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ABC’s summer soap Mistresses, adapted from the British series of the same name, centers on four friends involved in complicated relationships. The title may suggest a focus on the friends’ illicit affairs, but as actor Jason George confirms, there is substance to the story.
“People may mistake it for meaning that these four women are all mistresses,” the Grey’s Anatomy actor tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But these four women are all dealing with infidelity.”
The U.S. adaptation borrows pieces from the BBC series for familiarity’s sake, but within the first few weeks the 13-episode run starts to carve out its own path. “We deviate pretty early on,” executive producer Rina Mimoun said back in January.
George talks about his new Mistresses series, explains why he hasn’t watched the British version and introduces his character, Dominic Taylor.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did this project come to you?
Jason George: I was at a kid’s birthday party and I ran into Rina [Mimoun], who is running the show, and she was just starting the pilot. Rina said, “You know, I’ve got this thing, but I know you’re busy.” She thought I was under contract. And my wife, of all people, said, “Oh, he’s available.” [Laughs] My wife’s a poet and fiction writer, so she works at home. So when I’m around too long, she always tries to get me out of the house. We found out that it was Mistresses, so I say to my wife, “Did you just pimp me out to suck face with Alyssa Milano?” “Yes, it’ll pay my mortgage.” [Laughs]
THR: Can you describe your character, Dominic Taylor?
George: Dominic is essentially Savannah’s [Milano’s] work husband. We’re high-powered lawyers, driven and passionate and the perfect team. They finish each other’s sentences, they get each other’s jokes, they crush other lawyers. Dom is a flirt with women in general but with Savannah in particular, because she’s married and therefore she’s totally safe. It’s his way of teasing her and knowing that nothing will ever come of it — until it does. He’s been pushed up against the locked door for a while, and suddenly the door flies open and he falls flat on his face. Is this sex or something more? That’s the fun part of where the series starts to go from there.
THR: Were you familiar with the British series?
George: I’ve still never seen the BBC series. I don’t like looking at other forms, just because you’re having to spend extra brain power to either fight against imitating what they did or convince yourself that even though you’re doing something similar, you’re not imitating them. It’s just unnecessary…I’d rather focus on what I’m doing. Rina and [creator] K.J. [Steinberg] both said don’t worry about it.
THR: What are the repercussions of Dominic and Savannah’s extracurricular work activities? Will there be blowback?
George: There definitely is blowback. The questions are: Is this [affair] a secret? Does it stay a secret? Is this a one-time thing or is it something more? Dom comes up with what he thinks he wants it to be, but you get the sense, even in the pilot, that there is a lot more substance to him. He’s genuinely a friend and wants Savannah to be okay. He wants what’s best for her. What’s interesting is that Savannah has the benefit of looking at the consequences of what her friends are going through. Savannah’s looking at her friends’ situations, and that’s influencing and informing her decisions in terms of how to proceed with Dom.
THR: Is there a moment that sticks out for you this season?
George: In the pilot, the moment when our characters actually collide. She’s having a bad day, and he immediately drops the flirtatious thing and he just wants to know if she’s okay, if there’s anything he can do. She’s also beginning to feel like a sexual being and wanting to be connected to somebody, so he’s as surprised as anybody when she starts to take it there — and I think she’s surprised that she took it there. Those were decisions that got made during the course of shooting the scene that turned it from being a sex scene to being a love scene. That opened a whole different world in the relationship.
THR: You are also on Grey’s Anatomy. Is there a chance you’ll be back on that show in a regular capacity?
George: I hope to hang around on Grey’s as long as [show creator] Shonda Rhimes will have me. We worked it out a few times this season. It’s a great set to be on, and they write great words. I just want to work with the best people, and Shonda Rhimes proved herself to be the best for the past nine seasons of Grey’s. Rina and K.J. have proved that they’ll be in the same category.
Mistresses premieres at 10 p.m. Monday on ABC.
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