make it real, make his journey real and as real as possible. And to have fun, too, and to play in this crazy land that they are living in. I think if we could create the boundaries of the family feeling honest and real, I felt like we could go anywhere with it and we do.”

Shining Vale premieres on STARZ on Sunday, March 6th.

Are you looking forward to the new series? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!


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