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Mindy Cohn 00:01
Hi everyone, Christian and I happily welcome you back to another episode of Monday's with Mindy.
Christian Brescia 00:08
Hi everybody. Welcome back.
Mindy Cohn 00:09
today's conversation is with actress and friend Samantha Mathis, born in Brooklyn raised in New York and Los Angeles primarily by her mom, actress bebe Besh, Samantha started working at 16 in commercials and television. She made her film debut just a little film debut in 1990s, with Pump up the volume starring opposite Christian Slater. Wow, and appeared in such films as ferngully the last rain forest, Mario Brothers, Little Women, the American president, American Psycho, the Punisher, and Atlas Shrugged, just to name a few. In 2019, she appeared Off Broadway and make believe a new play by best wall and last year was all set to star in the musical whisper house. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to COVID She is also most recently been had reoccurring roles in FX is the strain and showtimes billions.
Christian Brescia 01:03
That's a good one. Ladies and gentlemen. We are excited to bring her into the show. One more time. Samantha Mathis.
Mindy Cohn 01:11
Hello. Oh, oh, so good to see your face. Hi, lady.
Samantha Mathis 01:16
So good to see yours. Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 01:19
Agreed. All right. So we start each episode Christian and I kind of came up with our little you know, fabulous 20 questions and I just pull five and we just start a conversation.
Samantha Mathis 01:30
Oh my gosh, I don't know how to do that anymore. Because it's COVID
Mindy Cohn 01:33
I know, right. But let's get our skills going practice.
Christian Brescia 01:37
Mindy Cohn 01:37
Yeah, Samantha? What's your guilty pleasure?
Hmm. I mean, I try to ascribe to the idea that there should be no Guilty Pleasures like right pleasures should just be pleasures we all deserve them especially in this crazy but I guess lately a little bit it's been chocolate you know? I mean Yeah. Really good dark chocolate with the cashew butter in it from who is really been treating me well lately. Yeah. Maybe?
Christian Brescia 02:14
Guilty Pleasures. I mean, I suppose one other guilty pleasure I would say I have is sometimes music that would be considered more pop and mainstream but I love a little Taylor Swift. I really love it. She's so indie now. I mean, I just love her really go down to pop music road and and get my Taylor on. Or even like pop country like my leg. A little Lady Antebellum? Yes. You know,
Mindy Cohn 02:44
I pick up what you're putting down? Yes. Okay. Um, who is your favorite relative? And why?
Samantha Mathis 02:53
Oh, that's a tough question.
Mindy Cohn 02:55
I know. I won't hold you to it.
Samantha Mathis 02:58
I have to say my mama. She's passed away. But mommy. My mommy knows.
Mindy Cohn 03:05
For a variety of reasons, I'm sure. Yeah. Um, how do you unwind and unplug? That's a really weird question. During this time, we're all like practicing unwinding as like a masters. We can all have a Masters in it or just gonna say as the screen goes black.
Samantha Mathis 03:21
Yeah. change radically since since a year ago. But it involves a lot of Netflix. involves a lot of Netflix and getting into bed really early. Like it's 630 where I am right now. And I have no guilt now about I will be in bed by 745 like I will go to sleep.
Mindy Cohn 03:50
I love you so much. Why I have been getting sick from my friends. You know, it's dark early. And I have two men gets in bed around eight o'clock. And I'm loving it.
The cozy of the blankets and I have the puppy dog.
Mindy Cohn 04:06
Oh my gosh. See?
And, and then Netflix.
Mindy Cohn 04:14
Yeah, okay. Okay,
Christian Brescia 04:15
I'm on board.
Mindy Cohn 04:17
Who is the most fascinating person you've met?
I've been lucky to meet all sorts of really interesting people in my life. I would say yes. For me. Jane Fonda ranks up there as one of the more fascinating people that I've met and had the pleasure to work with. I was such a huge fan. Not only of her work as an actress, but as an as an activist and had the opportunity to do a play on Broadway with her. And she was in her early 70s at that point, and have not been on stage in 40 years and I just was beguiled by her willingness to not know, thing at 72, to be willing to jump into the deep end. as famous as she is as well known as she is as accomplished as she is, and want to be scared, and want to grow. And to learn that I just was found that deeply fascinating Not to mention, I mean, she was Barbara Bella, and she's had nine lives, and she's just done so many things in her life. So I'm never bored talking to miss Jane.
Mindy Cohn 05:33
Yeah, I get that. Um, what do you do? Or what are the tools that you use in your toolbox? When you are stuck creatively?
Do you have any go to things? I mean, procrastination, I think is a really integral part of being creative. I really don't agree with that. It's how you clean your your sock drawer and reorganize. And sometimes you just have to go and do other things. In fact, a friend of mine gave me a book that the David Lynch wrote called capturing the fish and it's about the creative process. And he talked about procrastination. It is how you get things organized in your house. And I think that there's something in that procrastination, that it helps the the core of the inspiration fester inside of you until it has to come out. You can't take it anymore. And so I feel like there's something meditative in that part of the process. When you're stuck, go do something else sit with it, it's in your brain. It's inside of you. It's marinating, do other things until it's just ready to come out of you. So yeah, that's one way of approaching it. And then sometimes you just have to sit down and do it.
Mindy Cohn 06:48
Right. Right. But I really appreciate I'm gonna remember those words and how you set them because that that helps me to give myself permission to just like, this is part of my process to procrastinate,
Christian Brescia 06:59
because I always feel guilty about it. But I'm like, I'm still getting the job's done. And I'm kind of multitasking at the same time.
Well, it's different for us creatives, isn't it? Because you're constantly working on it. You're working on a on a character Monday, you know, when you're going to the grocery store. Oh, yeah, you're at the gym. When you're in your day, it's in there, you're thinking it's might not always be at the forefront of your mind, but it's inside of you. And so it's not always a linear process of sitting down and writing notes. And,
Mindy Cohn 07:29
yes, okay. But later, I'm going off my plan, which I love when that happens. Just to ask you, how do you feel about in this time, right now, when things are slowly coming back? opportunities are coming back little by little? How do you feel about not going into the room, but kind of this virtual audition this because for me, I'm much better in the room, and technically Amish so it's been a learning curve, and also a surrender. Just like Mindy, this is the way it is. And I am so curious how you feel about it. Just in general.
I mean, I, overall, I really miss being in the room. And I'm someone who who struggles with anxiety from time to time. So it's not like I love being in the room. Yeah. But I'm, I'm an actor. I'm not a cameraman. I'm not a wardrobe designer. I'm not a makeup artists, I'm an actor. And I have one experience of a callback during this period of self taping. And there were so much that I had to do technically, in order to be able to show up and do the actual audition that but that time I was with them on camera. I was completely somewhere else. It was so fun. Having to set up the camera, make sure that my iPad was recording me but my phone was also recording me from a different perspective. They wanted two cameras, one woman one was so they could have it clean. And it was just too much. I want I just want to look at the other person. Yeah. And have an experience. Yeah, and have the benefit of being in the room. Even if the director or the producers and the casting person to say, okay, that's great. I like that. Let's try it this way.
Mindy Cohn 09:20
Yeah, making it give me an adjustment. So I mean, that's like one of my favorite things. It's like, right, let me show you how I can play with others. And myself. Well, that didn't come out. Right. But you know what I mean?
Well, yes. And also, I mean, isn't so much of acting, listening. Yeah. It's how you listen and respond to someone. So I've done auditions where I couldn't get anyone to tape with me.
Mindy Cohn 09:42
I've literally to do
myself. I've re recorded myself online learner reading the other person's line and playing it back. I mean, it's the most meta weird, bizarre experience and there's no Nothing organic about it. There's no interchange. There's no
Mindy Cohn 10:04
no, you literally had your being john malkovich moment.
I literally did. I'm shocked. I didn't get those jobs, but
I live alone. What am I? You
Mindy Cohn 10:18
know, same I have told my friend Tara Carson, who's kind of my she's my person and I'm her person with this. I don't know what I would do without her because I don't just need a person. I need an actor or want an actor. Right. You know, so yeah. Oh my god. Okay. I was just curious. Yeah, no, for sure.
I will be so grateful when we can go back into a room and be real actual people. Yeah,
Mindy Cohn 10:41
same, same, same same. What are your current obsessions? Do
you have any? Well, I am currently in upstate New York, where you have been living for about the last five months now. And it's winter. So I decided to learn how to cross country ski. Because I'm not going to the gym. You're a rock star and I incredible regular ski. So I thought why not get out into nature in a new and different way. And so I tried it, fell in love with it went got cross country skis, no easy feat because apparently, all the cool kids are doing it now. snowshoeing because you can maintain six feet. You can maintain this and you don't have to get on a ski lift you just right. Go to where the snow is and get out. Okay,
Mindy Cohn 11:35
so on on Beekman farm we snowshoe, so I know that. Is there a difference? I mean, obviously there's a difference. But But is there? Is there a really big difference?
Mindy Cohn 11:46
I say that you can go pretty fast on cross country. You can't undo snowshoes,
you can go faster. You're on skis. You're there are two different kinds. I'm doing regular cross country, which is forward motion and using the poles. The other kind push backwards. More like rollerskating Oh, but uh, yes, I would imagine if much faster than snowshoeing because you're, you're just on these long skis and you're sort of swishing and you go to these places where they've groomed these tracks in the woods, and you're in these incredible snow covered Woods alone in the quiet swishing along, and it's so beautiful. And so that's been my new obsession. You know,
Mindy Cohn 12:33
not that you asked, but I so cosign that one. Oh, my God. I'm glad because I mean, you didn't ask but I'm telling ya. Oh, my gosh. All right. And what about the bingeing of any
I mean, constant thing constantly been. So just finished. Pretend it's a city that Fran Lebowitz. Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 12:57
I mean, if ever I miss New York, yeah. And just her also,
I mean, she is incredible. And her experience of New York, and it is such a love letter to New York. And then, I mean, Marty Scorsese laughing with her. He loves her so much. I could just watch him laughing at her.
Mindy Cohn 13:18
I mean, or anything. His laugh is, is my kind of like, I always feel like that's a Norman Lear laugh because Norman talks about how sitcom audiences, he literally would get well, I won't say Norman Lear gets an erection. But he got so excited when you saw a group of people lean and laugh. And it seems like Mr. Scorsese. I mean, his belly starts and then it comes out of his mouth. I mean, it's just delicious. He's
genuinely deeply tickled by her and engaged her brain and her sense of humor. And it's such a love letter to New York. So yeah, that's a great that's been a true delight. And then I'm going to start tonight, a series called call my agent, have you watched?
Mindy Cohn 14:00
I have started
Okay, season four just dropped
Mindy Cohn 14:03
yesterday. It's it? Yeah. It's kind of amazing. No, we we've been talking my current obsessions are search party and Ted lasso.
Okay, um, haven't watched either. So I know they're on my list.
Mindy Cohn 14:16
Can I just tell you, Ted lassa. Like changed my life? Really? Yeah. To live out of a game changer. Wow. Didn't think Yeah.
Didn't take away from you. Okay. Okay.
Mindy Cohn 14:26
I know, I have already said this to one of our guests that I would lose a non needed appendage to be on that show. I mean, it it's that I had that visceral reaction to it.
Well, okay. You
Mindy Cohn 14:39
feel good. It's such a feel good. All right. Oh, surprisingly. I'll put it up on the keel. Yeah. All right. Good. So, one of our more, I guess, creative questions that we'd like to ask just factfinding here. I'm going on a little bit of a mission where you were raised Did that help with your aesthetic in any way or not?
In my aesthetic, as a creative
Mindy Cohn 15:08
as an as a creative person is what your taste level is what you're gravitated towards.
I mean, how, how could it not? I suppose, you know, I was born in New York City. And I was born into a family of actors. So my mother was an actor, and my grandmother was an actor.
So that I didn't know.
Yes, so I was in New York City until I was six. And even at that tender age, I was going to the New York City Ballet at the age of four all the time, my mom was leading the artistic director of the ballet and in the early 70s. So we would go see Rudolph, Nuria. And we would go to the Natural History Museum, every Christmas and make origami for the Christmas tree. And then we go to the Metropolitan Museum, and we see that Christmas tree, and we go skating and woman woman's rink. And so culture was a part of my day to day, from a really young age, then we moved to Los Angeles, right. And my mother still sought that out, that was very much a part of who she was and how she was raised. So those things only informed me and my grandmother was European, she was Austrian. So she had a really incredible aesthetic for creating a home. And that transferred to my mother. And I transferred to me in my own way, sort of the in more contemporary terms. higgy, one desiring a quality of coziness and softness, and a place that is inviting, aesthetically pleasing. That was part of part of my upbringing. So I mean, all those things, for sure. Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 16:53
So one of one of the rare things that we share in common, which It's rare for me, I don't I don't have these, a lot of these people in my life is connecting to someone who also started working at a very young age, and had success at a relatively young age. Well, you
that's at a really young age.
Mindy Cohn 17:12
Well, so did you. I mean, I mean, relatively Yes. Well, yeah. But, um, well, they came earlier than foremost, I'll put it that way. Yeah. And to then navigate that being a star or famous or having notoriety versus also, you know, cultivating being an actor, and wanting longevity. And, and, you know, I mean, want to be doing eight shows a week till they dragged me off for I can't remember a line. But you know, I just love to have you talk about your trajectory, a little bit as much as you want to share or not about
sure about that. Sure. Yeah,
Mindy Cohn 17:52
sort of claiming, and then maybe having to reclaim being a card carrying proud actor.
I mean, I think that in life, we constantly are given the opportunity and need to reinvent ourselves. I'm hopeful that I'm always trying to grow and find some new aspect of myself. having success at a young age in Hollywood, you know, was extraordinary, I was so lucky, blessed. But I was going down a particular path for a period of time of movies. And it's amazing. You know, I took a pause in my career around the age of 26. When my mom passed away, I had been acting for about 10 years at that point, and honestly, I was just so bereft, I'm sort of, of course, packs and auditions, like, all the time, and I couldn't act well, it couldn't act for a while. And, you know, when I came back to it and rediscovered it, I found this incredible acting teacher. And she really took me back to basics and said, let's talk about what you love about acting. She said, let's work on a Shakespeare sonnet. And so we started working on Shakespeare. And through that I got in touch with my great love of theater somehow, in my trajectory growing up in Los Angeles. I was in TV, and then I was in movies, but I wasn't really doing theater. Well, theaters, the first thing I fell in love with so fame. Right, right. Yes. So very much the backwards and opposite way of doing things. I started doing theater when I was 30. I did my first play really, when I was 30. And I say really, because I did a play for two weeks in New York when I was 21. And I had to pull out to do a movie. So that became a huge shift in my career and made me realize that you know, to have longevity as an actress, that I wanted theater to be an integral part of my my life because I think The parts only get better for women as you get older. That from from television, although I think it's changed, I think it's gotten a lot better agree. So you know my career's had ebbs and flows and ebbs and flows, as I'm sure you can relate to. And, and, and I'm sure it will continue it to. Yeah, it's
Mindy Cohn 20:25
I think so but you know, you and I have shared, I've shared with you my fervent fear, and my just deadly desire to, you know, move to New York and be in New York because of my love of theater. And because of that sense of a working actor, is defined so differently in the city than where I am here in Los Angeles, and just the fears I have just being a single woman and just making that kind of change at my age, and yet, knowing I'm so pulled there. I think so
purge. I mean, we've talked about you have
Mindy Cohn 20:58
you you've actually been the most important voice in this discussion, saying, you know, look what's happened to me, kiddo?
I mean, yeah, I woke up one day, with the encouragement of friends who said, Yeah, you keep talking about how much?
Why don't you go?
Well, actually, I can't actually go, I mean, I
Mindy Cohn 21:20
have a house. Right, right. Yeah. Christian, Does this sound familiar to you at all? Yeah. You don't?
You know, you could rent it and just try it doesn't have to be so black and white. And long story short, I did. And, and it was the best decision I ever made. So yes, when when all this madness is over, we will be excited to welcome you to New York.
Mindy Cohn 21:42
Thank you, my darling, because I do have to tell you, if anything has pushed me along. It's been I've been grateful as holy get out that I didn't move last year. Oh, my God. All right. But it has, you know, if not, whenever now is going to be in the future? If not, now, when? I mean, it's really kind of given me I guess, the kick in the pants to just sort of say, Oh, no, this, this can't continue. I've got to just go do it. Period.
Oh, good, good. Well, this has been an interesting time, right for all of us to be real with ourselves. And really think about what what we're doing. And are we happy with where we are? And are we doing what we want to be doing. And I'm glad it's making you feel like you want to double down on the New York move. And I think that it's going to be a really complicated and interesting time as everyone vaccinated, but I hope, a very exciting and vital time for New York, because you bet theater is going to have to be for New Yorkers for a while, which is key. And I think that that's going to bring new artists new voices to the forefront. And people are going to have to get really scrappy, and you know, in the city is being decimated right now by this? Yes. It's been almost a year now. And, and unfortunately, you know, that's meant that lots of people have left well, that also means that rents have gone down, and I hold great hope that artists are going to be able to move back anything more numbers than they could before. And that same be they'll be some incredible renaissance in New York. No, there
Mindy Cohn 23:27
will be it's what the city is built on. And for, I'm convinced, and I don't mean to romanticize it too much. Because it is one of those places. Another reason I love it so much is unlike most other places in the world. You know, if the island doesn't want you there, you know, you can't perpetrate a fraud and stay there. You know, it's sort of like you can love New York, but it's gotta love you back, you know. And I appreciate that so much. I like where I stay. I want to know where I stand, right. So I really appreciate that. And you you'll never know how much that conversation meant to me when we had that first conversation about it. Yeah, so have you been able to work at all? Or is work coming? Or is it what it is with me, which is some people are added and some people are just waiting?
I'm just waiting. I was in a theater in a dark theater on March 12. When you guys in rehearsals, we were first performance have a play when they close down the theater. So that was last March. Yeah. That was a musical called called whisper house by Duncan Sheik, which was to be my first musical I say that yes. Because we know but I've learned core singing But anyway, I
Mindy Cohn 24:52
remember you getting that and and i i thought you were in rehearsal, but you guys were actually ready. Ready to go.
We were going to do our first preview. Yeah. Yeah, we weren't. Well else was so wild. Anyway. No, Mindy, I have not been working. I mean, I've been auditioning, oh, it'll come. It'll come. Yeah, I feel you know, I have a I have a few friends that have been shooting and have had to stop now the same gone sky high in Los Angeles. Yeah, I would feel incredibly blessed if I had a job right now. And it was clear to me that everything would shut down again, because we knew the numbers would go back up again. So yeah, it'll happen. I feel at this time, I feel very blessed. And I recognize how lucky I am. Same, felt like this has been important sort of gestation of my spirit, time to just kind of learn how to be with all this quiet, and this time, and find the sweetness in that and the gifts in that and the growth in that. So hopefully, I've learned something.
Mindy Cohn 26:06
Oh, if it's you, you have and I know that you will also share it, I have to say you are someone that we do not know each other well by any stretch of the imagination, but I adore you so much. And I think you are truly one of the most gifted actors I've ever met or watched or seen in my life. So Oh, I just cherish you so much. And I'm so grateful you came to do an episode of Mondays.
Thank you so much for asking me many. I'm so honored to be part of your show and happy to see your show your face.
Mindy Cohn 26:37
Thank you my darling. Yes. And I hope to see you well. I will see you at some point in 2021. For sure. And be well and be safe.
Thank you. You too. It's so nice to talk to both of you. You too
Christian Brescia 26:48
nice talking to you. Nice meeting you. Thank you so much for joining us once again Ladies and gentlemen, our very special guest Samantha Mathis
Christian Brescia 27:00
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