Marco Grob/E! Entertainment
Samantha Highfill
March 03, 2017 AT 12:30 PM EST

A version of this story appears in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, or available here. Don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

As a kid, Christine Evangelista read movies as much as she watched them. Growing up
 in Staten Island, New York, her favorite after-school ritual consisted of family outings to Blockbuster (remember those?) to rent a movie. But because her father is hearing-impaired, they’d turn on the closed captioning, which in many ways helped prepare Evangelista for her future career as an actress. “Sometimes the words would come up sooner than they were spoken, so I would read them and then hear them and try to think about how I would say certain things. My love for film came from that,” she says.

Evangelista remembers being about 7 years old when she started enlisting neighbors to take part in her own mini-movies. “I always had some need to express myself,” she says. More than 20 years later, that need has only grown.
 Her latest onscreen adventure is on E!’s juicy new series
 The Arrangement, playing Megan Morrison, an ingenue who enters into a contract marriage with movie star Kyle West (Josh Henderson), whose lifestyle is stranger than most — including involvement in something with the whiff of Scientology, though E! denies any real-life comparisons. “I know what it’s like to be a struggling actress, but it
 was challenging to find a way to normalize what happens to her,” she says.

Because what happens 
isn’t always going to be easy to watch. Unlike the movies, Evangelista, 30, dreamed about as a kid, The Arrangement focuses on far less sunny aspects of Hollywood. “[The show] takes a very, very dark turn,” the actress says. “It will reveal a dark side to the price of fame.”

Daniel Power/E! Entertainment

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

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