Friday, October 19, 2012

INTERVIEW: Kellie Martin Enters New Territory

Kellie Martin as Capt. Nicole Galassin
(Photo courtesy Lifetime Television/
Army Wives)
Hot on the heels of the news that Lifetime Television has renewed the groundbreaking series “Army Wives” for a seventh season, I spoke with series co-star Kellie Martin, who played a pivotal and game-changing role this season. Kellie plays Capt. Nicole Galassin, and although we last saw Capt. Galassin flying to Afghanistan and hitting some bad turbulence, I wouldn’t count her out just yet. And neither would Kellie.

Daytime Dial: Your role on “Army Wives” is definitely one your fans haven’t seen you play yet. How did the whole thing come about?

Kellie Martin: A friend of mine, a writer friend from “ER,” called me up and said: “Would you be open to playing a lesbian military intelligence officer? We’re going to explore the world after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And I thought: “Yeah! That sounds really interesting.” I have never played anyone in the military; I’ve never played a lesbian. That’s rare for me to say, since I’ve been doing this 30 years — I’ve played everything. But that is something I’ve never played.

I didn’t know that it was going to be as much of a story line as it turned out to be. I did eight episodes. I really feel like they hit the highlights of this woman’s life and how fast this couple’s world changed after the repeal. The way all of a sudden they were able to have more friends, they got married, they got a baby — it really hit all the high points.

DD: You sound like you really enjoyed playing this character.

KM: Oh yes, I was honored to play this woman. I thought she was so brave and so smart, yet in her personal life, she had to hide. It was really fun to play someone who comes out. And then to have Patti LuPone play my mom again was awesome. That’s the third time Patti’s played my mom on television. And it was just an honor.

I have so many people who tweet at me or who just come up to me and say, “You don’t know how this story line has changed my life.” Or, “This is me. This is exactly me. And I’ve been in the closet for years, and I’m in the Navy.” It’s nice to make people feel like they are not alone in this often-challenging world. I feel like Capt. Galassin is the girl next door. Everybody knows someone like her. I’m just very proud of “Army Wives” and Lifetime for following through with the story line like they did.

DD: Like with “ER,” you came onto an established show with established actors in place; did it make you a little nervous? How is the “Army Wives” cast to work with?

KM: It’s funny, because they’re both pretty big ensembles. I found on “ER” and on “Army Wives,” if you weren’t a part of someone else’s story line, you never saw them. The cast was very welcoming, and I was super nervous the first day. I had a ton of things to say. I had to put that uniform on for the first time, and I just fell into the character the second I put it on. So, that was a really big help to me. But the cast is lovely. I had a really, really good time. It wasn’t easy for me to be away on location so much. I was flying way more than I care to mention, because I don’t like to fly, but it was a really good experience.

DD: Do you think Nicole will be back for the seventh season?

KM: I don’t know if Nicole’s back. She was on a plane to Afghanistan at the end of the season, and there was a lot of turbulence …

DD: Yes, but turbulence can go away, and planes can go back the other way, too …

KM: Absolutely! I had a great time, and I never, ever know where my career’s going to head, so it’s always interesting for me to see what happens.

Kellie as Jordan
(Photo: Copyright 2011 Crown Media Holdings, Inc./
Photographer: Alexx Henry)
DD: You are in the new Hallmark Channel original movie called “I Married Who?” playing an uptight real estate agent, Jordan Grady, who goes to Las Vegas for her bachelorette party and wakes up after a night of celebrating to find she’s married to movie star Matt Swift (played by Ethan Erickson). Let’s just say that romantic comedy ensues. (“I Married Who?” premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9/8c.) You’ve done quite a few movies for the Hallmark Channel; what keeps you coming back?

KM: I’ve been working with them since 2003 or 2004, and I’ve really just gotten to love the people over there. I knew the CEO when he wasn’t the CEO, and all the publicity people who’ve been there since I started working with them. It’s really the people who keep me coming back. They just are very good to me, and they let me have a bit of input into the work we do, which I really appreciate.

I really have liked doing romantic comedies — the past two movies that I’ve done for them have been really fun, upbeat and, best of all, I don’t have to cry. I love that, because I’ve spent so much time doing drama that this is a really nice way to lighten things up for me.

DD: What was it about this particular movie, especially the character of Jordan, that caught your attention?

KM: I love the arc she goes through. Jordan starts out as a very tightly wound real estate agent about to get married to a very tightly wound attorney. She has to face who she really is beyond being type A and totally under control. She unravels a bit, and it was really fun to play a character who was unraveling.

DD: How are you and Jordan alike?

KM: Well, unlike Jordan I like to drink. Jordan doesn’t drink. I’m Irish, and I do enjoy a good drink. I did marry an attorney, but unlike Peter (in the movie), my husband is a recovering attorney. Eight months after our daughter was born, he said: “You know what? I don’t think I want to do this anymore. I don’t really like this.” I do like to be in control. I like to know what’s going on. I like routines, especially having a child. I love the ritual, routine nature of a day, because my daughter has a very strict schedule. We have a very rigid schedule, and that’s very much like Jordan.

DD: You had great chemistry with your co-stars, but I especially loved your scenes with Adrienne Frantz. Her character is hilarious, and she did such a great job!

KM: Can you tell we had fun? She’s so much fun.

L to R: Daphnee Duplaix, Adrienne Frantz and Kellie Martin (Photo: Copyright 2011 Crown Media
Holdings, Inc./Photographer: Alexx Henry)
DD: How did you get through takes without laughing through them?

KM: I frequently didn’t. There’s one scene I could see how they had to cut around our giggling. When we’re eating pizza, and Adrianne and I are hysterically laughing, and they had to find the little moments where we weren’t laughing because we were total goofballs. But it’s so nice to work with someone like her because she is a pro. She’s so much a pro that she can let loose, and you can allow for those little surprises to happen. It’s just lovely to be in a scene with someone who’s so good at what they do that we know we are going to say our lines and hit our marks, but we’re going to have fun and allow surprises to happen. And that’s what we did. I would love to do a series with that girl. We would have so much fun.

DD: What do you hope viewers take away from the movie after watching it?

KM: I really think it’s good to shake up your life every once in a while. I’m not saying to marry someone who’s not your fiance, but I think it’s good to step back every once in a while and get perspective on your life. Maybe step back and say: “You know what? Let’s do something crazy. Let’s go to Paris next summer,” or “Let’s take off school today and go to the park.

Just shake up your life every once in a while and realize you only live once.