Vanessa Marcil – The Wrong Mother
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) Please tell us the premise for the film The Wrong Mother and about your character.
A) She’s a really, really high achieving kind hearted working mom as a professional. She tries to juggle the kids and work just as hysterically as the rest of us try to. She ends up having a really bad accident and it is a really defining moment in her life. That can kind of be the thing that stops you in your tracks when you’re always going and going. She thinks that is kind of the big message and she does not expect someone come into her life that she thinks is going to be helping her turn out to be not quite who she thought she was. The girl who comes to help her and her family turns out to be a con artist and it’s really creepy and hard to pinpoint.
Q) What made you want to be a part of the film?
A) The stunts! [laughs] The stunts I did myself and also she gets pretty beat up. So, it was a lot of makeup and prosthetics. It was donning a very fun Halloween costume every day at work. My son loved it too because he loves all that stuff!
Q) What did you find challenging about your role?
A) I think that I play a lot of strong badass characters. For a while I have been trying to investigate the underbelly of people. Like I just played a murderer on “Hawaii Five-0” or like the parts of us as women who seem strong, but what are really our weaknesses and the things that scare us. So, there was a lot of vulnerability for this woman to go through who has her shit together. It was really hard for me to play because I’m more of a doer and I like to make things happen and get everything done. Be an overachiever. It was pretty interesting to have to play a woman who is really out of it. She is seriously hurt from an accident and is incapacitated. She is on a lot of drugs and it was just a lot of really cool challenges that I never go to do as an actor.
Q) Was there instant chemistry when you and costar Brooke Nevin began working together?
A) I think we had instant bizarre chemistry, which turned out to be perfect. Some days she just bugged the shit out of me on set. [laughs} As women can do with each other sometimes. Some days we would have a great time during the scene and laugh a lot. We kind of set up a great dynamic for not only our actual characters in the movie, but for the female relationship. The female relationship can get kind of complicated after you get married and have kids and things like that.
Q) Was there something director Craig Goldstein mentioned during filming that you took to heart while shooting?
A) Yeah, pretty much everything. He’s a comedy director normally and I really feel like comedy and tragedy are so intertwined so the common link is truth. If something is really blatantly true that is what makes it funny to us. Then, with it going through really tragic situations, you want to find the simplest truth in it otherwise it is over the top, which is my least favorite. So, he would always find the one thing that is the simplest and sometimes it would even make me laugh it was so simple. But then when we were shooting it would actually really touch me, even if it was as simple as not using your arm and how does that make you feel. To find the vulnerability in it.
Q) What were some of your most memorable moments from filming The Wrong Mother?
A) I fell in love with the crew, which I tend to do. I grew up in Indio, in a very ghetto type neighborhood where I had a paper route and I would do people’s lawns and babysit. It’s in my makeup to want to pick up a broom and sweep up the mess on the floor, clean the counters or make everybody a sandwich. So, I tend to hang out with the crew or craft service and make sandwiches for everybody. I did a lot of that, which was really good because my character is incapacitated for most of the time and is really beat up. She’s in ratty clothes and she hasn’t washed her hair in a few days. She has huge cuts and blood that comes out of her sores from the accident. So, it was kind of playing in a sandbox as a little tomboy, which I love.
Q) What do you think it is about the film that makes it such a good fit for the Lifetime Network?
A) I just love everything that Lifetime does and I have worked with them for a long time. I have always loved working for women and lots of times they get the best and the funniest male directors, which I love about them. So, it’s a good mixture. It’s so, so creepy what happens in the movie. It’s your worst nightmare but it is also done in a way you can relate to and it could happen in your life. I hear about this stuff happening every day, unfortunately, about people who are just a little off and what that can turn into in the wrong circumstances. I think they maneuver those subjects really well because they do it with truth and simplicity.
Q) You are a part of social media. Are you looking forward to the instant fan feedback you will be receiving to the movie?
A) I don’t watch myself and neither does anyone in my family. My son and fiancée have never seen me in anything before. So, it will kind of be off our radar. Social media we love so that will end up being the discussion at dinner that night. He’ll say, “Here’s what everyone says about of the movie,” and it will be after it has already played. And it’s kind of more fun to me to hear what everyone thinks because there are people who hate everything and people who love everything. More often people have some real interesting insights. People talk about the crazy people on the internet but I think you attract who you are because I’ve found some really smart, funny people. All the people my son’s age are the smartest of them all. We kind of see it through the eyes of everybody else since we won’t actually see it live.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure we share with viewers?
A) Yes, I did all the stunts and they are so crazy! I thought I was going to die during one of them! I didn’t and it made me so deliriously happy because I am addicted to taking risks. I race motorcycles and the Grand Prix. I do a lot of crazy stuff so there was this one crazy stunt in the movie where you are watching it for a second and go, “Uh….oh no!” And it’s real because that’s me!