BWW Interview: Marcia Gay Harden Plans Broadway Return; Talks TROPHY WIFE & More with Co-Star Michaela Watkins
Marcia Gay Harden, current star of ABC's TROPHY WIFE, may soon be lining up her next Broadway gig.
The Tony-winning actress, who was last seen in Yasmina Reza's GOD OF CARNAGE in 2009, and her 'TROPHY' co-star Michaela Watkins, recently spoke with BroadwayWorld - and Harden confirmed that "there's a couple" of projects that just might bring her back to the stage in the near future.
"From your lips to God's ears!" she told BWW exclusively, when asked if she had any desire to take up residency again on Broadway. "I would just love to return to the stage...Right now I'm engaged in this comedy, but of course I have to tell you: there's a couple of things that I've been talking about [doing.] I've been so lucky to work with some great, great writers: Tony Kushner and Yasmina Reza. It's just such a great time to be on Broadway.
I actually just took my kids to see All About Eve here at The Graveyard, and it just made me miss New York and that beautiful stretch of The Great White Way."
For now, Harden is keeping sharp on TROPHY WIFE, playing divorced doctor Diane, the first wife of Bradley Whitford's character Pete, who's now married to the much younger (and somewhat less accomplished) Kate, played by screen star Malin Akerman. Watkins, a former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE player who made a name for herself on stage in Los Angeles and Portland, takes on the role of Pete's second ex-wife, the borderline-looney, free spirit Jackie.
The series, which premiered last Tuesday on ABC, deals heavily in divorce, managing to mix the very real (and timely) issue with some pointed sitcom humor.
"In this day and age, divorce is at 52%," Harden said on what drew her to TROPHY WIFE in 2013-14 pilot season. "In my kids' school, the married family is an anomaly...which I do think is sad. I do believe in marriage. But 2013 is the year we live in. So there are a lot of people dealing with these issues of co-parenting and dealing with the exes and having responsibility usurped to the degree by a new [partner.]...and this particular comedy looks at it from a comedic point of view, and with a lot of heart."
It also doesn't hurt that Harden plays Diane, a venomous cross between "Joan Crawford and Bette Davis." But the two ladies' characters, the mothers of Pete's children and "polar opposites," according to Watkins, aren't set up solely as bitter or stagnant characters to drive a little drama into the comedy.
"We're going to be seeing a lot more texture," Watkins said. "My character gets her feathers ruffled and we see the worries of being left out when she has to give control of her kids over to someone else - someone new to the concept of parenting. And my character will date a little bit. And conversely, we'll see softer shades of Diane."
Those softer shades of Diane, according to Harden, are a process to get to, who's infamous line from the pilot, 'I've forgotten more about erections than you'll ever learn,' hints at the snark and snappiness she so often relies on.
"It's the peeling back of an onion," Harden said of her character. "I want to get to the hurt."
Jackie's foray back into the world of romance will be rooted in the hit-or-miss realm of online dating - though which connection site is up in the air. "There's a dating episode, [where there's some] Matchbook kind of dating. It's Matchbook. Is it Matchbook?"
"Match," Watkins said. "Well, I just picture someone taking out a matchbook and writing down their number, like 'oh, give me a call!'"
But as TROPHY WIFE shows, the world of marriage, divorce, and what comes in between, has adapted.
Watkins said, "Well, that's what we used to do, all those years ago."
In TROPHY WIFE, they say the third time's the charm, and reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is hoping that's true when she becomes the third wife of a slightly older man, Pete (Bradley Whitford). They fell into each others' arms (literally) at a karaoke bar, and flash forward a year later, Kate finds herself with an instafamily complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives. But Kate is determined to make this work and become a part of the family no matter what.
Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) is ex-wife number one, an intense and overachieving former Olympic athlete and the mother of twin teenagers Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Lee). Diane is quick to convey her withering disapproval of Kate's barely tapped maternal instincts. Daughter Hillary is not a fan of her new step-mom either, despite Kate's attempts to win her trust. And son Warren may have an erotic fixation on his dad's beautiful, young spouse. Ex-wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins), is mother to adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai), and can pull Pete's strings with her special blend of neurotic, new-ageyness.