Emmy Award winner Tammy Blanchard – best known for her role as Judy Garland in the made-for-television show Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows – has been showing her talents off in the many different realms of showbiz. The actress has been donning the stage in the musical comedy How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying with Beau Bridges, and her most recent movie appearance was in the hit film Moneyball with Brad Pitt.
The 35-year old mother opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her upcoming TV movie and life as a working mom.
Blanchard stars in the Lifetime TV movie, Of Two Minds, which takes viewers on an emotional journey as they are given an intimate look at one family’s struggle to cope with a loved one suffering from schizophrenia. The film premieres on Lifetime tonight Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 8 PM ET/PT.
CBS: Tell us about your upcoming TV movie “Of Two Minds.” Tell us about your character in the film. Do you have any personal experience with schizophrenia?
T: Of Two Minds is a Lifetime Television movie about a family dealing with the mental illness schizophrenia. It is about finding answers and not giving up on your family when you are in this situation. I play Elizabeth, called “Baby”, in the movie, and she is a woman that has been dealing with this disease all her life. Her mother dies and she is placed in the hands of her older sister, played by the wonderful Kristin Davis. Throughout the course of the movie, we find out that it is just not the right fitting for my sickness. It is up to my sister to find the right place for me to grow and live harmoniously. It is a wonderful film about family and mental illness, and finding the answers when there aren’t many.
In regard to whether I have any personal experience with schizophrenia, I think there might be a few people around me affected by the disease. My mom grew up with thirteen brothers and sisters in Jersey City, New Jersey. There really wasn’t time or money to go see a doctor, and back in the day, schizophrenia wasn’t really diagnosed as much as it is now; It wasn’t really at the forefront like it is now. I think that there could be many people struggling with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a paranoid, impulsive, sometimes uncontrollable mental illness. Some people don’t even know that they have it. It is good to start bringing it to the forefront, because there are a lot of families struggling with it. If it is diagnosed, if you treat it right, and if you are in the right environment, you can thrive. Schizophrenics are like geniuses in way—once they are focused on something, they are very creative and obsessed with it, almost. If you find their little niche, it can be something really great for them. In terms of the emotional outbursts and delusions that come with schizophrenia, they cause heartbreak to others. It is a tragedy really, a family tragedy. I wanted to get this out there, because in the movie, the moments where my character has these uncontrollable outbursts and delusions are times that she has gone off of her medication. There is a misunderstanding and miscommunication in her relationship with someone else, and that is what happens in traumatic times for schizophrenics. Schizophrenics are not dangerous—they don’t have these outbursts out of the blue. They occur when there is a tragedy they are dealing with, when there is a lack of stability in the environment, or when they have gone off medication. There are answers out there for schizophrenics.
CBS: You costarred with new mom Kristin Davis! Did your daughter and her daughter have any on-set playdates? She seems just thrilled to be a mom!
T: Kristin Davis is such a beautiful mother. She worked for hours and hours on that set, and she still cared so well for her child. We wanted Ava and Gemma to get together, but Ava was sick at one point, and she fell asleep on the ride to the set at another point, so they never got to play. I was truly inspired by Kristin and the way she handled being a mom and being at work at the same time. She is such a beautiful and talented woman, and I am so thankful that I’ve had the chance to work with her.
You also just costarred with Brad Pitt in “Moneyball.” Did your daughter have any playdates with any of his kids? Does he seems like a great dad?
T: They had wanted Ava to be in Moneyball for a little bit, but we had just gotten off of a really long plane flight and I didn’t feel that it was right to put her in the film. I feel that she could have met Brad’s family. Brad really shows how today you can really have it all. Producers take great care of you, and you are put in these really nice trailers and can bring your children along. Directors and crew are all so loving to your family and open to having your family on set. In this day and age, you can have it all and do it all—you can raise a family and go to work. It is such a great time to be an actor, and Brad truly shows that.
In regard to whether Brad seems like a great dad, the only time I saw him interact with his kids is when Angelina brought all of the kids for a photo shoot. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen—they were all traveling right by our side and none of them got out of line. They took a picture, and it was so inspiring…I really look up to what Angelina has done. She has the ability to change children’s lives and she is doing it on a one-to-one basis. It is so beautiful and brilliant.
CBS: Tell us about your daughter. What’s her name and age? What’s she into?
T: My daughter’ name is Ava, and she is four years old. She has blond hair and green eyes, and she is so beautiful. After having Ava, I realized that we really are born who we are. Parents should not take any credit for their genius children or kind children, because they come into this world and they grow on their own and become who they are on their own. You can’t spoil a beautiful child…Ava is an angel in my life and she is so wonderful.
Ava loves to sing and laugh…she is so smart and already points out negatives in my life at four years old [laughs]. You have to clean them, change their diapers, and feed them—at one point you feel like “ugh!” Then all of a sudden they start talking and forming these personalities, and you start learning from them and being taken care of by them in a way. It is a beautiful thing…children are the best. I am known for telling everyone, “you need to have a kid!” Whenever I work with anyone, even if they’re twenty-one, I don’t care, have a kid [laughs]. Do it as soon as possible, because you will only wish you had more once you have the first one.
CBS: How do you juggle your career and motherhood?
T: I do it by working my fingers to the bone. Right now I am in the Broadway show How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, starring Nick Jonas, Beau Bridges, and Michael Urie. The schedule is six days a week, and I run home after every show and make sure I read Ava her book and put her to sleep. I am here most mornings, feeding her breakfast, spending time with her, and playing with her. I take my roles of having a job and being a mom to the extreme, always. I spend every moment I have with my daughter. Every acting role I do, I put my whole heart and soul into it, just like with my daughter. It is great and tiring [laughs]. It is what we have to do and what we love to do. Broadway is a hard gig that is really hard on the body. Sometimes you are in pain, but you still have to play with those dolls and stick to it. You have to remember how much you love your children and your job, and you find ways to juggle them both.
CBS: What’s up next for you?
T: At the moment, I am in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. We are all on the Broadway stage, making people laugh with joy. Comedy is such a joy to do. I have done drama all my life, and this show was my first try at comedy. I got to work onstage for a year with the king of comedy, John Larroquette, and I have learned so much. Right now I am also filming Showtime’s The Big C with John Benjamin Hickey, Laura Linney, and Brian d’Arcy James. It is going to be a three-episode arc. It is hysterical and coming out in April…I can’t wait for people to see it. It will be brilliant.
I am also trying to get into some pilots on television, but I just don’t hit the lawyer-doctor thing. I never thrived at being an actress where you have to end up trying to become a cop, a doctor, or a lawyer. It is hard for me to find a show on television right now, so I think I will be doing movies and Broadway for a long time.