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Michelle Borth on Tell Me You Love Me

Published September 5, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders.
Michelle Borth Michelle Borth
Tell Me You Love Me explores three couples at different stages of relationship crisis. Jamie and Hugo are engaged to be married, until Jamie breaks it off and starts acting out with a series of flings. Actress Michelle Borth said she had to relate to Jamie in order to play her.

Michelle Borth on Tell Me You Love Me

"The biggest draw for me was initially, when I first read the pilot, I in a sense felt that it was written for me," said Borth. "It's a character that I very much related to. It's very parallel to my personal life. The funny thing about it was all the issues that Jamie has in the show were issues that I've already dealt with and kind of gotten over. It was really hard because I had to resurface all of that. I'm like oh, that pain and all that anguish that I've already gotten over, I have to bring it back up for the character. But in order for the chemistry to work and for it to be realistic, you have to really feel and bring those feelings back up."

Of course, that's what she signed up for even embarking on an acting career. "In a way, it's really cathartic. In a way, it's really cathartic to bring those emotions to the surface and deal with them. But it's really great to do it in a creative way and in a show like we're doing for HBO. I couldn't have asked for a better venue to kind of vent my emotional distress."

Borth did not actually break off an engagement, but it was the turbulence of the relationship to which she felt akin. "The relationship between Jamie and Hugo is this real sort of volatile, they love each other, they hate each other. It's like this love that they don't know what to do with and it's out of control. It's very much what I experienced. So yeah, it very much was very parallel to my personal life."

Jamie's process of recovery also mirrors Borth's own. "A lot of time, a lot of crying, a lot of self exploration. It takes time. It takes a lot of time and therapy, which is exactly what my character does in the show. She gets to a point where she's realizing she's doing all these things and she's acting out, and that's not in her character. It's not in her nature. She goes to find help, to seek out help to deal with the issues that she has. And yes, she does. She gets to a point where she's stronger and she's more comfortable. She's dealt with a lot of the issues that she has and she gets to a place where she is able to move on. That is something that I also went through personally. You do. Heartache sucks. It's not fun but everybody's gone through it at least once, but you find that over time you grow and you get on. Jamie does the same thing as well."

Returning to that place every day is a trial, but a rewarding one. "I will say that yeah, it wasn't a place that I liked being in, no. The six months that we're shooting were exhausting and really tired and definitely I did have to resurface all those feelings and kind of live in it and kind of carry it on my shoulders every day. It was hard. It was a hard time and when it was over, there was definitely a sense of relief, of like okay, I can let that go now. I'd do it all over again for a season two. I'd look forward to it. It's a creative process. It's what I do so I'd love to do it. I like to challenge myself in that way and see if I can access those emotions and bring them to life and make the chemistry work. I enjoy it."

Tell Me You Love Me premieres September 9 on HBO.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of respective holders.

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