Annie Potts admits, “I was not quite prepared to have an empty nest” – but such is soon to be the case for the former “Designing Women” star, whose three boys “are just about all grown. The oldest is 29 now. The middle son is graduating this week, and the youngest is a freshman off to boarding school in the fall. My work is done.”
She adds, “The little one chose to go to boarding school. He saw the older one leaving for college and thought, ‘If he’s going, I’m going.’ I thought, ‘Oh, man. I thought had another four years,’ but I’m thrilled for his opportunity. He’s going to a fine school. I believe we have arrived at this place now where they will now take their place in the world. I do have mixed emotions about it. Nothing has been as comprehensively overwhelming as it has been to have been raising three boys and working all the while.”
Turning to the professional side of her life, however, “all options are now open,” she says. Not that things have been quiet in that regard. She recently finished a run of “God of Carnage” on Broadway and is dying to get back onstage. She stars with Drew Seeley in the Hallmark Channel in HD’s “Freshman Father” original movie, debuting tomorrow (6/5). It’s drawn from the true story of young man who somehow got through Harvard on a scholarship while caring for his baby son after the mother left the scene.
“You don’t often see movies about men who step up. It’s usually the woman who’s been left forlorn to raise children by herself. It’s refreshing to see this young boy who had so much promise, caring for his son at the same time he put himself through school. I had the pleasure of meeting the real guy. He’s quite successful, charming and sweet and you just love him for what you know he did.”
Potts plays the neighborhood psychic who befriends and helps Seeley. “There’s not many categories of roles for women over 40. You’re either a psychic or a naughty mother-in-law or a mother,” she dryly observes. “I like the psychics.”
WINNING BY LOSING: It’s a sign of the times – the ongoing parade of storylines in films and on TV of late that give us silver linings to economic hardships. Tom Hanks’ forthcoming “Larry Crowne” is about a middle aged man who goes back to college to reinvent himself after losing his job – and finds Julia Roberts. The film festival ultra low-budget comedy “Laid Off” – about two guys who plan to burn up their severance pay by drinking and living it up, but end up doing surprisingly different – just came out on DVD. Universal’s “Wanderlust,” soon to go into production, has Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as a couple facing the black abyss of financial ruin when he loses his job. Sadly, they give up their home and go to live in Atlanta where his brother can put him to work. But along the way, they stop at a bed and breakfast place that turns out to actually be a commune – and a life adventure.
IN AWWW: Rob Reiner has been lining up actors of a variety of types and ages to tell the stories of their first loves for his feature, “Flipped,” about the relationship of a boy and girl next door.