Interview: Mädchen Amick

From the interview archives.

Mädchen Amick ventured out to Hollywood at only 16 to begin pursuing her dreams of acting and it wasn’t long before she landed the role of Shelly in the 90’s cult classic Twin Peaks. Since then Mädchen has been seen in countless films and tv series, from ER, Californication, American Horror Story and more.  VULKAN caught up with Mädchen to discuss her recent return to Twin Peaks as well as her role in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Riverdale

Riverdale has been greenlit for a second season. Where were you when you found that news out? Did you reach out to any of your cast mates to relish in the moment together at all?

I was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on a much overdue vacation with my husband, David, when I got the call from my long-time agent and manager (Jennifer Craig and Kesha Williams) congratulating me on the season two renewal. I then got a call from one of my Riverdale co-stars (Marisol Nichols) and we immediately planned a celebratory party for the cast and crew.

Were you a fan of the Archie comic series growing up? 

To be completely honest, even though I was familiar with Archie Comics, I wasn’t really into comics in general.

While working with Lili, who plays your daughter in the series, were you able to pull from your own experiences as a mother to two young children?

Absolutely! Every time I’m able to play a mother, I’m able to pull from my own experience as a mother of two. But as far as the way Alice Cooper parents, I think she’s an example of what happens when you react as a parent, before you filter yourself and make sure that you’re reacting fairly. Alice reacts and takes action without a filter. I don’t know, maybe she’s the new example of a “Tiger Mom”.

Do you think the role would be more challenging if you didn’t have that real life motherhood experience?

There’s always a grounded and natural feeling that you get from actors that are actual parents playing parents. There’s an instinct that you just can’t learn from an acting class.

What is the most surprising thing you have learned about yourself since starting to film Riverdale?

Well, I’ve learned that I can handle a very demanding and busy schedule. I was juggling filming Riverdale and Twin Peaks at the same time; and then went straight into publicizing both. My 3-month hiatus from filming season one and season two was chalk full of television appearances, interviews and photo shoots. All the while, accepting awards for my directorial debut and directing yet another music video. And believe me, I’m not complaining. I’m extremely grateful for the wonderful projects that I’ve been blessed to juggle these past couple of years!

David Lynch has been in your corner it seems since you were just getting started with acting. What kind of advice did he give your younger self that has stayed with you?

I remember going to visit David about ten years ago when I was very frustrated with how to navigate my current career in Hollywood. The financial crisis that hit everyone in 2009, also affected how Hollywood made film and television. The studios buckled down their budgets and forced experienced actors like myself to cut their salary drastically in order to compete with the newcomers who were hungry for an opportunity and willing to work for cheap. I went to him to ask how he’s able to keep his artistic integrity while being successful. He corrected me to point out that success is relative. His films aren’t always known to be financially successful, but he can’t help but share his art in the purest form. It was a good reminder for me to hang in there and believe that artistic integrity and talent will eventually prevail.

Who else would you say has played a pivotal role in your career?

The opportunity to play the role of Lena in Dream Lover, acting beside the incredibly talented James Spader, was important in my confidence as an actor. Nicholas Kazan, who wrote and directed, took a leap of faith and believed in me enough to carry the film. It made a huge difference in roles that came my way; especially coming out of the large ensemble cast of Twin Peaks.

How did it feel to return to Twin Peaks? Did you ever think you would be reprising the role of Shelly?

It was absolutely magical and surreal to return to the beautiful world of Twin Peaks. I never thought it would happen. I always felt that we struck lightning in a bottle the first time around. How could we do it again? But Showtime provided David Lynch and Mark Frost the opportunity to bring our little tale back to audiences, and without boundaries this time, which is phenomenal!

Given your experience of being Shelly in the past, were you able to have any sort of creative control over the development of her character for this new series? Was there ever a moment or scene were you were like, “David, I don’t think Shelly would….” ?

No. I trusted that Mark and David were careful to think Shelly’s actions and circumstance through with much care. And they in turn gave me the freedom to inhabit Shelly again the way I instinctively felt appropriate.

How exciting is it to have two incredible series airing at the same time? I have to imagine that is a big goal of young actors.

I’m so grateful and lucky to have two incredible shows airing simultaneously. I walk around my house all day long feeling grateful and knocking on every piece of wood that I come across.

What kind of role do you aspire to tackle next? 

I have a series that I’ve written and it’s in development. Hopefully l can share it with you soon!

If you could portray any historical woman past or present, who would you pick and why?

Probably Audrey Hepburn. I love the diverse characters that she was blessed to play and loved her advocacy work even more.

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