Tanna Frederick: ‘M Word’ Feature Dramedy Hits New Menopause Territory


Times have SO changed from that “very special episode” of “The Waltons,” when Mama was acting a mite peculiar on account of the change of life.  Production has just wrapped on Henry Jaglom’s feature dramedy “The M Word” — and star Tanna Frederick says, “It will be like our first step on the moon of menopause stories.  It deals with everything having to do with our ovaries and then some.  M is for menopause, menses and men.”

Frances Fisher plays her mother who moves in with her after her mate (Gregory Harrison) is caught cheating.  Two aunts (Mary Crosby, Eliza Fisher) move into Tanna’s character’s two-bedroom apartment as well 

“Henry is not commenting on menopause, he’s taking you along for a ride,” she says of the director with whom she made “Hollywood Dreams” and other films, who is known for his improvisational work with actors.  “He really let the three women playing my aunts fly, and let them go into their own experiences with menopause.  They took it to a fever pitch that’s really funny.  We got some powerful stuff that I think will spark some groundbreaking talks between women and men.”

Well, at least it sounds as if Fisher’s performance will spark talk.   “She is hilarious.  At one point in a scene, she took the frozen turkey that she had for the family Thanksgiving and put it between her legs because she was having a hot flash,” Tanna says.  “I stepped back and said, ‘I don’t even know what to do with this.'”

 Tanna’s TV reporter character is fighting the closure of her station.  Her smarmy Sammy Glick-type boyfriend is played by Corey Feldman, and the corporate hatchet man who comes out to cut station staff is Michael Imperioli — who, of course, her character falls for. 

“Always in the past, Henry has sort of tiptoed around around the socioeconomic status of his characters.  In this, he dove right in.  It’s scary and sad what’s going on out there with all the cutbacks in jobs,” comments the actress.  “My character is faced with this question: Do I fall in love, or do I fight for what’s right?”  She reports that at one point she has a scene “that’s probably as close to a ‘Norma Rae’ moment as I’ll ever have,” leading a group of some 30 women in an office.  Women who are all, you guessed it, menopausal.

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , , , , , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

4 thoughts on “Tanna Frederick: ‘M Word’ Feature Dramedy Hits New Menopause Territory

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