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Actress Lea Thompson Believes That It Is Difficult to Remain a Movie Star after Childbirth

Camila Santiago
Sep 22, 2021
12:00 A.M.
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The “Back To The Future” actress Lea Thompson opens up about the hardship to keep up with the acting life after having children, especially a starring role.

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With a respectful resumé of 35 years of Hollywood experience, 30 films, 25 television movies, and 4 television series, Lea Thompson shares her difficulties in remaining an actress once you become a mother.

Thompson spoke to Justin Long on his podcast “Life is Short.” The 58-year-old actress is best known for her role in the franchise “Back To The Future,” in the role of Marty’s McFly mother, Lorraine Baines-McFly.

Madelyn Deutch, Zoey Deutch and Lea Thompson attend Max Mara and Vanity Fair's celebration of Women In Film's Face of the Future Award recipient, Zoey Deutch at Chateau Marmont on June 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Madelyn Deutch, Zoey Deutch and Lea Thompson attend Max Mara and Vanity Fair's celebration of Women In Film's Face of the Future Award recipient, Zoey Deutch at Chateau Marmont on June 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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She revealed to Long that things “screeches to a halt once you have a baby”:

“I wanna do the research on this because, once you push a baby out, you can’t be a movie star anymore.”

The podcast hoster is curious and asks her if is it a scientific fact. Thompson says no but it could be and she’d like to do research on it. However, there are some actresses that got children and kept on acting like Meryl Streep.

Actress Lea Thompson visits SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Lea Thompson visits SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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The actress’ theory goes even further. She said that adopting a child -- and she mentioned successful actresses who did and continue their careers such as Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron:

“But once you actually create a placenta, you can’t be a movie star anymore.”

Long asks her what happened to her during the pregnancies. Thompson reveals that she never did a starring role after she gave birth to her daughters. She did “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and played Laura Jackson.

Actor Lea Thompson arrives at the Opening Night Of "Bright Star" at Ahmanson Theatre on October 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Lea Thompson arrives at the Opening Night Of "Bright Star" at Ahmanson Theatre on October 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies” ranked among the 20 most-watched programs on television and inspired the movie with the same name, which debuted in 1993, more than two decades after the last episode aired.

Thompson admitted that is still frustrating but according to her, “luckily there’s still TV.” She starred in “Caroline in City” between 1995 and 1999 after delivering her second child.

Lea Thompson visit Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 5, 2018 in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Lea Thompson visit Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 5, 2018 in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

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In spite of using the word “luckily,” the actress didn’t enjoy the experience of acting and filming in front of a live audience:

“I found sitcoms to be very, very traumatically hard [...] some other actresses I’ve heard of that threw up every time. Just the process of doing a live play every week with the pressure of telling the jokes like boom-boom-boom. [...]”

The long-time actress reinvented herself in the movie industry and debuted in a new role: filming director. Her first movie on the director seat is “The Year of Spectacular Men.”

 Lea Thompson visits SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Lea Thompson visits SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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In her debut behind the cameras, Thompson got not only the experience of a director but to work alongside her two daughters, Madelyn and Zoey Deutch, who star in the film, and the script was written by Madelyn, the main star.

In the “The Year of Spectacular Men," Madelyn brought her family to the script too. The story follows the romantic relationship of a recent college graduate, played by Madelyn.

Zoey plays her sister, an actress named Sabrina, and their real mother is also their mom on the screens. Thompson plays a free-spirited and open-minded mother, who's in a relationship with a woman.

Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch visits the Young Hollywood Studio on June 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch visits the Young Hollywood Studio on June 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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In an interview with ABC, Thompson

decided

to take the next step in the movie production from actress to director because she felt like she “has done everything.”

She said that by the time actors get to her age, the great roles go to women who have Academy Awards nominations, and she doesn’t have any.

Her daughter, Madelyn decided to make a difference and started working on the film project because she felt a lack of representation for women at her age.

Actresses Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch attend the screening of "The Year Of Spectacular Men" hosted by MarVista Entertainment and Parkside Pictures with The Cinema Society at The Landmark at 57 West on June 13, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Actresses Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch attend the screening of "The Year Of Spectacular Men" hosted by MarVista Entertainment and Parkside Pictures with The Cinema Society at The Landmark at 57 West on June 13, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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To Lea Thompson, shooting this movie wasn’t like any other experience she’d had before. Being in the backstages behind a movie production was a great learning experience. She

compared

it to a baby: “creating something from absolutely nothing."

Besides that, she admitted that working alongside her two daughters brought her a better understanding of them -- it changed her perspective of them from her children into artists and women.

She also shared that she’s a proud mother for seeing her girls navigating and working so well in the entertaining industry -- an industry that she and her husband Howard Deutch know pretty well.

Howard Deutch and Lea Thompson at the 5th Annual 'Stars of Tomorrow' Gala, Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills. | Source: Getty Images

Howard Deutch and Lea Thompson at the 5th Annual 'Stars of Tomorrow' Gala, Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills. | Source: Getty Images

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Lea Thompson and Howard Deutch

met

while filming “Some Kind of Wonderful” -- he was the director, she the main actress.

Deutch said he had a crush on Thompson, that was another reason he picked her to be on the movie. But actually, nothing happened between the two.

Thompson was engaged to Dennis Quaid at the time. When engagement ended, she and Howard began dating. In spite of their difference -- the actress said that Deutch was “complicated” and “exotic,” and he was 11 years her senior -- they are still together, for over three decades.

Actress Lea Thompson (L) and Howard Deutch arrive at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Lea Thompson (L) and Howard Deutch arrive at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The family work started way before Zoey and Madelyn were born.

Deutch

directed his wife from 1995 to 1999 in “Caroline in the City,” and he featured directorial credits in projects such as “American Horror Story,” “Empire,” “Jane the Virgin,” and “CSI: Cyber.”

The director thinks her daughters inherited their creative and artistic side from their mother. It’s a real family affair, however, like every other family has its ups and downs.

But their passion for production speaks louder and turns their family dinner into “a business dinner,” in which they mainly talk about work.

Actress Lea Thompson (C) with her daughters Madelyn Deutch (L) and Zoey Deutch (R) attend the Premiere Of Open Road Films' "Before I Fall" at the Directors Guild Of America on March 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Lea Thompson (C) with her daughters Madelyn Deutch (L) and Zoey Deutch (R) attend the Premiere Of Open Road Films' "Before I Fall" at the Directors Guild Of America on March 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Her 35 years of experience in the entertainment industry does not replace the experience to work with her family and the proud mother says she is grateful and honored to her daughter Maddie to provide her this experience.

Lea Thompson’s other projects as a director include the ABC’s sitcom “The Goldbergs.” Adam F. Goldberg hired Thompson and Joanna Kerns from “Growing Pains” for their “directing skills.”

Goldberg told The Hollywood Reporter that he always believed that good actors make great directors. He admitted that he loves Thompson and Kerns and they were part of his life when growing up. “The Golbergs” is an inspiration from his own experience during childhood and teenagehood, in the ‘80s.

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