Jazz Tangcay talks Good Girls with Christina Hendricks and voicing Toy Story 4’s villain.
There’s such joy and delight in Christina Hendricks’ voice when she’s talking about Good Girls. As emotional as it can be for her character, Beth, Hendricks loves “creating those bonds and creating female relationships” she says.
Hendricks stars alongside Retta, Mae Whitman, Matthew Lillard, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, and Izzy Stannard in the show that centers on three suburban mothers just trying to get by. In season one, we saw how the three hold up their local supermarket and end up way too deep when they get in with the local crime boss. This season has seen the women deal with their crime and it’s been a journey.
I caught up with Hendricks to talk about working on a show that ultimately centers on strong female bonds and what it was like to be the voice of Pixar’s newest baddie in Toy Story 4.
What was it about Beth for you when you first saw the script that made you say yes?
She felt like this modern, approachable and relatable woman who was going through these absolute bonkers circumstances. As an actress, I knew there were going to be so many challenges in this and walking the balances of the comedy and drama, it just seemed like something that I wanted to do every day.
I really loved the relationship with these women. I loved that I was going to go to work with these two other women who were amazing. I loved that we’d be creating those bonds and creating female relationships because, for most of my career, I’d say I’ve been dealing with other males, so there were so many things I was excited about.
Are you having so much fun going to work every day, being on a set like this, working with these two other great actresses?
We have such a blast. We have so much fun. The show is really emotional and can be really intense. We have so many laughs in between takes saying,”We thought this show was going to be fun, but we forget that we’re at gunpoint half the time and trying to save our families.”
There’s this superhigh tension during the scenes, and Thank God that Mae and Retta are so hilarious that the three of us laugh so much when we’re not on camera. We blow off steam and laugh. We have each other’s backs, and we adore each other and it makes the day fly by.
As the season comes to an end, we see Annie say, “What would Beth do?” And you see that she’s the glue that holds them together, what can we expect as we wrap the season?
I think Beth is spiraling out of control. She’s trying to reign her own self in to protect her family, but she’s doing it kicking and screaming. She’s trying to just go back to the normal life that she had before. But at the end of season one, you’ can’t ever go back. I think these women are struggling – now, they know the tricks to save their families, they can turn to crime. Up until the last year of their lives, they’d go and get a job, struggle and hope their husband would get a job. Now, they’re thinking, If we could do just one more thing.’ I think they always think that it’s one more and then they’re done. I think it’s this constant struggle of trying to live a normal life but also knowing what else is out there. Once you know, what do you do?
What has the journey been like for you, going through this journey with Beth, peeling off the layers, discovering who she is?
It’s been really emotional, especially in season two because everything is so heightened. Her relationships are falling apart. She’s spinning out of control. She has to pull it all in and take her kids to school and make baked goods, she’s having this internal war with herself and so it’s pretty emotional. It’s this tug of war about to have an emotional spin out and then constantly having to bring it back and what that does to you.
I loved the stuff between Dean and Rio and the dynamics there.
They’re such different relationships. With Dean, it’s two people who have been moving like a machine and lost touch with checking in with one another and realizing they’ve become different people, living different lives. Somehow, this is oddly bringing them back together where they’re checking in with each other. They’re trying to protect each other, and Matthew Lillard is such an amazing actor and it’s so much fun to work with him. They’ve gone from being jealous and angry and that acting out. I love that relationship. It’s so much complicated because she’s done a lot of really bad, and he’s done a lot of really good. I love this discovery of that.
The Rio character is so interesting because it’s just acting out. It’s the most reactionary relationship that you can have. It’s mysterious and it’s confusing. It’s that power play that leaves you with that horrible feeling of letting someone control you. You want to fight back, and you want to be the controller. The back and forth cat and mouse is interesting. But it’s also business and there’s sex, but it’s much more than that too, so it’s really confusing for her.
Do you love it when you read the script and see that the three of you – Mae and Rhetta get scenes together?
I love it. It’s always a favorite for us. That’s when the show sparkles the most. The three of us in a car or in a hotel. They have a history together. That’s fun because they don’t hold anything back. We know every moment and you get to play that.
Do you get to collaborate much and have a say about Beth with the writers?
Oh, they are wonderfully collaborative. Jenna Bans is one of my closest friends. We go out and we have ideas. She can take some of it or tell us we’re idiots, but it’s really her quirky and amazing lines that come from her. She’s a mother.
With the second season, the show moved to LA, what was that like moving here?
We were all thrilled. We went kicking a screaming to Atlanta. I said if we have a season two we have to shoot in LA. We’re all from here with family, friends and homes. Not everyone has that luxury, but bringing it home meant the world to us. Going home and sleeping in your own bed was so nice to do.
You have Toy Story 4 coming out soon. I’ve seen the first 15 minutes and few Gabby Gabby scenes, what was it like to take her on?
She was so much fun. When I went in, they showed Gabby Gabby to me and they showed me her henchmen, the ventriloquist dolls. I said, “you guys don’t understand, I have ventriloquist dolls at home. This is like you did research on me.” I was like, “there is a creepy doll that I get to play and it’s the best.” I have a baby doll voice so to use that and to make it creepy was fun. It was so much fun to play with the voice. To be a part of the Toy Story legacy is super exciting.
I love her intro, and we soon learn she’s not everything she seems.
[laughs] It’s the best. Those animators are so talented. You can see the dust on lamps, and it’s amazing what they can do. It’s so beautiful.
Gabby Gabby is just the creepiest.
I know. I’m just the weirdest. [laughs]
Ok, what do you look for in a role?
I think dimensional characters. Sometimes, I read roles and there’s nothing to do with it. She’s the sexy person or the snarky person. If it’s well-rounded and I can add to it and interpret it, that’s when I’m drawn to it. I feel like I’ve been lucky to play all different kinds of people. You just know when you read a good script.