Malin Akerman’s a Trophy Wife…Or at Least She Plays One on TV

Malin Akerman Trophy Wife Interview
Malin Akerman stars in 'Trophy Wife' (Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin)

By Fred Topel

During the 2013 summer Television Critics Association press event Malin Akerman (Rock of Ages, Watchmen) admitted she wasn’t initially interested in starring in a TV series called Trophy Wife. “I literally saw the title and I said, ‘Oh, hell no, I’m not playing a trophy wife.’ But when I read it, I just thought it was so brilliant,” explained Akerman. “It is the complete opposite of a trophy wife.”

Set to premiere on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 9:30pm, ABC’s half-hour comedy finds Akerman playing the third wife of an older man (played by Bradley Whitford) with three kids and two ex-wives. The series is loosely based on the show’s creator Sarah Haskins’ real life.

Malin Akerman Trophy Wife Interview

If there were two words – not “trophy wife” – that described you, what might they be?

Malin Akerman: “Me in my personal life? Dorky for sure. Dorky and happy. A happy dork.”

Is she supposed to have a Bad Teacher kind of quality to her, because it sort of appeared that way when your character was acting drunk?

Malin Akerman: “No, I don’t think so. That was just sort of her trying to help her step-daughter out, as opposed to Bad Teacher where she’s just a really bad teacher.”

So it won’t be similar?

Malin Akerman: “No, it won’t. She’s trying to be a good mom, you know, essentially. But she maybe makes the wrong decisions.”

You and Bradley Whitford did a film together, did you get any scenes together?

Malin Akerman: “We don’t have any scenes together, no. Same film but different scenes. We met on that movie.”

Is this a different comedy muscle than Childrens Hospital?

Malin Akerman: “Definitely. This is so much fun and Childrens Hospital is just go crazy and we can say any kind of word that you would like to say and in any kind of context, whereas this is just a little bit more honed in and has a little more heart and is a little more grounded, relatable. Whereas Childrens Hospital is completely unrelatable in the most amazing way possible.”

What made this the right project to come to so soon after having a child?

Malin Akerman: “Well, first of all, I’d been looking into television pilots for a couple years now and this was just a really well-written show. To be able to have this amazing cast and really great writers, it really always boils down to that: good writing. And, hey, I get to be on home base now and get to go home and tuck my baby into bed. So that’s an extra added bonus as well.”

What’s it like with a little boy?

Malin Akerman: “Oh my god, it’s awesome. I’m such a tomboy myself, so I am so excited to just play sports with him. [Laughing] I’m going to start him tomorrow at three and a half months. It’s, whatever, girl or boy, it is the most incredible experience ever.”

How is Sebastian? What are some milestones you’ve passed already?

Malin Akerman: “Really exciting stuff, guys. Like he smiles, he laughed.”

When did he smile?

Malin Akerman: “He’s smiled already. It’s the most awesome thing. It’s so stupid in the most incredible way where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, he moved a finger, did you see that?!’ Yeah, no, it’s all the great milestones: they turn over, they poop in your hands, and it’s really great right when you just changed the diaper and it goes all over you. But it’s amazing. He’s great. He’s a happy boy.”

Some of the show’s jokes could go right over your younger co-stars’ heads. How do you react?

Malin Akerman: “You know, some of our younger co-stars are way more grown up than I ever was at that age, so I think they’re pretty great. Obviously the youngest one…we just keep it at that. We don’t really explore what those things mean like ‘horn dog.'”

Does he ever ask?

Malin Akerman: “What’s funny is actually in the pilot, when Michaela Watkins’ character says, ‘We’re going to euthanise him,’ and he goes, ‘What’s euthanise?’ That was a true question. That was not scripted and we just kept it because it was so real and so great. He’s so wonderful because he hasn’t done anything before this, except for a school play. He’s just natural. He’s so not coached and beautiful and that’s what we love about the show too. We wanted to keep it as grounded as possible and find the comedy in these crazy situations, so he’s brilliant at that.”

Starring in a television series and being a mom, what are you learning about yourself?

Malin Akerman: “We’re just about to start shooting so actually at the end of this week on Friday we start shooting, so I don’t know yet. This will be the first time ever being a mom and working, so I’m a little bit nervous. I’m a little bit anxious. But, I’m excited. I’ve got a really good supportive husband as well, so we’ll figure it out. We’ll see what I’m capable of and what I’m not capable of. We’ll see if I get fired. I hope not.”

What do you love about your character? What kind of made you believe this is the person you wanted to play for a while?

Malin Akerman:“I think just the fact that she’s real in who she is, and that her and Bradley Whitford’s characters, they really do love each other and she really does want to be a part of his family. It’s not just a vapid, sort of, this girl who’s coming in and just tramping around in this family’s life. She really just wants to be a part of them. We really made sure that all of these characters are super grounded. I always, personally, love watching comedy that is grounded. So we wanted to make sure that every character is real, relatable, fun, just kind of cool. I just think she’s very well written.”

Growing up a tomboy, is that why physical comedy seems to come easier for you?

Malin Akerman:“I think so. I have scars all over my body from climbing trees and riding bikes with the boys. It’s just been a part of my life. I’m not very feminine. I try.”

When did you figure out you were funny?

Malin Akerman:“When I got cast in comedies and I thought, ‘Yeah, this is going to work. All right, this is cool.'”

Like from Entourage on?

Malin Akerman: “From The Comeback was when. That was a really good one.”

Do you enjoy doing physical comedy?

Malin Akerman:“Physical comedy is actually where I feel the most comfortable, absolutely. I’m a little bit clumsy in real life, and a little bit of a goofball, so it works out well.”

How was Burning Love? Was that a real fun thing to do?

Malin Akerman: “Oh guys, come on. That’s the best thing ever. I loved that kind of stuff; making fun of those [shows] because you watch The Bachelor and you go, ‘Is this for real? Are these people for real? They can’t be.’ And it’s just some of the things that were said in Burning Love are really what people say on The Bachelor, but you say it in a comedic way and you go, ‘This can’t be what people actually do and say.'”

You haven’t been on the first two Childrens Hospitals. Are you still on this season?

Malin Akerman: “I know. Yeah, I’m coming. Just six episodes this season.”

When are we going to see you?

Malin Akerman: “I don’t know, I don’t know the order of where we’re at because we film everything so… It’s such a crazy shooting schedule.”

What crazy stuff do you get to do at the Japanese hospital?

Malin Akerman: “Oh, my goodness, so many great moments. I give birth. I give birth to we’ll see what comes out of me. But it’ll be some really great, great moments. Seriously, I mean great guest stars as well.”

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