Things change and nothing changes: Mrs. Doubtfire 2 debrief

I have a pretty normal routine when I get up in the morning. The dog goes outside to sniff around the yard. I do my meditation and yoga. We both have some breakfast and I make tea. Then, just before I sit down to write, I quickly check email - which usually consist of friends sending me links to farm animals on Buzzfeed and an exciting opportunity to turn my computer into a money-making machine by working from home. But last Thursday, I woke up to an interview request from Brazil.

I figured it might be a weird day.

And it was. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 was in development. This was the first I had heard of it. Suddenly, I was being swamped with questions about whether or not I would be involved.

But here's the thing:

No one has asked me to be involved.

It's kind of like going ring shopping at Tiffany's after your first date. Everyone just needed to take a deep breath for a minute.

I'm not sure even sure how I would feel about a sequel, let alone what my feelings are about being involved. I am retired from acting - it's not the life that I want for myself. But if my friends/former co-workers ask me to consider something, I'm going to listen to what they have to say.

And really, who knows if the film will actually make it to production, or if my character, Lydia, will actually be in it, or a zillion other things that could come up in the meantime. There is no need for decisions yet.

The most interesting thing I had planned for the week was staining our back deck, but suddenly I found myself the topic of internet chatter. On Wednesday, I was just saying stuff. On Thursday, I was "making statements."

It got a little overwhelming with emails and unanswerable questions and interview requests, especially because my answer to everything was a legitimate, yet wide-eyed, "I don't know." It felt like suddenly everything in my life was changing - it was totally out of my control. Chaos was swirling around and from where I stood, this Doubtfire thing seemed to be all everyone was talking about.

So, I did what I do when I feel stressed and ungrounded. I turned off my computer and went to my volunteer job at the animal shelter. I'm always more comfortable with animals and when I can stop thinking about my life and help someone else.

When I walked into the area where I usually work, there was a woman who I had never met before. When I opened the door she turned to me with a sudden look of joyful recognition.

"Are you the one that I've been hearing so much about?" She asked.

My face turned red. I really wanted to stop thinking about Doubtfire 2 for just a couple of hours. I wanted to just do my regular life stuff without hearing another opinion about what it means if I do it or don't do it. I stumbled around and said something eloquent like:

"Uhhh. Oh, I donno."

"Yes, you are! You are the one who has been working with Pumpernickel! What's your name?"

Pumpernickel is a cat that came into the shelter about a month ago. She weighs barely 5 pounds and had been run over by a car. The clinic saved her and she is now up for adoption. She is absolutely adorable, but she has been deeply traumatized and tends to lash out unexpectedly. Pumpernickel has been my project and I've been socializing her -- she recently transformed from attacking anyone that got near her, to being a snuggly lap-dweller and giver of tiny kitty kisses.

The vet heard she was doing well, and came to see Pumpernickel's caregiver and say thank you. She doesn't know anything about my life outside the shelter, and she doesn't give a damn about what HuffPost Live was saying.

It was one of the prouder moments of my life.

I suddenly realized - that's the shit I want to be famous for.

My priorities snapped back into line like a well-cracked knuckle. You know where else this "news" of Doubtfire 2 didn't matter? At my yoga studio. At the farmer's market. With my dearest friend who, after checking to see how I was doing with it all, mostly wanted to talk about the fact that she just learned she'd been buying the wrong bra size for years.

Sometimes, it's easy to get whipped into a frenzy over entertainment news - especially when it involves being misrepresented in an Us Weekly headline. But the truth is, it doesn't really change anything.

We all have those distractions that threaten to take over our lives. Those moments of drama where it appears that something is important just because everyone else is throwing their opinions around. That moment doesn't have to define you. It's can be interesting, sure. But it doesn't need to displace the real things. It doesn't need to become something bigger and better than the priorities you intentionally set for your life.

Whatever the outcome of this whole Doubtfire 2 thing - I'm still the same person who giggles at Buzzfeed lists, knows a lot about her friend's new bra and tries to convince Pumpernickel to not scratch someone's eyes out.

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"Stars are just like us!"

I hate getting my hair cut. I always have. That's why I had that down-to-my-waist hair until I was 15.

My hair is a little shorter now, but I still only get it cut twice a year.

I was at the hair salon waiting for my semi-annual appointment and the receptionist offered me some magazines while I waited. I expected her to bring O Magazine or something where I could compare the 14 different types of asymmetrical bob cuts I was never going to get.

She brought me People Magazine and Us Weekly.

I reacted as if she had handed me a dead fish.

It's been decades since I've touched those kinds of magazines. As an actor that used to dodge reporters and photographers, I know what it's like to be on the other side of that lens. I know how it feels to be a hunted animal. In fact, it's one of the main reasons that I left my career; I couldn't handle the fact that the better I was at my job, the less right I had to a normal life.

But since my cell battery had died and my hairdresser was up to his elbows in hair dye goop that he was still putting on his previous client, I set aside my moral compass and flipped through Us Weekly.

This page stood out to me.


It caught my eye because this is clearly not something that they believe. These magazines are not really saying that famous people are just like everyone else. The entire magazine is based around the fact that they are inherently different from regular people.

If your dental hygienist went out to buy kale, would that be photo worthy? Would there be an article about how the teller from the bank likes a certain brand of lip gloss? Would that sell magazines?

Of course not. But why do we really care about those mundane details, just because those people happen to work in film? Actors are not better or smarter or more talented or even prettier (thank you, Photoshop) than anyone else in the world.

Tigerbeat used to want to know about my favorite foods and what music I liked. These days, that information is no longer of general public interest - and I'm quite grateful for that. But I'm not fundamentally any different than I was in the 90s, I just changed my job.

So, honestly. Why does this stuff matter?

I never figured out the answer to that question because I had to get my hair shampooed.

But it's still worth asking.


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