Schilling’s first pilot becomes a series

No need to have 'Mercy' for this rising actress

Taylor Schilling says when she sat on the panel at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour, she felt the need to hand out a cheat sheet so the TV scribes could know enough about her to ask questions.

“A name tag would have been helpful too,” Schilling says.

The resume may be thin, but she impressed the producers enough to convince them she could carry a series. NBC’s “Mercy” is Schilling’s first and only pilot. She auditioned last March, landing the lead of Veronica Flanagan, a nurse returning to her hometown after serving in Iraq.

As for that cheat sheet, Schilling reels off the high points quickly:

From Boston. Just left New York U. grad school. Hasn’t been working, but has been studying acting for a while. Lives in New York.

Pretty normal. A down-home girl. Likes wearing jeans and Converse shoes.

“I’m a lucky dog,” Schilling says. “It’s like Christmas in September.”

Schilling adds she is grateful to producer Liz Heldens, one of several “Friday Night Lights” alums tapped by NBC this season for a new series.

“Liz has been an incredible resource and helpful in letting me trust my instincts and never once treating me like the new kid on the block,” says Schilling, who until this role worked as a nanny to pay the bills.

Schilling graduated from Fordham U., and then attended grad school for a year before snagging this part.

“I really wanted to go to grad school to do as much classical work as I could,” Schilling says. “I always wanted to be in movies or on TV, but I felt it was important to have some sort of foundation in the theater. I feel every part I’ve played, every experience I’ve had onstage, builds your chops in a way nothing else can.”

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