"She’s damaged goods … she’s damaged by her past," reveals Emmy and Golden Globe winner Felicity Huffman about Barb Hanlon, the grieving mother she plays on "American Crime." In our video chat below, she teases this week's thrilling conclusion to the gripping limited series created by Oscar-winning writer John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave"). This ratings hit was just renewed by ABC for a second go-round next season, with the cast playing different parts.
In this first edition, Huffman ("Desperate Housewives"), along with Oscar winner Timothy Hutton and an impressive ensemble including Regina King, Benito Martinez, W. Earl Brown and Penelope Ann Miller, portray ordinary people dealing with the aftermath of a home invasion that leaves a respected war veteran dead and his beauty queen wife on life support.
The characters are consumed by grief and confronting their prejudices. Reflecting on their various circumstances, Huffman says "the title 'American Crime' speaks to not just the jurisprudence system and the criminals and the victims, but also the crime of racism and bigotry."
The actress admits she relished the chance to play the angry, complicated woman at the center of this story. "People ask me how do you play someone like that. I think as an actor you always have to find what you can endorse. As a person, and you know Barb is dedicated to being as good a mother as she can be."
"Her motive is a good motive; it is to be a good mother. How it manifests itself is somewhat questionable." Indeed, "any obstacles that would get in her way, she would try to push them aside. Not because she’s vicious, not because she’s angry, but because she’s after one thing … justice for her son."
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