Tag Archives: Poppy Montgomery

Jane Curtin: ‘Unforgettable’ Series Role Came ‘Out of Left Field’

'Unforgettable' Role no drain for Jane Curtin CBS photo

Jane Curtin returns to the tube tonight (2/7) joining the cast of  “Unforgettable” as an acerbic and demanding forensic pathologist who teaches romantic poetry on the side.  It’s a part the “Saturday Night Live,” “Kate & Allie” and “3rd Rock from the Sun” television favorite tells us came “out of left field.  My agent called and said, ‘You have an offer to become a regular character on a procedural cop show that started in September.’  It was such a great idea.  Why not?  It’s something I’ve never done, and I do like a challenge, so I’m doing it.”

She hasn’t asked why creators of the Poppy Montgomery crime drama thought of her for the part, and doesn’t plan to do so.  She knows better than that, she explains.  “When I was first starting in the business, I got a commercial and I wondered, ‘God, why did they pick me?'”  Then she found herself sitting next to the product manager on a plane ride, so she asked him.  “And he said, ‘Your face was big enough to superimpose a drain on,'” she recalls.

Curtin surmises that the “Unforgettable” series team was probably looking for her to bring some humor and lightness to her character, the tough and brilliant inspector, Joanne Webster.

She’s been working with the same technical advisor who helped Leslie Hendrix learn about the medical examiner’s work for “Law & Order,” she lest us know.  And that’s big, because “She set the standard for playing a medical examiner.  No one’s done it better than she.”  There are certainly an abundance of medical examiners on television – Dana Delany, Robert David Hall and David McCallum, to name just three.  Curtin is well aware of that.  Or, as she puts it, “Anybody who is anybody is a medical examiner these days.”

Naturally, “You wonder how you’re going to differentiate this particular medical examiner.  It’s not as if people who work in that end of medicine are lacking a sense of humor.  There are times when you use it to relieve the stress.  These human beings deal with a lot of stuff every day, and sometimes the only thing you can do is quote Monty Python lines.”

Dylan Walsh: ‘Unforgettable’ Team Awaits Marilu Henner…and Fate

Poppy Montgomery, Dylan Walsh CBS photo

Dylan Walsh reports that Marilu Henner will soon be in New York to play the aunt of Poppy Montgomery’s character on their “Unforgettable” CBS crime drama.  The red-haired one-time “Taxi” star, as you may know, serves as a consultant on the show in which Montgomery plays a detective who can recall all the moments of her life with perfect clarity — the extremely rare superior autobiographical memory that Marilu has in real life.

Walsh says he’s looking forward to seeing Henner again.  “With her role as consultant, there’ve been a lot of telephone calls between her and Poppy, but I haven’t talked to her since last summer,” notes the actor, who plays Montgomery’s colleague and former lover. 

Now if only “Unforgettable” can take hold.  It’s been a ratings toss-up, and right now, its fate remains up in the air.

“We’re waitng to hear what our future is on the schedule.  Nobody talks about it,” according to Walsh.  “I hope to get some good news about continuing soon.  We’ve put in a lot of hard work, and there’s a lot more hard work ahead.  It’s been bumpy, but the reason it’s been bumpy is something I’m as proud of as anything — it’s that people are trying to do more than just your dry procedural.”   

He goes on, “Everyone assumed that her superior memory would be a superficial way to get people into the show.  But the writers have really cleverly used it as an integral part of the stories — including the fact there’s this romance, albeit in the past.  She keeps remembering, and people get to see this couple without betraying what the show is in the present.  There are a lot of flashbacks to their relationship.” 

As far as what that means to him as an actor?  “The challenge is the fun,” says Walsh.  “I get to play a younger guy, a guy who is in love, more of a suburban guy than in the present, a guy rising up through the ranks.”

Walsh, who lived in L.A. while making “Nip/Tuck,” is extremely glad to be back in his former NYC stamping grounds for his current show.  “It’s the best part of all of this.  I’m so happy here.  I’m in Tribeca right now,” he tells us via phone.  “On the weekends, one of my hobbies is learning all the architecture, building by building.”

Whatever the future of “Unforgettable,” Walsh is already thinking ahead to the holidays.  “I’m having my kids come out for Thanksgiving,” he says, “and I suspect the same for Christmas.”

Poppy Montgomery: No Regrets About Mommy Break

Poppy Montgomery

Working moms have one of the hardest jobs in the world, which is why actress Poppy Montgomery tells us it was nice to take a long break after the cancellation of ‘Without A Trace.’  Plus, she was just dang tired!

‘It’s good to take a break and I think creatively it has to happen because you have to let yourself process seven years of playing one character,’ she notes.  Montgomery has since moved on to other projects, but raising her three-year-old son with boyfriend Adam Kaufman remains a top priority.

‘It’s hard for any working mom.  I don’t know how my mother did it, honestly, and she had three kids and not as much help as I have.  It’s a really delicate balancing act all the time.  Any woman who works and has kids, I take my hat off to them because I think it’s very challenging,’ notes the Australian actress.  ‘You want to make sure your kid gets enough time and nurture from you but you also want to earn money and have a life.’

Montgomery says her experience of raising a child certainly makes her appreciate her own mother’s hard work.  ‘Until I had a kid, I did not know what my mother went through and how much work she must have put in to raise seven, eight, nine children because we had step siblings.  It was like having a school.  They’re active and need help and guidance all the time.  But I love working and I love being a mother so you juggle as best you can.’

When asked if she and Kaufman plan to expand their family anytime soon, Montgomery responds, ‘I do definitely think I will have more kids, but I think this year I’m going to focus on work again because I took four months off already, which was a lot for me, because I’ve never taken time off.  We’re going to think about having more but not for a while.’  Sounds like she’s got her hands full already!

Emily-Fortune Fiemster

‘You Don’t Know Jack’ Puts Vaccaro Back Where She Belongs

Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, Danny Huston, Brenda Vaccaro

It’s comeback time for Brenda Vaccaro.  She offers up a bracing reminder of just how well she can work her considerable acting chops in HBO’s April 24 “You Don’t Know Jack,” playing the sister-accomplice of Al Pacino as euthanasia-enabling doctor Jack Kevorkian.

Brenda’s performance makes her a clear awards contender, as is the whole project, as is Al Pacino.

Not that long ago, Brenda tells us, she was ready to leave the business and go live in Normandy, France, near her husband, Guy Hector’s family.  The woman who once reigned as part of the film acting elite, who burst into fame on Broadway in such vehicles as “Cactus Flower” and “How Now, Dow Jones” and in films including “Midnight Cowboy” and “Jacqueline Suzanne’s Once is Not Enough,” was frustrated, feeling forgotten.  “I was ready to get up and say ‘Screw this.  I’m sick of this business.  Let’s pack up and get out of here.’  I mean I was sick of it,” she emphasizes with her throaty laugh.

She was not forgotten, however.  Esteemed casting director Ellen Chenoweth, who was working with filmmaker Barry Levinson on “You Don’t Know Jack” brought up Brenda’s name as a prospect to play Pacino’s sister.  Brenda’s been told that Levinson’s response was “Brenda Vaccaro?  What’s she up to lately?  I really like her.”

When she got the call, “I thought it was a joke,” Brenda admits.  However, in a matter of weeks, she found herself meeting with Pacino.  Back in the early 70’s, “We knew each other well enough to say, ‘Hi, honey!’ when we ran into each other on the streets of New York.  We were really, like, close acquaintances, along with Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman – we were all part of the same group,” she relates.

When she met Pacino again, ‘He said, ‘My God, I haven’t seen you in so many years.!  I said, ‘Al, what am I doing here?’  I felt like I was at an Italian funeral. We talked about life and love and times past.  He’s so adorable and so down to earth, a great person.”

Afterwards, “I got in the car with my husband and said, ‘I really want to work with Al.  Is it that magical?’”  It was.  She wound up acting alongside not only Pacino, but Susan Sarandon and John Goodman in the cable film.  Early response has been so positive.  “It feels good,” says Brenda.  “Everything feels good.”

HELLO, AGAIN:  Poppy Montgomery has joined the ABC “True Blue” pilot being directed by Peter Horton, with Marc Blucas and Malcolm-Jamal Warner also in the cast.   The show’s about six best friends whose very different paths converge as they seek to solve the murder of their seventh friend.  One’s a detective, another a prosecutor, another a police captain.

Montgomery, who spent seven years on the show “Without A Trace,”  is obviously ready to get back into the series game.  While she’s happy to have had the chance to branch out with other projects, she tells us she’ll always have a big spot in her heart for her old series.

“I miss that show every day.  I loved my cast and the writers and producers.  We were like a really close family,” says Montgomery.  “I still see Roselyn [Sanchez] and Anthony [LaPaglia].  We literally talk once a week or go to dinner.  When we go out to dinner together, people are like, ‘Oh my God!  Here you all are!”  They loved the show, but they always ask, ‘Is the show coming back?’  It makes me laugh.  It’s very rare you get that long of a run on a TV series,” she notes.

However, Montgomery says having a break has been nice.  “Because I have a two-year-old, it’s been great to spend time with him.  I’d been working since he was born,” she says.  “I’ve become addicted to the grueling schedule because I like to work. Now that Jackson is going to be in pre-school soon, I’m getting ready to go back to that.  I wasn’t ready for a while because I needed some time with my family and to figure out what I wanted to do next.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:   Take heart, fans of “The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.”  Star Jill Scott foresees more episodes of the critically adored BBC/HBO show that shoots in Botswana in her future.  “I think it’s just a matter of the script at this point,” she tells us.  “I’m really excited about doing more and I really hope it comes together.”  The songstress, who gave birth to son Jett last April, notes, “Initially, the only thing that stopped us from continuing was that I was pregnant.  When we were ready to go back, it was too immediate.  I had this little person and I didn’t want to take him on a 16-hour flight, because I happen to love him.”  When she does return, she says, “I might make it a longer trip to get there – stop in London and let him acclimate, then Morocco and give him a couple of days.  His comfort means everything to me.”

“Ladies” will have to wait, however.  Scott is on tour in support of her “The Light of the Sun” album, and expects to be out the better part of the year.

ANOTHER MONSTER HEARD FROM:  Preproduction is moving right along on “Lockjaw,” a creature feature that will have a group of carefree young adults running into big trouble – a part-human, part-alligator monster.  But the interesting part is that behind this toothy tale are producers Sid Sheinberg – the famous former MCA chief – and his sons, Jon and Bill Sheinberg.  Now if they find a part for mom Lorraine Gary, the flick will involve the whole family.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster