Annabeth Gish: Balancing Career & Motherhood Is A “Constant Juggling Act”

Annabeth Gish has been entertaining audiences since the tender age of 13 in classic shows such as The X-Files, Mystic Pizza and Brotherhood. And not to mention her latest hit TV series, Pretty Little Liars. The 40-year-old actress is lighting up the small screen this Sunday (December 11) alongside Pierce Brosnan in A&E’s four-hour miniseries, Bag of Bones, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel.

In a conference call, the mother-of-two – who plays Brosnan’s wife, ‘Jo’, in the series – opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her sons Cash, 4, and 3-year-old Enzo, balancing career and motherhood, her love of the horror genre and her belief in the paranormal.

Tell us about Bag of Bones.

Bag of Bones is the story of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire and a new love haunted by past secrets. Bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, played by Pierce Brosnan, is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife Jo. A dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine where he becomes involved in a custody battle between the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather, the mysterious ghostly visitations, the ever-escalating nightmares and the realization that his late wife still has something to tell him.”

What was it like working with Pierce Brosnan?

“Here’s the thing about Pierce Brosnan that I can’t say enough about: He’s a professional and an actor. What he would bring to each scene…he would come so prepared and with so many diverse options and choices. He’s such an impeccable actor and a great human being. What he brought was fantastic.”

Why were you compelled to take this role, especially since you technically die in the first 10 minutes?

“Of course every actress wants to be featured throughout to fulfill her storyline, but I felt like the character of Jo was so clearly drawn and her essence is throughout the film. So in that sense she kind of resonates. I also wanted to say yes for several [other] reasons. I’ve worked with Mick Garris [director] before and I adore him, it was another Stephen King project, and I respect him immensely.”

Was your role in Bag Of Bones physically demanding?

“Definitely. This project has, oddly enough, been very physically challenging for me in terms of prosthetics. I had to do a four hour makeup job to become the zombie/ghost Jo. That for me became very scary. You get claustrophobic and you have to wear all of this gunk all over your body. That was challenging. And the scene under the bed was challenging, we would be under the bed when we were children but I don’t know when I’ve been under the bed recently. They had to pull me with velocity from under the bed.”

Are you attracted to roles in the horror genre? Specifically Stephen King?

“Yes but not horror for horror’s sake. Between The X-Files and my two Stephen King projects, it’s not horror for horror sake. It’s not to scare the bejeezus out of everyone, it has to be a story with real drama, real heart and mystery. And I think that’s what kind of delineates this project. It’s not just about zombies. It’s about three love affairs. And solving a mystery. This is about race. It’s about genealogy. It spans the whole [gamut] of things people will be drawn to watch it for.”

Were you a fan of Stephen King’s before the two projects you’ve done?

“I [began] reading him after the first one, after Desperation. And then a seminal book of his that is on my bedside table is his book On Writing.”

Does anything scare you?

“Yes. I’m pretty scare-able. It’s probably why I like doing horror because my imagination takes me places. I kind of believe in ghosts, I believe that spirits can exist and wander around. So that scares me. But I feel like the things that really scare me are catastrophic events, like my children, husband, family being harmed. Something like that.”

Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

“I have met some ghosts before. Let’s just put it that way. I have danced with a few ghosts. I don’t know how you can. If you’re inviting this world in and you’re open, I don’t know how you can help but be sensitive to it. Maybe it’s just what I’m drawn to. I’m not opposed to believing in it, that’s for sure.”

How did you come up with the names for your boys Cash & Enzo?

“Cash is definitely after Johnny Cash – my husband is a big fan of his. And Enzo is a family name from my husband’s side. He’s Italian. It translates to ‘ruler of the house.’ It’s certainly proving true for us. My second son is the ruler of the house, that’s for sure.”

Do your boys get along well?

“Yes, it’s lovely to have them so close together and they are lovely playmates. Although the occasional brotherly argument breaks out.”

How do you balance career and motherhood?

“It’s a constant juggling act. I think it’s not easy at all. I don’t think anyone who represents it to be easy is being honest. Because really, when you have children it’s your heart-piece. It’s out there floating in the world and it’s very hard to leave them. But yet, I also believe that it’s very important as a mother, as a woman, to have creative purpose or creative outlet outside of your children.

The thing about Bag of Bones that was really great for me was they worked with my schedule. I had to take 5 separate trips to Halifax, but I was able to do only 3 and 4 days away from my sons. So rather than trecking them all the way up there and living in a hotel, they were so considerate to me being a mom and knowing that I didn’t want to leave my sons for too long. What’s nice is that my husband and I try to coordinate that. If I have to leave for work, then he isn’t [at work]. One of us is always home with the boys.”

Any plans to try for a girl?

“I would love to! I can’t lie. I would love to have a third, I just love being a mom so much. But I don’t know if my husband is in that same boat. Two is a good number!”

What’s up next for you?

“I feel like I’m just beginning even though I’ve been working since I was 13 and have a very extensive resume. I would like to dig deeper into the Brotherhood type of character – anything that’s not so perfectly pitched. And I would love to do action. My husband is a stunt coordinator and I got to do a bit of action in The X-Files. And then there’s this whole other realm of being a mom in my real life. And what that means in terms of playing the motherhood role.”

Bag of Bones premieres on Sunday, December 11 and concludes on Monday, December 12, airing at 9PM ET/PT on both nights.

View Slideshow »»

View All Photos »»

Filed under: Annabeth Gish,Celebrity Interview,Exclusives

Photo credit: Flynet/A&E

  • klutzy_girl

    I’ve loved Annabeth since X-Files and I’m excited for Bag of Bones! (Just have to read the book first, which is on my list for Christmas. Stephen King’s one of my favorite authors.)

    • Anonymous

      What about Mystic Pizza – I actually liked her better than Julia Roberts!

      • Claire

        LOL Anonymous – If Klutzy is like most of the other posters here lately, Mystic Pizza was probably well before her time. 😉

      • klutzy_girl

        I haven’t seen all of Mystic Pizza – Just bits and pieces. I did like what I saw, though!

  • Anonymous

    I totally heart Annabeth too! Seeing her on CBB totally made my day! But I’m sad to hear that she dies so soon in the mini series and then is all spookified. She’s so pretty!

Latest Dish