Risking Takes

Mädchen Amick sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk in the latest episode of “At Home With The Creative Coalition,” a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars. In the newest episode, Amick talks about how she learned to not question David Lynch on the set of “Twin Peaks,” how she chose more fulfilling roles and achieved career longevity after the series, why she’s a champion of mental health, and more. Highlights below.

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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Mädchen Amick —

On working with David Lynch: 
“I questioned the way David [Lynch] wanted me to play — like, he would give me the strangest direction. Like, I would be on a phone call, and he would kind of just call out and say, ‘All right’ and he would just tell me to start to slowly drift my eyes up to the ceiling when I talk. And I just was thinking in my head, ‘Why? Like, what’s the point? What’s my motivation?’ And, finally, I was like, ‘David, why am I doing this?’ And he simply just said, ‘Because it looks good.’ And I was like, ‘Oh.’ And I think in that moment, I totally let go and just trusted him with whatever he wanted me to do, because I just sort of thought, like, ‘Oh, okay. He’s just taking me on some ride and I’m just going to go along for the ride and see where it leads us,’ you know? I’m not going to try to analyze and figure every little thing out.”

On struggling to find meaningful roles after her success on “Twin Peaks”: 
“‘Twin Peaks’ was so big, they didn’t want to cast any of us together in the next thing because it would just look like, ‘Oh, you’re just a bunch of ‘Twin Peaks’ together.’ But we were a huge cast! So we kept going up against each other, and as soon as we saw that the other one was there, like, ‘Oh, damn, it’s just going to be one of us, right?’ Like, who’s going to win? You know, that happened for a while. I navigated my way through trying to figure out what I wanted to do as far as roles because I kept getting offers of just being the attractive, sexualized femme fatale-y kind of girl and I just didn’t find those roles very interesting and I also didn’t want to be the flash-in-the-pan, really super-hot that sort of fizzled out and didn’t last long. I wanted to kind of stay under the radar to try and build a long career as long as I could. So I started choosing things that were more off-beat, not the big box office with the action star. More indie feel, deeper characters, things that just kind of interested me more storytelling-wise. There are times where I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I just cash in. That was dumb.’ But, you know, I guess what I went for was longevity and that’s what I’ve been able to accomplish.”

On her personal experience with mental illness and the decision to start her own foundation: 
“Mental illness hit our family 10 years ago. My husband, my son Sylvester, my daughter Nina, we’re a very very close family and we’ve always been close due to being gypsies who travel the world and have to pick up and move and go to a new place, so when it hit it really, really affected us all as a family. So, as we started navigating our son’s bipolar disorder diagnosis, it was so infuriating that it’s such a broken mental health care system. And so we were fighting to find him the proper diagnosis, the proper treatment, and the proper help, and it was not there or completely mishandled by our health care system. And so I decided right away to start using my celebrity as a platform to raise awareness and just, like, our story and breaking the stigma, but it grew beyond that into — of course, I think that breaking the stigma and sharing our stories is really important — but it wasn’t enough as a family as our son continues to have to search for help from time to time when he destabilizes. It’s just a reminder every single time that nothing is getting better, so we decided to start ‘don’t MiND me’ as a direct impact foundation that is going to help people get to the help that they need, help match them up to the resources that they need, and also sponsor them through treatment because it’s absolutely unaffordable and unaccessible. As of a couple months ago, I was calling around looking for places, and I’m being given quotes on the phone of $100,000 a month for an in-residence treatment center. You know, he experienced a manic episode and so he needs to be in-residence somewhere just to stabilize and stay safe. And I just was on the phone and I was like, ‘For what? What are you providing and who can afford this?’ And the answer was just, ‘Oh, we’re very successful.’ First of all, that’s praying on a system that isn’t supplying the treatment and the resources that’s needed for those people that are so desperately in need of it, and such a broken system where it’s using insurance and yet insurance doesn’t cover it. They only cover it for a few days. They threaten to kick you out. So people are finally getting to that point where they need help, they get into a place, they’re accepted into a place, and within seven days, their insurance runs out and they’re kicked out on the street. You wouldn’t do that to someone who’s having a heart attack or recovering from heart surgery, and yet here we are kicking out people who are mentally unstable and just really need help.”

On being vocal about her family’s struggles as a celebrity: 
“At first, I had no problem with it because it was just such a bizarre time. Here I was having to work and film and I’m a complete mess because my son is so desperately needing help and we’re up late night and getting him in places and he’s getting kicked out or he’s leaving. It was such a family crisis mode that we were going through and yet I had to put on my hair and makeup, I had to go perform, I had to walk the red carpet and smile and pretend nothing was happening. And we didn’t know what we were doing and we were just navigating it on our own and it just didn’t matter that I was a celebrity. Like, that didn’t get my son help. It didn’t shield him from having the diagnosis. So, as we were learning and failing and learning and succeeding, I wanted to share that immediately. But then, throughout the years, it’s also been a part of wanting to honor Sylvester and his journey, and when he wants to talk about it and how much he wants to talk about it, and that’s his own journey that he comes to. And he’s such a beautiful speaker and advocate, but there are times he needs to go through things in private. So it’s this navigating being open and sharing the story about our family, but it’s tricky because it’s not perfect.”


More about “At Home With The Creative Coalition”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.

Upcoming guests include Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Michael Imperioli (“The Many Saints of Newark,” “The Sopranos”), New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Aasif Mandvi (“Evil”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), International Bestselling Author Patrick McGinnis (“The 10% Entrepreneur,” “Fear of Missing Out”), Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”), Steve Schirripa (“Blue Bloods,” “The Sopranos”), Reid Scott (“Echo”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), and Matt Walsh (“Veep”).

Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Briarpatch”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), Willie Garson (“Just Like That”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us,” “Castle”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA,” “The West Wing”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Duncanville”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Anthony Rapp (“Rent”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”). 

More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.