Jami Gertz’s Second Act and What Led to Her Reinvention

Jami Gertz is blasting off into another universe and becoming BFFs with creatures from outer space in her latest role on "The Neighbors." In the edited version of our interview with her, she talks about her latest character, Debbie Weaver, her life off the camera and what inspired her to reinvent

by Ilyssa Panitz • More.com Celebrity Reporter
jami gertz image
Photograph: ABC

More: There was a time when you starred in suspense and dramatic films such as Less Than Zero and The Lost Boys. Yet you got off that path and found your calling in comedy [Still Standing, Seinfeld and Modern Family]. What prompted the change?  

JG: I started out in comedy—Square Pegs was a comedy. But after I turned 18 years old the movies I went on to do were serious movies. Believe it or not, I find comedy harder. When you look at the universal things that are sad, such as illness and death, those are emotions we all feel. Yet in comedy, what might make you laugh might not make another person laugh. Actors in comedies have to find the common ground, to make as many people as possible laugh. There are so many factors that come into play, such as timing.

More: Doing comedy feels more natural to you?
JG: I am most comfortable in comedic roles.

More: How do you feel about turning 50 in a few years?
JG: Aging is not easy, but it is the alternative that really sucks. If I have my health, that is a good thing. I try to live a healthy life. Look, you are guaranteed three things: you are born, you are going to live, and then you die. I also try not to look at myself too much.

More: Why? You are stunning.
JG: I think my husband married me because I am the type of girl who can be ready in 10 minutes (laughs). If anything, I want to feel good, strong and happy.

More: I am down with that.
JG: I try not to watch too many sad things. I get one ride, and I am trying to make it as joyful as it can be. When I think about aging, I take it, because some people don’t get to age like I am doing.

More: What is the secret of your happiness?
JG: I have gratitude, and to me that is huge. I have learned how to move on from things. I don’t let myself get stuck in bitterness and anger. For instance, if I fight with my husband, I try to quickly forget about it. Why? Because I am sure it was stupid and his fault (laughs).

More: Would you ever write a book about your exciting life in Hollywood?
JG: Nope! I would never kiss and tell. They are my memories.  

More: Are your kids allowed to see mommy’s movies?
JG: Oh no! Actually, I don’t know what they have seen. I don’t think they saw Less Than Zero—they don’t want to see me kissing Andrew McCarthy or in bed with Robert Downey Jr. I think that aspect will creep them out, since they only see me as mom.  

The Neighbors premieres on ABC on September 26 at 9:30 p.m. (Eastern).

Click here to read Margret Cho Embraces Her Age and Size.

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