Having showcased her comedic chops and girl-next-door sex appeal in movies like The House Bunny, What’s Your Number? and the Scary Movie flicks, Anna Faris comes to series TV this season in Mom (Mondays, 9:30/8:30c) as a single mother dealing with two kids and her own old lady, played by Allison Janney. The CBS show is funnier than it sounds, thanks to sharp writing and even sharper chemistry between the leads. We grilled the blonde bombshell about her new role and more, as you’ll see in this gallery Q&A.
MADE MAN: Why do a TV series, and why this one? What grabbed you about it? ANNA FARIS: The day this script came in I was in the middle of reading a movie script, so I left it on the kitchen counter and my husband [Chris Pratt of Parks and Rec and Zero Dark Thirty fame] picked it up. He read the first page and said, “Whatever you’re doing, put it down right now. This is you.” She’s a mess, which is very much like me. And it’s a story about relationships and character. That was really appealing to me. I knew right away that I wanted to do it. And with [producer] Chuck Lorre, how can you get into better hands?
MM: Your character Christy is a waitress. Did you wait tables before you made it in showbiz? AF: Yes. I was so bad. I was a waitress at a senior citizens’ home, so there were like two menu options, the fish and chips or grilled chicken. One time I walked back into the kitchen and on my notepad, I had made little waves. Luckily they were elderly.
MM: Christy has a contentious relationship with her mother. What’s your relationship with your own mom like? AF: I’m lucky. She’s really supportive. She’ll say, “Oh, you were so good” or whatever, very kind. But she is the very typical mom, and I’ll have to tell her, ‘Mom, you gave me three pieces of advice today. That’s all you get. Save it up for tomorrow.’ ”
MM: Will she be shocked by some of the sex jokes? AF: My mom is a prude, but half the time she has no idea what certain vocabulary is. She told me recently she’d never seen a condom!
MM: Were your parents always behind your choice to act? AF: Yeah. In fact when I graduated from the University of Washington in 1999, I decided not to pursue acting because it seemed impractical, and they were kind of disappointed! Chris has been filming Guardians of the Galaxy this summer in London so my parents come down a lot. My baby is their only grandchild so they’re doting on him right now. But I find myself pushing back. My mom wants to baby-proof everything!
MM: Your son is just a year old. How is it having older kids who talk back? AF: It’s really interesting. Both Bonnie [Janney] and Christy had children as teenagers, so there’s a little bit of dreams left unfulfilled. But on the pilot I realized I don’t know what 16-year-old girls are like. She’s a mystery to me!
MM: Chris has been in several series, from Everwood to Parks and Recreation. Did he give you any advice? AF: We’ll talk about our characters and he’ll give me advice on how to deliver a joke and how to adjust. But this is done live with a studio audience, and he hasn’t done that. I love the thrill of performing live. It’s so terrifying and sort of amazing. The pressure is on to get it right, and that is really exciting.