Canadian actress Tennille Read has had a juicy and fun role on Workin’ Moms and played one of the original Merriwick witches, Patience, on Good Witch.
Now, she’s one of the talented ensemble of actors on Syfy’s SurrealEstate, where she plays Megan, a woman who inherited a stigmatized property, which, in turn, brought her into Luke Roman’s orbit.
We had a chance to chat with Tennille, and she opened up about working with the talented ladies of Workin’ Moms and how thrilled she was to land her role on SurrealEstate.
One of the first things I had to ask was for information on her name. Sure enough, her parents chose the unique name from the popular band from the ’70s, The Captain and Tennille. But it gets better.
“They really liked the name. Yeah, they thought it was really unique and that it would be a good fit. And then they ended up later naming my dog, our golden retriever, Captain, kind of to complete the deal,” Tennille shared.
With a name like that, she was destined to be in the arts. Workin’ Moms is the show that brought her under the spotlight in the US, and she had a lot of fun working with those talented women.
Tennille said, “They are a bunch of super talented, whip-smart individuals. I was so lucky to come on at the end of season two, and my character stayed on until season five. And it was just a delight to be able to explore a storyline like Bianca’s, but also get to just be immersed in their world, their wacky, wacky world.”
That wacky adventure had her well prepared to jump into the supernatural adventure of SurrealEstate, which she auditioned for in July 2020 with a self-tape because of COVID.
“I didn’t hear anything back from casting or my agents for almost a month. So when I did hear about it, I was over the moon. I had loved the script when I read it for the audition. I thought it was really something new that I hadn’t seen before, with just the right amount of humor and scares. So it was thrilling to accept that offer and get to shoot such a great show.”
And although Tennille had a very brief appearance on Schitt’s Creek, she hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting and working with Sarah Levy or Tim Rozon while on set, so that didn’t play any role in her landing the part.
She finally had the opportunity to meet Sarah and Tim on the SurrealEstate. Tenille said, “They’re lovely because they’re so grounded and real people. They’re extremely talented, but they’re just very modest people, which I found lovely and refreshing to work with and easy to connect with as a result.
“And they both just dove into the show. I think Tim was coming off of Wynonna Earp just days before he flew to Newfoundland, and he just picked up this character and brought it to life and helped bring to life this supernatural world, with ghosts and demons, and things that needed to be sorted. But still, it was great.”
Tennille really likes Megan’s pragmatism and how she’s so logical about things. “It’s a great character to play in this world, where everyone is always talking about ghosts and paranormal and entities. And for her, coming from a science background, she’s kind of always figuring out what the truth of it all is because she doesn’t believe in ghosts.
“So she has a fun conflict to play, that I get to play, that still allows her to kind of get caught up in the scares and the spookies. But ultimately she’s very grounded in empirical facts. And I like that dynamic.”
After SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 8, it seems like she’s going to have to get a little less pragmatic. It’s not every day that one’s head spins 360 degrees on their neck, after all.
Tennille laughed. “It’s a bit alarming. And I guess she healed really quickly because I don’t think my neck would be able to do that. I think it’s an eye-opening moment for her, for sure, where up until that point, she’d been going along with this type of work that Luke does.
“And I think ultimately, she is trying to make sense of it. I think this episode, she meets this kind of precipice, for lack of better words, like a moment where he has to really step back. I think it’s a turning point for her, where she realizes that perhaps she’s allowed herself to go too far down the rabbit hole.”
That’s a frightening thought for the story overall since Megan’s relationship with Luke is foundational at this point. They have a wonderful, flirty connection and have the banter thing down pat.
Tennille really liked how their relationship unfolded. “I thought that was really well-written. And I think the whole Donovan house situation is such an interesting backdrop for their relationship to be put against.
They kind of have this courting going on for a little while, and then they move forward from a realtor and client relationship to one that’s more romantic. But the house continues to be a conflict and a bit of an obstacle for them because his mom’s ghost is still in that house. And Megan is just existing in it.”
Of course, when you talk with Tennille bringing Megan to life, you have to wonder — why is Megan still living in that house? She got a pragmatic answer from showrunner George Olson that if she moved, there wouldn’t be any more story.
Tennille took it upon herself to justify why Megan is still in that house well beyond the story-imposed reality. “For her, it’s a bit about that saying of what’s out of sight is out of mind.
“Because technically when they sealed the portal in the cellar, it did make a shift for her. She no longer was seeing things or hearing things. As far as she’s concerned, it’s a safe place for her.
“She understands that for Luke, something else might be lingering that’s affecting him and haunting him. But at this point, she’s a bit detached from those hauntings. So she’s made a kind of okay reality to exist in that space.
“She still wants to get the hell out of it. Don’t get me wrong. And she would love to sell that house in a heartbeat. But until she can move into a new home and sell it, she’s putting it out of mind and being strong and brave about the whole situation.”
Another development from “Baba O’Reilly” came at the end of the hour when, jump-scare and all, we saw that her house is just teeming with spirits, and they might be growing weary of the interference.
Tennille said, “That tape is something that she will be able to ignore if they do show her that. I think so. Sure. It will accelerate her departure and her urgency to find a new place and to get Luke, to get her a new list of showings that might satisfy her home search, for sure.”
Needless to say, the schnizzle is about to hit the fan for Megan, and Tennille is eager for fans to see how it plays out.
She has heard rumblings that a decision will be made on SurrealEstate’s future around the time that SurrealEstate Season 1 concludes. She does have good news, though.
“I’ve been hearing such positive feedback about ratings improving, which has been wonderful. And also on Twitter, there’s been a growing fan base that has been just the best in responding to the show’s episodes.
“Every Friday we do a live tweet session, and it’s just so much fun to hear what [the fans are] reacting to. It gives us hope that a second season could very well unfold.”
We’re keeping our fingers crossed!
SurrealEstate airs on Friday nights at 10/9c only on Syfy!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.