LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After last starring on television in the short-lived series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," Amanda Peet ("The Whole Nine Yards," "Syriana") returns to television once again in the new comedy "Bent," which premieres Wednesday night on NBC.
The 40-year-old actress plays a newly divorced, high-strung lawyer and single mom looking for a fresh start by renovating a new home. She hires a reckless, womanizing, recovering addicted gambler as her contractor, and finds herself attracted to his charming ways even though he is everything she cannot stand.
Peet, who is married to Hollywood screenwriter David Benioff, with whom she has two daughters, Frances, 5 and Molly, 2, sat down with Reuters to talk about her new show, being a mother and how married life has changed her.
Q: What made you return to television?
A: "I like the idea that she's a single mom trying to keep it all together. I think most working moms have this sinking feeling that they're failing, so I related to that. And I like the idea of an adult dating show that's sexy and not just for gags - that kind of romantic suspense where you're like, 'Are they going to have sex or not?' I love that she despises the fact that she's attracted to (her womanizing contractor)."
Q: Is the show meant to be realistic or a fantasy?
A: "I'm not sure yet, actually. We definitely want to make people laugh. We have J.B. Smoove and Jeffrey Tambor so we want everyone to escape and laugh. But hopefully it's more on the realistic side."
Q: Later this year, you will star with Ben Affleck and Jessica Chastain in a new Terrence Malick movie. How do you figure in to the plot?
A: "I don't know what I'm allowed to say, but I'm a love interest of Ben's. We shot it in Ohio. I was breastfeeding at the time, so my memory of it is very, very foggy. I didn't have the normal amount of brain cells."
Q: Your husband is the executive producer of the HBO hit series 'Game of Thrones' which shoots in Europe. How do you guys make it work?
A: "Everyone packs up and goes. For the last three summers we lived over there. In season one I came back with the girls and did a play in New York. This past year I shot 'Bent,' so David commuted from Belfast to L.A. He'd make little videos for (daughter Frances) so at breakfast she'd see David on a glacier in Iceland and all the actors were in costume saying 'Good morning Frankie!'"
Q: Would you and David ever work together?
A: "I really hope so! I've only been sleeping with him for seven years now! What am I gonna get out of this? (laughs)"
Q: Do you have rules about working or not working together?
A: "We don't have rules about much of anything. We don't have rules about how long we're going to be apart or about working together. We tried to have a rule about getting off the computer at a certain time each night. It didn't work."
Q: How has motherhood changed you?
A: "I'm fatter, I'm saggier. And I'm still a jealous, ambitious person. (laughs) I think my perspective on things was changed more by being with David than having children, in terms of work. I used to do projects thinking it would be a launching pad to something, but when I met David, he was like, 'Stop doing that, do it only if you want to do it.'"
Q: What do you consider your big break?
A: "'The Whole Nine Yards,' hands down. It was a great role - a contract killer who was obsessed with being an expert contract killer. The movie did really well and at the time, I didn't realize how special and rare it was. So rare that it's never happened again! (laughs) If that ever happened now, I would be drinking champagne and doing cartwheels. At the time, I just didn't even know."
Q: Innocence can be a good thing.
A: "Oh, I was very innocent and took the role very seriously. Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis would be going out and having fun in Montreal. I was like, 'I need to figure out what my objective is in this scene tomorrow!'"
Q: Television is such a precarious and fickle business. Will you be disappointed if the show doesn't get renewed?
A: "Yeah, but I've been doing this for a long time. I feel like I've been around the revolving door and spit out the other side and come back around again. I'm used to this feeling and I'm used to being in this position. I have my health, my children's health and my husband's health. The older I get, the more I feel if I have (those three things) then we're doing really well."
(Reporting By Zorianna Kit; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)