Talk about being left up in the air! Kellie Martin, whose captain character was last seen on Lifetime’s “Army Wives” on a troubled plane that was bound for Afghanistan, not only doesn’t know if she has a future with the show, up until last month, she didn’t know wether the show itself would have a future. “Wives” has been picked up — but will the plane go down?
“They suggest the plane went down, but we don’t know what happened,” points out Kellie, whose previous series include “Life Goes On,” “Christy” and “ER.” “
Whatever happens, as far as Kellie is concerned, “I did eight episodes and had a great time. I think the producers and writers are plotting out a lot of options, because I don’t know which of the regular cast members are going to be back. I think there is going to be a fair bit of shuffling going on.”
Kellie has been doing a fair bit of shuffling herself, between her busy work schedule and life outside Hollywood. The actress, who comes across genial, energetic and efficient in an afternoon’s interview, has much to think about besides acting: her husband Keith Christian and their five-year-old daughter Maggie; Keith’s Colorado cattle ranch; and Romp, the online toy store Kellie impetuously bought a year ago when she found out it was on the brink of going out of business.
She’ll next be seen starring in the Hallmark Channel’s “I Married Who?” romantic comedy — debuting tomorrow (10/20) — about a woman whose bachelorette party gets out of hand and she wakes the next morning to find herself married to a movie star who is a stranger to her. Of course.
“My character is definitely type A, someone I can totally relate to — someone who needs to loosen up. I had a good time making it, and I just watched it, it’s really cute. It’s funny. It’s a bunch of fun,” she says of the movie in which hunky Ethan Erickson plays the matinee idol.
Kellie’s character is anything but star-struck — which couldn’t help but bring back real-life memories for her. “I’m not a movie star, but I’ve been an actress forever, and the first time I went on a date with my husband, he said to me, ‘So I hear you’re an actress. I’ve never seen anything you’ve done.’ We were like, oh gosh, 21 when I met him, and I laughed, because I’d done ‘Life Goes On,’ and ‘Christy,’ and I mean, I’d been working forever. So I laughed and said, ‘Oh, really? You’ve never seen any of my shows?’ And he said, ‘No, I didn’t get the ABC affiliate in Montana, so I haven’t.’”
She admits, “I thought he was lying at first. I thought he was being funny. You know, at college — I went to Yale, and everybody’s very smart, and everybody has their thing that makes them special, and people at Yale would pretend they didn’t recognize me. Only after they’d had a couple of drinks would they start singing the ‘Life Goes On’ theme song,” she relates with a laugh.
“So I thought, ‘Oh, he’s doing that. He’s being too cool.’ But then I realized, ‘He’s just being honest. I loved his honesty, you know? I thought it was very refreshing and sweet. He had no preconceived ideas, no notions of anything about me. He just kind of took me as I am, and that was pretty great.”
Of course, it couldn’t have hurt that Christian himself obviously had a lot on the ball. An attorney and entrepreneur from a Montana ranching family, he readily went along with it when Kellie decided to enter the world of online sales with Romp, a store specializing in the kind of non-plastic, imagination-building playthings she buys for Maggie.
Now Maggie is her No. 1 test market, which both mom and daughter apparently find quite a hoot. Kellie doesn’t expect to make a massive financial killing with Romp, but says she’s enjoying making these sorts of toys available to parents in places where they’re not easy to come by.
As far as pursuing more series and movie work, Kellie says she’s open, but not actively seeking anything in particular — which has been her style throughout her career.
She notes, “The great thing about my relationship with Hallmark is, they’ve definitely invited me to bring them stuff, and they’ve been so great to work with for so long. I’ve worked with them since 2004, that’s when — I think that’s when I did the first ‘Mystery Woman’ movie, or maybe 2003. Unless I’m developing something, I kind of wait to see what comes my way. Right now, my daughter just started kindergarten. I finished up ‘Army Wives,’ in June, I flew back to L.A., we had our summer vacation here and in Montana, and the most important thing was, I got her ready and into kindergarten totally solid, no changes with mom. Mom was not working.”
Life with a cattle ranch, TV stardom, online toys, Yale and parenthood in it sounds pretty rich, to say the least.
Kellie laughs. “Right? We have lots of different interests. I’m pretty happy with it.”