Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Meg Tilly Is Back In Bomb Girls
"Yes, I know I'm very lucky. Very lucky indeed."
Meg Tilly is on the line chatting about her dramatic and very successful return to acting after a 17-year lapse in the Global TV series Bomb Girls.
The first season was a huge hit both with viewers and the critics. And Tilly says her initial apprehension about getting back into the acting game quickly vanished.
"Actors had told me about bad experiences on other sets. But we're here to work and so far we all get along because with multiple stories there really is room for all."
The Oscar nominated (The Big Chill, Agnes Of God) Tilly says she realized something special was happening on the Toronto set almost from the first day.
"We're telling a specific story and it's true," is her explanation for the wide public acceptance.
I'd add the cast has no weak links and Canadians are eager to embrace a story set specifically in Canada. Most "Canadian" series are located in a strange universe that's neither Canadian nor American.
"At first there was talk about making the whole thing rather non specific," Tilly reports. "I'm glad that option didn't happen. Viewers seem so pleasantly surprised this is a real Canadian series."
Younger viewers especially are picking up on details they never thought happened in Canada.
Tilley who lives on Vancouver Island says some people have been shocked by the racist attitudes of the day. When her character says she wants to move in the kitchen her boss says that would mean working with Chinese
"People are saying we've moved beyond those attitudes but have we? There was an outburst against Islamic Americans after 9/11 that shows it is still very much around."
And female viewers note the way women are portrayed which is historically correct.
"For those brief years of World War II women were suddenly emancipated. They were doing men's work while the men went off to fight the war. Then at war's end the men came home to reclaim their jobs and the women moved out to the suburbs to become wives and mothers.
"My character Lorna Corbett is heading a munitions unit where women are making bombs to blast the enemy. It's highly dangerous. One false move and the explosive could go off. We do show one girl getting mangled because her hair got caught in the machinery.
"Lorna was seen by a lot of viewers as this very harsh woman. but she had to be strict. A lot was riding on this plant's ability to make bombs. She was doing a rob only men normally do. It was a rough time for her."
Tilly says with a laugh her three children were "all grown up and they had left the roost. I had time on my hands which I thought I could completely fill with writing. Couldn't. So when I was asked to do this I hesitated only a little bit. It just was the right time.
Tilly had already tested the waters with a dazzling turn in Victoria B.C. in a theatrical revival of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
By the time she flew to Toronto she was ready for almost everything. To save expenses some scenes use block shooting --scenes are shot from one camera angle and then reshot from another.
Tilly has said writer Adrienne Mitchell's brilliant dialogue "won me over" This season the episode order has been doubled from six to 12 hours which Tilly thinks is just about enough.
She has a book coming out in spring and wants to do more theater. "And I want to do important things like hiking. That's what I said hiking."
This new season Rosie O'Donnell has been nabbed as a guest star. I'm honor bound not to give away plot details but Tilly shines in the first two new hours I've seen when she has to confront a personal crisis.
Tilly says "It's been extremely worthwhile. To be in a success. And be part of such a talented ensemble. Many of my scenes are with Peter Outerbridge who is so giving as my husband --he spends his spare moments working with the younger cast members.
"I klnow they say you can't come back to acting. That's what I was told. But I did it. And I'm so very glad."
SEASON TWO OF BOMB GIRLS PREMIERES WEDNESDAY JANUARY 2 AT 8 P.M. ON GLOBAL TV.
MY RATING: ****.