These days, she’s starring in the hit CBS comedy series Mom (Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c), vulnerably inhabiting the role of single mother Christy Plunkett, who’s trying to maintain her sanity and sobriety while sharing close quarters with her own semi-crazy mother (Allison Janney) and two kids.
Off screen, she’s married to Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, and they have a son, Jack. It’s been an exciting time for both of them, as Faris explained.
“I think, as a mom, there’s a sleeping bag of guilt. And you’re just going to have to recognize that it’s there.”
You and Chris have had a great year…
Thanks. We are really feeling a lot of love and a lot of gratitude. I’m 38. And I have a job. I feel so lucky. Getting your first big job is so hard, and it requires a lot of luck and timing and a lot of things falling into place. But getting your 17th or 18th job is impossible!
What do you love about Christy?
She’s a more complicated character. She’s growing. Though there are things she does that I’m like, ‘Ooh, that’s annoying.’ I’m so grateful I’m at a place in my career where I get to play this character, because it taps something that I didn’t even know I had in me. I’ve never had a job like this.
It’s a great mix of comedy and real, dramatic moments.
You can’t earn the laughter without sincerity of character and of purpose. Both Allison and I both are really dedicated to the journey of these women through their pain and struggle and their wit and laughter. When you shoot in front of a live audience, it’s really interesting to see how you’re going to be affected by the words you’re saying and the emotion you’re bringing to the table. I knew from the pilot that there were darker themes running through, but it’s very fulfilling for me as a person and as an actor to get to play a character going through some very, very personal stuff. Feeling vulnerable in front of a live audience is very rewarding.
Have you and Allison become close?
I get to work with my best friend every day. I could not love her more.
How was hosting the People’s Choice Awards with her?
Terrifying! Thank God for Allison. You can’t hide behind a character. We were able to look at each other’s eyes and be like: ‘We’re going to do this. We’re going to survive this.’
Friends, co-hosts and TV relatives: Faris and Janney at the People’s Choice Awards.
Any romance ahead for Christy?
I hope that we get to explore lots of romantic interests because that’s always fun. Don’t tell Chris. No, he’s so great. He comes to set, and all the guys love him.
Did you ever think he’d become this huge action hero when you met?
Yeah, I felt it. I had never acted with anybody as charismatic and innovative. He was cast in a movie with me [Take Me Home Tonight] playing a bimbo. And he owned it well. He embraced it so well. And that was really attractive to me, that lack of vanity.
What are some of the other favorite roles?
I loved Shelley from The House Bunny. Jane [Smiley Face], she might be my all‑time favorite, for sure. She was so asexual, in the best way.
What have you learned as a mother that you have been able to use in Mom?
I think, as a mom, there’s a sleeping bag of guilt. And you’re just going to have to recognize that it’s there.
What’s Jack like? Is there an actor in him? Does he love attention?
Oh yes. What two-and-a-half-year-old doesn’t? Chris and I love to play characters. I can’t wait to make him perform for us. But he’s a love, and I’m so proud of him.
Do you have a favorite comedic actress?
I grew up loving Carol Burnett, Betty White, Goldie Hawn. I love Betty White’s career. I love that it that fulfills her, gave her sort of the happiness that she wanted, but also she was able to give a lot of people a lot of joy. And she’s still doing it! It’s incredible.
Do you plan to do a movie in your hiatus?
I hope so.
Do you and Chris ever plan to make one together?
I would love to. We’ve got a couple of ideas, comedy—but I can’t tell you.
Is there a list of personal and professional goals you want to accomplish?
I want my son to be happy. I want to be able to act for as long as I can. It always feels incredibly fortunate to get a job. I think every actor who’s reasonable understands that maybe work is going to dry up at some point. But I think Chris and I are in a place in our lives where we really want to enjoy our family and try to raise our son in somewhat normal conditions. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.