Mary-Louise Parker Talks R.I.P.D., Go-Go Boots, Not Watching Breaking Bad, Being a ‘Thinking Man’s Sex Symbol,’ Missing Nancy Botwin, and More

     July 18, 2013

mary louise parker ripd

The Rest in Peace Department officers are the ones taking down the Deados, but there’s no chance anything would get done properly with out the guidance of Mary-Louise Parker’s Proctor. Armed with a killer pair of go-go boots and a bottle of Fresco, Proctor whips Ryan Reynolds’ Nick Walker into shape within minutes of being shot dead and shipped off to the R.I.P.D., the afterlife law enforcement agency responsible for bringing those who refuse to pass on when their time is up to justice.

With R.I.P.D. due for a wide release on Friday, July 19th, Parker hit the press circuit in New York City and sat down for a press conference to discuss what drew her to the project, the chance to reunite with her RED director, Robert Schwentke, and the “weird” picture that inspired Proctor’s look. Parker also enlightened us on her upcoming run on Broadway, her preference for theater, longing for Weeds, and, rather randomly, watching Good Luck Charlie instead of Breaking Bad. You can catch all of that and more after the jump.

Question: Was it a letdown being in an action movie and not really getting to be in an action scene?

ripd-jeff-bridges-mary-louise-parker-ryan-reynoldsMARY-LOUISE PARKER: Not really because generally the heavy action scenes, they require a big reset afterwards, so there’s like hours in between takes. There’s a lot of sitting around, there’s a lot of technicality. I prefer getting to interact with the other actors – I mean, unless you’re being dragged to the ground and sheltered by Bruce Willis. It’s not that. They’re not that fun.

You’ve done a lot of TV and you’ve done a lot of film. What do you like better? Do you have a preference?

PARKER: I really prefer acting in the theater the most. In some ways TV is closer to that because there’s more of a regularity to the schedule. You have to finish an episode by a certain day. Movies can just go on interminably. With TV, there’s a continuum with the crew and the cast so you feel like you have a sense of community in a way, which is similar to theater. But, honestly, I’ll act anywhere. When I did Weeds people tried to talk me out of it and I said, ‘You can’t act on Showtime. There’s nothing on Showtime. Showtime’s not cool.’ So, I’ll act anywhere.


How do you decide whether or not to do a movie?

PARKER: It’s mostly based on my children’s schedule, it’s my first concern, and then with this movie, I was so flattered that [director] Robert [Schwentke] asked me to work with him again. I really, really like him and respect him, and it was Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, and it was one of the best written characters I’ve ever had. There’s some scripts that you have to make it look like you’re having fun and make it look fresh and make the character interesting, and it’s a lot of work to manufacture, and this was on the page so I feel like the writers deserve credit for what’s good about my character. They deserve the credit.

After seeing the movie, I felt like everyone would have this same question – why did you cover up your ankles?

PARKER: [Laughs] So funny. The boots actually were one of the biggest parts of the character. I wanted her look to really speak for who she was because she only has one costume, right? So it has to say everything and I was all over the place. At one point I had this whole Annie Oakley idea that was really stupid and I came across this picture of this forest ranger from 1968 and it just felt so right, and I sent it to Robert and he loved it, and she had those kind of classic go-go type boots. So it was really just from this one weird picture. And [Robert] was generous enough to give me the freedom and confident enough to let me come up with stuff.

You mentioned one of the reasons you did the film was to work with Jeff and Ryan, so now that you’ve done it, what can you say about it?

ripd-mary-louise-parkerPARKER: Well, I’m gonna sound really phony because I have nothing negative to say about either man. They’re both oddly kind of principled, gentlemanly, nice men that you would want your daughter to marry, you know? They’re like that kind of man, but they’re very very different. They have a different vibe, obviously, and they approach the work in a different way, but they’re both so nice and so much fun to be around. They’re both so funny. I’m sure when you meet them you can tell that they’re both just nice guys. And when you’re that successful, to be that humble is kind of rare, you know? These aren’t guys who are like, out at clubs every night and have a huge entourage. They’re nice men.

Have you seen the show Breaking Bad and what’s your stance on that show?

PARKER: I have not. All I get to watch really is the Disney Channel because I have two children, so for me it’s just Good Luck Charlie all day long.

What’s next for you?

PARKER: I’m doing a play on Broadway called The Snow Geese. I haven’t done a play – it’s the longest I’ve gone in my life, in my adult life without doing a play, so I’m really looking forward to it.


Do you miss Nancy Botwin and do you have any hopes to go back to her at some point?

PARKER: I do! It’s pathetic, but I do. It was eight years of my life, you know? And I felt so close to the crew, and the camera operator who I love, Steven Smith, I had more respect for him than anyone I’ve ever worked with in my life. He’s not doing well right now and I went to see him over the weekend in California and in some ways it felt like it was really over, in a way, to lose him, but Hunter [Parrish] and I are still really close. I saw him three days ago in LA and we spend holidays together. If there was a movie, I would do it, but at a certain point I can’t keep putting my cut-offs on.

You’ve been described as the thinking man’s sex symbol. How does that make you feel?

PARKER: It’s better than a dumb man’s sex symbol. [Laughs] But honestly I would take that, too. I’d be happy with either.

Have you found any answers to balancing motherhood and your career?

PARKER: I’m always moving or thinking. I was in between interviews this morning and I’m like, I have to take my son to the doctor today, he has a fever, and my daughter needs leotards for gymnastics, so I’m not texting really glamorous things like, ‘Please bring me some Jimmy Choos to my hotel room.’ [Laughs] I’m involved in their lives and I don’t delegate much out to other people. They’re only gonna be small for a very short period of time and I want to see it. I don’t wanna miss it.

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