Former model-turned-actress Andie MacDowell received critical acclaim and the Independent Spirit Award for her role in "sex, lies and videotape." She played opposite Hugh Grant in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and also starred in "Groundhog Day." Married and divorced twice, she has three grown children. She stars in the Hallmark Channel original series "Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove," which airs Saturdays at 8 p.m.
How much time have you spent in Vancouver shooting, and have you had time to hike around?
I have been here since the end of March. I've been working a lot, so I don't have a lot of time. My sister came for a long weekend, and that was great. We went all over Stanley Park. It's just a huge gigantic park, and you can go all around the seawall, so we did that. We went up to Victoria whale watching. I'm having a great time.
So what do you find endearing about your character on "Cedar Cove"?
The books are very popular, and people love Debbie Macomber's writing because they are very wholesome and there is a really warm feeling to them. It's a place you really enjoy going to, and that is really what "Cedar Cove" is -- salubrious. You are comfortable with the people there. It's an escape and it's beautiful. Some of the locations where we are shooting are phenomenal, just gorgeous.
Did you think it was hard to get the respect of your peers coming out of modeling into acting when you did?
You know what the difference is? A lot of people were models, but I was a famous model. I don't think it's really hard. Actually, there seems to be a shift because many actors now are doing ads. It's a very popular thing to do because it's a great way to make money, and it's good for the companies because the companies get the recognition of the person. But there is a difference between modeling and representing a company. When I modeled, I lived in Europe and worked all the time. I did runway, and that's all I did. So many models aren't really known. They are working models, and I did that. I know what that is. It is a really good work ethic. It was good for me. I left home with $2,000, and I never looked back. That was it. Nobody gave me a penny. And I made that $2,000. I worked really hard to get where I am. There aren't any 55-year-old models. I think it's funny when people call me a model. It should be flattering because really the cut-off date is about 30 [laughing].
Being a model, you know it's a short-lived vocation. That's why I started thinking at a very young age what I wanted to do when I grew up. I got my first acting job when I was 23, and I got really heavy into class. Until I got "sex, lies and videotape," I was in class. From 23 to 30 I was studying in class in New York City.
I get the impression you are a disciplined person.
Yeah, I would say I am very disciplined. I like to work. I enjoy my job. I like being a part of something. I like participating and being part of a group. I like the process. I actually love the art form, but the whole process is interesting. It truly is an art form like painting. You're part of the picture. You're creating something.
Do you have to be empathetic to be a good actor?
I think you do. You have to be conscious, more than anything. A lot of actors go and sit and watch people. That's a good thing to do. A lot of acting class people will get upset because it is very close to therapy. People feel they've crossed some boundaries and don't feel they have the right to cross these boundaries because they are not a doctor. It is very analytical. It's about understanding human behavior.
Your daughters are both going into the business. Because you know it inside and out, did you have any apprehension about that?
I tried to convince them not to do it. Not because I don't think it's great, only because I think it is a hard lifestyle. You know, you are always on the road. It is very busy. You don't get to settle into life. There's nothing simple about it. I wanted to be sure they understood that -- that they were going to lose the ability to have simplicity, which I think is a really lovely choice. My son has made that choice, and I understand it completely.
I'm guessing what makes it not simple is living in the spotlight.
Correct. There is nothing simple about fame [laughing]. It messes up everything. Not to say I'm not appreciative. I am completely appreciative. But you are everybody's business. You have to be prepared to be everybody's business, and it's a huge sacrifice. You have to embrace it and be loving about it and kind about it and open and available and appreciative. It's a lot.
What kept you from going off the rails?
I like to work, so when I started working, that's all I did. I had to get more pages put in my passport the first year I lived in Paris because I traveled that much. I worked literally every day. I'm kind of a workaholic, I would say. I was hugely successful. You know, I came from a place where I didn't have very much, and here I was living an amazing life. I just worked. That was my drug.
You have talked about beauty having nothing to do with age. Do you think that message is getting through?
I think it is harder for young people to understand what people understand when they are over 50. [She is 55.] But that is the beauty of being over 50, truly. They don't get it until they get there. I think you are more obsessed with your looks before 50 than you are afterward. You are harder on yourself. You don't appreciate yourself. You are never good enough. Then you get over 50, and you realize how great you were and how great you still are. It's a process. You appreciate life more. You have wisdom.
What about those who don't ... get that and go under the knife a few too many times?
You know, I have a lot of compassion for whatever choices people want to make, but they always say you need to work on the inside first. People have a lot of options. I have loads of friends who have made that choice, and I wouldn't say anything derogatory about that choice. People have to do what makes them happy.
I haven't done it. Will I do it when I'm 75? I don't know. If my [lids] are so hanging down, hang-dog shut over my eyes, I might! I have really heavy lidded eyes, so who knows what I'm gonna do at 75. We love to talk about it, though. I wonder how many people who are asking me those questions have actually done something. Can you predict what you are going to do at 65? You don't know how you are going to feel. Are you less of a person if you do something?
We have so many options now, and that's also scary. How are we supposed to get old? What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to get old? My kids tell me, "We want you to look like a grandmother." I agree with them. I want to look like a grandmother.