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Television Between the Acts: Lost in Space’s Molly Parker on her recent roles and why she took them

Molly Parker is pictured in Toronto on April 11, 2018.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

In Between the Acts, The Globe and Mail takes a look at how artists manage their time before and after a creative endeavour.

“When my boyfriend really wants to bug me, he calls me ‘House of Cards Molly Parker.’”

What Molly Parker’s boyfriend calls her is probably nobody’s business. But, while in Toronto earlier this month, the actor elaborated on her career choices and on the roles for which she is most remembered, including Congresswoman Jacqueline Sharp in Netflix’s popular political drama. “I loved doing House of Cards,” Parker says, “but I’ve done so many things that nobody has ever seen.”

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What Parker is being seen in currently is the new Netflix reboot of the 1960s science-fiction TV series Lost in Space, in which she plays the problem-solving mom Maureen Robinson. The native of Maple Ridge, B.C., spoke to The Globe and Mail about some of her recent roles and why she took them.

When you look at a body of work, you can draw all sorts of lines through it. Somebody the other day mentioned I’d done this film and that film and another film, and was able to connect them. But I’ve done 40 films. There are all kinds of different reasons why I do things. Sometimes you do them because you need work.

With [the HBO western] Deadwood, I remember going in and auditioning for it, and I met David Milch, the creator of the show. I read one scene and he gave me the job. We would talk about Alma Garret, my character. He was a recovering addict, and, in many ways, that part of him showed up in her. He had a great affection for her.

In 2015, I did the play Harper Regan in Toronto. It was an experience, that’s for sure. I hadn’t done theatre before, really. It was definitely another one of those things where I’ve been looking for opportunities to stretch myself as an actor. I have no idea how well it went. My experience was that theatre was so much more difficult than film and television, physically. But when I was done, I felt I could do anything after that.

When I took this role in Lost in Space, I was thinking of the script and the characters and the fact that Netflix would be able to support it in a way to make it look spectacular. I wasn’t looking for a science-fiction thing to do. I never approach anything in that way. For this, I was looking for a new experience, probably.

I used to feel that the right part would show up in my life at the right moment. When I was younger, there would be these spooky things that would come up, and they seemed to be connected to my life in some way. It’s really a mystery, though. At this point, I’m really just trying to do things I haven’t done before.

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