Anyone who's followed Ellen Barkin's off-camera journey or read her posts on Twitter knows that she's one of the most liberal members of Hollywood's elite. So some might be surprised by the role she's undertaking on "The New Normal."
The outspoken advocate for women's rights, the LGBT community, and Democratic principals recently signed on to play one of TV's most conservative characters -- Jane Forrest. The gun wielding, uber-right winger is as much a polar opposite from the real-life Barkin that anyone could find.
Ellen Barkin puts herself in Jane Forrest's shoesAs she discussed in a recent conference call interview, it's not her place to pick on Forrest's political views. Barkin conceded, "My job is to put myself in her shoes and find the truth in this woman. And I'm finding it easy to do that. And the way I'm doing it, if that's interesting at all, since I think my own personal politics are pretty clear, is by just flipping my own passion, and that's not hard. Certain actors start from themselves, and then you build outwards. And I'm finding that all I have to do is just flip things and there's my passion."
Clearly Barkin also has a level of respect for Forrest, who she staunchly defended, saying her character is not a bigot. Barkin noted of Jane, "She is informed. Now whether or not she's misinformed or not by the media that she's surrounded by, you'll see. But the point is she's not someone who doesn't read, and she's in no way an ignorant bigot. I take great offense at that. She's coming from her heart."
'The New Normal' asks, 'What makes a family?'"The New Normal" tackles a lot of emotional and sensitive issues. And at the heart of the show is a very profound question. What makes a family? Barkin credits "Glee" mastermind Ryan Murphy and his co-creator, Allison Adler, with tackling the sensitive subject gracefully. As she remarked, "They've done it with an enormous amount of love, sensitivity, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys."
Barkin believes that Jane will start to see the light about some of the trickier topics as the series unfolds. After all, the character is a great-grandmother and the first in a string of women who were unwed and gave birth in their teens. Clearly she's not leading what many consider a traditional family values structure herself.
"The New Normal" premieres on Tuesday, 9/11 at 9:30PM EST on NBC.
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