It's no secret that Jane Seymour is one Hollywood's most iconic and dynamic actors, and tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT, she'll star in Hallmark Channel's highly anticipated premiere of Perfectly Prudence.
Filmed almost entirely at a Grand Rapids-area home once owned by the co-founder of Amway, Seymour plays a British Martha Stewart type asked to make changes to her successful television show. Naturally, she's resistant to the idea and concocts a plan to keep her show "a good thing."
The movie is a sequel to her highly rated 2008 Hallmark Channel Original Movie, Dear Prudence.
Real-life husband James Keach and daughter Katie Flynn co-star alongside Seymour, as does her former Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman flame, Joe Lando, giving the movie a uniquely intimate feel.
She was kind enough to join me for a second interview (read the first interview here) to talk about Mackinaw Island, a real-life romance with Joe Lando, and how she finds balance in her busy family life.
Your blog has really come alive overnight! How did you come up with the idea to answer fan questions via video?
It was really cool. We emailed people we knew that had web sites dedicated to us in different ways, and we just said if any of the fans had any questions for Joe and I then this was their opportunity.
We got all these wonderful questions, so what we did was sit down together in front of the Christmas tree and this is our gift to the fans.
The thing that occurred to me was that Joe and I in this setting is really good! He's looser and better than he's ever been on anything! So I laughingly said to Joe, 'What happens if we end up doing a talk show?'
I mean, we're kind of like Regis and Kelly.
Agreed! Joe was very relaxed, which is very unlike Joe.
Very unlike Joe. He's notoriously uncomfortable doing any of those things or even having his photograph taken, and he loved doing this and he said he's keen on it, he enjoyed it.
Did your son Sean Flynn film the videos?
He did! He's a filmmaker and I thought he made us look rather good.
He's a professional. He's hoping to direct a movie fairly soon, but he's filmed things for me for Kay Jewelers and things that are on the web site. He shoots for other people obviously, he gets hired, but he's a great photographer, too. He's now showing in three galleries.
You have four children all involved in something fantastic, yes?
There's a step-daughter Jenni Flynn that I've known since birth so I call her my daughter. She's a year older than Katie and she works in a major fashion business n branding and marketing.
I think she saw me doing design and decided it was cool. She helped me design some t-shirts for the rock band PT5, which is my son's rock band.
It's all in the family with you Jane.
It is all in the family. And then of course, Kris is all about the sports, and he likes hop hop and DJing, and he plays three or four instruments, but Johnny wont let him in his band because Johnny's band is Johnny's.
Kris' life is Kris'. But I did see them playing acoustic guitar together the other day and it was really cool. They were in the kitchen, and there's guitars all over the house, you have to undersand, this house is all about music. Everywhere you go there's a piano or a guitar, or a harmonica somewhere.
Are you musically inclined?
I was. A long time ago I used to play classical guitar, the violin, piano and I sang madrigals and learned some opera. I don't sing anymore because I damaged my vocal chords when I played Maria Callas, but I won the Emmy so there you go.
A fair trade off?
Yes. I'm musical enough that I can hear and listen and know when it's right and when it isn't, and appreciate it on a level as someone that used to play.
I took piano lessons and had a piano teacher that would hit my knuckles when I hadn't practiced enough, and I begged to get away from the piano, and then I got into the violin, and then I became a teenager so getting callouses on my fingers was not really high on my list of things I wanted to do. That's what happened to the guitar as well.
I used to be a classically trained competitive pianist, but I also don't play anymore.
Perhaps when my kids are older I can get them started with lessons and get back into it.
I'll tell you a trick.
Getting a teacher that teaches them what they want to play is key, so we told our piano teacher, if they want to play Star Wars, if they want to play Rag Time, if they want to play something they hear on the radio, teach them how to play that. And once you've got them doing that, then it's cool. Then they play the other stuff as well.
Playing Prudence again… was it difficult to get back into the mindset considering the storyline was a little bit different than it was the first time?
It's the same character. The same woman. So playing Prudence, I'd already created who that charcter was, and it was the same director and the same writer, so I found it very easy, and great fun.
And it was particularly fun because I was playing mother/daughter scenes with my real daughter, and I was playing love scenes and engaging in bantering argumetns with Joe Lando who I've spent seven years acting with, and we actually even dated at one point. I don't think people are aware of that.
The secret's out!
Oh yeah. We went out together when we did the the Dr. Quinn pilot. It was a crazy rainstorm that happened and we were flooded out of the location, and then somehow or other, we definitely had feelings for one another, and we were definitely single at the time, and we definitely became an item for a while.
Well, we were together long enough to know what we're missing, and long enough to know why we're married to who we're married to.
I think the unique part about it is that his wife and I are very good friends. He and James are really close, and all our families, his boys and my boys, it's a wonderful relationship we all have. We're really close and we have a lot of miles under our belts. We've been through a lot, through thick and thin together, and I think that's why that blog is so special. Joe and I really get along well.
The chemisty between both of you really shines through.
It's so rare. You can't make that happen. It either happens or it doesn't. It happened with me and Christopher Reeve, and it definitely happened with me and Joe Lando, and I think the producers and director of Perfectly Prudence saw that chemistry. Not just on screen but saw us socially at the house ,and that's where they got the idea for Perfectly Prudence. They said, 'We need to unite Jane and Joe.'
It was also Joe's wife's idea. She said to Joe, 'You've made lots of movies without Jane, but you're by far hotter when you're with her.'
We've been looking for a vehicle and didn't really find anything, or anyone that wanted to something with the two of us, but now we did and we've been told that if it does well we'll do another.
That would be fantastic!
That's why we're drumming up as much interest as we can.
It occurred to me that instead of writing something and putting a couple of stills up, that we're filmmakers around here, I have a son that's perfectly capable of pointing a camera at me, so I'm thinking of doing this and talking about other things in the future with other people because I just think it's cool. It's like I have my own Perfectly Prudence talk show.
You should, especially considering the positive response
you had on your blog.
If the fans like it I will, and they can come up with ideas of who they'd like me to talk to.
In the meantime, you can continue to get Joe to let his guard down a little bit.
I know! I'm so thrilled by that.
I've never understood why he gets nervous. He's an amazing guy, he's fun and funny. But, if I'm the one who can loosen him up, then I'll do it.
I invited your Facebook fans to ask you a question, and unanimously, they wanted to know what it was like to slap Joe.
Actually, Joe wanted me to slap him for real.
And did you?
Yes, I did. I mean, there's a fake slap you can do in movies, but he actually wanted me to slap him. He's mister He-Man… I guess he likes to be slapped. In movies anyway.
Well that answered that!
Since we made the movie in something like twelve days, we didn't do that many takes, so everything you see was done in one or two takes. It was done very quickly.
Genuine slap. Genuine kiss.
Was this your first time working with James, Katie and Joe all at once?
Katie wrote and starred in Quitters, so she wrote that for me, so she was in charge and I was just showing up. I believe she's written a pilot now for a proper series based on Quitters. I'm looking forward to reading it. She's a fantastic writer, especially in comedy.
She was on Dr. Quinn once but I was not in the scene, and she was in The Revolution, in which she plays Marie Antoinette's daughter when I was Marie Antoinette. Sean was a little four year old at the time, and he was in that. She was seven.
What I might do, if the fans are interested, is find some photographs and share them on the blog. I've got candids. I'll put those up.
James and I have worked together consistently since we met. I'm not in his newest film, I'm just a producer for that, which I think is one of the best things he's ever done, but we've acted together in a number of things. We were in Dr. Quinn together.
I did not and he did not ask to be in Prudence. That was something that the diector decided. I asked him why James, and he said, 'It's really hard to find actor's in his age group, who have the kind of character to pull off playing a mogul.'
There are actors his age, but not too many that can play the business magnate. Since James does all our business for us, I think he knows how to play that role rather well.
He is the mogul.
He lives it.
His nickname is Mogey Bear.
When he puts his business hat on anyway, which is pretty much every day.
After working with different family members, is it difficult to separate yourselves when you have down time or is it a seamless balance?
We just rehearse with one another, and then we play it, and when we play it, we're all in very professional mode, and the rest of the time we're just being family. We just flip the switch literally.
How did you like filming in Michigan again?
Grand Rapids was so beautiful! We had no idea. When we heard that we were shooting there, we kind of went, 'Oh… is that Detriot?'
I arrived right after Joe and we both looked around and went, 'Oh my God, this is such a beautiful place.' And we went out for dinner and we're walking around, and there's people fly fishing right outside the hotel, there was live music on every street corner, beautiful restaurants everywhere, people buzzing around. It was just a wonderful place. The weekend before we left, they had their art competition.
We checked that out a bit when heading to the set. It looked fantastic!
It was fantastic. We loved it so much in fact that Joe on one day, on our day off, wanted to go and look at real estate. I think he just wanted to see what he could get there that he couldn't buy in California.
I'd hear that you and the cast made a trip to Mackinaw Island as well. That must have been very nostalgic for you.
That was the other really fun thing that we did while we were there. Katie's boyfriend showed up to visit, and she'd always wanted to go to Mackinaw island, and she said 'Mom, we're in Michigan, why don't we just go viist Mackinaw island?'
I said, 'Because it's almost impossible to get to.'
Especially from Grand Rapids unless you have a private plane. Then at the last minute I thought I'd splurge for a private plane and see how much it is anyway, and the rest of the cast really wanted to go, too since they'd never been. So I called up the hotel and asked how do I go about doing it, and to my great surprise and thrill, Mr. Musser of the Grand Hotel sent his plane.
There were so many of us, then sent two planes and we spent the day at the Grand Hotel and took millions of photographs and did everything we could possibly do in one day. We did a signing for fans that happened to be there, and hundreds and hundreds of people showed up. Katie and her boyfriend loved it so much that they asked if they could come back to the 30th Anniverary, which was the Somewhere in Time weekend that they do. And they came there, and were all dressed up and they pretended tobe me and Christopher Reeve.
We found a suit for Katie's boyfriend that was just like Chris', and he wore the real waistcoast that Chris had given me. We found things in my closet that fit the bill for Katie, and they had the best time.
What can we expect form you in the coming year? What will you be working on?
Well, I've got a lot of films in the can.
The film that we produced, Waiting for Forever, that is an incredible movie, it's a great, great movie and I'm so proud of it. My husband directed and his co-producer did Groundhog Day.
It stars Tom Sturridge, who just made a movie with the girl from Twilight, Kristen Stewart, and happens to also be best friends with Robbie Pattison. They'd been living in the same apartment for I don't know how long. They're old friends.
Sounds like the Twilighters will be intereted in that movie, then.
Yes! And I also did a movie called Love, Wedding, Marriage, which starred me, James Brolin, Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz and Jessica Star.
I just talked to Mandy Moore a little!
She's wonderful. She played my daughter, Jim Brolin played my husband, and this is the second movie I've done with Jim Brolin. It's going to be a great movie. It's a romantic comedy.
I also did a movie with Adam Duritz called Freeloaders. I have another movie in the can called The Lake Effect, which I shot straight after Prudence. It was shot in, again another place I'd never head of, called Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, and it was just beautiful.
After Prudence is out I'll start posting some stuff about that. It was just spectacular. Jeff Fahey who was in Lost, he's in it, so it's a terrific movie, too.
How do you do it all Jane?
It's kind of hard. I'm actually going to be perfoming live in Hollywood on Feb. 4, 5 and 6. I'm doing Ballroom With A Twist, and I'm doing two new ballroom dances with Jonathan Roberts.
There's a bunch of other people from Dancing With The Stars of course, and American Idol, and people from So You Think you can Dance. I will be the guest host for that weekend.
The good news is that I'm now getting back in shape.
I don't know how you find the time to do it all Jane, but I'm glad you do.
Well, I've been covered in oil paint recently. I had some commissions that were due for Christmas, and then Jonathan and I have been practicing, but there's a little break now, and then of course we have our Open Hearts Foundation and we've got our first major event on Feb. 19. We're doing it at our home. We haven't announced yet who will be honored, but it will be some big names.
We support charities and organizations that really make a difference. That really open your hearts and have gone through adversity and have come out helping others.
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.