The Arrangement Isn't About Scientology for Stars Josh Henderson and Michael Vartan

Despite its Hollywood contract-girlfriend premise, there's a classic love story within, the series' leading men say.

by | March 1, 2017 | Comments

Your new favorite soapy drama is coming to E! in the form of The Arrangement, a series starring Josh Henderson as a mega movie star who enters into an arranged relationship with aspiring actress Megan (Christine Evangelista).

Complicating matters for Kyle West — as if a contract girlfriend/wife weren’t complicated enough — is the fact that Kyle’s mentors at the Institute for the Higher Mind, Terence (Michael Vartan) and Deann (Lexa Doig), have differing opinions on whether Megan is good for Kyle.

If the idea of a self-help organization arranging a marriage between a global superstar actor and a lesser-known actress calls to mind Scientology and various relationship rumors surrounding that organization, you’re not alone. Henderson told Rotten Tomatoes he welcomes the comparison.

“I think when people hear the premise of our show, more times than not the first thing they’ll think of is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. But I know more about the show than they do, considering we’ve shot the whole first season, so I know that it’s really not at all based on them,” Henderson said. “We’re telling our own story with unique characters. But I’m fine with people making that comparison, because at the end of the day, everyone is familiar with that story and if it gets them to watch the show, I’m all about it.”

But Vartan told Rotten Tomatoes that although it’s an “understandable” comparison, it really isn’t what The Arrangement is about.

“Throughout the course of Hollywood, there have been documented cases of contract marriages, like back when the studios first started. So to me, the show is really about a contract marriage. It’s obviously about all these characters, but that has happened in Hollywood [before],” Vartan said.

“If it was about Scientology, I really did not do my homework, because I didn’t do any research on Scientology whatsoever,” he added with a laugh. “There are so many self-help groups in our country today. Because of the size of the Institute and the power and the heavy element of the Hollywood experience, I think [Scientology is] a natural assumption, but as far as the writers and the cast were concerned, we never really even thought of that.”

Whether The Arrangement calls to mind real-life situations or not, Henderson did say that in the case of Kyle and Megan, the feelings in their relationship are genuine.

“They have an instant connection at [an] audition in the first episode. Something about her shakes him and really affects him, and he has to pursue it and figure out why,” Henderson said. “As they’re getting to know each other, he totally falls in love with her. They’re obviously going to have some issues, as you would if you’re getting to know someone, because it all happens so fast. Kyle’s world is different. He can’t just walk into a bar and meet someone, so that’s where this contract comes in. and he kind of accepts that that’s his life and he has to do what the Institute tells him to. But he loves her. He really does love her.”

Unfortunately, Terence does not share Kyle’s instant affection for Megan, remaining suspicious of the up-and-coming actress even though he had a hand in setting her up with Kyle. For Terence, Vartan says it’s all about protecting Kyle’s brand and, by extension, the Institute.

“He loves Kyle, he really does. Terence found him, he discovered him, he helped him change his life, but … nothing is more important to me than the Institute,” the actor said. “The Institute has gotten big enough now that maybe without Kyle it would survive, but Terence isn’t interested in finding out. He still needs Kyle — he’s the biggest movie star in the world, so he’s a great poster boy.”

Vartan added that Terence had essentially become a victim of his own monster.

“When Terence founded the Institute, he truly did want to help people access their better selves. But along the way money started pouring in, and collateral fame for Kyle, and I think he sort of lost his way. He’s a victim of his own machine that he’s created. He definitely is a cutthroat character who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.”

For Vartan, that cutthroat nature was a big draw.

“My character is a departure for me,” he said. “I’ve always played the nice guy and that’s so damn boring, so to get to play someone that’s so fundamentally flawed and manipulative and, for lack of a better word, creepy, is really fun for me. It was a really fun experience.”

Henderson also said he had great fun while filming season 1 of The Arrangement, but for him, it wasn’t about playing someone villainous. In fact, he said Kyle is as good a person as he seems.

“Kyle is really a good guy, he really is. Like everyone, he has a past. You’re going to find out that he’s a little off. … It’s more than a flaw. It’s a trait to him that is maybe a little darker than you would expect, but he is a good person,” Henderson said. “But you put anyone in a situation where they show up in L.A. and have nothing, and then suddenly they have everything and everyone in the world knows who he is, that’s going to affect anyone no matter what kind of person he is. There’s a reason why Kyle credits the Institute for all of his success. When Terence first met Kyle, he was somewhat of a mess. And he still needs to work on himself.”

But who will now exert more influence over Kyle, his old friend Terence or new love Megan?

“Kyle trusts Terence 100 percent, or at least he always has,” Henderson said. “But he knows that Terence isn’t fully sold on Megan yet, and that’s going to become an issue.”

Vartan added, “Terence is just a very, very tightly wound person, with, as you’ll find out as the season progresses, a lot of skeletons in his closet. Some are a little darker than others … but very few things that happen with the Institute or Kyle’s career or life are not run by Terence at some point.”

The Arrangement premieres Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E!

Tag Cloud

romantic comedy theme song crime thriller Showtime witnail justice league 2021 Nominations italian blockbuster Ghostbusters biography slashers ESPN casting 90s golden globes Amazon Prime Watching Series TCA Food Network Legendary MTV President Endgame spy thriller video on demand 2015 Starz what to watch new york aliens sequels Vudu comic books football serial killer critics Arrowverse toronto TIFF Comedy Central TV One hist movie TCA Winter 2020 prank king kong streaming TCA Awards new zealand Sneak Peek Tarantino MCU TCM doctor who SundanceTV trailers scary movies GIFs Interview YA godzilla Horror Set visit IFC kids Trivia Mindy Kaling miniseries TCA 2017 Winners cancelled NBC Lionsgate documentary boxing Logo french HBO Reality Spike CNN A24 vampires kaiju History Pop TV unscripted singing competition Comics on TV BBC America Country Tokyo Olympics TV Land saw 20th Century Fox book adaptation Awards Tour Valentine's Day fresh women DirecTV pirates of the caribbean RT21 best black films game show The CW DGA 2018 crossover SXSW rotten Netflix Family Writers Guild of America Cosplay twilight Music Marvel Studios Alien werewolf 93rd Oscars directors tv talk reboot Box Office Shondaland FXX Trophy Talk CBS USA Network See It Skip It Trailer Pride Month Epix WGN Wes Anderson Countdown sports Creative Arts Emmys Disney Plus First Reviews Super Bowl OneApp Mary poppins Polls and Games Acorn TV Disney Channel heist movie The Walking Dead dogs renewed TV shows teaser green book Reality Competition disaster docuseries Nat Geo zombies adventure Quiz all-time based on movie Bravo Heroines fast and furious Year in Review Hallmark Rocketman Star Trek stop motion mission: impossible cancelled TV series NYCC Amazon Prime Video BBC Funimation San Diego Comic-Con science fiction New York Comic Con cooking Fox News Travel Channel spanish language Marvel game of thrones laika Lucasfilm Academy Awards Cannes dc 007 Masterpiece TV renewals Crackle VICE YouTube Premium IFC Films Holiday james bond FX Thanksgiving E3 Anna Paquin archives streaming movies nbcuniversal TV LGBT TBS die hard politics ABC Signature Broadway Columbia Pictures television strong female leads Apple TV Plus El Rey Awards scorecard jamie lee curtis razzies children's TV Tumblr supernatural harry potter BET Exclusive Video ABC Family thriller comic facebook independent Walt Disney Pictures romance Christmas travel rt archives Disney+ Disney Plus Discovery Channel Character Guide criterion breaking bad franchise American Society of Cinematographers Adult Swim Comic Book latino Paramount The Academy VOD parents concert japanese cults Toys Mystery documentaries political drama reviews comiccon Captain marvel christmas movies ITV Sci-Fi joker HBO Max Brie Larson RT History Turner video Infographic CBS All Access rotten movies we love Grammys Disney streaming service X-Men Tubi Teen Disney Animation Apple series MSNBC Binge Guide stoner Television Academy canceled TV shows a nightmare on elm street Avengers Best and Worst crime drama ID Spectrum Originals Hulu true crime natural history festival Emmys composers Sony Pictures popular screenings Song of Ice and Fire cartoon Cartoon Network emmy awards mockumentary crime asian-american festivals transformers 45 Elton John live action DC streaming service BAFTA zombie Mudbound Pet Sematary CMT Superheroes Ellie Kemper Star Wars indiana jones Fall TV Election war Hear Us Out animated Extras blaxploitation AMC Mary Poppins Returns Mary Tyler Moore sitcom child's play cancelled TV shows know your critic medical drama new star wars movies The Witch indie Marvel Television screen actors guild Oscars Certified Fresh golden globe awards Holidays award winner remakes police drama YouTube Red worst movies scene in color finale PlayStation Video Games Baby Yoda satire binge dceu 2016 telelvision toy story GLAAD Amazon Studios nature comics 24 frames venice 99% Classic Film TLC target Turner Classic Movies Britbox batman dragons Rom-Com Western suspense Peacock stand-up comedy WarnerMedia ratings TruTV hispanic south america APB Nickelodeon australia BET Awards movies DC Comics Lifetime Christmas movies Pacific Islander VH1 aapi blockbusters talk show Television Critics Association Film Festival Crunchyroll SDCC Image Comics sequel halloween tv quibi Fantasy high school Comic-Con@Home 2021 HBO Go superman Superheroe PBS historical drama cops Ovation Premiere Dates social media Chilling Adventures of Sabrina classics spanish 2017 revenge Stephen King nfl ViacomCBS halloween Comedy diversity monster movies Schedule Sundance Now Amazon docudrama superhero Martial Arts anime adenture cinemax Esquire hollywood cars sag awards 2020 technology 4/20 space The Purge Musical jurassic park Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Black History Month obituary DC Universe ABC rom-coms Rock basketball canceled National Geographic hidden camera Shudder Calendar name the review Lifetime Hallmark Christmas movies TNT Fox Searchlight Syfy 71st Emmy Awards psycho 72 Emmy Awards PaleyFest Marathons Black Mirror Musicals Kids & Family Emmy Nominations free movies dramedy worst book foreign elevated horror Opinion chucky olympics E! discovery Pixar japan Tomatazos robots Rocky spinoff LGBTQ boxoffice 21st Century Fox The Arrangement psychological thriller Chernobyl spider-man zero dark thirty 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Warner Bros. Sundance TV richard e. Grant Dark Horse Comics NBA Film GoT Summer versus period drama cancelled television Sundance mutant deadpool marvel cinematic universe adaptation dark FX on Hulu OWN international news FOX Paramount Plus spain kong The Walt Disney Company TV movies Biopics Action anthology Winter TV universal monsters CW Seed Spring TV Pirates 2019 Photos Freeform legend Red Carpet Pop Universal cats comedies Netflix Christmas movies Drama Women's History Month 1990s USA Podcast ghosts YouTube First Look Apple TV+ lord of the rings A&E Paramount Network BBC One