Jenna Fischer gets maternal for two different roles

Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- Over the next two months, Jenna Fischer will be playing moms in two very different projects.

First up is the Clint Eastwood film, "The 15:17 to Paris," where she plays the mother of Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos, one of the three Americans who stop a terrorist plot aboard a train in France. The production, based on the true events that happened in 2015, features the three men who stop the attack playing themselves in the movie.

In March, Fischer stars in the new ABC comedy, "Splitting Up Together," where she and her husband (Oliver Hudson) decide to divorce but will live in the same home (one in a converted garage) so they can trade off taking care of their three young children on a weekly basis. The comedy is based on a Danish series of the same name.

Fischer, who talks about both projects at an ABC party, describes working with Eastwood as being everything she expected. The Oscar-winning director is known for how quickly he works, the confidence he's willing to show in his cast and the care he has for the crew.

"Every story you have heard about working for Clint Eastwood is absolutely true," Fischer says. She's seated at a small table in the middle of the ballroom where the event is being held. Fischer's slipped off her shoes -- and placed them on the table -- to rest her feet as she's being doing interviews the entire day.

"He's prepared. He's efficient. He's inspirational. He gives great acting notes. It's crazy that his crew has been working with him so long they have a shorthand so the day goes by very quickly."


Fischer points out that on an average film set, the crew will generally arrive at 7 a.m. with the actors getting to work two hours before that to go through the hair, makeup and wardrobe process. That starts a work day that can be 12-15 hours. The crew on an Eastwood movie arrives at 10 a.m. and the day is done by 4-5 p.m.

The key Fischer learned early is when you work for Eastwood, you show up prepared because there isn't a lot of time to deal with mistakes or miscues.

Technically, Fischer could play the mother of a young soldier, but she would have had to have given birth at a young age. Her casting fits because much of the movie shows the early years of the three friends and what helped instill in them the qualities they needed to be able to risk their lives to stop the threat. She calls the movie inspirational.

It's easier to image Fischer as the mom of three young children as in the case of "Splitting Up Together." Part of that comes from her being the mother of two how are under the age of 8. Working on a television series gives her a chance to be at home more than when on location with a movie, plus it's the format where she feels the most comfortable.


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