In the new Lifetime movie Talhotblond, actress Laura San Giacomo steps into the real life role of a woman who uncovers her husband’s deadly cyber-affair.
Directed by Courtney Cox, Talhotblond, airing Saturday, June 23, tells the true story of Thomas Montgomery, played by Garret Dillahunt, a middle-aged, hard-working family man, who finds reprieve from his average life by playing online poker with his buddies.
During one of his poker games, Thomas receives an invitation to chat with an 18-year-old girl with the screen name, “talhotblond.” Introducing himself as a younger U.S. Marine, Tommy, they begin an online relationship that quickly develops into a sexual obsession. Sensing Thomas’ emotional distance and detachment, his wife Carol, played by Laura San Giacomo, unearths her husband’s cyber affair and puts an end to it by revealing to “Talhotblond” that he is not who claims to be, but in reality a married father of two.
This shocking true story reveals how easily the line between virtual reality and the truth can be blurred when hiding behind a keyboard online.
Ahead of Talhotblond on Lifetime this Sunday at 8/7c, The Deadbolt caught up with Laura San Giacomo to learn more about her role as wife, how she found an understanding of the real relationship behind the story, and how San Giacomo feels about Talhotblond in relation to relationships in life.
THE DEADBOLT: Given the subject matter of the movie, how hard was it for you as an actress not to judge any of the characters in order to play Carol effectively? Or did you have to do that?
LAURA SAN GIACOMO: Well, I guess I just really focused on what I thought was going on with my husband. So because a character doesn’t really know what’s going on, I had to just sort of focus in a moment. And I think that although maybe none of us take it that far, we all have gotten caught up in our lives in something that we have blown out of proportion. Whether it’s something very negative that’s happened in our lives or very positive, I think it’s very relatable that we’ve become maybe obsessed with it or it’s taken over our imagination and our daily thoughts.
So, what I experienced is that I watched the documentary and it was extremely sad to me that all of this happened. Then I sort of detached from what happened to be in the moment, almost. Actually about three-quarters of the way through the shooting, I watched the documentary again. I was struck again by how moving it was to me and how disturbing it was to me. I had almost put it aside and gone into the moment-to-moment of what I was doing. It was there hovering in the background to help me.
THE DEADBOLT: In what ways did you come to understand what was really going on between Carol and Thomas and their relationship in order for something so crazy to happen in the first place?
SAN GIACOMO: Well, I think that we can all get to that point where we take other people for granted, and we’re not really present in the moment. I know those of us who have kids in our lives are really focused on our kids and can forget about our spouse a little bit. They become lower in the food chain of our enthusiasm, of our nurturing, of our focus, of our warmth. Sometimes that can happen.
I think that I’ve certainly watched it happen to marriages, in friendships or in family members. We’ve seen these people who have been married for a couple of decades and you watch a marriage take its course. And sometimes it’s really passionate and loving and nurturing and thoughtful in the beginning, and you get out of that honeymoon period and you get into a place where you’re settling in together to have this life together.
Then certain marriages fall apart and then maybe you get into a period where you’ve grown apart a little bit and you’re focused on other things. Then maybe you grow back together. It’s sort of in the course of life and relationships. Marriages are just like friendships, they take different turns.
THE DEADBOLT: How did you relate to the story on a general level of life?
SAN GIACOMO: I’ve experienced that in my own life, certainly not to that extent, but I have to remind myself, too, to be mindful and be appreciative of all the relationships in my life and handle them with care because they could be gone tomorrow.
So I don’t think it’s too far outside of any of our realm of understanding, how you could become neglectful of each other. Especially when you’re focused on trying to pay all the bills and really being underwater in your house and your financial responsibilities and really trying to focus on your kids and give them everything that you want them to have and be really present for them and involved in their lives.
At the end of the day, you can be too tired to even acknowledge each other.
THE DEADBOLT: So, do you think that’s what was underneath everything in this particular case?
SAN GIACOMO: I think that that’s what happened in that marriage. At least that’s what I can eek out from the amount of material that’s available about the real people. But then he had another thing going on, his mind was in another place. He took what was this very bare bones of a relationship and created something huge out of it, both of them did. Both of the parties involved in that internet relationship took it to an extreme place of acting out fantasy, whatever you want to call it.
Talhotblond premieres Saturday, June 23 at 8/7c on Lifetime.