Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Interview: Fionnula Flanagan of ‘Three Wise Women’

posted by Nell Minow

The Hallmark Channel’s Three Wise Women stars the great Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan in the story of a doctor named Liz who is about to make a terrible mistake. Her guardian angel has to bring in some very important advisers — Liz herself as a young girl and an older woman — to show her the way.

Ms. Flanagan, who also appeared in “Waking Ned Divine” and “Yes Man,” talked with me about making this film — and about her own favorite Christmas tradition.

How did you coordinate with the other actresses who played your character?

One of us doesn’t know that the other two of us are her, older and younger, so therein lies the comedy. We imitated each other, but people change as they grow older and one of them is very young, like 17 years of age and I’m in her 60’s, so people change and their gestures change as they grow older. We didn’t sit down and say, “Let’s coordinate all of this.” But some things came naturally and we all imitated each other.

What was your first major part as an actor?

I did a role in a play in Gaelic for the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1963-64 and was then hired to play it in television in Irish, and that was my first break. I went on to play it in English and then went to the Old Vic where I played leads in “Taming of the Shrew” and “The Playboy of the Western World.”

What do you look for in the parts you take?

I always look to see if the part moves the story along. If it doesn’t do that, it’s just window dressing. In this particular instance it is very much an ensemble piece, with three actresses playing the same person, with the comedy built in because she doesn’t know she is seeing herself much younger and much older. That obviously moves the story along. Do we turn out in later life the way we think we will? The answer is “almost never.” If you, Nell, were to meet yourself at 90, wouldn’t you think you’d be different? We always have fantasies about how we’re going to be; we’d be horrified to see ourselves in the future and say, “Look at all those wrinkles! I wish I’d given up smoking!” This story provided that with all the comedy that lies therein.

Why do the Hallmark channel movies touch people so much?

They make films about things that people care about, things that happen in ordinary people’s lives, not cops and robbers and fantastical stories. Not everyone is wearing a Prada suit. These are backwoods stories that happen out of sight to people who are not always wealthy and powerful. People identify with that. It’s pleasurable because if you treat people well and behave kindly and honor your citizenship, good things will happen.

What is your favorite holiday movie?

I don’t have one but every Christmas I listen to Dylan Thomas’ wonderful recitation of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Many people have read it, but I have the recording of him reading it himself and it is so charming and funny. It’s about ordinary people in a mining town in Wales and I love it for that reason. The child saying, “Get to the presents! Get to the presents!”

Three Wise WomenThree Wise Women TV Schedule


  • denise brooks

    just watched this movie last night and loved it! the acting was superb, and the story was funny and sweet. great combination! i don’t always like hallmark movies as the acting is usually less than adequate, and story lines lacking. also, music that is chosen is usually not fitting for scenes it is meant to enhance, and it is played constantly, so as to be a distraction!! this one, however, was done tastefully and i will want to watch it again! great job, Hallmark. use this as a guide for how your upcoming movies should be done!!
    denise brooks

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Denise! I think the Hallmark films are getting better and this one was very special.

Previous Posts

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy
We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, "Star Trek's" half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The storylines of the original "Star Trek" were provocative polit

posted 12:00:09pm Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

New from Daniele Watts: Muted
Actress Daniele Watts stars as missing teenager Crystal Gladwell in Muted, winner of the 18th annual American Black Film Festival short film competition, showing on HBO throughout March 2015. Muted fol

posted 8:00:46am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: Uptown Funk from Alex Boye and the Dancing Grannies
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rjRlJvOxIY0?rel=0" frameborder="0"] "Uptown Funk," from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is covered in a sensational new video from longtime Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Alex Boyé and back-up performers ranging in age from 65-92.

posted 9:16:46am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Like Sunday, Like Rain with Debra Messing and Leighton Meester
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B28IHhaQXCE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:29am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters
In honor of this week's release of "Focus," here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that "con" comes from "confidence." A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in their schemes. And cons make great movies. If you haven't seen these, crank

posted 3:45:21pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.