Amanda Righetti was born in southern Utah, and she’s the youngest of eight children. But the answer to the question pretty much everyone who’s ever lived in Utah is asked is “no.”
“The town we lived in was predominantly Mormon, but, no, we’re not,” she said with a laugh.
She grew up in a “very ‘Brady Bunch’ family” with seven older half-brothers and half-sisters.
Righetti was born in St. George and moved to Nevada — just outside Mesquite — when she was a toddler. Then, when she was 9, the family moved to Henderson, Nev.
So … she’s a Utah native, but Nevada was home until she moved to Los Angeles when she was still a teenager and landed a role on the Fox series “The O.C.” She’s worked steadily since.
Righetti may be best known for her six years as a regular on “The Mentalist,” and she spent the past two seasons on the sci-fi drama “Colony,” but she’s taking on a decidedly different role in the Hallmark Channel TV movie “Love at the Shore,” which debuts Saturday at 7 p.m.
Righetti stars as single mother Jenna Thompson, a writer who rents a house on the North Carolina shore, where she wants to spend some time with her two kids and finish a book she has just five weeks to complete.
But the surfer next door, Lucas McKinnon (Peter Porte), is loud and obnoxious. Of course, he’s also hunky and super-attractive, and …
I don’t want to give it away, but this is a romantic comedy. And you can guess where it’s going to end up.
But that’s not really the point. The fun is getting to the inevitable outcome.
And for Righetti, it was fun to do something other than solve murders and deal with alien invaders.
“Coming from having to cry every day on ‘Colony,’ this was really appealing,” she said, with a laugh.
She’s had her share of heavier roles. Like leads in horror films “Return to House on the Haunted Hill” and the 2009 reboot of “Friday the 13th.” Like chasing a serial killer on “The Mentalist.”
In “Colony,” her character has made some bad choices in an effort to save herself and her son from the aliens.
“When I’m working on a character that’s as heavy as Maddie from ‘Colony,’ it’s important for me to have something that was very different — not just as an actor, but as a person,” Righetti said. “This presented an opportunity for me to be able to do something really light, which I haven’t done in a really long time.
“It was really sunny and beautiful and we were right on the beach. Not a bad way to spend three weeks.”
Hey, there’s even a cute dog!
“Love at the Shore” is something even her 4-year-old son, Knox, could watch.
“He probably could,” Righetti said, “if he was interested in anything other than animation.”