Interview with Mindy Sterling

Mindy Sterling is known best for her role of Frau Farbissina in “Austin Powers” series. Mindy is currently starring as The Supervisor, the villain, in Disney’s latest film “Mars Need Moms”. Movie Mikes had a chance a chat with Mindy about her new film as well as her other films.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role as the Supervisor in “Mars Needs Moms”?
Mindy Sterling: Well she kind of looks like a take off on “E.T”, people have been saying. She is old. She is pruney and irritable. She also runs all the aliens lives. All of the hatchings, the babies that pop-up from the ground, are raised by robots who are really cold. Basically though, they are missing a lot of nurturing. She wants stronger tools to raise they little babies. All the alien men do is hug [laughs]. She goes on a search to find the perfect earthling mom to use as a tool in how to bring up these babies. She picks Milo’s mom, who is a great mom. She loves her son but at the same time she has structure and rules. My character sees that and grabs her for Mars. Milo doesn’t want mom to leave so he goes after her.

MG: How was it speaking in an alien language the whole movie?
MS: Oh my God! It was sooooo much fun for me. I didn’t have to memorize anything. In my mind, I would say certain things for particular scenes. So not intentionally but it would just come out in this martian gibberish. We actually had a recording session where we tried different things out, like sounds and tried to form some kind of martian dialogue. There were certain words that were chosen that meant these things throughout the course of the film and then we used them over and over.

MG: Your role was not just a voice role though, how was it shooting the film with performance capture?
MS: I gotta tell you and everyone that is a part of it will tell you the same, it is so freeing, liberating and magically. You do not have to worry about hair, makeup, props and sets. You wear this suit with all these reflecting balls that captures everything you do. You have these dots all over your face and your also wearing a helmet. They have like 200 camera that’s are surrounding you in a very open space, called The Volume. It was just great. All you thought about was the acting and what you needed to do. I think all the actors and myself thought that it was incredibly freeing. If you stay during the credits, it shows the behind the scenes and it is great to watch what we did and how it was transferred into this technologically amazingly well produced film.

MG: How was it working on the “Austin Powers” series as Frau Farbissina?  The role is so funny and so classic.
MS: Oh thanks Mike, I can’t say enough wonderful things about that experience, it was so great. I loved working with Mike (Myers), he was so generous. I loved coming back each time and working with the cast and working with Seth Green, he is an amazing actor and wonderful friend. It was just so much fun. We get to watch those films now over and over and laughs. They were so much fun to make and do, we constantly had to retrained from laughing during filming. It was like silly playtime.

MG: Tell us about working on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? Was it difficult with the makeup?
MS: The makeup was difficult, but that was one of the good things about “Mars Needs Moms”…you didn’t have to sit in a chair for three hours. Absolutely magically and fun to see how everyone changes working on that film. When you put on that kind of facial prosthetics and the wigs. You really do become a Dr. Seuss character.  It is a lot of fun.

MG: Do you find that makeup retricted your performances at all?
MS: Your body is your body, but facial maybe. I think that is why they chose people that are more animated and flexible. It is not that I did anything different, I am just a very physical actress. It works for that style.

MG: Tell us about your roles Mitzi Kinsky in “Desperate Housewives”?
MS: Oh that is just so much fun. They throw me in and I am just one of the women on the block. She is abrasive, inappropriate and say what is on her mind. She is a like a little brat. What is so great is that they pop me into a scene and I get to do my little bit. You wonder why anyone have anything to do with her. I haven’t found one redeeming quality in her yet, but that is what makes it so fun for me [laughs].

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
MS: I have a new Disney show that is coming out called “Ant Farm”, which I have a recurring role in. I play the school principal. I love kids to death. I love work with kids. I love playing with kids. I love watching them create and find who they are. I really enjoy my job. Being a mom for me is number one, I have a 16 year old and acting for me is number two.

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