Elizabeth Perkins: ‘I Love the Feeling of Freedom That Comes With Age’

Elizabeth Perkins: ‘I Love the Feeling of Freedom That Comes With Age’ featured image
Victoria Will

Elizabeth Perkins and I have spoken before. During a separate interview, she so graciously shared all the behind-the-scenes beauty and style secrets from—what we deemed at the time—her most “noteworthy roles.” It was only a few years back, but that list of performances has steadily grown since. Last year, she won the Gracie Award for her role in HBO’s Sharp Objects, has a recurring role in This Is Us, and recently starred in the Apple thriller-drama series Truth Be Told with Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul. In the lineup currently: A starring spot opposite Denis Leary in Fox’s The Moodys, a family-driven comedy airing Thursday nights that Perkins coins “highly relatable.”

How do you see the show as mirroring real life—especially when a lot of adult children have moved home to their parents during the pandemic?

“Let me put it this way, as a mother of four kids who are between the ages of 28 and 32, this was already a tough time, in that, they weren’t being afforded the job opportunities that I was at that age or my husband was at that age. It was already a tough time economically for a lot of people. When the pandemic hit, your older kids who may not have jobs that could sustain them through the pandemic had no choice but to move home. And I think think that that happened to a lot of people. The theme of the movies was always that, we have these older kids, and several of them have had a failure to launch. They were still at home with us, and we’re still paying their bills. I do think it’s particularly relatable coming out of the pandemic—how do people whose jobs are taken away from them restart and get out there? It’s not easy.”

How was filming this particular project been different than anything else you’ve done?

“Well, I was so grateful when they picked up The Moodys for a Season 2 because it’s a comedy. Over the last, I’d say 10 years, I’ve been doing pretty serious stuff. I did Sharp Objects for HBO. I did Truth Be Told for Apple TV and both of those are really, really dark shows. It was really an opportunity to do something that was light and positive and fun. I think we’ve all been a little depressed over the last year—with the pandemic, with the administration and everything else that was going on with a lot of civil unrest. I just needed to do something that made me laugh. 

They came to us and said, ‘How do you guys feel about shooting now?’ And the first thing we said was, ‘Let’s talk about the COVID protocols.’ CBS TV and Fox were so rigid with their protocols though. We went up to Montreal and we literally didn’t go anywhere but between our apartments and the set. That was it. All of our groceries were brought in, all of our toiletries were brought in and we wore masks and face shields, everything was sanitized and we quarantined for two weeks. All of that definitely made the days longer, but we were also grateful to be there—just grateful that we had work and that we were making something really fun to put out into the universe.”

You are still so well-remembered from Big. Is there anything else that really sticks out to you from playing that character?

“I remember the shoulder pads! The vast amount of shoulder pads, which I think are coming back, to my dismay. I actually have a jacket that’s got shoulder pads. I still have most of my wardrobe from Big. I’ve never removed the shoulder pads, so when I put it on, it’s like linebacker. I hate to say it, but I still love the matte lipstick. The Shu Uemura matte, red lipsticks that we used to wear in the ’80s and we wore it in the movie. I still have my Shu Uemura red somewhere. I’m sure it’s rancid by now!”

You turned 60 last year. Does entering a new decade faze you?

“It’s really interesting, because I didn’t think it was going to affect me until I turned 60. I remember being younger thinking, ‘My parents are 60; they’re old.’ To be honest, I could care less what anybody thinks about me. That’s something that I’m thrilled comes with age. Not that I was ever an actor who worried about what people thought…but, now I literally will go out with a pair of sunglasses on, no makeup, basically in my pajamas with a hat and I don’t care. That does come with age. I love that feeling of freedom.”

What are you looking forward to next?

“There’s stuff in the works, but nothing that’s officially pushing forward with a start date or anything quite yet. I’m looking forward to my Friday night poker game. [laughs]I have a Friday night poker game here, that’s gone on for almost 15 years. All five of us are going to be vaccinated and we’re called the poker bitches. It’s a pretty rough crowd around here on Friday nights with buy-ins of 10 whole dollars and whoever wins gets $50. It’s something that all of us have missed terribly. We’re all in our 60s, and we have a little something to eat, a little something to drink, and some pretty foul language that goes on. I’m really looking forward to getting together with my girlfriends. That’s what I’ve missed the most.”

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