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‘Priveledged’ Anne Archer

By Patricia Sheridan - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - | Sep 11, 2008

Best known for playing the strong wife in the 1987 thriller “Fatal Attraction,” Anne Archer gave a scene-stealing performance that earned an Oscar nomination. In the CW’s “Privileged,” she plays a widowed cosmetics mogul raising unruly granddaughters. Archer’s own mother, Marjorie Lord, became typecast playing Danny Thomas’s wife on “Make Room for Daddy” from 1957 to 1965, but she also had a lucrative career onstage.

Archer, 61, talks about her career, Scientology and her mother’s influence.

Q: “Privileged” is about the lives of people who have wealth and advantage. Do you think you’ve lived a privileged life?

A: Not the level of wealth that they are talking about in the show. I mean these are billionaires with extreme wealth. I certainly have had a good life and a comfortable life, but not that kind of wealth at all. [Laughing] Not even close.

Q: Would you count yourself as self-made?

A: Yeah, certainly. No one gave me my money, that’s for sure. Absolutely. But you know the character I play is self-made, too.

Q: Do you feel you have been challenged as an actor?

A: Well, you know, I live in today. I don’t live in the past, and there are many, many things I’ve done in the theater or in small little films that never made it, or nothing ever happened to them. I continually challenge myself as an actor — whether the broad public has gotten to see some of those performances, you know, maybe not. But that happens to every actor.

Q: Are you content with the choices you have made professionally and personally?

A: People always think that you sit there with these thousands of choices and you make them, but the fact of the matter is you fight like a dog for every part you ever get. There’s nothing I did that I ever regret. Heavens, no.

Q: When you played Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” in the theater in London, were you stretching or just having a great time?

A: Not on an acting level. It was fun. But anytime you do theater you stretch. I don’t care if it is similar to something you’ve done before. Theater is always a growing experience.

Q: How aware are you of the audience when you are working onstage?

A: In a comedy, which this was, you are very aware of it. That’s the give-and-take of a live audience. As an actor you want to be in communication with your audience. You want to feel them and that only makes you better. They feed you, and you feed them, and it’s a dance. It’s a wonderful thing. You just know when the music is happening for everybody.

Q: Have there been any roles that you felt particularly uncomfortable playing?

A: No, I can’t really say I found that true. I think an actor accepts it as his or her responsibility to fulfill a part, and I’ve always tried to do that to the best of my ability. The most important thing an actor can ever do is get the critic off of his shoulder. Self-criticism is the worst thing in the world. We all suffer from it.

Q: How did your mother’s experience as an actor color your outlook on the industry?

A: I think I had a great respect for the theater because her background was really the theater. She started on Broadway when she was 16 years old. I was very realistic about the industry. It wasn’t glamorous to me. It was work.

Q: So the goal was not about having your name in lights?

A: No, but I mean, you have to have your name in lights if you are going to get the next-better job, so there is a value to that. Yes, being known and recognized just adds to your career. It gives you more power in your career so you can do more. Being famous for the sake of being famous is a very unhealthy thing. You better have character if you are going to have a happy life. It’s just a vital thing

Q: Would you say you are confident about your talent?

A: Oh, you have to believe in your talent. Again, it’s that old critic on the shoulder. I mean, your talent is who you are. We all have the ability to create, and the degree to which we do it is the degree to which we have confidence and a willingness to create.

Q: What attracted you to Scientology, and what did you find there that was good?

A: Tremendous confidence and an ability to apply what I learned in my life to make my life better. I was this very young girl, and I noticed some people that were smart and had a very sane approach to life. I found out they were Scientologists and I got curious. I thought, I want to know what that is. I’m looking for answers. So I went and found out, and it was amazing.


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