Check out our exclusive interview with Mo McRae on the pilot premiere of ‘Almost Family’!
After discovering the controversy surrounding her father and his fertility research, an only child finds out that she has hundreds of half-siblings. From the producer of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” and the writer from “About a Boy” and “Desperate Housewives”, “Almost Family” is the story of an unusual family formed through extreme odds. The show tackles issues on identity, human connection, and what defines a real family. Can the lies and secrets of one man affect the new relationship of these newly found siblings?
Best known for his roles in hit shows like “Big Little Lies”, “This Is Us”, and “Empire”, Mo McRae now stars in “Almost Family” as Tim Moore. We got a chance to speak with him about the premiere of the pilot episode of “Almost Family”!
The Knockturnal: And so tell me how excited are you to be here at the sneak peek screening right now?
Mo McRae: I’m extremely excited to be here for the special screening. I’m really excited to hear how everybody feels about it. It’s the first time for me being privy to the opinions of other people on it. I feel really proud of it, so I want to see what landed with people and how it resonates.
The Knockturnal: It feels very real I think that’s what I took from it. It feels like this could happen. I mean, it has happened.
Mo McRae: Exactly. Yeah something that has happened before, it’s such a scary idea – the fact that a fertility doctor would use their own specimen without the knowledge of the patients. So, it’s like what “would happen if…” I always think that’s a great foundation for a show where you create this scenario and it’s like “what would happen if…” – and this is it.
The Knockturnal: And so, tell me what the pitch was when you first got the script. What initially drew you to it?
Mo McRae: Well you hear Jason Katims, Annie Weisman, Leslye Headland’s directing the pilot, and it’s this incredible story about this fertility doctor using his own specimen, and the fall out around it. And for me in particular, what they pitched to me in my character is the fact that his daughter that he raised in his household is my ex-girlfriend, and one of the people created with his specimen is my current wife. So, for me that immediately inherently creates a scenario for my character to have a lot of interesting twists and turns.
The Knockturnal: How was working with Brittany and Megalyn? You and Megalyn had some complex scene work there.
Mo McRae: Working with Brittany is incredible, she’s such a vet. She’s so young but she’s a real vet, she’s been in it for a long time. She’s really lovely and open, just sweet. Working with Megalyn was great, she’s such a dynamic actress. She’s incredibly beautiful and talented and smart and thoughtful. Something I really enjoyed working with Megalyn she just brings a level of spontaneity to it. So each take I never quite knew how she was going to approach the scene, so she just kept me on my toes, bouncing off of whatever she was giving me.
The Knockturnal: And what was the most challenging part of being a part of this show?
Mo McRae: I’d say the most challenging part of being cast in this show was navigating New York. It’s my first time doing a show in New York.
The Knockturnal: I also wanted to ask you a couple questions about what it was like being on Big Little Lies. You got to work with most of the ladies – the Monterey Five, how was that?
Mo McRae: I mean to be honest, it was kind of surreal. It was one of those rare times where you get to be invited to participate in something you’re a fan of, so I had to check that side of myself, the fan side, because literally the first season of Big Little Lies is one of my favorite seasons of television. These are some of the most phenomenal actresses I’ve been privy to, phenomenal artists, beautiful women that are strong. So, for me to get the opportunity to go in, I just wanted to be sure I was on my A-game, that was my big thing. I wanted to show up and do my best to play at the level that they all play at on the show.
The Knockturnal: Have you been watching it week by week, or have you seen it all already?
Mo McRae: I haven’t watched it yet, because I was doing a movie. I’ve been gone doing a film, and the character I‘m playing in the film is so intense, and different than this cool quirky, like second-grade teacher that’s about saving the planet on Big Little Lies, I couldn’t cross it up. But, I can’t wait to watch it, I’ve been hearing great things about it.
The Knockturnal: How was collaborating with Andrea Arnold?
Mo McRae: Collaborating with Andrea was awesome. She’s really collaborative. She has an idea of what she wants but her big thing that I liked in her approach is – what would you really do here, what feels natural, what feels real. You’re a great actor I trust you – what feels real? So that was cool, it gave me a lot of confidence as an actor to have a director of that caliber trust me in that way.
The Knockturnal: And what is your next film that you’re working on right now?
Mo McRae: It’s a film called The 24th, and it stars Trai Byers, myself, Aja Naomi King, Thomas Haden Church. It’s really phenomenal. It’s about this black infantry in 1917 that was stationed in Texas, deep south during Jim Crow, and eventually, we go on this big revolt against the people of the town because of all the racial atrocities that they committed against us. It’s based on a true story. It’s one of the largest murder trials in the history of the US. It comes out next year sometime.
Check out the trailer for “Almost Family” below!