Despite the surrounding gunfire, kidnapping, government conspiracies and an intense cast of supporting characters, Mary-Louise Parker found it easy to have a crush on Bruce Willis.
In the movie "RED," her Sarah suddenly finds herself sheltered and shot at in the arms of Willis' ex-CIA assassin Frank. Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Brian Cox and others play characters that, too, are used to (literal) explosions, but Sarah's modest lifestyle and attitude fits shockingly well with Frank's puppy love-with-weapons-training.
In an interview with HitFix, the "Weeds" star described her role as "refreshing," nothing too "crazy" or overtly, overly "sexual." It was a comfortable and "sweet" stretch.
"[Sarah] has a naivete, a kind of sweetness, effusive naive quality," Parker says. "She's so awkward. I certainly feel awkward. But she's so positive and such a romantic."
On the other hand, some actors on set played counter to their usual dispositions. Malkovich, for instance, apparently has the ability to go from mellow to psychotic at the snap of the clapboard, which impressed Parker as shooting progressed.
"John is what I always wanted to be, what I aspire to as an actor," she said.
Throughout her career, Parker's shifted easily between small and big screen, but would be happy to have another crack at an action-packed, star-heavy film like "Red." "They don't usually offer me this kind of movie," she laughed.
As for her Showtime gig, she plays yet another woman struggling with a life out of context, as the pot-dealing Nancy, with "Weeds" now deep into its sixth season. The next ep, "To Moscow, and Quickly," airs Monday, and features Andy and Nancy trying to get Stevie healthy while Silas, Shane and Doug are charged to unload merchandise at a kid's concert.
Coincidentally, Parker has motherhood on the mind, now that shooting for the show has slowed and "RED" is ready for its premiere. She hasn't pinpointed a follow-up project yet except "take my children to school," referring to her kids Caroline and William. "They're in their little sweaters and coats. That's my next project for now."