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Jane Seymour is best known for her long running TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She has earned an Emmy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The actress recently guest starred as BJ's mother, Wendy in the FOX freshman comedy BEN AND KATE. She spoke by phone about the experience and shared what's on tap for her busy career.
Could you talk about your character, 'Wendy' which you played on BEN AND KATE?
Wendy is very competitive with her daughter BJ and she's always putting her daughter down. I mean she kind of points out things about BJ, like the fact that she has big shoulders and looks like a statue and, of course, BJ comes right back at her and refers to her mother as a "cat." BJ sort of thinks her mother looks terrible and basically, her mother doesn't. Her mother tries to outdo her daughter at every possible occasion."
Was there anyone in particular that you used as inspiration for 'Wendy?'
No. Reading the script and reading the characters that they played, I just thought she was a wonderfully inappropriate mother really. There's nothing remotely motherly about her and she's a bit of a piranha really. I mean she'll do whatever Suits here. She's not terribly concerned about "BJ" at all really. She'll go with whatever happens. She's pretending to be a mother. She's acting the role.
There's quite a bit of improvisation on the Ben and Kate set. Can you talk about what that experience was like for you?
I love improv, but I think what's great about the show is that it's so well written to begin with that when you improv, you're improv'ing on what they already have going there. We did a bit of improv, quite a bit, but those particular scenes were very well scripted.
Do you enjoy doing comedy?
I love doing comedy; absolutely love it. After Wedding Crashers, people suddenly realized that it's something I could do. I don't suppose there are that many people who do straight stuff and comedy, but I've always loved doing comedy. I think the older I get, the more chances I'm being given to play more character-kind of characters.
Was there anything you learned about doing comedy or about comedic timing from your time on the show?
No, I've done quite a lot of comedy actually. I think with comedy, it's got to be real. If it doesn't come from a real place then it really isn't funny, doesn't work. So, there has to be a reality to whatever it is you're doing and it has to make sense to your character. So, even if it is the most bizarre behavior on the planet, it's got to be completely normal to the person, to the character that's playing it.
I was wondering if you think you'll be back to Franklin & Bash again next summer.
Funny you should say that. I just got a text just the other day, less than a week ago from the creator of the show who told me he was pitching a story with me coming back. So, I'm going to be a mother of many people.
When you pick roles is there anything in the back of your mind that you're hoping people will learn from the roles that you take?
Just that I really enjoy doing comedy and that I have quite a range of different kinds of characters that I can play. Especially recently, I've got a lot of movies coming out, some of which you haven't seen yet, in which I play with a short blonde wig and I look like a completely different person. I'm really playing a lot of different characters really. I guess what I'm showing is that I don't just play myself. I play a lot of different people. That's called "acting," I think.