'Very Valentine': Jacqueline Bisset Previews Love & Family Business Problems

Meredith Jacobs
Q&A Courtesy of Lifetime

Ready to travel to Italy for love?

As part of its "Book to Screen" series, Lifetime has adapted Adriana Trigiani's novel, Very Valentine. The film, starring Jacqueline Bisset and Kelen Coleman, tells the story of the Angelini Shoe Company, one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village that has been making wedding shoes by hand since 1903. However, now run by Teodora (Bisset), with her granddaughter, Valentine (Coleman), serving as her apprentice, it's in financial trouble.

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Ahead of the movie's premiere, TV Insider spoke with Bisset about her character, Teodora's relationship with her family, the shoe shop, and more.

What drew you to this movie? Had you read the book prior to joining the cast or did you read it after?

Jacqueline Bisset: No, I haven't. I thought it would be amusing to play this Italian woman, to do an Italian accent, and to be part of an Italian family.

(Courtesy of Lifetime)

What can you preview about Teodora and her relationship with Valentine?

They're very close. It's an unusual situation because Valentine is living with her grandmother, and they're actually rather happy living this way, [though she's] not really getting where she should be in terms of her career and her young life and her romances.

We get on very well prior to this situation of the company suffering from financial problems. She's a very enthusiastic member of the company, and I am, too, but I'm not very realistic, and she's really egging me on to not give up on it.

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And what's her relationship with the rest of her family like?

I think it's good. The family is basically a well-functioning family. Valentine is the warrior really in the middle, but I feel that she's not maybe as realistic as she needs to be and we're up against a very, very competitive world in the world of beautiful shoes. But we all believe very much in our handmade principles and the beauty of what is done by hand rather than by machine, so it's sort of us against the new world in a new way.

Speaking of the shoe shop, what does it mean to your character, just the history of it and the family aspect? 

I think there's a lot of pride, and I think there's a lot of association with it. My character is very, very tied into what has been going on for a long time in her family. She's not very realistic. She's not really running the business as well as maybe she should, so she's being nudged by Alfred, who is a lawyer and who is much more realistic in terms of the real world.

(Courtesy of Lifetime)

Valentine absolutely does not want to entertain the idea of having to sell this beautiful building that we're in where everything has been going on, including the roof terrace and the whole life that this building in New York has. We're all a bit stuck on a good level, thinking that we're all doing sort of alright and not really being very realistic.

The other granddaughters are more or less involved and, like in any family, some people are more interested than others.

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People who have read the book know about Teodora's own love interest. What can you tease about their relationship and what it means to her as a character and to have this other love story compared to Valentine's? 

She's kept it very quiet. It's very well-covered. She took her trips to Italy every year to buy fabrics and for her shoes and all the things they need to get, but she's kept this love interest under wraps completely. It's only because Valentine is an inquisitive one and she's putting two and two together that she realizes there's somebody I'm visiting there other than just for work.

I think my character is discreet in that. She's not throwing it around. I don't think it's a confirmed relationship anyway. I think it's a very sweet romance that's not a holiday romance at that point, but it becomes more serious during this film.

(Courtesy of Lifetime)

How does Teodora view Valentine's relationships? Considering how close they are, she knows her granddaughter well. What does she think of Roman and Gianluca? 

I think she has a rather open attitude to it. I think she wants to get Valentine out there. She wants her to not be so closed and to just work and everything. I think she likes both those guys. I'm not sure she gets that involved in Valentine's business. She's definitely pushing to get her involved with somebody in the beginning.

She definitely pushes her into Roman's context and then he's also got that nice restaurant. She's pushing a little bit. I'm not sure that she needs to push because I think Valentine is sort of ready, but surprised to be ready.

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Very Valentine, Movie Premiere, Saturday, June 8, 8/7c, Lifetime