Mamie was on USA Today this morning. So here’s the interview with her, she’s talking for the upcoming dramedy “Emily Owens M.D.” that she’s shooting and also mentions her mother, Meryl Streep:
When Mamie Gummer brings her husband, actor Ben Walker, along to an interview and photo shoot, it’s not because they’re joined at the hip. Quite the opposite.
“He’s gearing up to start “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. That’s why he’s here, trailing me all day today. If I don’t see him in between these breaks, I’ll never see him,” says Gummer.
That’s because she’s spending her weeks in Vancouver, shooting the CW’s medical dramedy “Emily Owens, M.D.” (Tuesday, 9pm ET/PT). Gummer is still trying to figure out how, exactly, she and Walker, who got married last year at her parents’ Connecticut home, will make the long distance thing work.
“You just take any other option off the table and figure it out. I have weekends off. We shoot until the early morning hours of
Saturday. For me to fly back, I would land in New York on Saturday night and fly back the next day. Get a few hours in. See him before and after his matinee. Just make do,” she sighs, sipping a coffee at the Hell’s Kitchen eatery Anejo.
It’s a lesson she learned from her mother, Meryl Streep, who, despite an enviably fruitful career, always put her four kids and husband first. “I learned about priorities. She always prioritized her family and her life outside of acting. I will continue to always hold that in the highest regard and to protect that,” says Gummer, 29.
For Gummer, the sacrifice is worth it. She had roughly 12 hours to decide whether she’d play Emily, a doctor who’s proficient
with scalpels and blood-pressure cuffs, but challenged when she takes off the scrubs. She sweats. She’s got a crush on a cute male resident. And she’s awkward around her peers. “I can definitely relate to that,” says Gummer. “All of a sudden, you’re an adult. By all appearances you’re grown up. But you still feel like a kid. Emily really thrives when she’s working. She’s on top of her game. It’s all the other stuff that’s messier.”
Gummer’s life away from the set is more structured. During breaks, she Facetimes with Walker and their dog; the couple lives in Brooklyn but may end up moving west if the dueling schedules don’t work out. For now, says Gummer, she’s just getting through it, sort of like Emily.
“I’m working 15 hours a day, every day. I’m in every single scene. It does almost feel like you’re on a medical shift. You’re just
trying to keep it together,” she says. “Sleep is so precious. I’m trying to go straight to bed when I walk in the door, but I’m having a hard time adjusting to the hours and am waking up in the night. The other night I woke up and as I was trying to fall back asleep, I thought, ‘You have to put your head on the other pillow to match continuity.’ I was like, ‘Oh Jesus, you’re cracking up. Keep it together, Gummer.'”
Unlike many offspring of Hollywood luminaries, Gummer isn’t precious about discussing her mom. She understands the fascination with Streep, and she’s quick to point out that no plum parts were handed to her simply because of who raised her.
“For most people starting out, it’s really tough. But it was the one thing I always loved to do. Nothing can prepare you for the reality of the business side of it and what that life really entails,” says Gummer, who made her movie debut as Streep’s daughter in 1986’sHeartburn. “I’ve seen it firsthand but my mom’s experience, for as long as I’ve known her, has been pretty extraordinary. She’s had a lot of choices. I don’t think I could possibly be compared to her. We look and sound alike. But I can’t get too hung up on that. That would make anyone crazy.”