Lifetime's 'An Amish Sin' gives Kellie Martin a very different role
With four decades of television work behind her, relatively few "firsts" remain for Kellie Martin.
However, playing an Amish woman is one of them -- and she has that role in "An Amish Sin," a Lifetime drama movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 29. She plays the tradition-bound mother of a teenager (Dylan Ratzlaff) who is sent to a facility for rehabilitation after refusing to wed a man who abused her earlier. The young woman then runs away to a nearby city where she's unfamiliar with modern ways, getting help from a new friend (Rukiya Bernard) in adjusting while struggling to make peace with her past.
"It was really hard," the typically lively Martin reflects, "playing a woman who is struggling with her health and who's so submissive to her husband. That was a strange place for me to put my head and my emotions, but I was excited to try it. A big reason I wanted to do it was the co-writer and director, Michael Nankin, who I worked with on 'Life Goes On.' I couldn't imagine saying 'No' to him, and this interesting role was almost the icing on the cake."
Martin deems the Amish world "a fascinating culture that's so secretive. I think that, for many of us, it's still very exotic. I had never really delved that far into it until doing this movie. In an insulated culture, abuses can get covered up and nobody wants to say anything, and the cycle can go on for generations."
For Martin -- who has two daughters with her husband -- notes that "An Amish Sin" is a rare turn for her in playing a mother, "which is weird, because that is such a massive part of my life."
To that end, Martin references one scene of "An Amish Sin" that she says "hit me so hard, I cried for hours as we were filming it. And I also cried off-camera. I never do that! I usually save my tears for when the camera is rolling and it's on me, but that scene just really got to me. When I'm playing a mom, my emotions are really on the surface."
More a supporting player in "An Amish Sin," Martin found that "really nice for me. I got to have a little getaway, do a little work, and come home and not be exhausted." However, as both performer and producer, she continues planning an NBC revival of "Life Goes On," the drama series in which she starred from 1989 to 1993 on ABC.
"We have an extraordinarily busy writer," Martin explains. "It's still happening, it's just in limbo. It's kind of heartbreaking not to know exactly when it's going to happen."