Q&A

Alyson Han­ni­gan: “My teenage years were aw­ful.”

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - Fancy Nancy Clancy pre­mieres 11am, Sat­ur­day Novem­ber 3, on Dis­ney Ju­nior.

In­ter­view by SASKIA TILLERS

Your char­ac­ter Michelle’s con­ver­sa­tion starter from the 1999 movie Amer­i­can Pie – “This one time, at band camp…” – has be­come a leg­endary film quote. Do peo­ple still yell it to you on the street? They do, no mat­ter how much time has gone by. When we did that film, it was this kind of lit­tle thing we didn’t know would live on for decades. I’ve had a ca­reer where peo­ple still re­mem­ber all these shows I’ve been on. It’s quite cool; you want to do stuff that peo­ple like. You turn 45 next March, on the same day your el­dest daugh­ter Satyana turns 10. Will you have joint birth­day par­ties un­til she’s too cool to party with Mum? I started out be­ing tricky by throw­ing fan­tas­tic birth­day par­ties, the kind I would’ve wanted. I’ve worked it so that when they’re teenagers [she and her friends will] have fond mem­o­ries of com­ing here for par­ties, and they’ll be here so I can keep my eyes on them. It’s a deep-rooted plan. You met your hus­band Alexis Denisof on the set of Buffy The Vam­pire Slayer. How did the cast re­act when you started dat­ing? He didn’t want to date while work­ing to­gether, so we were just friends dur­ing Buffy – for over a year. But there was ob­vi­ously a spark and most peo­ple were like, “You guys need to see if this will go any­where.” Ex­cept Tony Head, who played Giles. He said, “You have such a good friend­ship. Don’t ruin it.” I al­ways re­mind him of that: “Hey, re­mem­ber how you said we shouldn’t date? Meet our chil­dren.” You’re both close to Buffy cre­ator Joss Whe­don. What was it like for you to see his pri­vate life ex­posed when his ex-wife ac­cused him last year of mul­ti­ple af­fairs? My hus­band is hav­ing din­ner with him right now. [But] that’s their busi­ness and not mine. There’s al­ways many sides to sto­ries. Last year, your How I Met Your Mother co-star Ja­son Segel told Stel­lar he cried through its last few weeks of pro­duc­tion. How did you cope? He was emo­tional. We all were. I adore those peo­ple. If some­body said, “OK, let’s do it over,” I’d do it in a heart­beat. I keep pitch­ing the idea that Mar­shall [Segel’s char­ac­ter] comes back in and says, “No, kids, that’s not how it hap­pened… first of all, we were a lot older.” Then we can do the show again through Mar­shall’s per­spec­tive. We could get an­other whole nine years out of it! You’ve played a geeky high schooler sev­eral times. What type of teenager were you? I was quite de­pressed and sort of look­ing at teenage life as a pun­ish­ment I had to sur­vive. Deep down I knew it had to get bet­ter, but I was mis­er­able; I wore black, dyed my hair black. I mean, I’m glad I had to go through it. It gives me such an ap­pre­ci­a­tion now. You’ve gotta have one to have the other. In your new TV series Fancy Nancy Clancy, you play Nancy’s mum, Claire. Your daugh­ters Satyana, nine, and Keeva, six, are fans of the books the series is based on, so are you their new idol? I wish it were that easy! It’s nice to fi­nally do a show they can watch. They love it. It’s re­fresh­ing to have a show that en­cour­ages in­di­vid­u­al­ity and be­ing pas­sion­ate about what you like. Will they watch your other projects when they’re older? I’m sure I’ll feel dif­fer­ently when they’re older, but now it’s nice for them to have an in­no­cent child­hood. I hope they’ve grad­u­ated and are on their own when they’re like, “Oh, maybe I’ll check this out…”

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