Jennifer Love Hewitt is coming back to television and joining the cast of the Fox drama 9-1-1. She’ll play Maddie, Buck (Oliver Stark)’s older sister who joins the team. You can see her on the season premiere of 9-1-1 Sunday, September 23, at 8pm ET/PT on Fox.
Fox had a TCA panel for the second season of 9-1-1 to introduce Hewitt along with the rest of the cast. Hewitt was happy to stay after to talk with reporters, and happy to be back at work after taking time off to have her second child.
Is one-hour drama where you feel comfortable? Does it feel like home?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “I always end up there. I’ve tried a million times to go do a half-hour comedy or something and I always end up on a drama again, so apparently it’s my home, yeah.”
Who is Maddie?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “You know, I can’t tell you much more about her because I actually don’t know much about her yet. I’ve only done two episodes of the show, so I don’t know much more about her. I just know that she has been in a very tumultuous, abusive relationship, kind of came to her brother for the first time to really tell the truth and be open about where she is. She’s really finding herself as a 911 operator but she’s also hiding out as a 911 operator. So, I think we’ll learn more about that as the season goes on.”
What is her relationship with her brother?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “Their relationship is great. It’s a lot like Oliver and I. We love to give each other trouble. The love is there and the kindness is there and I think it’s hard for Buck to not want to just go and protect her. But I think she’s his older sister and it’s a little bit like, ‘Just find me a safe place and we’ll deal with the rest of it later.'”
Did you prep with some nurses to find out what makes them tick?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “I didn’t have a lot of time. They contacted me and I was like scrubbing like poop off the floor from my kid and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going back to work? Okay, great.’ So I didn’t have a lot of time, so I’m looking forward to actually meeting some actual 911 operators. But I’ve just been thrust back into it, so I haven’t had time to do that yet.”
Coming back from a mom hiatus, did you have any mom guilt feelings?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “Oh, for sure. It’s been a little bit of a hard adjustment. Who do you play? Oh, you get to play with cool toys? Awesome. So, it’s been harder on me but it’s really great and again, I’m very grateful.”
How has your mom experience been?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “It’s been beautiful. It was my first really long break in almost 29 years and I really needed it. I needed to be a person for a while. I need to have new things to bring back to my craft. I feel like I’ve done that now, but it was really important to me to have children and be there for them. I feel like I’ve been able to do that and they’re these full functioning beautiful little people now and it’s great.”
Do your kids know you know Garfield?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “It’s so funny you just asked that question. Somebody in my daughter’s school just watched Garfield and Garfield 2. She came home and she was like, ‘Mommy, there’s this movie that I just heard about. It’s about a funny cat and I want to watch it.’ I was like, ‘Oh god.’
So, we watched it. She watched the whole movie, said nothing and she goes, ‘You were very good, Mommy.’ And I was like, ‘Thanks, babe.’ It was really good. So, we’ve been watching it for the last three days. It’s really funny.”
People use memes of you from I Know What You Did Last Summer. How do you feel about that?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “Any time that people recognize that you’ve been around for a long time, it’s really nice. I think as actors, the instinct is to go, ‘How long am I actually going to get to do this and how long am I actually going to get to be here?’ I still feel, going into my 30th year as an actor, still every time we finish I’m like, ‘Am I staying on the show today? Am I good? Did I do okay?’
I think you just never get over that so when people recognize you from another time, especially like the ‘90s which was such an awesome time, and people appreciate you in that way, it’s lovely.”
They’ve been talking about rebooting I Know What You Did Last Summer. Would you like to come back as one of the teachers?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “I’d have to come back as the creepy old lady now. I would do it. If they asked me, sure, I would love to. I loved those movies. They were really fun. She’s still spinning around going, ‘What are you waiting for?’ They’re like, ‘Old lady, move out of the road.’
Yeah, I don’t know what I would do but I would try.”
What do you still love about acting? What’s evolved from when you first started?
Jennifer Love Hewitt: “I think I love what everybody who watches actors love which is the ability to get to be someone else. How many people sit in traffic every day and go, ‘Oh God, if I could just be another person.’ And I actually get to do it all day. It’s really fun. You get to escape. You get to invent. You get to go, ‘Wow, I wish I was better at this as a real-life person so I’m going to make my character great at that.’ You get to pick and choose these beautiful or really messed up things about people that you can put in there.
I think what’s evolved for me is now being a mom, being married, having lost my mom six years ago, everything about me emotionally is different now. My priorities are different. The reasons that I do things are different. How I feel about them, how I honor her, all of those things have made me an even more open person, so I’ve found that in acting it’s easier to access those things. I feel like I’m in a much more honest place which is great because I’ve figured myself out a little bit.
I’m going to be 40 in February and you just get there. You go, ‘Oh, that’s who I am.’ So, you don’t have to run around and figure that out anymore which is nice.”