July 29, 2012 3:04pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TCA 2012: 'Made in Jersey' Attempts to Skirt Stereotypes
If Made in Jersey creator Dana Calvo and EP Kevin Falls are as serious about getting past the familiar pop culture portrayals of the reality-TV-friendly state as they say they are, casting a British actress in the lead role might be a step in the right direction.
Speaking with reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the team behind the new show insisted the accents and lofted hair won't take as much of the focus as the promotional campaign might imply.
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"I just want to get past all of the New Jersey stereotypes, actually," said Calvo, a New Jersey native.
Star Janet Montgomery, a native of Dorset, England, took that into consideration when deciding on her character's dialect.
"I picked Mira Sorvino for the depth of her voice and some of the characters she's played," Montgomery said of the New Jerseyan closest to Martina Garretti, also pointing out Working Girl as a source for bridge and tunnel humor. "People don't want to see a caricature. There are enough New Jersey reality TV shows."
Montgomery, who's lived in the U.S. for three years and most notably appeared on Entourage and in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, says one of the biggest culture shocks of her move has been how differently -- and conservatively -- the entertainment industry operates.
"In England, there's nothing shocking," she said. "The stuff we have on TV... there aren't the rules or the system that's in place."