Rick Bentley

Jacki Weaver charmed into ‘Blunt’ offer

Jacki Weaver and Patrick Stewart in “Blunt Talk.”
Jacki Weaver and Patrick Stewart in “Blunt Talk.” TNS

You get a couple of Oscar nominations and jobs tend to seek you out. At least that’s been the case with Jacki Weaver, who is starring on the wickedly funny Starz series “Blunt Talk.” She plays Rosalie Winter, the tough – but motherly – producer/manager of talk show host Walter Blunt, played by Patrick Stewart.

“I wasn’t looking for work when this came along,” Weaver tells me during lunch at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “But Jonathan Ames, who is one of the most brilliant and charming men in the world, invited me to lunch and begged me to be in his series.”

She was so charmed by the “Blunt Talk” creator (best known for the series “Bored To Death”) that Weaver agreed to be in the series without ever seeing a script. It proved a good move, as her character gets to go from making quick TV news decisions to scenes where Rosalie and Walter are spooning.

Don’t call the character a mother hen. Weaver doesn’t want people to confuse being kindhearted with being soft. She likes that Rosalie can be tough when it’s necessary.

Ames knew what he was doing when he went after Weaver. The veteran actress from South Wales has more than a half century of acting credits, including roles in “Animal Kingdom” and “Silver Linings Playbook” that earned her the Oscar nods.

Weaver’s favorite kinds of roles are those that reflect life.

“One moment things can be hilarious and the next moment they are tragic,” Weaver says. “You are laughing one second and crying the next. There’s a lot of poignant stuff in ‘Blunt Talk’ but it’s also funny.”

Because the series airs on Starz, it does push the envelope with situations and language. That’s to be expected as one of the executive producers of “Blunt Talk” is Seth MacFarlane.

No matter what happens on the show, there’s little that shocks Weaver. She doesn’t think that’s because of her age (68) but little has shocked her all her life.

“I like how cable TV allows you to show people talking the way people really talk,” Weaver says. “I think it is very healthy to show people with all their flaws along with their good characteristics as well.”

“Blunt Talk” airs 9 p.m. Saturdays on Starz.

Head of the ‘House’

Jessica St. Clair makes the Energizer Rabbit look like he’s beating his drum in molasses. The actress, who stars in the USA Network series “Playing House,” is a force both on the show and in real life.

The series, in which she plays a woman who has moved in with her best friend (played by her actual best friend, Lennon Parham) to help raise the friend’s baby, is winding up its second season. The season finale will be back-to-back episodes starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Here’s how much energy St. Clair has for the series. She and Parham respond to every tweet they get. Many of the tweets come from fans of the show who call themselves “jammers.”

“At the beginning, (it) was easy. And now we have so many,” St. Clair says during an interview at the Television Critics Association summer meetings. “We have so many personal details of our fans and their lives. So I know this one just graduated from nursing school, and this one is going to college. So I hope that freshman year goes well.”

The one thing that makes St. Clair and Parham feel the best is when those who tweet them say that the pair remind them of how they are with their best friend.

The actress may be the star of a TV show, but she thinks of herself as no different than when she was growing up in Westfield, N.J.

One reason the relationship between the actors comes across so real is that they improvise all of the episodes. St. Clair and Parham will sit around acting out all of the characters before they start writing the scripts.

“What Lennon and I love to do with our writing is, like everything’s always funny, 100 percent. That’s the UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade). You have to go for the comedy. But we like to have real heart. And we like to have our characters have a real arc in the season,” St. Clair says.

In the season finale, Maggie (Parham) surprises Emma (St. Clair) with tickets to go see their musical hero, Kenny Loggins, in concert. When things don’t go as planned, the two best friends and Maggie’s younger brother Zach (Zach Woods) risk it all to get closer to the “Danger Zone.”

One complication this season is the addition of the baby. Many TV shows have struggled after adding an infant to the mix. The “Playing House” stars worked hard to make sure that didn’t happen with their series.

“When the baby comes, it can kind of ruin it. It can ruin the fun because you’re stuck at home, and they make all these stories about the baby, like going to Mommy and Me,” St. Clair says. “And that wasn’t our experience. We kept doing our life, and the baby was with us, and it made everything more important. But for us, yeah, it raises the stakes, and it brings magic, baby magic, into the set.”

In other news

President ‘Running Wild’: President Barack Obama will trek through the wilderness with survival expert Bear Grylls for an episode of NBC’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls.”

Obama met with Grylls while visiting Alaska to observe the effects of climate change on the area. It will air on NBC later this year.

Deal made: Hulu and EPIX have reached an agreement that will bring new releases from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount to Hulu for the first time beginning Thursday, Oct. 1

Recent hits from EPIX including “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1,” “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” “Interstellar,” “Selma,” “Top Five” and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.”

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