The Queen of American Princess
In Lifetime's American Princess, Seana Kofoed has a role fit for a queen.
Lifetime Network's new comedy American Princess centers on newcomer Georgia Flood's character, Amanda Klein, but one of the ensemble cast's central characters is veteran character actress, Seana Kofoed.
When wealthy Amanda runs away from her own dream wedding, she realizes that the life she thought she wanted wasn't actually right after all. After impulsively joining a Renaissance Faire, she experiences an unexpected awakening that quickly develops new friendships, rivalries and romances.
One such rivalry escalates between Amanda and the Faire's resident Queen Elizabeth, performed regularly by Maggie Chaney. Kofoed plays Maggie and the role proved to be a perfect marriage.
Q: What drew you the role of Maggie?
A: It was just a right fit for me because I sort of came up through the theater. She was definitely an actress who pounded the pavement in New York City for many years and was not given her due for a variety of reasons.
She sort of retreated with all of her training and her belief in herself to the Ren Faire where she could finally get the recognition she felt she deserved. She could cling to it. We know she left the stage to go be in the Ren Faire.
Q: Did you get the role in American Princess because you had auditioned for the producers previously?
A: Yeah, we did an HBO pilot, The Devil You Know. What I like about working with [creator] Jamie Dembo and [producer] Jenji Kohan is they cast based on what real people look like.
Q: Since Maggie plays Queen Elizabeth, did you do any research on the queen?
A: I did as much research as I thought my character required. I knew I wasn't going to play her as her life story. I learned about her what I needed. She was a very impressive ruler. We could certainly use a ruler like her now.
I think she was kind within the realm of what was required of her. She was actually a great ruler. For me, I saw the connection in the conflict of being a benevolent ruler and one's own self-doubt. We all have that struggle, woman and men, we've all had that struggle internally. I think many of us feel underestimated in today's world.
It was a matter of "Embrace the Queen!" every now and then. As I feel many of us feel underestimated and made to feel like a peasant. As to the show itself, I think of American Princess as like our delightful little gem of a show. There are people who have found it and they love it.
Q: How are the ratings?
A: They are hanging in there. They are not terrific. I think they're decent but we are kind of tucked away. We are doing what we can to get people's attention to come and find us. At least give one episode a chance and see if it's a world they want to be in. It's out there and, you know, there's only so many things we little troupe of actors can do to put it out there.
Q: Had you ever gone to a Renaissance Faire?
A: Actually I had. I took my four-year-old daughter with me and she loved it. They had a Queen Elizabeth there and she could not have been nicer to my little girl.
Q: Like your character Maggie Chaney, you also have a pretty extensive stage background.
A: I 'm a character actor and I am so fortunate to have so many years in New York. Really, it was a joy, which is not something you can often say about one's work. The plays were such a joy as there were so many that were textured, so nuanced and wonderful.
A good example of that was playing the hunchback maid in An Experiment with an Air Pump at the Manhattan Theater Club.
Q: Is that how you met your husband?
A: On stage, yes, but not that play. He's also an actor, Jason Antoon. We've been married nine years now and have two children. We met during the run of a show at Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut. It's the theater that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have.
Q: Did you meet them?
A: Yes, I did. Talk about a class act. They were an extremely talented and classy couple. You can't get a better role model for a successful show business marriage and career than that.
Q: Have you worked together since then?
A: As a matter of fact, he's a regular on the TNT show Claws and I play a recurring character. I don't want to give away any spoilers. but I will say that my character is kind of mousy. However, let me just say they have us doing things that only a real-life husband and wife would be willing to do on camera.
Q: I understand you recently, wrote, produced and costarred in the film 30 Miles from Nowhere?
A: I did, yes.
Q: Wow, you are indeed a Renaissance woman.
A: Why, thank you.
Q: The premise is of a bunch of friends up in a cabin where strange things may or may not be happening. How did you get the idea for 30 Miles from Nowhere?
A: I always wanted to do a project with my friends and this was perfect for that. I did work with a lot of friends on it and in it. We also had a goal of insuring that there would be 50% women in the crew and 50% in the cast and I'm happy to say we achieved that.
Q: Where can it be seen?
A: It can be seen on several platforms, like Amazon and the like. It's also available on good old DVD.
Q: Did you want to release it theatrically?
A: We found out we'd lose money if we tried to distribute it theatrically. The advance we got to make the film would take forever to pay off if we played it in theaters with limited runs. I had to learn all of this by asking friends in the filmmaking community who were extremely helpful to us.
Q: So, what's in the future for you?
A: Well, the people at Lifetime have an interesting view on things. Lifetime is a big believer in actors not "staying in their lane," that they can diversify, direct or write. I'm hoping to take advantage of that!