Mother of a miracle
No previous role prepared Frances Fisher to play a mother whose dead child “returns”, the actor tells COLIN VICKERY
HOW do you play a mother whose child seemingly returns from the dead? That was the challenge facing Frances Fisher when she signed on for Resurrection.
Fisher plays Lucille Langston on the fantasy drama. She and husband Henry (Kurtwood Smith) are gobsmacked when Immigration and Customs agent J. Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps) turns up at their front door with their eight-year-old son Jacob (Landon Gimenez), who supposedly drowned 32 years earlier.
Henry deals with the trauma by remaining aloof. But Lucille’s heart melts. She is convinced the mysterious Jacob is indeed her child.
Fisher has appeared in movie hits including Titanic, The Lincoln Lawyer, Unforgiven and Pink Cadillac. She has also guest-starred on TV shows including The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Torchwood and CSI:Crime Scene Investigation.
None of those projects prepared Fisher for playing Lucille.
“I read the pilot (script) and I was so moved by it,” Fisher says. “I understood her (Lucille) so well that I felt as if I could be part of this. I didn’t need to know what was going to happen in the future because who really does in life?
“The script triggered, for me, my experiences of loss. I’m sure everyone has experienced that. We all want one more hour with a loved one to say the things that we never said. So from that place, being able to project into Lucille’s experience of losing her son was easy in that way.”
Fisher is the former wife of Clint Eastwood. The pair has a 20-year-old daughter, Francesca.
“I have a daughter,” says Fisher. So sometimes I would just think what if she was that eight-year-old wonderful little girl again, instead of this.
“So that worked. And, of course, Landon Gimenez is just a fantastic young actor to work with. It was very easy to feel feelings for him.”
Part of Fisher’s approach was to just go with the flow. None of the actors had a complete idea of where the show – in its final weeks of season one on Australian screens – was heading.
“A woman who has lost her son and he’s back again is an unfathomable experience,” Fisher explains. “Omar and I talked about this … that (as an actor) you can’t really plan anything. You just play what’s on the page.
“You go into your own life and pull on feelings and memories of your own and just translate that into the text and into the action. Every cast member read The
Returned (the Jason Mott book the show is based on) before filming, even though the show is not bound by the book’s plot and has added characters and storylines.
“Jason really understands the small moments in a human being’s life,” Fisher says. “I thought he described them quite well. He told us that the impetus for writing the story was that he had a dream. His mother had passed away and he had a dream that he was sitting in his kitchen with her and that they had a long conversation, talking about things they’d never talked about before.
“When he woke up the next morning, it was so real to him that he thought, ‘Oh, my God, mum is back’.
“It prompted him to ask the question, ‘ What if ?’
“Resurr-ection starts us all on that journey in the same way: What if ?”
RESURRECTION TUESDAY, 8.45PM, SEVEN