Simple Questions With Jane Seymour

The Hollywood icon talks getting starstruck by Brad Pitt, the lasting impact of Dr. Quinn, and her dream Harry Wild guest star.

TV Features Acorn TV
Simple Questions With Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour is a Hollywood legend. From her breakout role as Solitaire in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, to her fan favorite stint as Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, to playing the brash wife of a senator in Wedding Crashers, Seymour has proven time and again she can portray any type of character.

Always working, the actress is currently starring in Harry Wild on Acorn TV and BBC America. In the series, which begins its third season on May 13th, Seymour plays Harriet “Harry” Wild, a retired literature professor who becomes a private investigator. 

Seymour has graced the stage, television, and film for decades, is an OBE recipient, and an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress. To get to know the person away from the camera, I asked Jane Seymour some Simple Questions recently while she was in Denver for SeriesFest. 

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Paste Magazine: What are three must have items in your fridge or pantry?

Jane Seymour: Pistachio nuts, smoked salmon, and a nice bottle of white wine. A chardonnay. 

Paste: What TV shows do you watch?

Seymour: I love Ted Lasso, love The Bear, and I love Masters of the Air. What else have I been watching? The Crown, of course. Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad. That was what got me into binging television. Oh, and A Gentleman in Moscow.

Paste: When you were a kid, what did you imagine doing for a living?

Seymour: I was going to be a ballerina. When I was a little girl, that’s all I ever wanted to be. I wanted to be a ballet dancer. Then reality struck and I was immediately told that I had flat feet, that I had no natural extension or turnout, and I was turned down by the Royal Ballet. Fortunately enough, I was picked up by another dance and theater school, so they gave me an all-round theater education. So I was a salvaged, damaged ballerina, but I did get jobs at the Royal Opera House with the Kirov Ballet when (Natalia) Makarova defected. So I did achieve my goal, and then had an injury and could never be a professional ballerina again.

Paste: What’s the most challenging or misunderstood part of your job?

Seymour: People think it’s glamorous. It’s far from glamorous. I don’t think people realize the hours and the stamina and the need to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, that it takes, especially to do a series. There’s never any down time. It’s constant. And on the weekends, I’m preparing the whole week’s work. So it never really ends.

Plus, the idea of a lunch break, it’s always talking to a journalist or trying to deal with real life. It’s a lot harder than people think it is. And I think I take it pretty seriously. When I am [executive] producing, I make sure that all the other actors are able to do their best work and am supportive of whatever’s happening in terms of behind the scenes of what we have time for and what we don’t have time for. I’ve been known to change clothes in front of everybody in a ditch, in the cold, in the rain. I mean, whatever it takes. It takes a lot more than the person watching it realizes.

Paste: Tell me about a time that you were starstruck.

Seymour: When Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke up, that was a big moment. And for some reason, George Clooney decided I was the person that could safely sit next to Brad Pitt while we were doing something with saving the planet or saving somebody. We were doing the phone thing. And I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember that everyone was looking to see what was going to happen next with Brad Pitt, and I got to be the one sitting next to him at that moment. And it was good news and bad. The good news was, “Oh my God, it’s Brad Pitt,” who’s amazing and lovely, by the way. The slightly sad news was that, clearly, George Clooney thought I was the only person that would not upset the apple cart to the world, like, “Oh, just Jane. Just Jane.”

Paste: Was that for a film?

Seymour: No, it was… I can’t remember what it was, but one of the things where all the stars come out and we all man the phones to get donations for whatever it was. I don’t remember what it was, but there is a very famous picture. The picture straight after the breakup was the two of us side by side having a nice chat whilst manning the boat.

(Editor’s note: Seymour is referring to Tsunami Aid: A Concert for Hope, which was organized by George Clooney and televised on NBC. It aired on January 15, 2005 and was held to benefit the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. The photo Seymour is referring to is below.

Paste: So, Brad was what made you kind of starstruck?

Seymour: Oh, yeah. Yeah, he’s just absolutely gorgeous, yes.

Paste: What’s the strangest or funniest encounter you’ve ever had with a fan?

Seymour: With a fan? Well, actually it was a non-fan. I was in Ireland, actually in Belfast, and I was in a pub and somebody told this man that I was Jane Seymour. He went, “No, no, you’re not. You’re not Jane Seymour. You just think you’re Jane Seymour. You would like to be Jane Seymour, but you’re not.” They went on and on and on and on. It was really hilarious because it took about 20 minutes for us to try to persuade him to even wrap his head around the fact that I possibly might be me, and it was hilarious.

Paste: What’s the best and/or worst job that you’ve ever had?

Seymour: Worst job. Well, I won’t say which film, but working on a movie with somebody who’s abusive and pretty evil and having to continue to work with him, that would probably be the worst. The best, I think, was when I made Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve. It was magic. The romance that we played on screen seemed to manifest itself in our lives as well, and ended up being a lifelong friendship until he passed. So I would say that was the magical summer of my life.

Paste: Who’s someone you’ve worked with that you’d like to work with again?

Seymour: Well, I did enjoy working with De Niro (The War with Grandpa), so I wouldn’t mind that again. He was great, Robert De Niro. Maybe also Malcolm McDowell because he’s quite dangerous in his acting and he’s really cool to work with. And I did one of my favorite movies, which no one’s seen, called Bereave. It was one of the best roles I ever played when I played his wife. In fact, he just called me the other day and wants me to come do another movie with him. So Malcolm McDowell, I’d say.

Paste: Can you tell me someone you’ve worked with that you’re still close to?

Seymour: Joe Lando from Dr. Quinn. We did a Lifetime movie together, not for this last Christmas, but the Christmas before, and it was one of the highest rated ones. So people are always looking for something for the two of us to do together. We work really well together.

Paste: Do people just still have that connection to the two of you due to Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman?

Seymour: Oh, yes. He just comes over and we make pizza or something, and I take my selfie with him without even warning him that we’re doing it, it gets ridiculous numbers. So yes, clearly the audience does love seeing the two of us together. And we know each other so well. I mean, we’ve been up and up and down and round-about. We’re like best friends, but we also know how to make one another laugh and cry, and we’re there for each other, so it’s always fun.

Paste: Who’s your dream Harry Wild guest star?

Seymour: Bryan Cranston. He’s an incredibly sweet guy and he’s an amazingly, amazingly talented man. 

Paste: Would he be a professor at your school or would he be a killer?

Seymour: He could be anything he wants. He could be my love interest. I don’t care. I’ll pick Bryan Cranston.

Harry Wild Season 3 is now streaming on Acorn TV. 

Terry Terrones is a Television Critics Association and Critics Choice Association member, licensed drone pilot, and aspiring hand model. When he’s not considering retiring to become a private detective, you can find him hiking in the mountains of Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter @terryterrones.

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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