Q & A Session with Mindy Sterling (of “Mars Needs Moms”) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
August 12, 2011 by Dennis Amith
For our fifth Q&A with the voice talent of Disney’s “Mars Needs Moms”, we feature Mindy Sterling.
Mindy is best known for her role as Frau Farbissina for the “Austin Powers” films, she recently appeared in the film “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon” and has appeared on television series such as “My Worst Enemy”, “iCarly” and most recently on “Desperate Housewives”. Minday also has had roles as a voice actress for series such as “American Dragon: Jake Long”, “Robot Chicken” and “Chowder” to video games such as “EverQuest II”.
In “Mars Needs Moms”, Mindy Sterling does the motion capture and voice acting for the main antagonist of the film, the SUPERVISOR. The head alien who has taken baby girls and grown and molded them into soldiers, while taking baby males of her species and having them raised by the males living in the junk yard.
The SUPERVISOR has kidnapped mothers from Earth who are good at discipline and sucking parts of their memories and installing the memories to robots who raise the baby aliens.
When protagonist Milo’s mother is kidnapped, Milo and friends must do all they can to save her before the SUPERVISOR wipes out all her memories.
The film also stars Seth Green (“Robot Chicken, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Austin Powers” films) who does the motion capture of Milo, Joan Cusack (“Toy Story 2 & 3”, “Say Anything”) as Mom, Dan Fogler (“Kung Fu Panda”, “Horton Hears a Who?”, “Take Me Home Tonight”) and Elisabeth Harnois as Ki.
With the recent release of “Mars Needs Moms” on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD, J!-ENT will be showcasing Q&A’s with the talents of the film and with producer Robert Zemeckis.
Here is the Q&A with Mindy Sterling:
What attracted you to Mars Needs Moms?
Mindy: Initially, I was intrigued by the idea of working with performance capture. I wanted to experience a different type of filmmaking, and I’m very glad I did. I found the whole process incredibly fascinating. It’s fantastic to think that I’m part of something so different and special.
What was your toughest challenge on the set of Mars Needs Moms?
Mindy: It was more of a liberating experience than a challenge. The liberation comes from the fact that you shoot every scene in a huge room surrounded by cameras. There are so many cameras that you know they are going to capture everything you do, so you are free to have as much fun with your performance as possible. It’s very much like stage work or the theater.
Was it difficult to act in the suit?
Mindy: I think we all got used to acting in the outfits and the helmet after a while. Your vision is a little restricted in the helmet, but you could take it off when you weren’t acting, which was nice. It was just the freedom of going to the bathroom that we didn’t have; you had to hold everything in.
How would you describe your character in the movie?
Mindy: I play a Martian called The Supervisor in Mars Needs Moms. The Supervisor is old. She is pruney and irritable – and many people think she looks a little like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. She’s not a very nice character, but she was very fun to play.
How did you get into character on the set?
Mindy: When I first started work on the movie, I was given a picture of The Supervisor so I knew what she looked like. I envisioned her as a hunched-back crone, so that’s how I played her on the set. I just hunched up and the character would come to me.
Is there anything nice about The Supervisor?
Mindy: I don’t necessarily think that my character is purely evil. I think she is misunderstood and complicated. She has a heart underneath her stern exterior, but we don’t quite see it.
How would you describe your own personal relationship with your mother?
Mindy: My mother passed away almost two years ago. We were very, very close, but I never realized how much alike we had become until recently. My mother’s love and graciousness was a huge part of my life, and I’m so grateful for everything that she taught me. My mother taught me about the simple things in life, such as always saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and always bringing a gift or candy when you’re invited into someone’s home. She also taught me to embrace every day and live one day at a time. Since she passed, I’ve started to cherish every moment that I’m living. She’s helped me embrace everything around me.
Did your work on the movie make you think about your role as a mom?
Mindy: As a mom, I have one question, “Am I doing the right thing?” Motherhood is tough, but there are no real rights and wrongs because you can tackle things in so many different ways. I think as moms, us women need to show support for each other and say to each other “You’re a great mom. What you’re doing is difficult. Who said that you’re going to do everything right?” We need to sing our praises a little more.
What do you think is a mother’s role in life?
Mindy: Moms are educators and they’re teachers.
Can you empathize with the busy, harassed mom played by Joan Cusack in Mars Needs Moms?
Mindy: I completely empathize with her, especially because we all have arguments with our kids, which is what happens to her in the movie. Every time I have an argument with my son and I drop him off at school, I feel horrible as soon as he’s left the car.
How much did you enjoy working with Joan Cusack in the movie?
Mindy: I have always been a huge fan of Joan Cusack, so it was a joy to work with her on Mars Needs Moms. We are both mothers, so we’d spend all of our spare time on set talking about our families and our children. I consider the work on this film, and with Joan, to be one of the great moments in my life. That’s how much fun I had working with Joan and everyone else in the cast. It was a truly fantastic experience.
You appeared alongside Seth Green [who plays Milo in Mars Needs Moms] in the Austin Powers series of films. What was it like to work with him again?
Mindy: Seth Green is a dream to work with. I wish I’d had the opportunity to work with him more in this movie, but I had a lot of solo scenes in Mars Needs Moms. I worked on my own a lot. Seth is the consummate performer and the loveliest man ever. He was wonderful in what he created for this film. I’m lucky any time that I get a chance to work with him, and this was certainly one of those occasions.
MARS NEEDS MOMS is Available August 9th on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Hi-Def, DVD & Digital Movie Download!
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