Actress Mayim Bialik has taken on many new roles in the last year. For one, she took on the role of the new “Jeopardy” host. Although she was only signed on to host special tournaments at first, she later stepped in to split hosting duties with “Jeopardy!” G.O.A.T. Ken Jennings after executive producer Mike Richards was fired from the show.
She also sat in the director’s chair for the first time to direct her upcoming comedy-drama, “As They Made Us.” In a recent interview with USA Today, the “Blossom” child star explains how her very first screenplay first came to me.
Mayim Bialik Reveals Movie Inspiration Came After Her Father Passed Away
Bialik’s father, Barry, passed away in2015. Bialik began writing as a way to channel her grief, but her pages and pages of writing soon turned into something more.
“I consider the whole thing this wonderful accident,” Bialik said. “There’s a very specific year of mourning that we do in traditional Judaism. After that year, I felt an urge that I’ve never felt before to start putting down in writing a lot of my experiences and memories of grief. And literally, I ended up with a screenplay. I’ve never written one before.”
Although it was inspired by the death of her father, Bialik doesn’t consider it to be a film about loss.
“I don’t think of it as a film about loss, although that’s obviously tackled. I grew up in a home with mental illness, and that’s something that went back generations on both sides of my family and no one talked about it,” she explained. “As much as there are aspects of my story in this story, many families have a story of one child who’s more engaged than the other, or a child who’s estranged and the other has to pick up the pieces. That’s really the relationship I wanted to explore: What happens to siblings, and in particular, the one who stays? “
Mayim Bialik Talks Directing Her ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Costar Simon Helberg
The movie follows a newly divorced mother Abigail (Dianna Agron) trying to raise her two kids while looking after her ailing father, Eugene (Dustin Hoffman). Her mother, Barbara (Candice Bergen), remains in denial about his degenerative condition. Helberg play’s Abigail’s estranged brother, Nathan, who she tries to connect with before their father passes away.
“Simon was the first person I cast in my head. I wrote with his voice in mind, thinking he’d never do it, and then it all started coming together,” Bialik explained. “It’s strange to say, but watching him as a comedian for the nine years I worked with him, (I found) there’s so much depth to him. He’s a very sophisticated comedian and I just love the way he carries himself. He had the emotional depth to handle this type of story. His part is a lot of heavy (material) with some funny – Dustin and Candice carry a lot more of the funny.”
Will Mayim Bialik Continue To Direct Or Will She Continue To Host ‘Jeopardy!’?
Right now, there still has not been an official announcement as to who will take over the “Jeopardy!” hosting position on a permanent basis. When asked about acting in her sitcom, “Call Me Kat,” directing her first movie, and hosting “Jeopardy!”, Bialik called it the most “bananas year” of her life.
“I’ll be honest, it has been the most bananas year of my life. When I signed on to ‘Jeopardy!,’ I was not signing on to be the syndicated host; I was doing specials. And then with everything that happened, that (position) ended up being something I was so honored to take on,” she explained. “But that was not part of the plan to be juggling two full-time jobs while editing a movie. We’re a very small-budget film, so it was really a skeleton crew and people had to work some Sundays I wish they didn’t have to. But I’m very appreciative of everybody coming together to get this film finished.”
When asked if she plans to write and direct more stories in the future, Bialik played coy.
“I have more stories to tell for sure, although I don’t know what that’s going to look like. I definitely felt like a lot of my quirks and my critical eye came in handy when I was directing,” she said. “It was all the best parts of my neuroses and specificity and desire for perfectionism, like, ‘Oh, they’re actually useful for something when you direct a movie and not just annoying the people around you.’”
“As They Made Us” hits theaters on April 8, 2022.