Nancy Travis on 'Desperate Housewives,' Motherhood and Her New TV Movie

Filed under: Celeb News & Interviews

Nancy Travis photo

Nancy Travis is starring in NBC's "A Walk in My Shoes." Credit: Angela Weiss, Getty Images

Nancy Travis
loves getting into character.

From her roles in the movies "Internal Affairs," and "Three Men and a Baby" to her recent appearance on ABC's "Desperate Housewives," the actress isn't afraid to switch things up.

For her next gig, Travis will star in the NBC movie, "A Walk In My Shoes," airing Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. EST, a project she says she is proud to be a part of.

ParentDish caught up with the mother of two to find out which of her on-screen personas she most resembles. An edited version of the interview follows.

ParentDish: Since I am a fan of "Desperate Housewives," I must say, welcome to Wisteria Lane.
Nancy Travis: I had such a good time doing that. It was a fun show. I loved it, too, and it was a great part and a great departure.

PD: So, your stint as Dr. Mary Wagner is over?
NT: I think so, but, hey, you never know since all of the scripts are kept under wraps and none of the actors can see them.

PD: Dr. Wager is a bit off her rocker.
NT: She is a bit unorthodox, I will say that.

PD: On the show, you are in the midst of a divorce with actor John Schneider, and, as a bonus, you get to be the mom to Brian Austin Green. How cool is that?
NT: It was fun. It was good. I felt a tad young to be a mom to a grown child since my own kids are 13 and 9.

PD: Your character is a very overprotective mom. Are you the same way when it comes to your sons Benjamin and Jeremy?
NT: No, I wouldn't say that.

PD: I loved the restaurant scene where you got to take down Bree, Marcia Cross' character, after you learned she was dating your TV son.
NT: Yeah, that was fun. I got to be a little tipsy. It was good.

PD: In real life, would you let a cougar date your boys?
NT: They will not if I have anything to say about it. (Laughs.)

PD: Speaking of housewives, in real life you are married with children.
NT: I am.

PD: In the world of Hollywood, where marriages come and go so quickly, how have you and husband, Robert Fried (married since 1994), managed to defy the odds?
NT: You should walk in my shoes. (Laughs.) No, seriously, it is wonderful and you make choices to balance your life to make it work.

PD: Playing a mom is nothing new for you. In "Three Men and a Baby," you played Sylvia, a struggling single mom with a newborn. Are you anything like Dr. Wagner or Sylvia?
NT: (Laughs.) You have to ask my family about that. I always try to step in and play a part that is created by someone else and then I put my own flair to it with a dash of my own life experiences.

PD: So motherhood is what?
NT: A crapshoot. We are learning as we go, aren't we?

PD: How do you juggle motherhood when you have to be on location somewhere for a movie or TV show?
NT: It take a village, is all I can say. It is not easy. As a matter of fact, it is never easy and I take that into consideration with every job that comes up. It is interesting, as my kids age I find that they need me more so I try not to be that far away or try to be out of contact.

PD: For your next project, you're starring in the TV movie "A Walk In My Shoes." Tell me about this film and why you got involved.
NT: I think I was fascinated by the idea of being magically able to become someone else and then getting a bird's eye view of your own life while being able to experience somebody else's.

PD: Tell me about your character, Trish Fahey.
NT: I play a mom who is always in a rush and is not really focusing on things because she is going through the motions. Then I have this touched by an angel experience with a woman who is having a hard time, and it is that experience that makes me look at my kids and do things differently going forward.

PD: In the film, Trish can't understand her students' lack of effort to reach their fullest potential and why their parents don't seem to care. Do you feel this is true in real life because parents are working longer hours and seem to be attached to a handheld device?
NT: That is an interesting question. I think there is a lot going on, but I think it actually might be the opposite. I think parents are very involved with their kids to the point of almost micromanaging and not seeing what their kids want to be. I feel there is no relaxation anymore, no downtime.

PD: After your character walks in another mother's shoes, she discovers there is often more to the story that what we see on the surface. Is this supposed to teach viewers a lesson?
NT: I hope so. I think that anything you can watch and brings about discussion or gets you to reflect on something is worth while. I think we have to look outside of ourselves because we live in sheltered worlds and see there are people out there we can help.

PD: The holidays are upon us. Do you and your family have any fun traditions you enjoy taking part in?
NT: Well, we celebrate Hanukkah ... and we will join friends to exchange gifts. Then there is Christmas, which we also celebrate with my dad.

PD: What's on your kids' holiday wish list?
NT: Go on Anything with sports is up their alley.


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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.