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Transcript from Roma chatting on AOL 11/29/99

TV Guide: Welcome, Roma! Thanks for joining us tonight!
Roma Downey: Hello. My pleasure to be here.

Question: When did you first start acting?
Roma Downey: I actually began my professional career about 12 years ago. I have classical theater training. Before working in television, I spent almost 4 years working on the New York stage.

Question: Roma, I would just like to say I'm a huge fan, and you’re my favorite actress! I noticed in the previews for "A Test of Love" that you speak without your accent. Is that hard for you?
Roma Downey: I worked with a dialect coach for "The Test of Love." We nicknamed him the brogue basher. I felt since my accent is strongly associated with my character on "Touched By An Angel," it might be a good idea to eliminate it for this role, so that people would accept me as the character of Cassie and not just see the angel moniker. For that reason, I also wore a very short wig and also disguised my hairdo.

Question: A group of your fans would like to make a contribution in your name for Christmas -- any suggestions as to where you'd like it?
Roma Downey: Goodness, how wonderful. Over the last year, I've been involved with two charities. One is Project Children. They are instrumental in bringing young people out of the troubled situation in Northern Ireland. They bring them to the US for a few weeks. The other is the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, where I reside. I'd be honored if your group would consider either of these worthy.

Question: How long did it take to film the movie?
Roma Downey: Not long at all, actually. We took about 21 shooting days, with weekends off. It probably totaled just about a month over the summer. It was an intense shoot because of the emotional journey that the character takes. But it reunited me with director Larry Pierce, who I worked with a few years ago on "A Woman Named Jackie."

Question: What are your feelings on the Northern Ireland peace process?
Roma Downey: It is with enormous relief that I watched this morning's news lead story to see the stalemate in our peace process has finally been broken. I remain eternally optimistic that as we approach the millennium my country and people will find a just and lasting peace for the future.

Question: You are awesome in the show! It is such a cool show. It touches everyone's hearts that watch it. I was wondering, how did you come to be on such a successful show?
Roma Downey: I was sent the script by my agent, and I had to go in and read for the part. I'm delighted that in their wisdom they cast me in the role. The rest, as they say, is history.

Question: What was your favorite play to perform?
Roma Downey: I'm a huge fan of George Bernard Shaw. I performed in "Arms and the Man" and "Pygmalion.” I think probably the role of Eliza Dolittle in "Pygmalion" is one of my favorites.

Question: Must be refreshing to lay down the wings occasionally... any plans for another movie?
Roma Downey: Well, each hiatus brings enough time off to film a television movie. You are absolutely right, it is an opportunity for me to hang up my wings and to take on a character and a different emotional journey from that which I normally play on a weekly basis.

Question: What’s it like to work with Della Reese?
Roma Downey: Della Reese is one of the world's best huggers. She is also the godmother of my only child. Need I say more?

Question: Roma, how would you handle the situation you are faced with in this movie, if you were faced with the same situation in your personal life?
Roma Downey: I can only hope and pray that I never will be.

Question: Roma, what are you getting Reilly for Christmas? Has she let you know what she wants yet?
Roma Downey: Oh, yes, an endless list which I'm trying to encourage her to streamline. What seems to have remained, her first choice is for Santa to bring her a rocking horse.

Question: Is TBAA going to have a special Christmas episode this season?
Roma Downey: Yes, we are. We have a wonderful episode for the occasion, starring Ruby Dee and her husband, Ossie Davis. If ever a show lent itself to the holiday season, surely it is ours.

Question: About how many scripts for movies/TV movies do you receive yearly?
Roma Downey: Well, what's interesting is that as the show became more successful, my stock rose. My association with the script can often help a script be made into a movie. So, obviously, I get quite a few. The proper channel is to submit them by my agent. So many of them are screened out before they reach me.

Question: Do you have any advice for people if they want to go in the acting community? If so, tell us. Thanks.
Roma Downey: Oh, gosh. If it were just about talent, how easy it would be. I have learned that it is such a lottery. For every winner, there are many who fall by the wayside. I think one piece of advice for this and all businesses would be to always be true to yourself.

Question: Which do you like better, doing your series or doing movies?
Roma Downey: Obviously, after six seasons of "Touched By An Angel," I've grown enormously found of Monica and of all the people that I work with, but the movies give me chance to tackle something new, which can be fun. However, I have no intention of quitting my day job. By the way, I'll be on "Regis and Kathie Lee" tomorrow.

Question: Roma, you are an excellent role model for women everywhere. Do you consider yourself a strict mother, lenient, or somewhere in between?
Roma Downey: I guess somewhere in between. I have to be on guard against the guilt of the working mother syndrome, which could, if unchecked, would allow me to err on the side of being too lenient. I'm blessed -- I have a wonderful nanny named Debbie. Without her, I couldn't do what I do.

Question: Do you plan to make another speaking album?
Roma Downey: I don't have any immediate plans at the moment, but we're very excited with the success of "Healing Angel," currently in stores. It is number five in the new age charts and climbing. The feedback has been very positive. For those of you who don't know, rest assured, I do not sing on the album. It is a collection of prose, poetry and prayer set to beautiful Celtic soundscapes, all by composer Phil Coulter.

Question: Hey, Roma! I just want to say that you are a really good actress and I love "Touched By An Angel"! I am a singer and actress, and I hope I get my chance to shine on that star stage someday! I have a question with this comment. Who inspired you to act? Why?
Roma Downey: I had aspirations to become a painter. I took a BA in fine art. Somewhere along the line I read a quote from Vincent Van Gogh where he said, where referring to his frustration with his art, "He no longer wanted to be the painter, he wanted to be the paint." I realized then I wanted to act.

Question: Would you ever play a villain?
Roma Downey: If the villain had some redeeming qualities. I think I'd probably consider many different kinds of roles if they came in quality scripts. I don't believe in gratuitous sex and violence.

Question: Are you an Irish or American citizen?
Roma Downey: I'm an Irish citizen. I'm an alien resident. Apparently, I can hold both citizenships. I've been in the US now long enough, so I plan to pursue that. America has been very good to me. I love it here.

Question: Is there anyone you would particularly like to meet/work with?
Roma Downey: My whole life, I've been a fan of Katharine Hepburn. I did have the pleasure of meeting her very briefly some years ago when I appeared on Broadway with the late Rex Harrison. I became totally tongue-tied and managed a hello.

Question: Roma, have you seen any of the Internet sites that have been set up for you, specifically the Official Roma Downey Pages by Anna Kasper? And if so, what do you think of them?
Roma Downey: I have seen Anna's pages. I think she's done a lovely job, particularly through the more challenging personal times in my life. I know she showed me great respect, and I appreciate that.

TV Guide: Thanks for joining us tonight, Roma! We had a great time, and please come back to chat soon!
Roma Downey: Thank you. I hope that you'll tune in to "A Test of Love" Wednesday, Dec. 1st at 9PM EST. Also that you all have a very happy and peaceful holiday season.

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