'Workin' Moms' actor Sarah McVie on becoming 'more like Val' and her hopes for Season 5
In 'Workin' Moms', Val Szalinsky played by Sarah McVie is known for being the leader of the "Mommy and Me" group, where the four leading ladies, Kate Foster (Catherine Reitman), Anne Carlson (Dani Kind), Frankie Coyne (Juno Rinaldi), and Jenny Matthews (Jessalyn Wanlim) come together. The Canadian show focuses on these women who are, as the title suggests, working mothers.
MEA WorldWide(MEAWW) spoke to McVie recently after the fourth season of 'Workin' Moms' dropped on Netflix - a season that many fans were disappointed with for being shorter. Of course, McVie would like longer seasons too, as she jokes, "because that would mean more work for me." But McVie says she doesn't get to make those decisions.
McVie transitioned to television after working in theater, something she calls her "first love." McVie wanted to work behind the camera and was involved in writing plays. When she was in Toronto to perform a play she had written and created with other women, she heard that one of her colleagues was auditioning for a new show called 'Workin' Moms'.
McVie says, "It's completely a case of right place, right time hearing about the opportunity and then seeking it out." She tells us that she made a "self-tape," as she did not have any connections in the film and TV industry at that point. Her audition tape was then seen and McVie says, "the rest is kind of history."
McVie comes from a family of "teachers and leaders," and though she went into acting, she admits there is a part of her that loves the role of a community leader. McVie tells us that she was drawn to Val's desire to bring people together and to unify, especially, women in a space and create circumstances for commiseration and friendship.
McVie admits that the "overeagerness" of leaders makes for lots of opportunities for humor and that a lot of Val's humor came from her desire to please and connect. She says, "That can sometimes lead her to put her foot in her mouth or really put herself out there beyond what most people would consider."
McVie also jokes that during a family Zoom call she was leading a game of trivia when her uncle pointed out that she was acting just like Val. She says, "I said, well, I guess Val is me."
Val's sons are grown-ups in 'Workin' Moms' - a completely new experience for McVie who had never played a mother onscreen before. Though she was intimidated, she decided that she needed to make the actors who play her sons - Christian Martyn and Evan Marsh - laugh to earn their respect.
The particular scene took place in the Szalinskys' kitchen where her boyfriend is helping her fix something. McVie says, "The boys are about to come in, so he's about to meet them so [the boys] are waiting off to the side. I was just like melting, with all my subtlety, melting into the counter. I might have pulled an overacting muscle [because] I definitely went all the way and kind of just completely disintegrated into the counter." McVie says her antics drew "guffaws" from the actors.
Some of McVie's favorite scenes include the scenes from the Season 3 episode, 'Girls' Trip', and all the scenes Val had with Frankie where they had an acid trip. McVie says the acid trip scenes were shot in October in Canada when it was very cold. She says, "We were trying to pretend -- and I was in my underwear -- like it's in the middle of the summer. The crew was great and we had lots of warm blankets. Both onscreen and off, Juno [and I] just [giggled] our butts off."
For the next season, McVie hopes to have more scenes with Dani Kind who plays Anne Carlson, a character McVie says is "deliciously hard and funny." She also hopes to have more scenes with her sons and Mel Boyd (Dayo Ade), as well as with Kate (Reitman) and Jenny (Wanlim).
McVie says it's important for more women to be involved behind the camera as "the female gaze is so important." "I worked on 'The Handmaid's Tale' and there was a female director for one of the episodes I did there. I am so delighted by the awareness that has been brought to the issue of representation in those roles and I relish the opportunity to work with a variety of people." McVie adds that it's more interesting and healthy for storytelling that men, women, and non-binary people get involved.
Between takes, McVie hangs out with Dani Kind and Juno Rinaldi the most, she adds that Catherine Reitman is busy because she's often directing, producing, writing, as well as starring in the show.
McVie is also working on writing for a couple of shows. She tells us that she is a dog mom and that she is working on a show called 'Dog Lady' about the journey of a middle-aged woman who hasn't found her partner, doesn't have a kid that she really wanted and is living an urban lifestyle with a "dog baby." She admits that getting a dog seven years ago was the "best thing" she ever did.
With the show, McVie wants to focus on the experience of being a single person "because things have changed today in our world." She says, "It's so normal to stay single, it's not looked down upon. I want to tell that story because it can feel fabulous to feel liberated and free, but it can also be a little lonely to not have a partner."
McVie also did an episode for Season 3 of 'American Gods' based on Neil Gaiman's book of the same name.
Season 4 of 'Workin' Moms' is now streaming on Netflix.