Hi, Reddit, this is Mary-Louise Parker. Most of you know me as the creator of Microsoft or the producer of Pet Sounds, but I also act and write for Esquire magazine. I love my kids, my goats and my donkey named Seamus. I have a sweet ass.

Thanks for signing on to ask about the charity Hope North, or if we really smoked pot on Weeds. If you have a minute, go to hopenorth.org and watch the brief (I promise) film that tells you about Hope North called "The Thing That Happened"---aside from being inspiring, it features great music by former Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. The folks at Omaze have generously agreed to help me raise awareness for Hope North and brought me here today---that and John Malkovich said it was a cool thing to do. And if you'd like to help support the cause, you can check out an opportunity to bake brownies with me and few of my fellow cast mates from Weeds: http://www.omaze.com/weeds

Proof: http://imgur.com/eGCmWxQ

P.S. I am writing to you from my shower and talking on my cheeseburger phone.

UPDATE: I have to run, but thank you for being so lovely and making this painless. I thought I was going to be plucking out my eyelashes in the corner in the fetal position, but everyone was so kind. Also, thank you for supporting Hope North!

ONE MORE UPDATE: Here are ten reasons you should enter for your chance to bake with me and the cast of Weeds.

Ok, another update: just had to share a few pictures of my goats here and here. Thanks!

Comments: 1917 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

Daniellamb2545 karma

Just so you know, my girlfriend and I have a Celebrity Freebie List and you're my number 1.

Your move.

MaryLouiseParker2213 karma

God bless you. What’s your borough?

SinewaveZB1779 karma

How does it feel to be the icon of milfs in this world?

MaryLouiseParker2162 karma

Fantastic. Everything you could imagine and more.

Anarchybabe1011189 karma

Did you actually drink all of those drinks in Weeds? (Always a starbucks straw...) I was always curious. You must have had to pee a lot.

Also I love you, please have my babies.

MaryLouiseParker2438 karma

I drank a lot, in fact I think they show me peeing in one season at the border of Mexico. So yes you are correct, I was well hydrated.

And you're so sweet, if I was still of child bearing age I would pump a couple out for you.

polarlights1076 karma

Do your goats ever stand on your donkey?

Like this.

MaryLouiseParker1597 karma

No, but you can bet I’m going to try to get them to do it this weekend.

neifichicken1014 karma

I hope this doesn't come off as insulting or objectifying, but how do you look so good for someone your age? What's the secret? Please tell me you're not sacrificing these goats you herd...

MaryLouiseParker1496 karma

I love that, are you kidding insulting? Keep insulting me. Yes, there are some rituals involved with the goats.

No, that’s so flattering, thank you. I've always lived a clean life. The women in my family look young. I think when you err on the other side, with injections and all that, I think it can actually make you look older. I think some of it is luck. You know, I don’t eat red meat. I drink goat milk every day, but only in small quantities…

colourswhileisleep1013 karma

How do I stop mourning the end of Weeds? /help

MaryLouiseParker3070 karma

Roll a fat one and order Dominoes. Extra thin crust. And know I love you.

NotMathMan821920 karma

Kevin Nealon, Doug from Weeds, graced us with an AMA last April and there was one question from /u/sorcha_b which was not answered. I'm wondering if you could answer that today.

In the final scene of 'Weeds,' when all five of you are sitting on the steps, Doug said something that made everyone laugh - what was it?

MaryLouiseParker1311 karma

I wish I knew, I remember the moment but not the words.

thejohnblog823 karma

You turned down Desperate Housewives to do WEEDS (Thank GOD.) Are there any movie / TV roles that you turned down that you regret not being a part of?

MaryLouiseParker1051 karma

I don’t. You’re usually not the first choice for any job, so someone probably turned down half the jobs that I’ve done, and when I think of the things I have turned down, one actress that I know in particular has ended up doing some of them, and each time I thought she did so much better than I would have. I’m not a competitive person with other women or other actresses. With my female actress friends I’m always proud and happy for them to do well.

kokoyaya688 karma

Hey, absolutely admire you, the final scene of Season 3 of Weeds ("Judah, if you're still here, I tried!") is my favorite scene on TV ever.

What was your favorite/most memorable scene of the show?

MaryLouiseParker1148 karma

Thank you so much for that actually, because I was never happy with it when we shot it. I knew it was such an important scene.

I liked the scene where I’m ordering a gift basket for my son on the phone while I’m driving. I just thought it was so well written. When you get a scene like that, that is so beautifully written, you just want to stay out of the way of it and not ruin it.

ilovesoju609 karma


MaryLouiseParker1268 karma

I would say, there was a man years ago that insisted that I’d gone to high school with him and that we’d had dinner, and then he started screaming at me. But I just wanted to ignore that part of my life. He just recognized me and didn’t know who I was.

People have been incredibly sweet. I especially love getting Japanese fan letters because they tend to put a lot of stickers all over and draw smiley faces.

Fyooz597 karma

Hola Blanca, I've always wondered, who was your favorite actor to "have sex" with on weeds and why? Thanks for that show by the way, loved every minute of it.

MaryLouiseParker752 karma

Hola back to you. You know, there were so many delicious scenes that I was lucky enough to do. For theatrical reasons, I love the scenes with Justin at the very end of the show. I just thought it was emotionally and dramatically really interesting, and chemically they were all pretty great.

Especially anything with Damian. Delicioso.

thelongdickofthelaw527 karma

What was the biggest difference between working on the set of the West Wing and the set of Weeds?

MaryLouiseParker903 karma

I didn’t have to run the phone to call my brother to ask him what a caucus was. I had to do a lot of research for West Wing so I would know what I was saying. Also, West Wing was all indoors, which affected my level of sunblock.

thelongdickofthelaw223 karma

Thanks for responding! Today is a cool day.

MaryLouiseParker434 karma

Thank you for that. Because I think I’ve lost 20 pounds doing this, so your validation is going a long way.

Gay4Moleman408 karma

What was your experience like working on Fried Green Tomatoes? As a 27 year old man should I be embarrassed that I have seen that movie countless times? Towanda!

MaryLouiseParker524 karma

Only if you’re wearing an apron right now. In which case, actually maybe you should be proud. I loved that experience. It was so many years ago. I just remember there were no cell phones back then, and I had a boyfriend who wanted me to call him at lunch time every day, so I had to spend all lunch waiting for the only phone. I loved making that movie. I got a leech stuck to my leg in the scene where I had to dive in the swamp and a grip had to come over and burn it off with his lighter.

librbmc400 karma

Supposedly the Counting Crows song "Butterfly in Reverse" was written about you. Have you ever heard it before? If so how does it make you feel to know that you inspired it?

MaryLouiseParker643 karma

It was, it was written by Adam Duritz and Ryan Adams. I know them, I love the song. It doesn’t get a lot of airplay though. Adam told me he started writing it the night after I won a Tony, and then Ryan came over. They’re two of my favorite singers and good friends, both of them.

Slothiness383 karma

What was your reaction like when you found out Weeds was being canceled?

MaryLouiseParker971 karma

I remember my son had a much stronger reaction, he wanted to stay in California for the next season. I don’t remember my personal reaction. Just that I was disappointed I’m sure, you know.

My son said “Why aren’t they doing another season?” and I said “Oh, I don’t think they want to pay for it.” He said “I’ll pay for it, I’ll use all my allowance.” He likes going to California for 3 months every summer.

I couldn’t believe that it went on for 8 years, I just felt like we got away with something.

operation_hennessey370 karma

Tell us something about yourself that people might find surprising.

MaryLouiseParker1730 karma

I’m really, really hard on myself. And I make excellent scones. But they’re never good enough.

welllahdeedah352 karma

Do you ever think about what you would do in an apocalypse? Any plans? Maybe then it would time to start smoking weed?

MaryLouiseParker1225 karma

I’d get all the pillows in my home, put them in the movie room, hunker down and watch any Miyazaki movie with my kids. Maybe drink root beer straight out of the bottle.

2feetorless326 karma

How did you get into dwarf goats?

MaryLouiseParker615 karma

I was googling donkeys at donkeyrescue.com, a donkey rescue site, and I realized a donkey would be more work, and that goats would be more low maintenance, so I was lead to goats. And I kept trying to make my needs more manageable, so the goats kept getting smaller and smaller. One of them they said was a dwarf goat, but he has tripled in size... But now I have a donkey too, so I’ve fulfilled my dream.

xophib1211 karma

Ever considered rescuing llamas?

MaryLouiseParker386 karma

I took my kids to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania last year and we had some quality time with some llamas and I really enjoyed it. I’m sure if there was one up for rescue or if some wandered up to my door I would take them in, but none have come scratching as of yet.

TRDBen317 karma

What was the most fun episode of Weeds to shoot? Also, how does Bruce Willis's head feel?

MaryLouiseParker600 karma

Divine. I wish it was here right now.

happygolucky66292 karma

What's your funniest story involving Kevin Nealon?

MaryLouiseParker593 karma

The last scene he shot on the show, he was off-camera for Hunter, and Hunter couldn’t get through a half of a take because Kevin was making him laugh so hard. I have the whole thing on tape. I have reams of footage of Hunter just laughing and trying to get one sentence out. But Kevin is so funny naturally, he’s just so inherently witty and clever and silly, that any one of us could say the exact same thing and it would never be funny.

getoffmyditka235 karma

Big fan of Weeds.

I was wondering if you were as sad as I was when they got rid of the opening song for the show?

MaryLouiseParker593 karma

I loved when they had different people do different versions of the song, and I was really sad when there was no musical intro. One of the producers Lisa and I kept fighting for that. She really, really loved it. And I think the last year she kind of put her foot down about it, so that’s why they brought it back for the last season. But I loved it most when there were different versions of it.

Cekuro226 karma

Hello, Mary-Louise! You're awesome!

I have two questions:

  1. When getting the main role as the awesome and lucky(most of the time) Mrs. Botwin, were you informed upfront of the risque nature that Nancy would experience?

  2. While on the set with your TV family, did you ever develop any maternal connection with Hunter and Alex?

MaryLouiseParker506 karma

First of all, thank you, you’re awesome too. I pretty much picked that show because I loved both the soulfulness of it and its perversity, so I knew it would be pretty dark, and I might be responsible for some of the risque direction it took at times. But I think I knew it was going to be dark. I like that it was dark.

Alex lives quite far away, and we didn’t have as many scenes together, but I love him and I have a soft spot for him. Hunter is a member of my family. We communicate every other day, and I went across country in an RV with his parents and my kids and Hunter’s sister. Hunter is really my family.

dil_dont204 karma

Were you happy with the way Weeds ended?

MaryLouiseParker377 karma

I loved the final episode. I thought Jenji wrote a really, really, really great final episode for the show.

jc1435194 karma

Hi Mary,

First off, you're incredibly gorgeous and talented.

Secondly, how does being a mom compare in real life when you've played diverse motherly roles on screen, such as in Weeds and in Saved?

Thanks for the AMA!

MaryLouiseParker365 karma

Thank you so much. I appreciate that. First of all there’s no job harder in the world then being a mother. I thought I was self critical as an actress until I became a mother, and then I realized I’d hit a whole other level of self examination and judgement . I think its the hardest and most important thing I’ll do in my life, and every day I fail a little and succeed a little. Mostly, I’m just grateful that I have them. I didn’t think I could love anything as much as acting really until I had my kids.

Frajer184 karma

Did playing Nancy make you more pro-weed/have more sympathy for drug dealers?

MaryLouiseParker508 karma

I don't know that I have sympathy for drug dealers necessarily, but I do think it made me more hyper-aware of the disconnect between alcohol being legal and marijuana being illegal. So I think generally if things are illegal, in some ways it makes them sexier, and makes them more dangerous, which as a mother makes me want them to sell pot at 7/11 if it makes it, you know….

My kids are little so I don't even want them to drink Diet Coke, but they have to live in the world.

operation_hennessey169 karma

Celebrity crush, male or female?

MaryLouiseParker368 karma

I have a crush on Alison Pill’s talent, but I don’t really want to get with her. I would say, most of my celebrity crushes I’ve gotten to at least simulate romance with, which is frankly usually better than a real relationship. Most of my crushes are probably musicians or poets anyway. I have a big crush on Mark Strand.

sportstalker165 karma

What is it like working with Bruce Willis?

MaryLouiseParker366 karma

Bruce is a dreamboat. Sweet and generous and you know, always happy in the morning to see you. And he’s a real man. He’s a manly guy.

notsincetheinjury147 karma

What is the funniest thing to happen on the set of Weeds?

MaryLouiseParker318 karma

One time I was doing a love scene, and no one could hear the director say “cut”, and it went on so long that I thought I was going to have a change-of-life baby. My makeup artist ran over to see if she could hear anything, and we just kept going and it was so gnarly. I had some war wounds.

Also, I don’t drive, which I think is better for the world in general, and everyone knew that I didn’t drive and I loved our transportation. We had to go to another spot on the lot to get our picture taken in this enormous bus, and we thought it’d be funny if I drove it.

redvelvetquilts136 karma

I didn't know you were a writer. Cool! Have you written/would you consider writing a book? What do you do when you feel stuck writing?

MaryLouiseParker251 karma

That’s an excellent question. I’m best as a deadline writer, so especially with Esquire, if they give me a word count limit and a deadline I’m most productive.

People have approached me about writing a book, but my level of perfectionism is so high that I keep editing the same ten pages of the same story, and I can never find a way to finish anything. So I think what I’ve decided to do is maybe release a book of short stories, if I can finish them, but I do fare better when given a word count and I can hear a clock ticking.

xophib1130 karma

Have you ever done anything worse than pot?

MaryLouiseParker384 karma

I’ve never done pot, I’ve only had a pot lollipop. Somebody had given me one as a present and I was feeling super nauseous. I kept it in my shoe cabinet for months, and I remembered it was there, and I was feeling so awful. So I dug it out and tried to peel the plastic off of it and it did absolutely nothing. It was very disappointing. I’m not opposed to the idea of smoking pot, it just never seemed liked the right time, and I have an addictive personality.

dalek-khan121 karma

Hello Ms Parker. That's a pretty sweet cheeseburger phone.

Did working on Saved! have any impact on how you view religion or those that practice it?

MaryLouiseParker173 karma

That particular movie didn’t, no, but it’s something that I think about a lot, and try to instill some spirituality in my children, which is difficult when you have to navigate the expectations of organized religion or people who are really wedded to one doctrine or another. But it is something that I think about a lot.

As for my phone, yesterday the guy came to turn on my phone in my apt was trying to have some fun goes "the cheeseburger was hot!" It was the only phone we had in the house.

KingBearSuit119 karma

My girlfriend (now wife) and I swore we saw you at the MOMA in the summer of either 2009 or 2010 (we can't quite remember). We didn't want to follow you around like creepers to make sure, though. Any chance that was you?

MaryLouiseParker216 karma

Haha. I suggest you start keeping a journal so you can keep your summers straight. Next time say hi or wave. I can’t really recall to be honest… maybe I should start keeping a journal too!

Cdtco106 karma

Do you drink iced coffee in real life?

MaryLouiseParker317 karma

I wasn’t drinking any coffee at all when we started, and then I started drinking coffee around season 3. I started holding the cup like a claw around the top, and that carried over into my real life. Sometimes I see people smirking at me when I’m walking down the street holding a cup of coffee like that, and now it’s kind of ingrained in me.

hucklebeary102 karma

With these strong but delicate roles like Nancy Botwin or Ruth (from Fried Green Tomatoes), do you draw from yourself in great deal or are these characters based on someone in your life? Also, what is your dream role if any?

MaryLouiseParker181 karma

Ruth was based on my mother largely. I mean, she was a character in a book first, so I tried to draw from the text. But I used my mother a lot in bringing her to life. Nancy felt very separate from me, which is what made her fun to play. Her instincts were very different from my instincts, and the scenes where I felt like I failed were when I erred more on the side of Mary-Louise than Nancy. There were several scenes that I asked to reshoot that I actually did reshoot. When you do a show for that long you run the danger of, at times, starting to creep into your character.

therealandrew99 karma

If you could be any Marvel Superhero who would you be? and why?

MaryLouiseParker230 karma

Isn’t there one that has really stretchy long arms? Because then I could be upstairs, and if one of my kids hit the other I could reach down and separate them, or reach into the fridge and make their breakfast. I just think it would help me manage the single parenthood thing. Maybe I could be the superhero that has 3 extra long stretchy arms? I think it would really limit my dating future, which is questionable at the moment anyway.

capsfan1999 karma

If you were going to be any type of muffin, why type of muffin would you be?

MaryLouiseParker223 karma

Excellent question. I’m famous in certain circles for my own muffins. But I bake without a cookbook, and at times that leads to culinary brilliance, and other times, it’s “Mom, no one’s going to eat that.”

cschaf589 karma

Your perfect sandwich?

MaryLouiseParker203 karma

Is a fish taco a sandwich? I would say anything with melted cheese, avocado. I love the Big Macro at M Cafe in Los Angeles.

MikeLitourus74 karma

Do/did you prefer working on-screen or on Broadway? Thanks for the AMA!

MaryLouiseParker126 karma

Thanks for asking. I like working, period. Generally, I’ve enjoyed stage more, but as I get older, and now that I’m a mother, stage can be incredibly taxing, so I have to be really in love with a play to decide to do it.

Diversityworld72 karma

What is the best compliment you have ever received?

MaryLouiseParker301 karma

"Mommy, you’re the best mommy on earth." Or, "Mommy I wish I could marry you."

klavierjerke68 karma

As an actor, what in your opinion is a Must-See movie that everyone needs to watch? and why?

MaryLouiseParker177 karma

I have a hard time turning on my TV. I don’t watch a ton of movies. I would say I love To Kill a Mockingbird and I love the scene with Gregory Peck, when he comes back and he has that long monologue about everything that happened and you can only see part of his face, which I think is kind of remarkable, that coverage of it - that the camera doesn’t move and it shows how much you can get from someone when really all you can see is their back. He’s doing it all with what they’re not showing you.

MrThingyman58 karma

Nice to have you on here, Ms. Parker! :)

  1. If you had the ability to literally transform into other actors, what's the first actress (or actor) you'd choose?
  2. What's a weird or interesting habit, ritual or quirk that you have that we probably wouldn't know about?
  3. You're stunning!

Thanks for doing this AMA!

MaryLouiseParker141 karma

I’m more into shape-shifting. I might rather be a donkey than an actor.

I eat a lot of candy and I especially like smarties. The only other person I know who likes smarties is Jenji Kohan who sorts them into piles by color, which is awesome.

dayofthedead20434 karma

Hi Mary,

What’s your opinion on the legalization of Marijuana?

MaryLouiseParker107 karma

I think everyone agrees it’s the best idea. I mean, I think if marijuana is going to be illegal you need to really reexamine why alcohol is legal. And Sudafed for that matter.

back3rman17 karma

What's one role you wish you'd gotten at the time, but looking back are glad you didn't?

MaryLouiseParker56 karma

I tend to forget about roles and now I don’t really read anything unless it has an offer with it. That’s two hours I’d rather spend with my kids. I’m losing parts right now as I do reddit, but I don’t know about them. I’m blissfully ignorant.

whatisyourfavorite8 karma

What is your favorite: Book? Color? Season? City? Song? Article of clothing? Type of sock? Style of underwear? Activity? TV Show? Type of shoe? Genre of movie? Musical Artist? Author? Food ? Website? Holiday? Animal? Fictional character? Snack?

MaryLouiseParker20 karma

To Kill a Mockingbird. Copper. Fall. Tom Waits, “Please Call Me Baby”; Bruce Springsteen, “Atlantic City”; and “We Belong Together”. Goggles. I’ll think about the rest.