When Jenna and George’s mothers made their appearances in Season 1, they both proved to be such a riot that we just had to bring them back. We giggled through an interview with Maria Heidler, who plays Jenna’s mother, and Patricia Yeatman, who plays George’s mother, on dealing with accents, wacky personas and why Maria thinks Daniel Craig should watch out.
When you first got the script, what was your initial impression of the show before your first day at work?
Maria Heidler: The script had the sass and wit of Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and The Golden Girls all rolled into one, and the cast were awesome. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven!
Patricia Yeats: When I first read the script, I thought, “My little Regan has outdone herself – this is funny stuff,” and even better, I felt that there was a freedom about it (the script) that I am drawn to – i.e. when you get the chance to expand on something that’s already great on paper.
How much of a stretch is it to play your characters? What are your similarities/differences?
MH: I just think of my Mum and play her.
PY: I’m not sure of a ‘stretch’ – more of an ‘extension’ of what I might normally present – anyone who knows me knows that I can definitely identify with elements of this lovely wacky mom – at the bottom of it all lies so much love – where can you go wrong?
How do you think Mrs Drew/Mrs Watson would react if they knew what really went on in the lives of their daughters?
PY: I think I would be giddy – fear, trepidation, excitement – and then, of course, wanting to tag along on the next ‘adventure’.
MH: Mums know everything! They keep their ear to the ground and look the other way when necessary, and hope to be there for you when you need them.
Your characters are Mums – have you found yourselves playing Mums on the set to our young upstarts?
MH: Only in the sense that they look after me!
PY: I haven’t been fortunate enough to have that much “down time” with George; Regan [is] far too efficient and thus there is not a lot of time to just ‘hang out’ – but I have no doubt that I would.
Pat, how did you find learning Dana’s Newfoundland accent?
PY: I have always love the Newfoundland accent. I find it so honest – like the people – and I had the chance back when I was way younger to play Mary in Salt Water Moon – great memories – but Dana’s accent is not a really thick one and, of course, I had a ball, but definitely had to rely on our wonderful director to let me know if I was off course. It’s always fun – and a bit scary – to do an accent .
Maria, the whole reason Jenna Watson has a British accent is because you are from there originally (and were cast first); how do you think Vanessa has fared with her required British heritage/accent?
MH: When I first saw Vanessa on film, I was convinced she was British and had just arrived from England. Apart from a flawless accent she was brilliant at that Brit-Cool thing. Daniel Craig – watch out! Your Bond is in danger!
What do you think of web series’ as a format?
MH: Its ease of access creates a wonderful bond with our audience. The feedback is tremendous. This is a rare and precious treat for Actors.
PY: Coming from someone who is so technically challenged and still on dial-up… I’ve been eagerly waiting to get high speed! But I think it is awesome! Now onto the big screen, please.
Can you tell us what you’re up to at the moment?
MH: Prepping for The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard and planting my balcony.
PY: At the moment, in terms of work, I am looking at a couple of possibilities for the fall, but in terms of my personal life, it is full of wonder and excitement and happiness. My husband and I have 4 children and they each have a wonderful partner; we have 3 grandchildren, another coming in 3 weeks and yet another due at Christmas. So, 5 grandchildren by the end of year and that is, and always has been, my priority. Even though I love my work and I do look forward to my next role, I’ve had to turn down a couple of things lately just because of timing with the new grandbabies arriving.
Because everyone loves rapid fire …
PY: Ooooohhhh, you little monkey – okay…
MH: Oh, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Do you know how hard this is for a debate-loving/analyzing/gotta-see-all-points-of-view Libran? 😉 OK. Here’s my best shot….
East or west?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Tea or coffee?
Jeans or cocktail dress?
PY: Oohhh, tough one – but I’ll go cocktail dress – love dressing up!
MH: See above.
Beer or wine?
PY: Wine wine wine – lots of it.
MH: See ab…oh you get the idea!
Trains or planes?
PY: Planes, even though I’m a nervous flyer
Picnic or pub lunch?
PY: Pub lunch – with wine
Sun or snow?
PY: DEFINITELY sun!!
George or Jenna?
PY: Georgie – but I love them both.
MH: Whaaat? OK…JenaGeo – the little puppy I’m giving them as a surprise Christmas present. Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone!