Actress Nancy Travis Dishes about Motherhood & her New Movie, “A Walk in My Shoes” with Blogger, MommyQ

Blogger MommyQ Nancy Travis

I’m so excited to see Nancy Travis visit Wisteria Lane as Keith’s outspoken mother on Desperate Housewives this season. I’ve always thought she was a talented actress and quite funny too!  From movies like “Three Men and a Baby” to sitcoms like “The Bill Engvall Show,” Nancy brings us lovable, memorable characters. This summer, I had a chance to sit down and talk with Nancy in person, while she was filming her new movie, “A Walk in My Shoes” in Portland, Oregon. “A Walk in My Shoes” is part of a combined effort by Walmart and P&G to bring back family movie night entertainment. Both companies treated me and other fabulous mom bloggers to a unique behind-the-scenes movie experience.

Nancy was funny, personable, sincere and totally grounded. For someone who has been acting since high school and even married former President of Savoy Pictures, Robert N. Fried in 1994, she shows no signs of being affected by the Hollywood scene. We discussed why she took the role in this made-for-TV movie, how she balances being a mom and an actress, how being a mom has impacted her acting and she listed some of her favorite actresses.

Why she liked this role: The role Nancy plays in “A Walk in in My Shoes” is a stressed-out high school teacher, Trish. Nancy’s character can’t understand her students’ lack of effort in the classroom and why their parents don’t seem to care. Without giving away the whole movie, let’s just say a little bit of magic happens, giving Trish the chance to take a walk in one of the mom’s shoes and experience a new perspective. Nancy said she wanted to work on this movie because she was happy to work on a project that not only brought family-friendly programming to television, but addressed special life lessons.

Walmart P&G present A Walk in My Shoes movie

Life as an actress and a mommy: Nancy spoke about her life as a mom and working actress. She said of a work/life balance, “You can have it all, but not at the same time. You have to figure out your priorities to make it all work.” She said motherhood has helped her become a better actress because, “every part of acting is drawing on your life experiences.” Nancy said she’s very picky about the roles she accepts because she must always take her family and community into consideration. “Nothing shameful or embarrassing,” she smiled.

Thoughts about the biz: When I asked her how she’d feel if her children wanted to pursue acting she said, “They should if they come by it naturally and decide they want to do it by themselves. Then I’ll support them as best as I can. It’s tricky as a parent, because for a child, there’s a lot happening in the business they aren’t ready to fully understand.”

Which actresses inspire Nancy? She named Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Bonnie Bedelia and Vivien Leigh. In fact, Nancy laughed and said of Leigh, “I wanted to be Scarlett!”

You can see “A Walk in My Shoes’ on Friday, December 3rd at 8/7C on NBC. The movie will also feature a soundtrack produced by music mogul Randy Jackson that will be available at Walmart starting December 4, 2010. For more information visit the website!

Behind the Scenes Proof: Walmart and P&G Bring Back Family Movie Night

Last week MommyQ was lucky enough to take a trip to Portland, Oregon, to witness a “behind-the-scenes” movie experience.  Walmart and P&G invited me to attend, so I could see the guts and the glory it takes to produce a television movie. The movie, “In My Shoes,” is a clever, compassionate and family-friendly project that proves the notion of family movie night is not forgotten.

When I was a kid, I remember sitting with my parents and my sister once a week, usually Friday night, to watch television together. I have to admit, I don’t remember exact titles of the movies we watched, but I do recall the laughter, giggles, communal popcorn tub and the fun. I also know my parents didn’t have to jump up and run to the TV (we didn’t have remotes back then) to change the station because something non kid-friendly was interrupting our viewing pleasure.

From the wonderful folks at P&G and Walmart to the producers to the actors, EVERYONE working on this project is totally aware of the need for family-friendly television entertainment. Even the youngest actor on the set, 11-year-old Jackson Pace, mentioned how important it is to be able to watch television together as a family. (BTW, what a cute little guy.)

I also got to meet some phenomenal women/mothers/entreprenuers as in @MomStart @mamaspohr @eightymphmom @BettyBuzz @OurOrdinaryLife – funny, fantastic and talented, who could ask for more?

Get a taste of what the new and improved family movie night is by watching The Jenson Project on July 19th on NBC. And if you haven’t seen Secrets of the Mountain, you’d better get to watchin’ because it was incredible. Stay tuned!

Retail Slump, Spoiled Kids and Rush Limbaugh

This holiday season was the weakest since at least 1969. A report came out today from the AP Wire stating discount giant Wal-Mart (the world’s largest retailer) reported smaller sales gains than expected in December. Health and wellness items fueled sales while electronics remained solid. Clothing and jewelry aren’t selling. In addition to Wal-Mart’s woes, Macy’s is closing 11 stores which will put about 960 employees out of work. Here’s a list of the store closings.

From the wealthy to the middle class to the lower income, everyone is cutting back. It really sucks because I finally thought this would be the year we’d get to buy our first yacht. And by “yacht” I mean “boat” and by “boat” I mean “rubber ducky for the tub.”

Last month I was quoted in an article, “How do you tell your kids you need to downsize Christmas?” and it got a lot of national attention. Even Rush Limbaugh himself had to discuss it on his show. He read my quote and then made some backhanded comment about it. Shocking, right? You can read the transcripts here.

Anyway, I do think it’s okay to spoil your kids, even if times are tough. But I think the definition of “spoil” means certain things to certain people. I don’t spoil my kids as in letting them run around like crazy maniacs without rules or discipline or manners. That’s not what I’m talking about.

This year we skimped on our Christmas presents to make sure the kiddos got theirs first. And nobody got ridiculous, expensive, anti-functional gifts that would be enjoyable for all of 10 minutes. I found cute toys on sale at Marshall’s and Tuesday Morning. In reality, my children are small so they don’t notice if they got more or less gifts than usual. But they LOVE opening presents – just like most adults – so why not let them have fun? We bought just as many presents, but spent far less money. And before we brought one new toy into the house we donated a lot of toys and clothes to local charities.

I find it funny that everyone wants to chime in about topics like spoiling your children (and Jennifer Aniston v. Angelina). Even people who don’t have children of their own. Unless you have kids, I don’t think you can really understand what what it means to be a parent. How it feels in your heart. How it completely transforms your life, your soul and spirit. Even the most superficial, self-absorbed, shopaholic parent would make sacrifices. That’s what love is all about. Did we learn nothing from the movie Cliffhanger?

My answer to Rush is simple. Yes, it’s important to spoil your kids even if they don’t know they’re being spoiled. And yes, I do know what a real economic downturn is. Thanks for your concern.