Coming between one of the most beloved couples on Netflix is a dangerous gig, but Virgin River actress Lauren Hammersley is more than up for the challenge — including all of the haters that come with the territory.
“For the most part, the people who interact with me directly are very sweet,” Hammersley tells TVLine. “They’ll say they hate Charmaine, but they still like me, and they think I play her well. So that’s good. Then there are some people who don’t recognize that the character is not the actor, so there have been a few weird interactions that usually end in me saying, ‘Have a great day!’ because I don’t know how to deal with that.”
As Charmaine Roberts, Hammersley is constantly creating new obstacles for Mel Monroe (played by Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson), whose romance is always the hottest topic of conversation in Virgin River‘s titular hamlet. Its residents even began taking sides in Season 2, declaring themselves either #TeamMel or #TeamCharmaine.
“There are two sides to the story,” Hammersley says in her character’s defense. “Charmaine really wanted Jack to be her person, but his heart belongs to Mel. It’s been a tough go for Charmaine, but I can see why people just want her out of the way, because of the chemistry between Jack and Mel.”
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Virgin River‘s first season ended with the reveal that Charmaine, who briefly dated Jack, was pregnant with his child. Season 2 upped the ante by making Charmaine pregnant with twins, forcing her to reevaluate her priorities… even if it made her look a little crazy at times.
“What Charmaine wants is pretty simple,” Hammersley says. “She wants love, she wants a family and she wants to be connected — not just to Jack, but also to Hope. She feels like she belongs at the salon, but she really wants to belong in Virgin River. She’s got these shattered relationships, and I don’t think a lot of them are her fault, so I feel compassion for Charmaine. And now she’s pregnant, and the guy who did that to her is off with another woman. So that sucks.”
Speaking of that other woman, Hammersley says she originally sent in an audition tape for the role of Mel, then got a phone call a month later saying that she booked a different character.
“I’m paraphrasing, but Charmaine’s description in [Robyn Carr’s books] is basically just that she’s 10 years older than Jack, and you could tell that she used to be beautiful before she had a few kids,” Hammersley recalls with a laugh. “This industry is amazing. Whenever you feel really great about something, it has this way of shooting you back down. Fortunately, I was told that they were changing the character in order to create more competition and frustration for Mel.” (Mission accomplished!)
Looking to the future of Virgin River, which was recently renewed for a third season, Hammersley says, “I just hope that Charmaine ends up happy,” even if she can’t have the father of her children all to herself.
In the meantime, Hammersley is loving all those fan theories about the second season’s potentially fatal cliffhanger. Responding to Henderson’s theory that Charmaine could have been the one who shot Jack, Hammersley admits, “It’s possible!”
How do you feel about Charmaine? And what are your hopes for Virgin River‘s third season? Drop ’em all in a comment below.