As opposed to a well-polished, formulaic new series, indie offering Raising Hope has grabbed the critics’ attention thanks to its bizarre comedy premise and the fact it’s shot with a single camera. The show follows 23-year-old James ‘Jimmy’ Chance, who ends up with baby daughter Hope after a one-night stand. The baby’s mother is on death row and will be executed when the baby is only six months old. We quizzed Martha Plimpton, who plays Jimmy’s mother Virginia, about taking on the new series.
Martha, what has been the most surprising thing about working on Raising Hope? A lot of things have been surprising. I had never done a TV show where I was on the show every week like a regular. I think part of that was I was afraid that I’d get bored – I’ve never played the same character for a year before, ever. But I haven’t been bored at all. I can’t say I’m surprised by this, because I knew what I was getting into and I knew Greg [Garcia, producer]. I was a fan of his and I know how good our writers are. So I can’t say it’s necessarily a surprise. I guess it’s more of a sort of a happy relief. I’m always happy to go to work every day.
You said you haven’t played a long-running character like this before. Are there any other things you’d like to try? I almost never have a plan for myself – I’m not ambitious in that way. I don’t see someone else do something and think: Man, I could really kill that. I could do that way better. I’ve never actually had that thought. Things tend to come when they are meant to come. I know that sounds kind of spiritual and cheesy, but if you try to push it or strategise as an actor, I think you stop having a good time.
You started acting at a very early age thanks to your actress mother, Shelley Plimpton. What are your earliest memories of acting? I remember the first play that I was in when I was eight years old. My mother is not your typical stage mother at all. She wasn’t thrilled about me doing this. She didn’t think I would keep doing it, because it was just something to do in my summers instead of going to camp, which I hated. She watched my first performance, and afterwards she said, ‘Honey, you did great. I’m really proud of you. You really were excellent. I just want you to remember one thing. Even when you’re not talking, you’re still in the play.’ That’s the most valuable advice I’ve ever received as far as acting is concerned. It’s certainly stuck with me the longest. Raising Hope debuts on May 31 at 7.30pm on OSN Comedy.