Peri Gilpin Talks Lifetime Network and ‘What Do You Do After Roz?”
The Choking Game
Gilpin tells me, “I play Heidi, a remarried mom who can now afford to stay home. She’s a good mom, very conscientious. And, since she never had the choice to stay home and raise her daughter before, she’s making up for lost time. But, she’s driving her teenage daughter insane. And she’s confused about a lot of things. She’s trying so hard that she doesn’t notice some of her daughter’s behavior and actions change. Her face changes. Her attitude changes. She’s not responsible in the way she used to be. She’s disappearing, sulking. She trusts her daughter, but she knows something’s wrong, and she can’t figure out what’s going on. There’s no evidence.
There’s no drugs. That’s what my character’s going through.
“One of the scary things to me about the choking game is that it’s online. You can go online
and find other people doing it. And it’s in clubs. As a parent, the internet is really unchartered territory. My mother-in-law is always saying, ‘I don’t know what I would have done if I had the internet to contend with.’ It’s a different world today. My hat goes off to writers, networks, and studios who want to explore that with parents. It’s helpful, I think. Doing this project, I feel like I get to explore a little bit in the future and see what my kids are gonna be up against. (Gilpin has 10-year- old twin girls Stella and Ava). It’s like a little practice session for what’s to come.”
Menagerie of Acting Roles
Gilpin has been acting quite a bit since her Frazier days. I ask her about that time, if she misses it. “I do miss it,” she says. “It was a lot of fun. It was comedy. We would eat, laugh, and go home. I loved working with everyone. The writing was brilliant. There’s nothing about it I didn’t love.”
Gilpin appears as the mother of Chris D’Elia and Skylar Astin in A Flock of Dudes, a basic coming-of-age film where “a bunch of friends come together and share common experiences of life. One of them tries to get over a painful relationship. Another one gets married. And I get to play Ray Liotta’s (Field of Dreams, Goodfellas) girlfriend. I had a hilarious scene with him.” Hilary Duff and Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) also star.
Gilpin’s projects post-Frazier also include Old Guy. “Old Guy was very funny. It’s a project from Five Sisters Productions, who are really sisters in real life and who are friends of mine. It was a webseries starring the girls’ father, Roger Burton, who didn’t begin his acting career until he was in his 80’s. He taught psychology at the University of Buffalo for over 20 years. Anyway, the point of the movie was that old people still have a life.”
“I just finished an AFI short that I worked on for three days in L.A. It was so much fun. I
shot an episode of Masters of Sex (on Showtime) too, and I’d love to go back. They haven’t said anything, but I would love it. (The episode, “A Better Shape,” airs August 31). And, I think I’m gonna shoot this really funny short comedy film in September.”
Another project called Break a Hip stars Allison Janney. Written and directed by Cameron Watson, it was a webseries as well, and also a comedy. “I just finished shooting that too,” says Gilpin, “and I’m on my way right now to Dallas to shoot an independent movie called Occupy, Texas. My friend Janine Turner also stars, and I’m so excited about it.”
A native of Dallas, Gilpin notes that this will be the first film she has worked on in her hometown. “I’m looking forward to it. They called me and sent me the script, and when I read it, I loved it. Lorelei Linklater’s in it, and she’s simply great. I’m going to be there for a couple of weeks.” Occupy, Texas is about a homeless man who’s jolted into upper-middle class Texas when his parents die. He has two teenage sisters h has to contend with, as well as his own past mistakes. It’s tentatively set for a 2015 release. “I hope I keep getting work and continue to do interesting stuff,” says Gilpin.
If Lightning Strikes Twice
Now, about Roz…..”I loved playing Roz. There’s nothing more fun than playing a smartass and
someone who’s happily having plenty of sex and having a great time. She’s also really smart. I’m glad I did the show, but when you reach a certain age….I have to start playing moms now, because I am a mom. But, I’d be happy if I just kept playing the Roz role over and over again. It was the greatest time. But, I think as much as I love everyone on the show, it’ll never be that good again. And, we all know that. We say it every day. We keep in touch with each other as much as we can, and we talk on the phone. We appreciate what we had. The future as far as Frazer goes is the kind of thing that is better left to the imagination. There’s no way we could make everybody (fans) and ourselves happy. I wouldn’t mind trying, but I don’t see it happening. It was lightning in a bottle the first time. Maybe we could catch lightning in a bottle again. I don’t know.”
The Choking Game airs on Saturday, July 26 at 8 P.M. on the Lifetime Network. It also stars Freya Tingley (Hemlock Grove, Jersey Boys).