“ONE DIRECTOR WANTED TO TAKE NUDE SHOTS OF MY STRIP SCENE FOR HIS ‘PERSONAL ARCHIVES’ AND ONE PRODUCER OFFERED TO PAY FOR ME TO HAVE A BOOB JOB.”
– MÄDCHEN AMICK
THE BEST PARTS OF MÄDCHEN AMICK’S IMPACTFUL AND CANDID DISCUSSION WITH ZAK BARNETT AND MARTHA GEHMAN.
In the wide-ranging Wonder Women of Hollywood event co-produced by ZBS Studios and Backstage and hosted by master acting teachers Zak Barnett and Martha Gehman, the Twin Peaks and Riverdale star discussed the boob job she did not get, the jobs she did not take and does not regret, how she still refuses to be anyone’s trophy and much more. Here are the bits we thought you shouldn’t miss.
ABOUT MÄDCHEN AMICK:
SHE WAS RAISED IN RENO, BUT THANKS TO DAVID LYNCH, MOST FANS BELIEVE SHE LIVED AS A BEAUTIFUL BUT TROUBLED WAITRESS NAMED “SHELLY JOHNSON” IN THE SMALL LOGGING TOWN OF TWIN PEAKS. SHE REPRISED HER MEMORABLE ROLE IN SHOWTIME’S RE-BOOT OF THE CULT SHOW, ALL WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY STARRING IN THE CWS RIVERDALE. SHE HAS ALSO APPEARED IN WITCHES OF EAST END, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, LONGMIRE, CALIFORNICATION, DAMAGES, GOSSIP GIRL, ER AND MAD MEN. HER FEATURE CREDITS INCLUDE DREAM LOVER, STEPHEN KING’S SLEEPWALKER’S; TRAPPED IN PARADISE, SCENES OF THE CRIME AND PRIEST.
While some actresses have resorted to hiding their age for fear of losing parts. MÄDCHEN AMICK, has had a unique experience of playing the same role within a twenty-year span of her actual life.
Martha: You portrayed the beautiful sex symbol temptress “Shelly Johnson” in David Lynch’s ground-breaking series Twin Peaks in 1990 and returned to play the beautiful sex symbol temptress / mother “Shelly Johnson” in the 2017 reboot of the cult TV show. How you feel being a sex symbol in your 20s, 30s and 40s?
MÄDCHEN: Is that true? Who do I pay? In my mind, I have always been a character actress trapped in a leading lady’s body. I never wanted to be that sex symbol.
On the Entertainment Hiring System:
MÄDCHEN: It is really amazing to discuss being unapologetic and brave and powerful and owning who you are, but we also must tackle who hires us. And the only way to change who hires us is to get more women and more diversity into the field of who hires us. So, we can be brave and we can embrace how old we are and how diverse we are – but you are still going to get that asshole behind the desk at the studio that wants the girl that he can fuck .That is fuckable. And we still need to fight that.
On Body Image:
MÄDCHEN: I came from Reno to LA at 16 and started auditioning. I was offered a big feature with Bob Hoskins and Denzel Washington and I was going for a part that was a prominent supporting character. The auditions went great and then the question came “Will you get a boob job” and I was like, why? “Well, because your character wears and bikini top through the whole film and we would really like you to have bigger breasts. But don’t worry about it – we’ll pay for it.” And I said, ‘you know what, I think that this role isn’t for me.’ And I declined it.
On the #Metoo Movement:
MÄDCHEN: With thirty years of experience in this business – I can share so many horror stories. And I have been hesitant to share them quite yet with the movement mainly because many of the men have been dealt with.
Her Personal Experiences & Shocking Stories:
I had a director offer to walk me to my hotel room for a nightcap, but when I refused – he did not speak to me for the rest of the film. But I am not going to be fearful.
I was cast in a part opposite William Hurt. The director took me to dinner and told I needed to be completely nude when filming my strip scenes. But I said, “this is a movie of the week, so you really don’t need to.” Laugh. And he said, ‘no, I need them for my personal archive.’ And I said, “Check please!” I went back to my hotel room and called my agent and manager and was on the next flight back home.
Has she turned down any roles because of harassment?
Yes. Have I regretted it? No. Because in doing that, I set a standard for myself. And I didn’t embrace being a trophy to anyone else.
Advice for women coming into the industry:
My advice to any female coming into the business, if you stand up for yourself you are going to miss out on some stuff, but I can tell you standing here 30 years later with the successes that I’ve had and I went for longevity and I went for integrity – and I am still fucking here.
On Aging in Hollywood:
I allowed myself to age on film. This is me and this is going to be me for years to come.
On her Activism:
I am a huge mental health advocate. Six years ago, my son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It was a hard time for us to go thought as a family but once we got to the other side of the crisis, I wanted to share it. I was alone without a pathway and I wanted to go to the highest mountain and share our experiences. 1 in 4 people will experience a mood disorder in their life – so we all have someone in our family or close circle of friends who are dealing with this.
Mädchen is an ambassador for the Glenn Close “Bring Change 2 Mind” organization that focuses on ending the stigma around mental illness.
Here is a link to an article that she wrote for Yahoo Parenting, a PSA she and her son, Sylvester Alexis, created, as well as a link to the BC2M website.
ZBS Video by Austin Heemstra
Photos by Austin Heemstra and Cullyn Doerfler
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