“Mothers don’t let your sons grow up to be actors.”
That could well be the refrain actress Joan Cusack might sing when she talks of the future of her sons, who are currently ages 12 and nine.
After decades in the business, Joan, who stars in Lifetime’s Aug. 22 movie, “Acceptance,” wants us to know, “To be honest, it’s a very difficult profession. It’s cruel and unstable I would never want my boys to go into it.”
As far as she’s concerned, “If you weren’t manic depressive when you started out as an actor, there’s a strong chance you’d end up that way being surrounded by all the wrong values. The fantasy and illusion of wanting to be a movie star is gruesome. It’s a terrible world, a terrible business and it takes its toll.”
It took enough to a toll on the actress, who has twice been nominated for Oscars (for “Working Girl” and “In & Out”) that it drove her away from Hollywood and back to her family home in Chicago after shooting 1990 “My Blue Heaven.”
“I can’t even remember the director’s name now, but I’ll never forget how he treated people,” she says. “If you were supposed to be humiliated in a scene, he would humiliate you in advance. It was terrible. I couldn’t handle it. I realized it was too painful a profession for me, went home and tried to figure out what I could do. Some great therapy saved my life.”
Joan, who’s shared the camera frequently with her brother John, plays the judge in the June 26-opening “My Sister’s Keeper” movie. It’s a small part, but she didn’t mind. It just meant leaving her sons and her husband, attorney Dick Burke, for a few days of filming in Hollywood. “And then I was able to return home to my family.”
Being a full-time wife and mother is, she says, “Hard work. Trying to have a real life takes a lot of work. But it’s worth it. I feel blessed.”
RUMER HAS IT: Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter Rumer Willis is expanding her acting resume with the movie “Sorority Row” but she tells us filming the thriller wasn’t easy. “It was cold during the night shoots standing outside in lingerie, especially since we were filming Pittsburgh,” says Willis of the movie about a group of sorority sisters who try to cover up the death of their house-sister after a prank gone wrong, only to be stalked by a serial killer. Luckily she and the rest of the girls were able to make the most of the situation. “It felt like we became somewhat of a sorority early on, which I think shows in the movie. There are a lot of laughs and scares and skin.” As for her next project, Willis says, “I’m going to be in New York this summer filming the movie ‘Walks.‘”
TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE: Melissa Peterman has taken over Joey Fatone’s role as host of “The Singing Bee” now that the show has moved from NBC to CMT. She says we can certainly expect some country flair, but there will be something for everybody when the show premieres Saturday (6/20). “It’s like 60 percent country and 40 percent everything else. People assume country music has one demographic and that’s not the case anymore. Country and pop have definitely come together,” notes the former “Reba” star.
While she’s had a blast filming the episodes, Peterman admits it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be. “Hosting is an extremely hard job. It’s a skill that looks so easy to everyone else, but it’s not. It’s made me really respect people like Ryan Seacrest and Tom Bergeron, who is a friend of mine, and I think one of the best hosts around. You’re in charge of keeping things going and keeping the energy up. There’s even math involved with the scores. I’m like, ‘There’s math too!'”
When not hosting, Peterman tells us she’s back to auditioning, hoping to find something as good as her previous sitcom. “We definitely keep in touch and talk a lot. When you see people every day for six years they become your family,” she says of her “Reba” cast mates. “I wasn’t quite done with the show yet. I feel like we were done too soon and there were a couple of more seasons in there so that was sad, but I can’t complain too much because we did have six years. It was like winning the lottery.”
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: “In Plain Sight’s” Cristian de la Fuente has a hectic life between his USA Network drama series, his charitable activities, his stunt flying with the Chilean Air Force, his performing gigs in his home country, plus being a husband and father. The handsome one-time “Dancing With the Stars” contender attributes handling it all to a positive outlook. “The good thing is the day has 24 hours to fill,” he points out. “The economy is bad. The stock market goes down. But the good news is there are still 24 hours in a day.”
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster