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In Plain Sight Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is the transcript of an Interview on August 2, 2011 with Mary McCormack and Frederick Weller about the USA Network show In Plain Sight.

In Plain Sight

Question:
Is Mary as dense as she seems about Marshall's feelings? Does Marshall think she's being dense?

Frederick Weller:
The answer is, no. Marshall thinks that Mary is afraid of her feelings and that she's got many layers of self defense over them.

Mary McCormack:
I agree with that.

Question:
Fred, in a DVD commentary you said that you and Mary argued over shooting a particular scene. What kind of things do you typically argue over?

Mary McCormack:
Do we argue, Fred? We've never had an argument while we're shooting a scene, did we?

Frederick Weller:
No, I think for the most part we are in accord. I think at some point you mentioned during a commentary some argument or other.

Question:
Matt Nix of Burn Notice has said that romantic leads getting together only kill off a show if their only relationship question poses will they hook up. So, what kind of questions do you think also plague Marshall and Mary?

Frederick Weller:
I don't think we'll ever plumb those depths entirely. I think if Mary and Marshall hooked up it would not exactly be a frictionless relationship, so that would cause drama. A hook up would have to be just a temporary think that gave rise to other issues.

Mary McCormack:
No idea. It's too big a question for me. I have no idea. I don't know, I'm not good at that. That's like a writer's question.

Question:
Mary, when is your baby due in real life?

Mary McCormack:
September 16.

Question:
What do you think will happen to your characters if we were to visit them five years from now?

Mary McCormack:
Oh my Lord, I don't know. I really don't know. I'm not very understanding today. I have no idea where I'd be.

Frederick Weller:
I don't know. We are probably still arguing.

Mary McCormack:
She's probably still in the same job. I imagine that's a job that's going to stick. She likes that job. Fred.

Frederick Weller:
Arguing about different stuff, probably be having hooked up and moved on to other people. Marshall's trying to keep her from making her child a total wreck.

Question:
What do you think the one thing that Mary and Marshall are going to take away from this year, besides a baby?

Mary McCormack:
In the Finale my sister's getting married, so you know it's Brandi so things don't always go according to plan. And so I think probably she'll use birth control from now on. She's learned about that in a real way. Let's see, she's learned AA seems to work, her mother's still sober, which is a miracle. What else has she learned? I mean, that Marshall's an even better friend that she thought, which is hard to believe because he's really stepped up with the whole pregnancy thing.

I think for Mary this season, I think one of the things that's been fun for me this seasons is that her family has sort of not been the mess ups that they've been traditionally. And so, she's sort of had to figure out who she was when she wasn't looking after them, you know? And I think that's been an interesting thing for Season 4 because for the first three seasons she's been like bitching about how she's the only adult in the family and she has to clean up their messes, and all of a sudden she's the hot mess. You know, she's the one who's knocked up and single and they're sort of getting on with their lives. So, that's been the fun thing for me this season, for me and the character.

Frederick Weller:
I think Marshall learned that while he thought that Mary's obstreperousness could not get any worse. He found out that there is no ceiling on it, having been with a pregnant Mary for a while. Look it up, obstreperousness, I'm talking to you, Mary.

Mary McCormack:
Show off. That's a show off. Honestly, it's unbelievable.

Question:
Fred, did you have to do an awful lot of research on all of these things regarding pregnancy, or did you know a lot of the things?

Frederick Weller:
I knew. We reference a book in the script called The Birth Partner, which is one of several that I was forced to read for my daughter's birth. You know my son, after you've had one you kind of feel like you know it, and then you forget everything. I won't say dealing with obstreperous or irrational pregnant ladies because sometimes my wife doesn't - she doesn't read my press, but sometimes somebody will point it out to her, so just being a birth partner that's all.

Question:
What do you feel about Brandi running away like that? I mean...

Mary McCormack:
Well, I loved it I thought it was such a great. I thought it was so great because it's just, you know Nichole's so good at playing that stuff too, and I thought she did a great job in the scene. And yeah, like people say it's hard to escape your nature, so I think that was a really nice scene. I love it.

Question:
It looks like that you might be heading towards keeping the baby. How do you feel about that if it goes there?

Mary McCormack:
If. Well, it both ways both ways are dramatic. I don't actually know what they're going to do at this stage, I really don't. But, I do know that I'm sort of excited to play it either way. I mean, I think giving a baby up for adoption would be incredible, in terms of sort of dramatic stories, and the keeping it obviously has crazy sort of opportunities for her, the thought of her raising a child sounds fun also.

Question:
How difficult is it for you to play somebody who's so totally opposite from you?

Mary McCormack:
No she's so similar to me in other ways that I think it's easy. I mean, unfortunately I am very grouchy and judgmental and opinionated and I am. So, it's not hard to sort of extend that to children for me.

Question:
What's your secret for staying with your husband?

Mary McCormack:
He's a great person, yeah he's a great person. I'm pretty lucky to be married to him. So, I think the question should be directed to Michael. What's his secret for staying with me? He's the better player on this team. I mean, I think even Fred would agree.

Frederick Weller:
No comment.

Mary McCormack:
I'm lucky to have him. I am lucky. He's a saint. He puts up with a lot.

Question:
Fred, given that Marshall saved Mary during that shootout, do you think there's any possibility that he is ever going to realize what his true feelings are for Mary in the show?

Frederick Weller:
I don't think Marshall is in denial about his true feelings for Mary at all. I think she probably knows too. I think he thinks that she reciprocates those feelings as much as she can. Fred doesn't know if Mary McCormack agrees.

Mary McCormack:
No, I agree with that. I think Mary Shannon is able to compartmentalize in an unhealthy way and push things out of the front of her brain and push them to the back of her brain for comfort and ease, so survival. But, I think deep down she's sort of is aware of stuff, but she's able to sort of just push it away and make noise and fill her life with other things that are easier, simpler.

Question:
Mary, how uncomfortable have you been going to work as a pregnant woman in real life?

Mary McCormack:
You know, it was not easy, I've got to say. I think I'm pretty tough and I thought it would be easier than it was. It was really hard. I'm old too. I forget how this pregnancy game is sort of a young girl's game, so I'm a little out of my league. Yeah. It's all right. It's a small price to pay. I mean, it was a lesson in humility watching the episodes now. I'm like, ???Wow, that's a big back.??? But you know, you get on with it.

Question:
Mary and Fred, when you found out they were going to write your pregnancy into the show, were you kind of hoping that Marshall would be written as the father?

Mary McCormack:
No, I wasn't.

Frederick Weller:
No.

Mary McCormack:
It seems that we'd missed so many fun steps if that were the case. I was already really pregnant when we made that decision, so it had to be someone. I think if it had been Marshall we would have skipped so many steps and I think the audience would have felt robbed.

Frederick Weller:
Yeah, we'd have to hook up episode two or three of the season, and then what?

Mary McCormack:
And that hadn't happened. Timing wise that couldn't have worked anyway, but I just think it would have accelerated something that's sort of fun to draw out.

Frederick Weller:
I think that Mary and Marshall should and will hook up at some point, but it's a little bit like the Escape from Gilligan's Island. I mean, what comes after it is going to be tricky.

Mary McCormack:
Yeah, that's true. That's a good reference as well.

Frederick Weller:
Cheers. I mean, it was before my time, obviously.

Mary McCormack:
Oh, yeah. Yeah, right.

Question:
Fred, you spew out so many interesting details on this show, what have you learned?

Frederick Weller:
No, some of it's me. Like the fact that there's a layer of porcelain and conk shells is me, but anything medical science involving giving myself a tracheotomy, or whatever that was on Season 1, that's something I'm Googling right then and there. And I did learn a few terms that I remember for a few days, but it's gone now.

Mary McCormack:
Fred's a big reader. A lot of the times the literary quotes and stuff is your ideas.

Frederick Weller:
Yeah, like the humanity stuff, the literature stuff, yeah.

Mary McCormack:
The writers are really sweet about being collaborative and Fred will often say, and you know we had different showrunners come through, so they're very trusting and smartly. I think they're very trusting of Fred's sense of Marshall because Fred and I talk about this a lot, but it's sort of a tightrope, his character.

Frederick Weller:
No, he's can't go to that cliche. I mean, he's a complicated guy. He's very curious and he's interested in everything.

Mary McCormack:
Right. If Fred has an idea, like I think he would have read a lot of this guy or if he has a better idea for a line they're really collaborative, which I think is great.

Question:
Can you both talk about Mary's pregnancy did for the show and the characters?

Mary McCormack:
Oh I mean, when I knew I was pregnant. Obviously, I got pregnant sort of right before I showed up for the season, but I couldn't really tell anyone. I told Fred of course right away, but I didn't tell anyone else because I was afraid at my age, you're it's obviously really risky. And so, when I told the President of the Network and then the showrunners, we told the showrunners together, it was further along and we had to make a decision fast about what we were going to do. And Jeff Wachtel, who I think is really - has such a keen sense of story and drama, he's the President of USA, he sort of said, ???You know, this is, in a weird way,??? I mean we discussed first my wishes and whether I was willing to write it in, and I was.

And then, we started talking about the pros and cons story-wise and character-wise, and he was sort of excited about it as long as I was comfortable with it. He was excited about the opportunities that it would create for Season 4, because I think shows have his point was line in Season 4 he looks to - he looks for showrunners or he looks for the creator to shake things up, because otherwise things can get pretty stale. So, it timed out that it was a nice moment for something really big to happen.

So we all decided to do it, and then we had to move fast, story-wise. I think the writers had a ten-day hiatus already scheduled, which worked out great, because they rewrote a bunch of stories and came up with Mark being the father of the baby and what it would mean, and how it would change the shape of the season, so they had to work really fast and they did a great job.

Question:
Mary, I wanted to know in what ways have the storylines been a challenge for you in terms of your own views of motherhood?

Mary McCormack:
I don't find it very challenging to her point of view on kids. Even though I love having kids and it's the one thing in my life I always knew I wanted to do was be a mother. And I mean, so I'm different than she is that way, but I relate to her I think so easily in so many other ways that it doesn't feel like a leap for me. It just doesn't feel like a leap for me. I sort of feel so comfortable playing her and I know exactly what her - you know, even David Maples when he created the show, I think in the second episode you have me looking at newborn and going, ???What's with babies????

o from the start I've always known her point of view. She just doesn't like kids. She doesn't see the upside, you know? So, it's been very clear for me and I've tried to sort of touch on that at least once a season throughout. So, this is a perfect character development for Season 4 because she's just the least maternal person in the world, so for her to be faced with this thing growing inside of her is excellent.

Question:
Fred. What are you looking forward to with Marshall in the future? What would you like to see him do or get into?

Frederick Weller:
I'd like to see him get into some kind of romantic relationship with Mary, but not something that's too cozy or long lived. I just feel like it's got to happen at some point.

Question:
Without the danger of the Gilligan's Island theme?

Frederick Weller:
Yes, I don't want to jump to shark. I mean, I think that the more drama would ensue as a result of that. I don't think that they would - they're certainly not going to start getting along better than they do now, which is pretty questionable already, you know what I mean? And there's plenty of room for conflict and trouble.

Question:
Fred, aside from Mary can you tell us about another In Plain Sight cast member who you really enjoy working with and who really inspired you this season?

Frederick Weller:
In terms of regulars I think Mary will agree with Paul Ben-Victor is just astonishing to watch. He's a great actor and he's just really lovable funny and he's amazing. In terms of guests, I like Maury Sterling who made a second appearance, I think based on the quality of his first appearance, right Mary?

Mary McCormack:
I think it was planned all along to have that. Character come back, but I think he came back in a much bigger way, because Maury was so good, you know? And actually, I mean, I've heard rumblings of maybe he surfaces again just because everyone enjoyed him so much, so who knows.

Frederick Weller:
He's funny. And then Bryan Callen's great too.

Question:
Mary, just in general how do you think of the average woman watching In Plain Sight this season can relate to your character, and in what ways do you think that she's an inspiration to women?

Mary McCormack:
I think part of the reasons she's always been appealing to women is that women know the truth. We are grouchier and meaner and more judgmental than I think we've been allowed to be that we've been portrayed over the years. It's like even the success of bridesmaids, I think women know we're gross and angry. I think it's just sort of been our secret for a long time, so it makes sense that there's something cathartic watching a woman say what she's feels and be ambitious and angry and sort of grouchy once in a while, because I think you know we are that way.

Question:
Have you started Season 5 yet?

Mary McCormack:
No, no.

Frederick Weller:
No.

Mary McCormack:
I'm not sure when we're starting yet. We don't really even know anything yet. We're sort of just been promoting the Finale.

Question:
Going back to something you said a little bit ago, so was the character of Mark, then that whole relationship had already been in place before you got pregnant in real life?

Mary McCormack:
I know the story was planned and he was definitely coming back and we were probably going to hook up, but it work out timing-wise that when I told everybody that I was pregnant we were like, ???Geez, Louise, who could it be? Is it Faber's? Is it,??? and then we thought like, ???Oh, no timing-wise maybe it works out perfect if it's Mark's,??? so it worked out great. I think it worked out even just story-wise because it sort of a pure accident.

There was nothing really deeper and with Faber it might have been sort of confusing. He had that wife and kids and it was the whole thing. It just would have opened up a whole other set of really dramatic stories, whereas with Mark it was like, ???Oh,??? you know, it's one of those things that happens in life that you just go, ???Oh, my Lord.??? You know, it was lighter.

Question:
Fred, going by the characters I'm kind of surprised Mary didn't on the show, but when she was pregnant does she like boss you guys around and make you get stuff or does she not make your life miserable?

Frederick Weller:
No. Interestingly, while I made a comment earlier that Marshall was surprised to see that Mary Shannon was capable of getting even more obstreperous than she already was, I find that Mary McCormack is maxed out on that front. So, she really can't get anymore abrasive.

Mary McCormack:
That's it. Even pregnancy doesn't make it worse.

Frederick Weller:
It's redlined. Yeah, it's redlining.

Question:
What's something for both of you that people would be surprised to know about you?

Mary McCormack:
I can palm a basketball. Not for long, but I can palm one. I have like drag queen hands. Yeah, but people thought it was a stunt on the show. I can actually do it.

Question:
Has there been any deleted scenes that you guys would have like to have seen stayed in the show?

Mary McCormack:
Sometimes once in a while I'll go, ???Oh, shame that scene's gone.??? But now in the moment I can't think of any, so obviously nothing that was so upsetting that it stuck with me.

Frederick Weller:
I think we have lines that we'd like to see in the show; lines that get cut from the script even occasionally, or stuff that we add-lib on the on the set that doesn't line up.

Question:
Fred, since Marshall's not in denial about his feelings, how do you think he justifies his relationship with Abigail with himself?

Frederick Weller:
I think he's sort of licking his wounds with her a little bit. I mean, he likes her. I think he's surprised that he likes her. They get along. They have fun times. But, I think he knows there's something missing. I don't think he's always aware of it, but I think he's a romantic at heart and I feel like he's got this undeniable longing for Mary and I think that it's always lurking there. But, he's got to move on and he's got needs, afterall, so - for companionship and so forth.

Mary McCormack:
Don't say needs.

Frederick Weller:
Needs, don't say needs?

Mary McCormack:
I'll throw up. Oh, my God, I'm going to throw up.

Question:
Do you think he feels like it's unfair to Abigail on a certain level?

Frederick Weller:
Yeah. Yeah, I think probably so, yeah. But, she's young.

Mary McCormack:
She's young.

Frederick Weller:
Yeah, sure. It's complicated. It's messy.

Question:
Mary, do you know the sex of the baby?

Mary McCormack:
I don't know the gender. No, I don't know the sex.

Question:
Have you picked out names for a boy and a girl?

Mary McCormack:
We haven't. We are in denial. I don't know why we haven't. We just haven't. It's no good, but we have to.

Question:
Do you have a favorite name that you might want to spring on your husband?

Mary McCormack:
No. No, we haven't actually talked about names. We need to do it. We need to deal with it. We're in a bit of denial about the baby.

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