Mae Whitman is Stellar in NBC’s Black Comedy Good Girls

NBC’s Dark Comedy Good Girls Features Three Formidable ActressesAs an adorable child actress, Mae Whitman, completely captured our hearts in One Fine Day and Hope Floats, two endearing romantic comedies. Now, the 29-year-old actress is making an indelible mark in her NBC dark comedy Good Girls, that keeps us coming back for more.

 The new NBC series, which airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, follows the lives of three dynamic and nuanced suburban women, who are having a difficult time making ends meet.

They are tired of having difficulties with their marriages and mounting bills, so they decide to pull off an unlikely heist by robbing their local supermarket, only to discover they are in way over their heads.

Their successful robbery attracts the attention of a whole cadre of bad guys, who infiltrate their lives and homes, and keep us on the edge of our couches.

Whitman portrays Annie Marks, a single mother who works as a cashier at a supermarket and whose ex-husband is suing her for full custody of their teenage daughter, Sadie.

Her two partners in crime include: Christine Hendricks as her sister Beth Boland, the mother of four and a housewife, whose car dealer husband cheated on her and greatly jeopardized their finances, and Retta as Rudy Hill, Beth’s best friend, a waitress, who is struggling, with her loving husband, to pay for her young daughter’s kidney disease treatments and keep a roof over their heads.

The cast includes Manny Montana as Rio, a criminal they become involved with, who has a money laundering business, and David Hornsby as Boomer, Annie’s deplorable boss at the supermarket who gets tangled up in their mess.The compelling, humorous and heart-felt show, created by Jenna Bans, and executive produced by Dean Parisot, premiered on NBC on February 2Whitman’s career began at age two when she started with a voice-over for a Tyson’s chicken commercial, and her acting coach Andrew Magarian helped her memorize lines as she could not read.

At the age of six, she had her film debut in When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) starring Meg Ryan, and was followed by supporting roles in One Fine Day (1996), opposite George Clooney and Michele Pfeiffer, and Hope Floats (1998), starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr.

After that, Whitman ventured into television, with her most notable roles including Grace on the series State of Grace, the character of Ann Veal on the Fox sitcom, Arrested Development, and Amber Holt on the NBC drama Parenthood.

Her other movie roles include: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Duff. Her animated TV and movie roles include: American Dragon: Jake Long, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Johnny Bravo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Kingdom Hearts II.

During an exclusive interview at a recent Manhattan party to celebrate Good Girls, Whitman was engaging, witty, and thoughtful, and it was like talking to a good friend. We spoke about career choices, favorite movies and TV shows, chilling out and her fond memories of running around New York for several months with George Clooney as her tour guide.

I am extremely worried about your character and the other two characters. It is obvious all three of you are in way over your heads.

Mae Whitman: Then, I think you’re just going to be in big trouble as the show continues.

 Oh, no. I have joked about robbing a bank to solve my money issues, but my 12-year-son has set me straight, pointing out that it is a federal crime, even with a toy gun.

 MW: Smart child. A grocery store is a much better option. [She joked].

 I can definitely see that.

MW:  See, we thought it out.  So, everybody laughed it off, but correct, it’s a lot less difficult.  Now also, a bank is difficult.  They expect people to come in and rob it.  With a grocery store, nobody really expects it — what are you going to take? Some fruit and a couple of dollars from the safe?  Little do they know.

 What was it about the first script for the pilot that made you say to yourself, ‘I have to do this?’ 

MW: A lot of reasons, honestly.  A big one for me was that President Trump had just been elected and I was feeling a little disheartened at the state of people standing up for what’s right in the world.

Please tell me more.

MW:  I felt that this script, although complicated and obviously we did things that are illegal and tricky and whatever else, it’s sort of about people who haven’t had the chance to be heard and feeling empowered enough to make decisions for themselves to take back what they need, which is most often centered around their family.  I really loved that about the script.  Also, the people in it are so honest, real, relatable, and cool.  The women are strong and complicated and unapologetic.  It just seemed like the perfect show for now for these times.Did you know the other actresses before this show?

MW:  Christina and me?  No.  We’d actually met a couple of times back and forth in really small little ways, but we never spent any quality time together.  The first time Christina, Retta and I hung out, we drank a bunch of wine and ended up going to Christina’s house and wearing each other’s pants for like five hours.  It was pretty solidified very quickly.

Do you already have a fan base for Good Girls?

MW:  Definitely.  I think NBC has done such a great job of sort of putting us out there and explaining kind of what the process is, and what the show is, that people are definitely excited.  I also think I work with such interesting and cool women – Retta and Christina – and their fans are really smart, and complicated, and interested.  I’m excited because the fan base we’re amassing is from a variety of groups.

How old were you when you did the movie One Fine Day?  Like six years old?

MW: I was six or seven.  That was my first time in New York, which was awesome, because it was like you get to spend time with your dad.  I just ran around New York City with George Clooney for four months.  How many people can say that?

I had 20 minutes with him during an interview  once.  I thought that was very cool. 

MW: Better than nothing; I’ll tell you that much.

The one thing struck me was his expressive eyes.

MW:  Yes, they’re so soulful.  How about his sense of humor too; he’s like the funniest guy on the planet.  I’ve been extremely lucky in my career.

That movie holds up.

MW:  It does, right?

One Fine Day is one of my favorites and a go-to for a rainy day to curl up on the couch and chill out with hot tea.

MW:  Nice.  I feel like they don’t really make romcoms the way they used to anymore.  That’s something I really miss.  Hopefully some day I can jump on that train and start writing some romcoms.

When you were thinking as a teenager even about what you wanted your career to look like, how does it compare to what you’ve accomplished?

MW:  Incredible.  As a child actor a big thing for me growing up, and something my parents helped with because I was so young was just caring about working with good people who were communicating good intentions out there.  It is a form of communication when you’re acting.  So, to me, all I’ve really cared about is being honest, and putting good, empowering stories out there, and communicating positive change.  I think I’ve done a pretty good job of being able to take projects like that.  I’m just happy project by project. I that I get to work on them, and I feel so lucky because it’s such a wonderful industry.  To be able to communicate with a big group of people in the way that we get to do, is just a blessing.  I don’t take any of it for granted.

If I gave you a spare day or weekend or whatever to hang out – reading, music, books, traveling, where are you going, what are you doing?

MW:  Right now, I’m really tired because we worked so much on Good Girls, and it was very cold there.  For me, I would like to find an ocean, and just swim in it for like seven days.  I’m from California, the West Coast.  So ,being in cold weather this long has really taking its toll on me.

Where are you filming Good Girls?

MW: We filmed in Atlanta.  It was very cold over the winter.  To me, if I could just get in some salty water for like a few days, I think I would be right back up to snuff.

Do you stream anything?

MW:  Yeah, I watch Undercover Boss a lot, Amazing Race, and Jeopardy.  It’s a widespread situation.

Did you see Ozark yet?

MW:  No, I haven’t, but I heard it’s amazing.  I love Jason Bateman a lot.  I’m so proud of him.

I took a break from Big Little Lies because it really upset me.

MW:  You can’t even go there.  Especially at night when you’re working so much, I can’t get involved in someone else’s drama.  I have to like tune out with Alex Trebek, or I’m in big trouble.

Are there venues artistically that you haven’t pursued? Would you want to paint or write a book?

MW:  I would like to write and do a book for sure.  I would also like to do more music.  That’s something I feel pretty passionate about, and I haven’t really gotten it together enough to put anything worth talking about out there.  So, that’s something I would definitely focus on soon.

How do you feel about directing?

MW:  I would definitelycconsider directing.  I’m finally confident enough in myself that I’m ready to direct.

How many episodes of Good Girls have you made so far?

MW:  Ten.

I hope it’s a big success. I will keep watching.

MW: Thank you so much. I’m telling you it gets worse.  So, take a Xanax and sit on the couch because it gets worse. [She joked]

It’s very, very, well written, and you guys are amazing.  It’s been a pleasure.

MW:  A real pleasure, thanks so much.Good Girls airs on Mondays on NBC (10 p.m. ET). For more information go to:




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