Interview with Daphne Zuniga of "On Strike for Christmas" on Lifetime - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Interview with Daphne Zuniga, who stars in "On Strike for Christmas", which airs Sunday, Dec. 5 on Lifetime.

Interviewed Tuesday, 11/30 at 1:30 pm.

It was really great to chat with Ms. Zuniga, especially after seeing her movie. She was very nice, if a little "spacey" at times, but it's clear that she really cares about the environment and enjoys her work. I hope you get a chance to check out the movie because it's very funny.

It was a pretty long interview...The parts that I had a little trouble hearing from my recording are in italics for you. I was the first person to ask her questions in our "conference call".

Suzanne: Hi, Daphne.

Daphne: Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne: Thanks for meeting with us.

Daphne: Yeah, my pleasure.

Suzanne: So what was your favorite part of the movie?

Daphne: Oh, know, I love so much of it. I love doing the physical comedy, and I love...I just had a flash before we did this interview, that was so fun, falling off the ladder, and getting up in the bushes. I don't know why that flashed in my head, but I really enjoy doing that kind of--.there's a warm-heartedness, obviously, in the movie, but there's a physical comedy to it that I really, you know, with all her trying to do everything at once, and it not working. We had some funny moments, like when they tried to pass off these store bought cookies as their home-made ones. I really like doing those a lot.  For me it's just play time, so that's what I really loved, mostly.

Suzanne: Yeah, you all looked like you were having a good time.

Daphne: Yeah, we really were. You know, the producers and the man who wrote it, he was always on the set, he always brought a really good energy to it, so all of us wanted to really be a part of it.

Suzanne: Yeah, that's great. Not all of the holiday movies can be this great, and some of them are kind of sappy, but I thought this one was really funny.  I laughed out loud quite a few times.

Daphne: Oh, glad to hear it.

Suzanne: I love the cookie scene where they were making the cookies, and they were like, "Gluten free flour"! I thought that was hilarious.

Daphne: Yeah, yeah. I like all that, too. I just like the way it was written. There's a really heartfeltness in the guys trying to do it right and I just loved it. I love that.

Suzanne: I think that a lot of "housewives" or mothers can probably relate even in this day and age, with all the stresses at Christmas time.

Daphne: Yeah, I mean, I found just being on the set or talking to other actresses...Julia Duffy, who plays my mom, she totally related. I'm not married, and I don't have kids, so I couldn't believe this went on.

Suzanne: Yep.

Daphne: I'm like, are you kidding me? Who's gonna do it all? That's crazy? And then I talked to other people and heard more about it.  "Oh, yeah" and then, I thought, I can totally see it. Hello, we have to do everything anyway, the rest of the year. I'm sure it piles up around Christmas.

Suzanne: Oh, yeah, and you want everything to be so magical and wonderful at Christmas. October comes, and you're like, "Agh, I haven't even though of Christmas yet" and it all sort of piles up from there.

Daphne: That's the one thing I liked about this script.  She needed to pull back and really see her fault. She thinks she does it better, and she does it more quickly, it gets done. But then she figures out, we all do, that if she wants to let them do it, because she wants them to, then she has to let them do it.

Suzanne: Exactly, you can't be a control freak about it and then complain on top of it.

Daphne: Yeah, yeah.

Moderator: Next we have Jamie from Star Magazine.

Jamie: It's a pleasure to speak with you.

Daphne: Thank you, Jamie.

Jamie: I was wondering, what made you want to be a part of this film?

Daphne: Well, I read the script and I really liked how--I have a niece and nephew, and they are basically the children in my life. They're 8 and 12, and it's not often that I've gotten to be part of a project that they can watch, and so I did a Thanksgiving movie which they can watch, and this, I thought, "Oh, it's so great!", you know, something they can enjoy. I just really liked the script and I liked being a part of something that the whole family can watch. And, it fit right into my "One Tree Hill" schedule, so, it was like, perfect.

Jamie: Okay, and, why do you think people will want to take their time and tune in to watch?

Daphne: There are a lot of movies this time of year, and I think people have a need to kind of curl up, cozy up, turn on the TV and be entertained. Sort of like a reprieve or break from the realities in the world. I feel that this one has a lot of warm-hearted physical comedy, and it really works. This is the kind of movie where you don't have to be embarrassed to watch. It's not a sappy movie, it's funny, and it's the kind of movie that everyone can relate to it. It doesn't have to be the kind of, oh, we've heard it a thousand times, or a sappy kind of two hours. It feels fresh, and it feels entertaining.

Moderator: Ella from

Ella: Hi, Daphne, thanks so much for talking with us.

Daphne: Hi, Ella.

Ella: Hi. Can you tell me, what are your favorite holiday traditions?

Daphne: Hmm....what are they...hanging out in my sister's kitchen, who's a great cook, especially with desserts. Trying to pitch in and help. You never leave it to me because it'll never come out. My sister has two kids, and I love visiting her, and that's where my family feeling needs get filled.  This year I'll be spending some time before Christmas with her, and we'll get stocking stuffers, then I'll help her with her Christmasy stuff. Everything gets turned off, I get to disconnect and just be with the people I want to be with. Not even looking at the clock, days will go by, and I'll kind of lounge around in the morning...I love that.

Ella: Sounds good to me. This is separate from the movie, but...Jill is juggling a lot in the movie. You're very involved in environmentalism. How do you manage that along with your acting career?

Daphne: I'm glad you asked because I get the chance to talk about something that's so important to me. I want to speak about the environment that doesn't make it an "issue" because "issues" we can either clue in and be a part of or we can choose not to be. But we are literally sitting on a planet that's burning. There's a timer ticking. We're losing ecosystems. People are being poisoned. The amount of chemicals, carcinogens, toxins...okay, this is totally a break from the movie, just give me two minutes. One minute. (Laughs)  We're so filled with pollutants ourselves, and it's because of our lifestyles. I really feel...there's a group I'm working with right now that is getting a lot done in the way of trying to prevent big corporations from polluting illegally. They're an environmental justice group.  I feel like people in the same way that we need to disconnect and cozy up with our holiday movies and friends and loved ones, we also need to really feel down in our core what scares us the most about what's happening. It's not going away.  We all need to feel that and act on it. Do something, anything, in your own life. Try not to use chemicals.  Those chemicals go into the water supply. Try not to use too much plastic.  That gets thrown and it's never going away. It's killing the ocean.  Try not to waste energy, turn off the lights...all kinds of things that we can all do. I feel that Christmas time is supposed to be about hunkering down with the people you love.  Getting it. Feeling inside in your heart, engaged with others and the world and the truth.  That's what Christmas is about. That's hopefully what this movie can help people to feel their hearts expand with their own families. But right now, this group I'm working with does amazing work. They don't get enough money or press. I just feel like people in general need to say, okay, it's not about the shopping, you know? How I do it, I live my life, I try to be as conscientous as possible every day, I try not to use extra plastic (although sometimes I have to, or I do). I try to be honest with myself because ignoring it doesn't mean it's going away.  It's ticking away, things are getting worse. Unless we all wake up, things are going to get worse for our children, for the next generation.

Ella: Right.

Daphne: Yeah.

Ella: Well, I'm sure you'll inspire some people for their new year's resolution.

Daphne: I hope so. I feel like there are a lot of people right now, myself included, who go, "Where do I fit in? What's my role? What do I really feel?" I just hope people realize that it's not that complicated. Just close your eyes and check in, see what moves you, see what draws you, what things you want to read, who do you admire? And take a step. Engage in the things that light you up with the intention of helping human beings and the planet. Human beings need a lot of help. The trees have gotten a lot of press, but human beings -- we could use some fixing up, too.

Ella: Very true.

Moderator: Now we have Katya, who's one of our Lifetime Moms, who's blogging for us.

Daphne: Hi, Katya.

Katya: Hi, so nice to be talking to you. I kind of want to go back to how you were saying, I like how you were talking about being human beings and finding the light inside you. What lights up, how do you live life to the fullest in your life?

Daphne: I remember an acting teacher--I've been acting since I was so young, and in the early years, before I actually started working in the business, I went through a lot of acting classes, and there was a lot of self-exploration. A lot of exercises and hours spent getting to know one's self, getting to know your emotions and your interior walls. Ironically, when you start working in the business, that sort of slows down, and it's more focused on external, like how you look, or what jobs you're getting, who are you seeing, what are you saying, blah blah blah. So I remember this one wonderfully acting teacher, Larry Mott.  He said, if you want to be fascinating, be fascinated. I really believe that we are all fascinating inside. There's this mystery. I think that we are so starving for something outside. I just remember these days and those classes, and watching other people do their scenes or their exercises. They were so interesting, you know? And I found my own interior world, like, Wow! We didn't need so much on the external side. I still have that, I can still do that when I can act. If I'm doing Victoria, or Joy Robertson in the Christmas movie, I try to go inside and find the landscapes of these characters a little bit. Bring their own juice to it. I have to say that is always what's got me going, is acting classes and medication as well. Boy, that is a heavy duty thing. You think it's so calming and quiet, and nothing happens, but it's not.

Katya: That is the hardest time, to just be calm in a Yoga class, or Pilates.

Daphne: I'm like, oh my God, I'm trying to relax, but I start thinking, how can you relax?

Katya: That's tough.

(crosstalk, something missing here that I couldn't understand)

Daphne: Yeah, because your brain, we're so--

Katya: How often do you do it?

Daphne: I used to do it long-term, eight to ten days of silence.

Katya: Oh!

Daphne: But now--the last time I did it was probably three or four years ago. But in February, I'm going to do a 28-day...I'm going to do an exercise with my meditation teacher, Sharon Saltzburg. She's just of the leading teachers in the country, and she, basically...Woo! It was hard, the first one. Let me tell you the secret. It's not that complicated. We're so inundated with, how do we do that? How do we do this? And you have to read this book and you have to take a course. But the truth is that you have to sit down, close your eyes, and notice your breath. That's it! So just keep noticing your breath, and every time your mind takes you off to, "Oh, am I doing this pose right?", say, oh, there's my mind again, chatting away, don't want to do do that, and come back to the breath. If you can do that, for longer periods of time....there's a calm but there's also an inner excitement that I like, and, um, I wish more people did that.

Katya: Yeah, I totally agree. That actually comes very close to the next question I have, which you almost answered already, but do you think that today's women have too much pressure to be perfect, and what can we do to help others not feel that pressure?

Daphne: Yeah. I feel like societally speaking, it's been coming for years. I know when I was a little girl, my mom was already working in the work force, and that was a big liberation for the 70's. Like, "She's working!"  But she also had us. And when I was coming into my own, becoming an adult, I had a career. I was working.  So it's like, now, 2010, I feel like so many women walk down this path, and yet we're supposed to be the woman in the relationship, but much of what we do is also traditionally male. Then there's the kids, and I feel like, for me, anyway, you have to notice your inner perfectionist and you have to not let it run the show. Like Joy did, you have to be willing to not be perfect, I have to be willing to just be me. One person in the room, let all the others be them. They're in the room, too. I feel like saying to my perfectionist, "Go take a nap". Wouldn't it just be so good if  doing my best was enough. Just being here, being a valuable person, in this relationship or in this family is not enough, and you have to ask for help. You have to ask for help. I push. I have to sometimes remind my boyfriend. I know I'm self-reliant, I know I've been doing this since I was a kid, miracles happen and I can work 14 hour days, and I can do this in-between. But, I also need to just fall down and have someone pick me up. I need you to do this. Men, I believe, need to hear specifically what we need.  Whereas women, we multi-task. "Don't worry about it, I got it".

Katya: Sometimes women don't want to ask and think that men should read their minds. And they huff and puff and hope that men will notice what they need. So that's really a very good point.  Thank you so much.

Moderator: Suzanne, do you have anything else that you want to ask Daphne?

Suzanne: Yeah, actually, I really liked the interaction between the other actors who played your husband and your sons. It seemed very realistic. Did you guys do anything to get comfortable with each other and seem like family, or...?

Daphne: Um, no, we didn't. I think we just had a dinner the night before we started shooting, and I feel like...It's kind of funny, I think that is the oldest age I've played a mom to, you know, was kind of like...They're playing 17 or 18, right? I think Evan had worked a lot before and there's a natural comfort between us. All of us. David Sutcliff, who plays my dad. (Corrects herself) Dad! I feel very young (Laughs)  He plays my husband and we...I feel like there's a natural feeling that kind of came with it.

Suzanne: It sure came through on the screen, that's for sure.

Daphne: I'm so glad.

Suzanne: Did you have any special thoughts about working with Julia Duffy? She's great...

Daphne: Oh, yeah, I was thrilled. You know, she's kind of subtle with her comedy. She'd done Newhart, you know...

Suzanne: Right.

Daphne: I feel like she's so good, she's so sure in her mind and the way that she is, you know? Things just kind of come across. She gets this look in her eye, and she's not even trying too hard.  She's worth watching.

Suzanne: Yeah, she had that great little twinkle in her eye (during the movie). It was almost like, watching's a Christmas movie, and the way she was kind of winking at everyone, it's almost like the woman in the know, kind of guiding everyone alone. I almost expected that she was going to turn out to be magical or something in the end, you know?

Daphne: I know, she does have a twinkle in her eye. And the way that one scene was, where it was mother-daughter talking honestly, and boy, you're thinking in the scene, what do I do? If you're working off of this good an actress, you just have to listen to her, and speak honestly back. That's what I felt that I could do with her, you know, and hopefully capture that.

Suzanne: It was great. Thank you very much.

Moderator: Are you good? Do you have anything else?

Suzanne: I was just going to ask how it was working on "One Tree Hill" and how you're enjoying that.

Daphne: I love working on "One Tree Hill"! I mean, I just love the lines that I have, I love being surrounded by these younger beautiful people who are tweeting and teaching me how to shop on my iPad, and I really like it.  It keeps me young. I love it. I really love it.  I was really glad that "On Strike for Christmas" just fit right in my schedule, during the couple of episodes I wasn't in, so...

Suzanne: Thank you!

Daphne: You're welcome!

Jamie: Do you have any typical Christmas traditions?

Daphne: Just the usual. I wasn't from a very traditional or big family growing up, but my boyfriend has three kids, they're all in college, or just out of college. We're going to spend time with them, and his mom, and my sister, so it's really, just...if we can just get around to seeing everyone during the holidays! But other than that, I don't really have a lot of tradition.  I look forward to how this Christmas will be different from the last Christmas, you know?

Jamie: Thank you so much!

Ella: You were just mentioning One Tree Hill, and the movie...

Daphne: Right.

Ella: And we know you have done other movies. I was wondering if you have one that you prefer, movies vs. TV series.

Daphne: Oh! No, I feel really fortunate this year to have done two TV movies and to have that structure to come back to. I love doing One Tree Hill because it's such a family, and it's a very well-oiled machine. I mean, it just moves so fast, and everyone fits in so well. It's really beautiful.  It makes my job just not stressful at all. And yet, all of a sudden, to fly off to location and do this brand new story and brand new characters -- I love that, too.  So, I guess I should figure out which I like better. I like the structure, but I really like the unknown factor of doing the different movies. So, I'm lucky, I'm doing both.

Ella: Thank you so much.

Daphne: Uh-huh. Thank you!

Katya: Speaking on more on that, what is next for you? More TV, more movies?

Daphne: I'm working on developing the rights to another book--I prefer not to mention the name. I'm working with the producer right now. I think it would be a wonderful series.  Also, I'm working with a director to do a play, in the theater.

Katya: Oh, great.

Daphne: An original piece that we want to do in L.A. It's a comedy, a piece of theater, so I hopefully can get back into that.

Katya: That sounds great. Have you done a lot of theater?

Daphne: Well, when I was little, that was what I started out doing. The last play I did was about three or four years ago in San Francisco when we had a writer's strike in L.A. I went up there and did an original play.

Katya: Oh, I did read that, actually.

Daphne: Yeah. It's terrifying, but at the same time....the lights would come down, and I knew there were no second takes, and I was just thinking, "What have I done? I want to be on the set of a TV show. It's safe, where if you mess up your lines or forget them, you can just go again" (Laughs) And yet, it's also very exhilarating and rewarding, you know?

Katya: Well, thank you so much. Happy holidays.

Daphne: Happy Holidays to you. Thank you!

Moderator: Thank you, Daphne. I know that we all appreciate your time. Very inspirational answers there.

Daphne: Good!

Read my Review of the movie!

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