Mary-Louise Parker Is Not Quitting Acting

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Mourn not the end of Weeds: In October, Mary-Louise Parker’s unique, likable deadpan will return to Broadway for the first time in four years. In Sharr White’s darkly comic, poignant The Snow Geese, Parker plays an anxious World War I–era mother awaiting her son’s deployment in upstate New York. rebecca milzoff

Did you see that Esquire just had a whole “Happy Birthday Mary-Louise Parker” thing? With that picture of you wearing only an apron.

Oooh, they like that picture. The pictures might be over with, considering I just turned 49.

Which brings us to that whole I-might-quit-acting interview a few weeks ago.

That was born out of a conversation where I was asked if I had long-term goals, and it became like I was embittered. I wasn’t in danger of quitting. People were suddenly so concerned, and I got all this mail, long e-mails. Which was really lovely, but then I also felt embarrassed.

How did Manhattan Theatre Club and this play get to you—was there some sort of courting process?

No, I court them! Lynne [Meadow] is always nice enough to think of me. And when they don’t, I stalk them. “Have you read anything? Even if you think no one will like it?” [Laughs.] When we did the first reading, it felt pretty immediate, like How I Learned to Drive. Clearly there’s a nod to Chekhov, but it doesn’t feel staid—this has a levity, a real modern feel to it.

You know, I think of you as such a modern actress—were you concerned about doing a period play?

For a long time, people just thought of me as someone who played pale southern people who died, or overtly sexual. But [after] drama school, I spent my first however-many years in a corset, doing Noël Coward. That’s where I’m from.

This play happens out in the country. Are you secretly good in the woods?

Ha, no. I’m not a Patagonia or REI type, but I have spent a lot of time in the country.

I did just read that you have dwarf goats …

They’re so lovable! They rear up on their hind legs and do this bizarre little dance, and you can’t tell if they’re being territorial or aggressive or just showing off. Maybe I’ll have them in the house someday.

In a roof garden.

Oh my God, that would be so Brooklyn. Over a coffee shop, where I’m composting.

The Snow Geese By Sharr White. Directed by Daniel Sullivan. manhattan theater club. in previews Oct. 1, opening Oct. 24.

Mary-Louise Parker Is Not Quitting Acting