Christine Evangelista is committed to New York.
The 30-year-old actress, who hails from Staten Island and currently resides in downtown Manhattan, is successfully booking increasingly larger screen roles without having to decamp to Tinseltown. The unassuming brunette, who also appears on “The Walking Dead” and has had recent bit roles in the “Bleed for This” and “The Intern,” is the star of the E!’s newest scripted series “The Arrangement” opposite Josh Henderson. The show is centered around a struggling actress in L.A., who auditions for a role in a film with a starry actor, only to receive a different offer afterward — a relationship contract leading to marriage. Similar to what happens in the show, Evangelista was cast in “The Arrangement” after a lengthy audition process based on her chemistry with Henderson.
“You wonder if it’s really an audition to be in the film, or an audition to find a significant other,” Evangelista explains of the show’s premise. “It was interesting for me to find what [Megan’s] motivations are. Is it love? Is it having her career change instantaneously? I mean, this girl is presented with an opportunity. Her life changes literally overnight.”
E! has become known most for its pop-culture reality shows — perhaps the most infamous being “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” — and “The Arrangement” represents the network’s continuing foray into scripted shows.
“You have the opportunity to blur the lines with the viewer, because you’re having Giuliana Rancic and Jamie Kennedy on the show, and they’re E! News correspondents. It’s sort of giving an experience for the viewer in what’s real and what’s not real?” Evangelista muses. “There was one day that E! News was just doing their regular broadcasting, and they slipped in a script for ‘The Arrangement.’ And Jamie Kennedy was reading, ‘Megan Morrison and Kyle West…wait a minute, who the f–k are Megan Morrison and Kyle West?’ and [the network] was, like, ‘This is for something else, just read it!'”
In the show, West is heavily involved with a fictional cult-like Self Help organization, but Evangelista deflected comparisons to L.A.’s most infamous cult-like organization, Scientology. “It’s a totally fictionalized organization,” she stressed. “There isn’t just one group that could possibly resemble it. Whether it’s Landmark, or — there’s just so many groups. I was surprised to learn how many organizations are out there now.”
The show touches on many familiar tropes of a young aspiring actress — moving to L.A., working as an actress, brusque auditions, shady organizations — but while Evangelista noted that she can relate to those pressures of the industry, she claims that living in New York has helped her maintain balance.
“There’s an enormous amount of pressure, so that is something that I relate to. That’s a common theme throughout the show, and one of the motivations that Megan has getting into this relationship in the first place,” Evangelista says. “I think it’s really valuable for a young woman to spend her 20s here [in New York]. In a way, it forces you to define yourself because there’s so much to see, there’s so much to learn, it’s wildly diverse. And I just didn’t feel that diversity in a place like Los Angeles, where I felt like everybody had very similar motivations,” she continues. “I didn’t want to go there, doe-eyed and desperate. I wanted to hit the ground here and grind it out.”