The 33-year-old star of TVs Felicity grew up in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado, and moved to this quiet corner of Brooklyn in 2007 with her husband, Shane Deary, a carpenter, and their son, River, now 2.
Shes passionate about childrens-health issues and recently teamed with Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser in Extraordinary Measures, based on the true story of a couple whose two youngest children are diagnosed with a rare, fatal disease; as the clock runs out, they and Fords character start a biotech company to find a cure. Over breakfast, the self-deprecating star talks about the importance of downtime, her favorite new way to exercise, and fighting for better health care for kids. Then, shes off to the post office.
Q: Was your role in Extraordinary Measures more difficult than usual to play because you have a small son?
A: I didnt want to do it at first. I read the script, its such a compelling story, but, yeahhaving a 2-year-old at the time … the story goes that they have their second kid, whos perfectly healthy, and then theyre told that shes not going to live beyond 8.
Q: Have you met the real-life family this story is based on?
A: I went to New Jersey and spent some time with them. Theyre young, incredibly funny, and dynamic. I said, “I want you to understandthis is a movie. This is your life story, and it is not going to be that, its going to be some other version of that, so please tell yourselves that every single day.” Because Id absolutely hate it! To have some cheesy actor doing that! [Laughs.]
Q: Youve gone to Washington, D.C., with Childrens Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman to meet with senators and administration officials to advocate for childrens health care.
A: She took a group of women, four of whom were mothers with stories of how they had basically been robbed by health care. They had jobs, but through a matter of, say, their husband making $1.50 over the poverty line, they couldnt get their child who has a rare disease something that would prevent her from dying. It doesnt matter who you are, who you are born to, or what state you live in, it should be a mandate across the board that every kid gets to see a doctor when she needs to. But these stoic senators were looking at us with blank eyes. Its crazy.