Cybill Shepherd Goes Back to School

The actress shows her prowess with both a basketball and a younger man in her new TV movie.

Shepherd in the Hallmark movie "Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith"
Photograph: Photo by: Courtesy of Hallmark Channel

Yes, I’m finally getting to play the witch of my dreams. [The series, like the 1987 film, is loosely based on John Updike’s novel The Witches of Eastwick; Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn and Jamie Ray Newman star.] I’m the ultimate older witch who shows the young ones that they don’t know anything compared to me.

Let’s switch gears and talk about playing Martha Stewart, which you did twice, in Martha, Inc. and Martha Behind Bars.

I just loved doing that. When I was developing the character, I sort of looked at her as Queen Elizabeth I—a person who often said, "Off with their heads." A woman who is incredibly powerful. Of course, I don’t imitate that; it becomes a kind of springboard for me.

[Martha Stewart] is a complicated woman. She’s a mentor, a kind of genius, and she’s had this huge success—and boy, has she worked for it. She also has a temper. We didn’t make that up in the movie. I’m thinking that if I have to do Martha Stewart again it might have to be a musical.

Have you ever met her?

I did, many years ago. I always fantasize that Martha will call me one day and say, "Thank you, Cybill, for doing such a wonderful job of portraying me." But I don’t think I’m at the top of her call list.

Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith airs on the Hallmark Channel August 1.

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