Playing an infantile adult isn’t as easy as “Weeds” star Mary-Louise Parker makes it look. Parker, who plays marijuana-selling suburban mom Nancy Botwin in the Showtime comedy, finds her character’s complex, contradictory nature intriguing.
“I think the possibilities with Nancy are kind of bottomless,” Parker explains. “She is like a child because she lives completely in the moment. She is incapable of thinking ahead even two steps, which is why she leaves situations always a little messier than she found them. So despite the fact that she is sophisticated, in some ways parts about her are like a toddler. That dichotomy of being a grown-up — yet not — makes her interesting to me.”
However, Parker doesn’t necessarily look at portraying this dichotomy as a challenge. Instead, the biggest hurdle Parker faces is determining how to find the connection between her personal feelings about Nancy and the show scribes’ opinions of the character.
“To work with a lot of different writers can be tough because they all are coming from a different place, and they can have different styles,” Parker says. “I might have a different idea about my character or a backstory than they do, and then they write something that is contradictory to what I think, so I have to make (their concepts) work with my idea of the character, or even to find my way to fit into an episode when the tone of it just feels different than the way I conceived of the character and the world that she lives in. So I would say (deciphering) some of the scripts and trying to incorporate them into my idea of Nancy has been the biggest challenge of playing this character.”
Parker’s interpretation of Nancy seems to have worked. So far the Emmy winner (for “Angels in America”) has nabbed a Golden Globe, a Satellite kudos and a Screen Actors Guild nom for her role in the series. As for how long she will explore the world of Nancy Botwin, Parker isn’t sure. What she is sure of is that Nancy has a lot of potential.
“I don’t know how long the show will last,” Parker says. “You just never know in TV. But I do think there are a lot of possibilities for (my character), which means there are a lot of possibilities for her to screw things up!”
Favorite scene of last season?
“I like the scene when the drug house gets shot at because I like that something completely different was going on with everyone in the room. My character was completely undone and flipped out, and everybody else was nonchalant or concerned with cleaning up the floor. That was a really interesting, funny and horrifying scene.”
“All I really get to watch is “Dora the Explorer.” I love TV, but I don’t get to watch it because I have a kid. If I could watch TV, I would watch Jon Stewart.”
Justin Kirk (“Weeds’ ” Andy Botwin), just because no one really realizes how hard it is to play a such a pervert and still be even remotely sexy.”