Mamie Gummer's 'Big' Year

Jarett Wieselman
The Insider
Mamie Gummer's 'Big' Year

It's about to become really apparent, but I am absolutely obsessed with Mamie Gummer. And it's not because she's Meryl Streep's daughter -- in fact, when I first witnessed one of Mamie's magnificent performances, I had no idea she was Streep's spawn. I simply thought her to be a classic beauty. Which she is. Once I learned of her lineage, it only made me love her more.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the knowledge that she's married to Benjamin Walker, star of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. But this is not about her personal life, it's about her professional prowess -- something she'll bring to The Big C starting with Sunday's all-new episode. I caught up with Mamie to talk about reuniting with Laura Linney on the Showtime series after I gushed a bit about her work on The Good Wife. We also talk about her potential fall pilot and what it's like growing up with Meryl as a mother. Keep reading, trust me, you'll love her too! First of all, I am completely obsessed with Nancy Crozier [her character on The Good Wife].
Mamie Gummer: Oh, thank you. It's been a complete dream. We all call it "The Good Job" [laughs] – people really have taken to Nancy, and I am certainly among them. I want to keep hanging out with her, so I'm glad other people do too!

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Insider: And Nancy going up against Caitlin was incredible.
Mamie: Yea, we called it Blonde v. Blonde [laughs].

Insider: You kick off an arc on The Big C this weekend -- who do you play?
Mamie: Her name is Maxine and she's this very grounded, hip, blue collar type of person just trying to get by. But I can't talk about it too much because I know I'll let something big slip. I have to maintain a great air of mystery for fear of spoiling.

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Insider: Fair enough. This is a show that has always attracted amazing guest stars. What was the appeal for you?
Mamie: Selfishly, it was the opportunity to work with Laura [Linney] again (they co-starred in HBO's 2008 miniseries John Adams). I've been lucky enough to have worked with her a few times and I love it so much, I would do it every day if I could. The great thing about so many things shooting in New York is you have these great troves of talent to tap into. As a viewer, it's exciting to watch – plus, I love seeing my friends pop up all over TV lately.

Insider: Your sister, Grace, popped up on Smash earlier this season...
Mamie: I know! I loved it! We're coming for you!

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Insider: Have you two accepted the fact that you may eventually go up against one another for the same role?
Mamie: That's actually happened a couple of times already, but it's never been an issue at all. We're super supportive and if one of us goes into an audition ahead of the other, we'll give the other tips of what to be prepared for.

Insider: Has one of you booked a job the other went out for yet?
Mamie: Yes. She's gotten a job that I went out for and I've gotten a job that she's gone for. In this Blonde vs. Blonde battle, we're even stevens. So far [laughs].

Insider: A lot of children of actors will talk about being dissuaded from entering showbusiness. What kind of message did you get growing up?
Mamie: There was no overarching opinion or judgment either way. If we're happy, they're happy. Which is nice. Growing up there was plenty of advice and wisdom that's been passed along on a near daily basis.

Insider: Did you always want to be an actor?
Mamie: It's something I always knew I loved to do. But I didn't really think about doing it professionally until after I graduated.

Insider: Through acting you met your husband [Benjamin Walker]. Do you find it helps to be married to another actor?
Mamie: Yes, absolutely. The shorthand that comes along with that is invaluable. And it's great fun.

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Insider: He looks amazing as Abraham Lincoln, by the way.
Mammie: Doesn't he? He's a really good actor. I'm so excited to see it – I can't even tell you. I've only watched the trailer about 16 times [laughs]. Now, if we ever meet a vampire in a dark alley, I know I'm cool.

Insider: You also just wrapped filming on First Cut, a new CW pilot series about doctors. Was there any trepidation about doing another medical drama after Off The Map didn't quite work out last season?
Mamie: Yes. There was. It's always a conversation and we had to weigh all of the options. You don't take these decisions lightly when you could be filming for years in Vancouver. But this is our lot in life. It's what we've chosen and it's not a bad trade off. You make it work. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Dan Jinks & Jennie Snyder (creators) -- I knew I'd be in good hands working with them and that makes all the difference. Also, the chance to carry my own show. That prospect is very exciting.

Insider: Should we worry that if First Cut goes to series we'll lose Nancy's recurring Good Wife appearances?
Mamie: No! Never say die! Nancy Crozier will find a way back, she's very enterprising!

The Big C airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime.

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