Mary-Louise Parker’s character in R.I.P.D. is probably the best written in the film, so it’s not surprising that she came aboard the project, especially when Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges were already attached. Parker chatted with us briefly recently at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Columbus Circle here in New York City.
DC: So, was it a little bit of a letdown being in an action movie and not really getting to be in an action scene and do some action, or was it kind of a relief to not work with those elements?
Mary-Louise Parker: Not really, um, because generally the action, the heavy action scenes, there’s a big reset afterwards so there’s like hours in between takes, you know what I mean? So, there’s a lot of sitting around, there’s a lot of technicalities and I prefer getting to interact with the other actors. I mean, unless you’re getting dragged to the ground and sheltered by Bruce Willis or something. They’re not that fun usually.
DC: You’ve done a lot of TV now and a lot of film. What do you like better? Do you have a preference?
MLP: I really prefer acting in the theater the most and in some ways TV is closer to that because there’s more of a regularity to the schedule. You have to finish an episode by a certain day. Movies can just go on interminably. With TV, there’s a continuum with the crew and with the cast so it’s similar to theater. Honestly, I’ll act anywhere. When I did “Weeds” people tried to talk me out of it thinking Showtime’s not cool. But I’ll act anywhere really.
DC: In which way do you decide to refuse or to accept a story or a movie?
MLP: It’s mostly based on my children’s schedule. And then with this movie, I was so flattered that Robert [Schwentke] asked me to work with him again and I really really like and respect him. And there was Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds and it was one of the best written characters I’ve ever had. There’s some scripts that you have to make it look like you’re having fun and make it look fresh and make the character look interesting and it’s a lot of work to manufacture. And this, this was on the page so I think the writers deserve credit for anything that’s … for what’s good about my character. They deserve the credit.
DC: There was one question I think all of us had after the movie was over. Why did you cover up your ankles?
MLP: So funny. The boots were one of the biggest parts of the character. I wanted her look to really speak for who she was and she only has one costume so it has to say everything. I was all over the place. At one point, I had this Annie Oakley idea that was really stupid and I came across this picture of this forest ranger from 1968 and I thought it was just so right and I sent it to Robert and he loved it. She had those kind of plastic, go-go type boots.
DC: You mentioned before one of the reasons to do the movie was to work with Jeff and Ryan. Now that you’ve done it, what can you say about that?
MLP: Well, I’m going to sound really phony because I have nothing negative to say about either man, really. They’re both oddly principled gentlemen that you would want your daughter to marry but they’re very very different. They both have a very different vibe, obviously, and they both approach the work in a different way. But they’re just so nice and so much fun to be around and they’re both so funny. I’m sure when you meet them you can tell that they’re both just nice guys. When you’re that successful, to be that humble, is kind of rare.
R.I.P.D. is in theatres NOW.
Universal Pictures’ R.I.P.D. stars Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Stephanie Szostak, Mary-Louise Parker, Marisa Miller, Mike O’Malley, James Hong, Tobias Segal, and Robert Knepper.
Robert Schwentke directed the project, which follows a murdered cop (Reynolds) who is recruited to work in the Rest in Peace Department, a police force comprised of ghosts who battle spirits unready to depart this world. Jeff Bridges plays Reynolds’ ghostly partner.
Nick is dead — at least, that’s how he remembers it — and teams up with another deceased detective, a gunslinger from the Old West (played by Jeff Bridges), to work for an elite task force, the Rest In Peace Department (hence the title), to track down the dead on Earth. (Due to overpopulation, some unsettled spirits haven’t gone where they’re supposed to and are hiding out). Technically, R.I.P.D. officers (who are overseen by Mary-Louise Parker) aren’t allowed to kill anyone living and aren’t supposed to interact with anyone from their previous lives, but Nick is haunted by the fact that he was murdered by another cop (played by Kevin Bacon) and can’t let it go.
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