In a recent roundtable interview, Judith Light answered some questions from us about her character in the upcoming STARZ horror-comedy, Shining Vale. Check out below what she had to say on the topic of her character, Joan Krueger, as a mother and the depiction of mental illness as well as aging. But first? Let's get to know Joan a little better with a look at what the series has shared about here so far…
Joan is Pat's Lithium-infused mother, who has long battled mental illness, and her daughter… (who she blames for her mental illness). Joan is vain and hyper-critical, taking any opportunity to recall her prized youth or belittle Pat. Of all the horrors that Pat faces, becoming Joan is the most frightening– and most real.
Bleeding Cool: I was wondering what kind of horror or fear do you think your character embodies? Is it related more to the fear of aging? What do you believe it may be?
Judith Light: I think it's all of it. I think it's all of the things that as human beings within the human condition that we all deal with, whatever that fear is. And this is also a woman who's been dealing with mental illness for most of her adult life. So you're talking about a person who has had a lot of fear and a lot of things that have not been resolved, and that's what makes her so interesting. Well, that makes me think a lot about the character in a very viable, vital way. So I would say there are a lot of things, aging and what is it like to be a person who has to make their way through the world with their mental illness.
BC: What preparation went into that dynamic of mother and daughter and the complexity of both their mental illness along with their history?
JL: There wasn't a lot. I mean, Courteney and I had not worked together. You know, we probably see each other at different events and stuff like that. You know, here in L.A. or whatever, but there wasn't any preparation that went into that. Again, I go back to the script and the way that this was written. You've got a producer like Jeff Astrof, who believes that the women are the ones who really know and understand these challenges and these complexities. He put a whole women's writer's room together. So the preparation was really in the script. And also, Courteney had done four episodes before I came in. She had really established herself within the body of this character. So I really took my cues from her and took my development of Joan off of the way Courteney was relating to me, which is really the way I love to work. It's like you really get in there with an artist and you get to create these human beings.
The genre-bending horror-comedy, Shining Vale premieres with two back-to-back episodes on Sunday, March 6 at 10:20 pm ET/PT on STARZ.