Audiences can’t help but be surprised by Little Italy star Jane Seymour. Having been in the spotlight for close to five decades, the Golden Globe-winning actress has delighted in reinventing herself again and again - from a Bond girl and the fan favourite Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman to the lewd mother in Wedding Crashers. Now, the 67-year-old is enjoying a brash turn alongside Emma Roberts and Canada's Hayden Christensen in Little Italy (in theatres Aug. 24), a romantic comedy where she plays a no-nonsense chef intent on intimidating her underlings.
Excited to continue to show her fans new sides to her talent, Jane says: “Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of comedy and love improv. I'm happy to make myself look quite silly!” HELLO! caught up with the mother of four on her recent trip to Toronto to talk about the return of romantic comedies, her favourite co-star and the daughter following in her footsteps.
What about Little Italy made you decide to do the film? I really am a fan of Emma Roberts and Hayden and the rest of the cast. I just thought it was a charming, sweet rom-com. I play this sort of female Gordon Ramsey. I knew it would be fun to be in.
Rom-coms seem to be having a little bit of a renaissance now. I think people want to have something that's charming and funny and moving. Little Italy is for all ages, it deals with relationships from the very young to the very old.
Have you ever experienced a rough-around-the-edges boss kind of like your character? I had a producer who suddenly decided to fire me. I sat in the trailer and I thought, "I’m an actress, they're all set up for the scene, I know the lines, I'm going to just walk in there and do the scene." And I walked right past him and said to the director, "I'm ready if you are." And I finished the movie!
Have you had a memorable mentor? I had the best mentor! Richard Attenborough cast me in my first movie [ Oh! What A Lovely War]. He eventually became my father-in-law and gave me the best advice.
Speaking of mentors, when your daughter Katherine was making her way into the industry, did you bestow any wisdom on her? She originally went to Columbia University to become a professor. Once she graduated and decided to give acting a try, my advice to her was to follow what you love. Now what she really loves doing is writing comedy, she's very funny. I'm very proud of her.
What do you find are some of the differences in how you approach your career now versus when you first started? I started out playing the innocents, then I played sexy and then I played the mothers and Dr. Quinn. I've been very fortunate because I've always changed it up. There was a time when you couldn’t do movies and television and theatre and you certainly couldn’t design and paint. I've broken all the rules. It’s sort of a whole new challenge.
Is there anything out there that you haven’t conquered yet that you’d like to try? I've never directed and so often I've been on sets where there's been an actor needs guidance and I’ve helped them. But I never directed because I was always married to a director. Maybe one day that would be something I'd enjoy.
Who has been your favorite co-star throughout your entire career? I would have to say Christopher Reeve. We only worked together for about six weeks [on Somewhere in Time] but it was just magic and we remained very close friends until the day he died.
It seems every show is being rebooted, do you think it’s time for Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman to come back? Well, I think it would be really interesting to play at my age. It has been 25 years and it's a different time in American history. It would be early 1900s, there'd be all kinds of other issues at stake. My twins, if you ask them about Dr. Quinn, certainly don't know my work at all, they’ve seen maybe two episodes! They’d get to see a whole new show.
You’re quite famous for your natural look. What is one beauty product you can't live without? The one that I put my name to, Crepe Erase, has cream that you put on at night and it plumps up your face without having to do all those injections, which I don't do. I'm a great believer in doing things as naturally as possible and not doing things that are hopelessly expensive because it's not necessary.