NU alumna explores bonds of family as major character in new Freeform series “Beyond”


Freeform/Nino Munoz

Northwestern alumna Romy Rosemont (Communication ’85) is casted as Diane Matthews in the new Freeform mystery series “Beyond.” The show is about a young man who wakes up from a 12-year coma to discover that he has supernatural abilities that make him the target of a dangerous conspiracy.

Kristine Liao, Reporter

Northwestern alumna Romy Rosemont (Communication ’85) is no stranger to the small screen.

With previous roles in “Glee,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “CSI” and “The Fosters,” Rosemont takes her turn as a lead character in Freeform’s new mystery series, “Beyond.”

“Beyond” is about a young man, Holden, who wakes up from a 12-year coma to discover that he has supernatural abilities that make him the target of a dangerous conspiracy. Rosemont portrays Holden’s mother, Diane Matthews.

Rosemont said although the show is a supernatural mystery, the story really centers on family. She added that she always tries to identify with the roles she plays. Like her character Diane, Rosemont said she is a compassionate, determined and “no nonsense kind of person who will fight for what she believes is right.”

“People say my character reminds them of someone they went through college with or their mom or aunt or that person who lives next door,” Rosemont said. “So it’s very important for me to create a very approachable, loving person, but also someone who still responds to conflict.”

Rosemont said the audition process for “Beyond” was “painless.” The director had contacted her agent and set up an audition. Five weeks later, she heard back that she had gotten the role.

Adam Nussdorf, the show’s creator, said Rosemont was the first to audition for the character of Diane. Nussdorf said the audition scene was very emotional and that Rosemont gave a sharp and complex performance.

“She came in, shook hands, took a seat and launched into it,” Nussdorf said. “And right there before our eyes, we saw the character of Diane come to life and take on a life of its own.”

Nussdorf said he doesn’t think Rosemont could have performed it any better. He said her performance was “dead-on,” hitting the pathos and protective fierceness of the mother figure he was looking for. He said her range and versatility as an actress also make her a “great asset.”

“She can make herself tear up on cue and really bring you into the dramatic aspects of a scene and then immediately switch it to comedy,” Nussdorf said.

At NU, Rosemont started out as a theater major but eventually switched to Radio, Television and Film. Her experience at NU was shaped when she got involved in the Mee-Ow Show her junior year, she said.

“It created a confidence in me and uncovered a talent I didn’t know I had, which was improv,” Rosemont said.

She went on to become the first female director of Mee-Ow her senior year. She said it was rewarding to leave her mark to defy stereotypes that inhibit women from breaking into the comedy world.

After Rosemont graduated, she worked for talent agencies for a couple years. That exposure to the business side of the entertainment industry was valuable when she began her career as a film and TV actress, she said.

The first two episodes of “Beyond” premiered Jan. 2, and on the same day, the entire first season became available to stream on Freeform’s app and website, On Demand and Hulu.

Weinberg sophomore Rebecca Lazer said she watched all 10 episodes of the first season over the past weekend. She said the show is “addicting.”

Lazer said she enjoyed Rosemont’s character, and that in other shows she’s watched, the parents usually take on a meaningless role or are uninvolved in their children’s lives.

“(Diane Matthews) actually believes her kids, which is refreshing,” Lazer said.

Rosemont’s motherly qualities are present off-screen, too. Nussdorf, the show’s creator, said Rosemont hosted parties in Vancouver during the pilot episode rehearsal period. She also organized cast birthday parties and take photos of the cast on a regular basis.

Since the cast members are based around the globe, Rosemont said the actors of her family in “Beyond” created a WhatsApp group chat to keep in touch.

“Romy has certainly been instrumental in making that family dynamic a focus on the show and giving it strength and allowing that family unit to be the sun which all the other planets revolve around,” Nussdorf said. “I’m grateful that she wanted to play the part.”

“Beyond” was recently renewed for season two, and Rosemont is curious to see what happens, as the actors are limited in what they know of the series’ future plotlines.

“I hope that it continues so that we really get to know all the characters,” she said. “I would love to know and climb inside the minds of the creators and writers and find out what they’re planning.”

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