Mary-Louise Parker talks doing her first sequel with ‘RED 2′

Mary Louise Parker reprises her role as nice, innocent Sarah in the action comedy "RED 2." Credit: Getty Images
Mary Louise Parker reprises her role as nice, innocent Sarah in the action comedy “RED 2.”
Credit: Getty Images

Like much of the cast of “RED 2,” Mary-Louise Parker isn’t the first person you’d cast in an action film. She’s a Tony-winning Broadway star, an Emmy-winning (for “Angels in America”) and Golden Globe-winning (for “Weeds”) TV star and generally not the person you’d hand a big gun. For the sequel to “RED,” Parker reprises her role of Sarah, an innocent who dates her way into a world of globe-trotting, explosion-heavy intrigue.

This is your first movie sequel.
This is the first movie I’ve ever done that had a sequel. Most of my movies don’t even go to the theater. They usually make it to DVD. Usually I do the kinds of movies where you change clothes in the ATM, because they can’t afford trailers. I like those kinds of movies, because you tend to work more, and everyone collaborates. And there can be quite a lot of sitting around on big budget movies and waiting. That’s not my favorite part. But I’m not complaining.

Your character was the moral compass in the first film. But here she’s a bit darker.
She goes a little darker, yeah. I mean, not dark enough for me. [Laughs] She’s supposed to reside in a area between dark and light. She’s Midwestern, ingenuous, just a good stock kind of girl. She’s not like a drug addict, hanging out in back alleys.

Is trying to deliver a strong performance on a big budget production in some ways more difficult than a difficult play?
In some ways it’s harder, because everyone’s focused on the lighting, and there are the crew and producers. When the actual acting comes it feels almost superfluous. And those moments on set are the shortest part of the day, between “action” and “cut.” It’s hard sometimes to summon what you need in those moments when people aren’t fully focused on it. There are film actors who are just brilliant at shutting everything out. That’s why some actors stay in character the whole time.

It’s a different kind of acting.
It’s just your audience is in a different place. Your audience is the lens, really. I prefer theater, because it’s easier to lose yourself and forget about yourself, and put your own persona personality problems aside and just go into someone else’s reality. That magic can happen there. You can’t really do that on film. I’m sure the super-gifted film actors can do it. But I can’t really do it. I’ve felt it a couple times, but not in the way I’ve felt with stage.

Do you watch your own films?
Not often. I haven’t seen one in years. I watched my TV show [“Weeds”] because I gave notes on it, and they would let me contribute a little bit. But I would watch cuts, so I didn’t see the end show.

What’s your reason?
It’s a bunch of reasons. It’s mostly that I don’t want to be disappointed. I probably wouldn’t do it anymore if I watched it. I get disappointed in me, disappointed in how they cut it together. Nothing is ever good enough for me. Which is what makes me work hard as an actor, but makes me tiresome to be around. I wouldn’t want to see the final product and bitch about it for a year. So you know, I just let it go and try to do my best next time. I’m sure at some point I’ll get curious about certain things and want to see them. It will give me something to do when I’m older. I’m probably not going to do film for that much longer.

Why not?
If there had been internet when I started acting, I would have probably become a kindergarten teacher. It’s such a mean-spirited culture. It just brings out the ugliness, the insidiousness in people. It’s an arsenal for the bored and bitter.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…