Plimpton finds ‘Hope’

Actress gravitates to her lighter side

For Martha Plimpton, the role of Virginia Chance on “Raising Hope” gave her a chance to show her less appreciated lighter side.

After a diverse career in both indie and big-budget films, as well as on stage and smallscreen (including an Emmy-nominated guest spot on “Law & Order: SVU”), the oddity of playing a young grandmother, even if not an especially matronly one, was too much to resist.

“I liked her sense of humor and that she wasn’t your typical sitcom mom, standing on the sidelines while the guys get into all the trouble,” Plimpton says of Virginia. “I liked that she was kind of a jerk sometimes, but in love with her man and her family, and like a mama lion with an afternoon beer buzz on.”

One of the pleasures of “Raising Hope,” one of only a few rookie comedies to earn a second season, has been in how it gradually cultivated the relationship between Virginia and Burt (Garret Dillahunt), and honed in on the antagonistic chemistry she has with her whacked-out Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman).

The cast also attracted Plimpton to the show.

“I knew Garret was going to be doing it, and he’s one of the best actors around,” she says, “and Cloris is a fantastic example of fearlessness embodied. I knew I’d be in a situation I could learn from.”

In the episode “Everybody Flirts … Sometimes,” Plimpton gets to be alternatively flirty (with a mailman), sexy and silly all within the span of a few moments; and in “Cheaters” she and Leachman feed off each other’s goofball energy.

“Comedy can be a lot harder to do well over a long stretch, and I like the idea of learning how to do that,” she says. “I like to do one major thing a year that scares the crap out of me.”

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Lead Actress
Laura Linney | Martha Plimpton | Kathy Bates | Mireille Enos | Alexander & Harmon | Emmy Rossum | Sarah Shahi | Melissa McCarthy