BWW Interviews: JANE SEYMOUR Talks TV Guest Spot & Dancing to Lady Gaga


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.<

You've been talking a lot about doing comedic roles. Are you still looking to do dramatic roles? How do you decide what type of role you want to take on?

Well, I look at what I'm offered, obviously, and then I look at what's Out There and from time-to-time audition for various things. I have a movie. I did the American Doll/Girl movie, which I played a grandmother. That is certainly not comedic. That was just a beautiful little movie.

I'm really open to anything. I read a lot of material and I see what I think is the best of what I'm being offered. As you know, at a certain age, there's a lot less material to look at.

You said that after an actress reaches a certain age that the roles that you're offered change a little bit, or maybe dry up a bit. I was wondering if that's ever a source of frustration for you.

Well, I count myself as being one of the lucky ones that does get offered quite a lot of work. So, I'm not complaining at all. It's just the Nature of the beast. Obviously, you play the age that you are. I've been in the sort of in-between age for a while. But now, people are quite happy to hire me to play grandmothers as well as kind of mothers of 20-something year old, young adults.

Can you talk about the film that you did with [BEN & KATE's] Nat Faxon?

Yes. I have a movie that Nat stares in called Freeloaders and it's basically the story of how Adam Duritz from Counting Crows had a house in the Hollywood Hills, based on a true story and he was so busy on the road that his friends kind of freeloaded off of him. They were all living there and spending his money and enjoying his home, which he never saw for about seven years. They were up to no good. They were partying. It was the party house apparently in Hollywood. I've heard from people who actually went to it and they said it was just like in the movie. It was completely insane. It was a crazy place.

I played the character of a Beverly Hills real estate agent who Adam hires to come in and sell the house. Of course, the freeloaders are not happy to leave and they do everything in their power to stop the sale of the house. So, it's a comedy. The ... were involved with this particular movie and it's pretty funny. So, that's premiering tonight and then I think I'll be on Pay-Per-View and wherever, in a few theaters.

Then, I've got a movie coming out sometime in April. I don't have a date on it, but it's worth looking out for. It's called Lovestruck and it's a musical in which I sing and dance to a Lady Gaga number and play a choreographer. It's a terrific musical with Chelsea Kane and Sara Paxton. And then after that, the other show I did which I think will come out in July, I play a grandmother in the American Girl/Doll movie, the new one.

Do you have a dream role still, something that you'd love to be able to if you could?

I once answered that question and never got to play that role. So, I'm not playing that game again. But, I can think of lots of characters and lots of things I'd really love to do. I think-I really feel that I haven't even touched the surface of what I know I can do. I'm hoping that now that I'm a little bit older that maybe I'll get some of the really, really cool meaty roles.

Is there anybody that you want to work with that you haven't yet?

Again, I'm very superstitious about all of that, but I am enjoying working with a lot of the young comedy writers. I think that's very exciting for me. My daughter writes comedy and is an actress. My son watches everything there is on television, my oldest of two kids, and I'm excited that they get excited now by some of the people I'm working with and it's fun, especially since they're sort of contemporaries of my kids. So, that's pretty cool.

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