News

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

Ghostbusters royal family diversity unscripted jurassic park Disney streaming service 2020 werewolf Summer ratings 2016 007 sopranos Paramount posters Awards Tour spinoff Chernobyl emmy awards parents Polls and Games CBS scary movies stoner Sneak Peek mutant Marvel Studios Pop Mindy Kaling Mystery blockbuster Rom-Com mockumentary Women's History Month 2017 USA FX comic books Amazon rotten movies we love black Epix sequels dceu tv talk ID genre comedies Walt Disney Pictures ViacomCBS FOX WGN CBS All Access DGA Tarantino TV asian-american docuseries boxing high school Song of Ice and Fire video historical drama fast and furious new york name the review Video Games A&E The Walking Dead breaking bad Adult Swim cinemax MTV facebook 45 child's play The Walt Disney Company Trailer Winners basketball biography Cosplay cancelled 99% YouTube Premium TV One serial killer adenture spy thriller kids aliens nature war spanish language blaxploitation know your critic zero dark thirty Esquire Ovation See It Skip It children's TV NYCC Amazon Studios comic book movies Wes Anderson Image Comics IMDb TV green book best OneApp worst movies documentary Marvel Television Disney Plus lord of the rings Super Bowl Fox News Trivia doctor who Showtime game show The Witch new star wars movies dark Peacock talk show political drama comiccon Brie Larson TCA Winter 2020 Masterpiece Superheroes Emmy Nominations Family Year in Review composers GIFs romance Tokyo Olympics IFC Crackle Academy Awards king kong Cartoon Network Mary Poppins Returns all-time politics screenings USA Network adaptation dragons teaser revenge Marathons A24 Comics on TV sports spider-man animated Hallmark 72 Emmy Awards indie cats 4/20 CMT book 73rd Emmy Awards Heroines Television Academy travel twilight australia debate biopic E3 Valentine's Day Arrowverse AMC feel good game of thrones period drama dexter OWN comic book movie Nat Geo scene in color DC streaming service YA popular Kids & Family hollywood hispanic heritage month HBO Max book adaptation psycho canceled TV shows 90s LGBTQ Countdown Black History Month BET Creative Arts Emmys anthology Stephen King Marvel films Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt boxoffice BAFTA spanish venice Cannes toy story rom-coms NBA Oscars Reality slasher TV renewals Quiz trailers discovery The Arrangement Freeform Travel Channel movie BBC America 24 frames razzies Pop TV National Geographic Superheroe reviews nfl miniseries Biopics finale strong female leads Universal documentaries RT21 Disney Character Guide singing competition police drama Lifetime Mary poppins Shondaland Premiere Dates women Rock cancelled TV shows blockbusters TLC Comic Book olympics Netflix Christmas movies TV movies reboot richard e. Grant Pirates anime Podcast television Western king arthur dogs pirates of the caribbean Syfy Turner Classic Movies Vudu Country zombies art house witnail cancelled television Exclusive Video Photos christmas movies Pixar stand-up comedy Emmys Nominations jamie lee curtis spain social media superhero APB Rocketman 71st Emmy Awards critic resources Holiday Comic-Con@Home 2021 franchise cars cops The Academy TCA TCA Awards Crunchyroll X-Men streaming vampires medical drama young adult mob spider-verse crime drama deadpool independent golden globes Action Hear Us Out hidden camera series 21st Century Fox theme song rotten Rocky classics TCM casting archives TruTV Holidays Writers Guild of America Pacific Islander video on demand CW Seed crossover Drama President sequel Apple TV Plus PlayStation Britbox foreign Fox Searchlight international First Reviews Nickelodeon YouTube Red versus The Purge scary DC Comics marvel cinematic universe Black Mirror Television Critics Association italian movies Red Carpet news Best and Worst marvel comics live event ESPN HBO mission: impossible DirecTV remakes festival cartoon Pet Sematary First Look saw disaster rt labs critics edition Funimation Apple TV+ docudrama what to watch Certified Fresh natural history CNN VOD crime MCU Film BBC One wonder woman Acorn TV Sundance Universal Pictures Musicals TCA 2017 ABC Family Martial Arts VH1 quibi free movies ghosts science fiction comics comic hispanic Sundance TV Captain marvel cancelled TV series Fantasy Star Wars Paramount Plus gangster SundanceTV canceled Sundance Now Bravo Fall TV PBS thriller Starz SXSW psychological thriller kong GoT satire Calendar Tubi HBO Go slashers LGBT BBC MSNBC critics El Rey New York Comic Con VICE Pride Month elevated horror laika TIFF Broadway worst Hulu PaleyFest Dark Horse Comics target Disney Channel Awards E! 2015 live action Paramount Network obituary Netflix History halloween Instagram Live Spike Amazon Prime Video Chilling Adventures of Sabrina latino DC Universe Interview Turner Mudbound GLAAD TBS sag awards Sony Pictures streaming movies Star Trek Anna Paquin Alien transformers batman Neflix Comedy Central fresh prank superman WarnerMedia vs. Binge Guide directors 93rd Oscars Reality Competition adventure die hard Baby Yoda justice league godzilla The CW 20th Century Fox Election rt labs 2021 stop motion award winner FXX space American Society of Cinematographers concert new zealand ABC Signature sitcom romantic comedy james bond Teen crime thriller ITV criterion zombie Lucasfilm french Legendary Infographic SDCC Schedule Tomatazos scorecard Extras action-comedy Tumblr dramedy supernatural cults aapi dreamworks Shudder Toys TNT Box Office monster movies black comedy Opinion suspense a nightmare on elm street halloween tv Food Network Watching Series Music RT History Trophy Talk Endgame universal monsters Amazon Prime Columbia Pictures Grammys hist Disney+ Disney Plus Lionsgate renewed TV shows true crime Winter TV japanese Discovery Channel screen actors guild rt archives indiana jones 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards chucky heist movie Hallmark Christmas movies Avengers San Diego Comic-Con AMC Plus festivals Ellie Kemper golden globe awards Set visit football Warner Bros. NBC 2019 south america cooking Film Festival Logo Animation dc telelvision robots Thanksgiving ABC BET Awards harry potter toronto Elton John TV Land kaiju technology joker Apple Mary Tyler Moore Christmas legend based on movie Comedy 2018 FX on Hulu YouTube Lifetime Christmas movies Spring TV Sci-Fi nbcuniversal Classic Film Spectrum Originals binge Horror mcc Musical IFC Films japan 1990s