Before her breakout role in “Malcolm in the Middle,” Jane Kaczmarek was a featured performer in a plethora of television shows, including “Raising the Bar,” “Party of Five” and “Felicity.” In the Lifetime original movie “Reviving Ophelia,” Jane switches back to drama to play the mother of a teenage girl who’s trying to escape an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. The movie, which airs tonight at 9/8c (check your listings for encore performances), is based on Mary Pipher’s seminal book for teen girls, “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.”
Celebrity Extra: As a mom, this whole subject matter must have really struck a chord with you. What were your thoughts about the script?
Jane Kaczmarek: You know, it really did. I have three children: two daughters and a son. My oldest and youngest are daughters, and my oldest is 12, so she’s kind of on the cusp of this. And I’ve always called her my little nun because she is so modest. She practices the piano and does ballet and is a very diligent kid. And it never dawned on me that something like this could happen to her. And I think what I found interesting about this script and the casting of the girl who played Rebecca, who is my daughter in the movie — she comes across as such a clean-cut, beautiful, innocent kid. You don’t think that she’s the one who’s going to get involved in this. It’s the cousin who seems kind of naughty, and you think she would be the one that would end up in the situation like this. So that was the real eye-opener for me. You know, as a mother it was a real cautionary tale about really keeping your eyes open about everything that’s going on in your kid’s life.
CE: I am not a mom, but this would be the kind of stuff that would scare the crap out of me.
JK: And I thought that Nick Thurston, who plays the boyfriend who beats her, he was so charmingly eerie. He was so sincere and so earnest. And he really loved her. You could see why she would stay with this guy. She’s just caught in this lie of protecting him, and everything is just swirling out of control.
CE: What was it about Marie or the movie itself that made you really want to be a part of this?
JK: Well, I think because it was just an unexpected look at this really, really big problem. You know, I live in Pasadena. I live in a very comfortable, leafy suburb of Los Angeles where the kids for the most part are good and the parents for the most part are hyper-responsible. And what surprised me was it was happening to a family like that.
I also like (director) Bobby Roth. He had directed an episode of a TV show that I did, and I liked the way he told the story with the camera. I thought it was a very fresh and interesting and unexpected way of working. I hadn’t worked in a year. This has been a really tumultuous year for me. My husband and I got divorced, and I hadn’t worked since “Raising the Bar” ended in the summer of 2009. So this came along, and I thought I was ready to step back into the world of “Jane the Actress.” My manager sent me flowers in Toronto and said, “Instead of ‘Reviving Ophelia,’ I think this should be called ‘Reviving Jane.’” And I had a wonderful, wonderful time working with Lifetime and with Bobby Roth, and all of the actors. It was a really, really satisfying experience.