Robin Tunney first had us under her spell when she played an outcast teen witch in ‘90s flick The Craft. Fast forward two and a half decades and she’s kicking ass and taking names as senior agent Teresa Lisbon in The Mentalist. And now, Tunney is showing off her softer side as a 30-something trying to find herself in See Girl Run, which is slated for a limited theatrical release on April 26, 2013. We chatted with our über-talented girl crush over the phone about what makes this new film so special, working with a group of dogs (her character, Emmie, runs a pet-sitting business), and her new fiancé.
BettyConfidential: What originally drew you to your role in See Girl Run?
Robin Tunney: I’d been doing The Mentalist at that point for over three years and to be honest, my first two breaks from the show I was so tired that I couldn’t imagine working. The schedule was so rigorous that I just wanted to sleep! But then I read the script and I thought it was a really accessible story, something that a lot of people could connect to and understand, especially people in their 20s and 30s who are wondering, ‘Did I make the right decision? Am I in the right place right now?’
BC: We saw the movie as a (rather late) coming of age story. Do you think the message resonates with 30-somethings because so many people are putting their lives on hold –at least partially– due to a tough job market, loans, etc.?
RT: Yes and no. I kind of feel like people have felt like this always. When you’re a full-grown adult, and you’re going, ‘Oh my god, this is all there is?’, you know that life is life and it’s pretty ordinary, whereas when you’re 16, 17, even 18 years old, you think you’re going to do all these grand things and life is going to be this huge adventure. Meanwhile, my character is picking up dog shit and married to a really nice guy, but he’s a really normal guy. Life has patterns and things get dull and all that stuff. But that’s life and I think it’s important to understand the beauty of it and live in those moments instead of thinking ‘what-if’.
BC: Do you have any personal opinions on Emmie and Graham’s relationship?
RT: It’s impossible to truly be close to somebody if you can’t let go of the past. I don’t think Emmie’s unhappiness in the relationship has anything to do with Graham. I think she’s at that place in her life where she’s feeling that her life isn’t as glamorous as her 15-year-old self wanted. There’s a line I say to my brother in the film, something like, ‘I always thought I’d fall in love with somebody who’d make the world seem larger.’ Graham makes the world seem smaller to Emmie, but I think he’s the real hero of the movie because he’s the best guy. He lets her go off and do her thing and then comes and gets her.
BC: The Betty team is full of animal lovers, so we have to ask: What was it like working with a bunch of dogs for your character’s pet sitting service? Are you an animal-lover yourself?
RT: I love dogs! My dog, who’s in the movie, is actually sitting next to me right now as we speak. I love animals; I absolutely love them. Working with 10 of them at a time I did not love, especially since it was a low-budget movie. We had no professional animal wranglers, and it was totally out of control trying to talk with all of these untrained dogs running around. Movie dogs are usually different; generally when you doing a film, they have highly-trained professionals. On The Mentalist, there was a representative for a goldfish. [laughs]
BC: Have you experienced any major “what-if” moments in real life?
RT: Of course! I totally identify with that and that’s part of the reason why I wanted to do the film. I think everybody has their moments, but I’m not sure that they act on them the way that Emmie did. With Facebook, for example, people look at boyfriends from the past and wonder, ‘If I had made different choices, what would my life be like right now?’ But that’s what life is; it’s a result of the choices we make.
Up next: Robin talks fan stories, co-stars, and her engagement!