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

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.