Acting alongside Hollywood stars 'really fun' for Islander

Islanders might recognize a familiar face acting alongside Hollywood stars Patrick Dempsey and Virginia Madsen on TV Sunday night. 

Tessa Mossey, who is from P.E.I. and attended Colonel Gray High School, plays Dempsey's love interest in the miniseries The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

The series is about an author who searches for the truth after his friend, fellow author Harry Quebert — played by Dempsey — is arrested for the murder of a girl who went missing 33 years earlier.

Mossey said her character, Jenny Quinn, is a "sweetheart" from a small town who dreams of going to New York to become an actor.  

"When she meets this Harry Quebert guy, who's this famous writer, she thinks, like, 'Oh this is my guy,' she gets super excited, very taken by him."


Dempsey, who may be best known as Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on the TV drama Grey's Anatomy, was a "very, very nice person to work with," Mossey said, especially when it came to preparing for intimate scenes.

"Anytime we have scenes that were difficult or we had to be super vulnerable, that day he always went out of his way to find me in the morning and make sure we had a good conversation, so we felt comfortable with each other and I really appreciated that." 

Anytime we have scenes that were difficult or we had to be super vulnerable, that day he always went out of his way to find me in the morning and make sure we had a good conversation. — Tessa Mossey

Madsen, an Academy Award-nominated actor, plays the mother of Mossey's character.

"She's fantastic and truly a mother figure to me in real life as well," Mossey said. "Really fun to work with, full of life."

Filming of the series took place at the height of the MeToo movement against sexual harassment, and Mossey said while she felt nothing but respect from everyone on the set, Madsen was always there to support her in any way.

"Virginia has such a maternal feel and she really supports fellow women on sets. So when she sees young women coming through the film industry she really goes out of her way to check in and make sure you're good. And, you know, very gently if she feels like you might want her advice she will definitely help you out. And she was always really there for me throughout the whole process."

Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

She said working with experienced actors like Dempsey and Madsen was a huge benefit.

"They were able to share that wisdom with me and how to view the film industry and how to perhaps just approach it as an art form and also as a career and how those two work together."

Moved to Los Angeles

Mossey spent her final year of high school at a performing arts boarding school in Massachusetts. She went on to get a degree in musical theatre from Elon University in North Carolina. She eventually moved to Toronto and recently settled in Los Angeles.

Submitted by Daniel Birnbaum

She had appeared in more than a dozen productions before landing her role as a series regular on 10-episode The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

The show has already played in other parts of the world, and makes its Canadian premiere Sunday night on CTV Drama, formerly called Bravo.

"I'm very excited about it," she said. "We we've been out in Europe and the Middle East and Australia and we had good responses. So I'm super excited that my home gets to see this project that we put a lot of heart into as well."

'Have to get your beach time'

Mossey's family still lives on P.E.I. and she said she tries to make it home as often as possible. In fact, when she finished working in Europe for a stint this summer, she asked to be flown to P.E.I. instead of Los Angeles. 

"I had a little bit of time and I wanted to see my family," she said. 

"You can't beat P.E.I. in the summer, you have to get your beach time in. There's nothing that beats P.E.I. beaches."

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