Stars of Salvation, Weekend at Bernie's thoroughly enjoy life, work, travel, parenthood and each other
Jonathan Silverman and Jennifer Finnigan have a lot to be happy about. They have been blissfully married since 2007 and last fall they welcomed their beautiful daughter Ella Jack Finnigan Silverman into the world. Both have happening, multifaceted Hollywood careers with fan favorite Salvation about to return soon and a new movie they did together called Andover that is in theaters now.
Something that I loved about this interview, other than the great banter between the couple, is the fact that there has not been a time in my TV and movie-viewing life where I haven't been a fan of Jonathan Silverman. I remember him from E/R, Gimme A Break!, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Stealing Home (a big sentimental favorite), Weekend at Bernie's, Little Big League, Friends, The Single Guy, Law & Order: SVU and more. If I see the name Jonathan Silverman, then I know that it is a film or TV show that I must see.
And, after hearing him celebrate his wife Jennifer with such affection and gusto, I feel the same way about her. In fact, this is one of the favorite interviews of my career. It is a purely positive experience.
Jennifer Finnigan is a gorgeous, Emmy award-winning Canadian actress, who may best known for her role as Bridget Forester in the American soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful from 2000-04, Close to Home and on the ABC sitcom Better with You, and the FX series Tyrant. She is a favorite on the CBS thriller drama Salvation.
The endearing, smart, funny, gracious and utterly delightful couple Jonathan Silverman and Jennifer Finnigan spoke with Michelle Tompkins for TheCelebrityCafe.com, with baby Ella Jack in a pouch on her daddy, about their careers, courtship, great advice from John Lithgow, what they like to do for fun, what they watch on TV, the projects they have done together, their favorite charitable pursuits and more.
Michelle Tompkins: Let's begin with where are you each from?
Jonathan Silverman: Jen, do you want to begin since you're the prettiest?
Jennifer Finnigan: Hi, sure. Where am I from?
Jonathan Silverman: It's a hard question. Don't mess it up.
Jennifer Finnigan: I am from Montreal, Canada.
Michelle Tompkins: And what brought you to Los Angeles?
Jennifer Finnigan: I had a job. I got a job on— oh my God, how long ago was that? How long have I been here? Let me think about it. I've been here for 17 years and I got the—no, 18 years. I got a job on a soap opera 17 or 18 years ago and did that for three years.
Emmys and first gigs
Michelle Tompkins: Three years, and how many Emmy awards did you win for that?
Jennifer Finnigan: I got three Emmys.
Michelle Tompkins: That's exciting.
Jennifer Finnigan: But that was many, many moons ago. I was just a kid and it got me to this country and got me a Visa and all that.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, do you live in Los Angeles now?
Jennifer Finnigan: Yes.
Michelle Tompkins: And what about you, Jonathan? Where are you from?
Jonathan Silverman: I am from Los Angeles, California. And I moved to Montreal to do a soap opera—no, no I'm still here. I stayed here. I'm in Los Angeles, California.
Michelle Tompkins: Now how did you both know that you wanted to become actors?
Jonathan Silverman: Jen, your turn.
Jennifer Finnigan: I was very, very shy for the most part growing up, sort of painfully, but for whatever reason, acting sort of was able to break me free from that a little bit. Playing a character was a way for me to hide—I could hide behind playing a character and I just developed such a love for it and I, sort of, became addicted to it and it helped me with my shyness. I still, to this day, cannot public speak. I have the worst time with a speech, but if I'm on stage or obviously behind a camera playing a character, it just— it's sort of the love of my life, aside from Jonny and my child, of course.
Jonathan Silverman: Thanks, babe [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Now, Jonathan, I remember you way back when you were in Gimme a Break! and Brighton Beach Memoirs.
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah, back in the 1940s when we had black and white films.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, Gimme a Break! was really ahead of its time. It had a multicultural cast and lots of diversity. How did that happen?
Jonathan Silverman: Okay, I was lucky to get the job. I mean, as I mentioned, I'm from here, so it's sort of the town's industry, but I never knew if it was something I would be pursuing. I just got super lucky, young, and almost on a lark when I was a senior in high school I ended up auditioning for a job, which was a Broadway play and moved to New York and did the play and the movie for a couple of years, Brighton Beach Memoirs, but the first TV show I ever did was Gimme a Break! and I can't remember if that was the show that I got my SAG card on, or certainly close to it, or it might have got me the lead in order to get me my SAG card.
But it was one episode and the producers of Gimme a Break! saw me in the play of Brighton Beach Memoirs and wrote this episode for me where I played a character named Jonathan who was dating the middle of three girls on Gimme a Break! And I suppose the network was happy with what they saw, or the ratings were particularly good that episode, and before I knew it, they asked if I would join the cast as a regular and play the young husband of the middle of the three daughters. So that's how that came about.
Michelle Tompkins: It was right after Brighton Beach Memoirs. I didn't realize you were in the play as well as the movie?
Jonathan Silverman: Yes. Yes. I did the play on Broadway and also in the tour around the country culminating with a three-month stint back home in Los Angeles. So it was for a first job, a first gig, it was really an amazing homecoming of sorts where my family and friends got to see what I'd been doing all this time.
Michelle Tompkins: What was it like doing the role of Eugene for the screen rather than on stage?
Jonathan Silverman: It was a really fascinating lesson comparing theater acting and film acting by having the opportunity to do the same role in both mediums. And it was directed by the same wonderful director, the late Gene Saks. So it was really interesting to work with him and get notes from him playing the same character, reciting the same lines, but finding a completely different context in almost meaning and interpretation behind them because we were no longer trying to reach 1,400 people in a theater, but trying to be very subtle and small and create this film. It was a tough learning curve, but so lucky as however old I was when I did the movie. I guess 19 to be able to be given this lesson on learning the differences. And ultimately, I figured it out. It was hard, though [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: I'm glad you did. You were great in the role.
Jonathan Silverman: Oh, thank you.
Michelle Tompkins: I enjoyed Biloxi Blues. I've seen the play a few times too, just not with you in that one.
Jonathan Silverman: I love that piece. I love the whole trilogy. I got to do all three plays of Mr. Simon's on Broadway: Brighton Beach, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. Broadway Bound was the only one that I created when I began. I was in the original cast and then I was able to do the movies of Brighton Beach and Broadway Bound. But by the time Neil got around to shooting Broadway Bound the movie, I was too old to play Eugene so he had me play the older brother Stanley. So I took over Jason Alexander's role that he created on stage and that was crazy to have— here's an opportunity not only to do the same piece on stage and on film but to play different characters that I played on stage and on film. So that was another terrific learning experience.
Michelle Tompkins: Do you have any plans to return to the theater?
Jonathan Silverman: But enough about me. Jen, you got to pipe in here. It's a monologue.
Michelle Tompkins: I know. I promise I have equal questions [laughter] for both of you.
Jennifer Finnigan: Actually, I'm making a sandwich—If you want to ask me anything and then let me know.
Jonathan Silverman: She's a nursing mom, so she's taking the food breaks when she can.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, you have one baby or two?
Jonathan Silverman: Just the one. Just the 1, but she seems like 10 [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: They can do that. So do you have any plans to go back to the theater?
Jonathan Silverman: I would love to. I don't have any specific plans at the moment. I haven't done a play in New York since Broadway Bound, but I've done a lot of theater in Los Angeles since. I guess we're known for being a TV and movie town, but we have a terrific theater community here both for the larger theaters which I've been lucky enough to do plays at and the smaller theaters, the Equity Theaters. So they've always been welcoming and keeping me busy and I would like to do something soon.
The tales of Weekend at Bernie's and the Dodgers
Michelle Tompkins: Jen, I have a question for you now. Are you ready or do you want me to keep with him for a minute? [Pause] It's okay. I can come back. I’ll bounce around. Okay, so I'm sure everyone asked you about Weekend at Bernie's. It's considered one of the modern classics. I don't think I met a boy who hasn't seen it and loved it [laughter]. Do people talk to you about it all the time?
Jonathan Silverman: They do. Again, I'm trying to sound modest. I was lucky enough to get that job too. I had to obviously fight for it, and work hard to get it and to be in it. But certainly, I never thought it would have the longevity. I wasn't even sure if what we were making was necessarily a comedy because and it was directed by this terrific director, Ted Kotcheff, who not only is very adept at comedy, but he was also very much well-known for his action films like Rambo and Uncommon Valor And [laughter] the movie that we were making was about a dead guy being chased by the mob. So I wasn't quite sure if people would find it funny, but here [laughter] is 25 years later, and it still plays seemingly on a loop on cable.
Michelle Tompkins: It always does. Now, how did you celebrate getting that role?
Jonathan Silverman: How did I celebrate? Wow [laughter]. Well, I don't remember a celebration. But I do remember the process of auditioning for it. I believe I was one of the first actors they saw, and they were just trying to figure out the best pairing. They wanted to obviously make sure that whoever was playing these two characters had some sort of magic and chemistry.
And for the longest time, strangely enough, they had been trying to match me and Jon Cryer of all people together. I've known Jon forever because he, too, was part of the Neil Simon Brighton Beach Memoirs Repertory Company. And so they were trying to figure out which roles I would be right for and which role Jon would be right for. So they screen-tested us for both roles.
I remember auditioning both for the role I eventually played and the role that Andrew McCarthy actually played. And I think they were finally settled on it, and then out of nowhere, Andrew McCarthy's name came up. And he really wanted to do it, but he wanted to play the role of Larry, which is a role that he usually doesn't get to play. He would normally play the straight man, the romantic lead. And so all of a sudden, Andrew was in. And they had to decide, I guess, between me and [laughter] Jon Cryer who would get the other role. I guess I lucked out. But Jon did fine after that [laughter]. Don't feel bad for Jon Cryer. He's doing just fine.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, do you have a favorite scene in the movie?
Jonathan Silverman: Wow. Favorite scene? I was thinking about this one scene recently because I'm, as I mentioned from Los Angeles, I'm a huge baseball fan. And I'm a huge Dodgers fan, and the past few weeks have been terribly exciting and just plain terrible because we lost [laughter] the second game of the World Series. The last time we were in the World Series and won the World Series was in 1988 in October.
And I remember not being in town because I was in Wilmington, North Carolina. So I mean, Weekend at Bernie's, that's how long ago it's been since the Dodgers won the World Series. And I remember the epic moments, the turning point of that World Series in the game with crickets and hit his famous home run that won the game and catapulted the Dodgers forward.
We were shooting a particular scene and back in the day having access to televisions wasn’t that easy but I had one of those Sony Watchman TV's it was almost transistor radio television, and if you're lucky it might get one channel and I had it in my breast pocket of a sports jacket I was wearing and it was this scene on the beach where I'm making out it was sort of From Here to Eternity scene and making out the Catherine Mary Stuart on the sand and then all of a sudden the dead body of Bernie washes up in my periphery and then washes back.
I remember shooting that scene because between each tape, even though it was wonderful and Catherine is a terrific actor and a great friend and the passion of making this great and funny moment, as soon as they would yell, ‘Cut.’ I would leap back to my feet and whip out the television in my pocket and I remember watching Kirk Gibson hit his home run, so that might be my favorite moment in the movie for very strange reasons.
Michelle Tompkins: I'd slightly give you condolences to for the Dodgers loss as I am a San Francisco Giants fan.
Jonathan Silverman: Are you? Well, you guys have won twice in the last four years so I'm very jealous. Back to the kitchen, Jen, are you with us? I found Jen, here she is. [Pause] Sorry, Michelle. How about coming back to me for a little bit.
Great advice from John Lithgow
Michelle Okay, that's fine. Okay. We can keep going back and forth. So you really had a steady career since you started. I think you've been in between your own series, you were in The Single Guy and also a little bit parts here and there on Law and Order and that kind of stuff. How do you keep it going?
Jonathan Silverman: How do I keep it going? Well, that's a good question too. I think early on in my career I was fortunate enough to work with one of my favorite beings and favorite actors, John Lithgow and I asked him a similar question and this was 25 years ago but I've seen him on Broadway and I've seen him in so many wonderful movies and I was working with him on a little movie we were shooting in Atlanta and I asked him, ‘How do you stay? What's the secret to your longevity?’ And he said, ‘Well, I think the secret is never be too hot and never be too cold if you can find a way to stay lukewarm you'll have a very long journey.’ I don't know if that's something I've pursued staying lukewarm but somehow I keep working and I've now sort of parted with my acting career to a directing career and the most fun I ever had on a job was co-directing with Jen on a movie that we made together and we hope to make a bunch of more stuff together too.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, wow. I can't wait to hear more about that too. John Lithgow is actually in my top 10 people I want to interview.
Jonathan Silverman: Well, he's just the best. I'm sure you'll get the chance because I know you'd love talking to him speaking of people you love talking to, I think Jen is back.
Michelle Tompkins: Hi Jen. So what was your first professional role?
Jennifer Finnigan: What is my first professional role? My first professional role was when I was 18, I did a show where I played a bitchy cheerleader who I remember always wore the cheer-leading outfit and a string of pearls. It was almost like an Asian Nancy Drew. It was called the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, and it was on Nickelodeon, starring Pat Morita, which was very cool. He couldn't have been sweeter. I did three episodes of that, and I remember my first scene, I was so clueless because I had done a bunch of theatre, but I had never I'd never done film. I'd never done TV.
And my first scene, I walked up to my mark looking at it the entire time, then looked up and directly down the barrel of the camera, and said my first line, which was ‘I know who did it.’ And I remember they yelled, ‘Cut,’ and the sweet director came over and said, ‘Oh dear, is this your first time on camera?’ And I said, Yes.’ And he said, ‘Okay, you should know that you should never look directly into the camera when you say a line,’ so I learned very quickly.
Jonathan Silverman: And she never did it again.
Jennifer Finnigan: And they always pounced on me for my Canadian accent, as well, which I learned to rectify over the years. It comes out when I'm drinking. Yeah, when I'm drinking for sure and I think it's charming.
Michelle Tompkins: I think it would be too. Now, what was your favorite thing about playing Bridget Forester in The Bold and The Beautiful?
Jennifer Finnigan: God, that was so long ago. It was my first big American job and I think my favorite part was the fact that everyone I worked with was amazing. I loved them as people, and as a first job in LA goes, it's a very kind and gentle way to begin. With all of these terrible stories that are coming out right now about young and impressionable and naive young actresses, I was very much one of those, and I count myself extremely lucky to have started in a safe little microcosm of the business.
And Brad Bell, who runs that show, is just an incredibly kind man and it starts at the top and it just trickled down and it was a very lovely experience. And I was able to learn so much. We were doing one episode a day, which is— it was a half-hour show, so it was 40 pages a day, and it's incredibly fast-paced, and we had reams of dialogue to learn every day, so it gave me my current work ethic. I really credit that for giving me such a strong work ethic. I always know my lines. I have a slightly photographic memory. Also because it's very heightened— you're having to access emotion very quickly, so if I need to do that, I do, and I still can. So it's like acting boot camp, in a sense. Very grateful for that.
Michelle Tompkins: A few years later you were on Crossing Jordan with very difficult, technical language.
Jennifer Finnigan: I started Crossing Jordan when I was still on Bold and the Beautiful. And yeah, that was a huge switch up. I'd never done prime time before. And all of sudden the pace was sort of cut in half. And I was playing a pathologist.
And I remember my first scene there was with Miguel Ferrer, rest in peace, who I absolutely adored. And who became a good friend. He was so lovely.
And I was doing a scene where he walks in and I'm performing an autopsy. And there was a real guy on the table, but he was wearing a sort of cadaver outer layer just dripping with fake guts and blood. And I was very squeamish at the time. But I've played so many doctors since and had to shadow real doctors in hospitals. So it's de-sensitized me a little bit. But at the time it made me faint. They had to give me a paper bag to breathe in between takes because all that fake blood was making me ill. I've since totally gotten over that by the way.
Michelle Tompkins: Now how did you get the role in Tyrant?
Jennifer Finnigan: Tyrant. Jonny and I were on vacation in Croatia. And I had been told about this show a few weeks prior that they had seen just hundreds of women for this one part. And they said, ‘Do you want to come in for it?’ But I was on vacation and I said, ‘I'm not going to change my plans to do that. It sounds terrific but no.’ And then a couple of weeks into the vacation they said, ‘Look, they still haven't found anyone. But they're very interested in seeing you.’ So I said, ‘All right. Send me the script.’ And I read it and I thought it was fascinating. And I thought it was a window into a world we really haven't seen a lot on network television. And I thought I'd like to be part of it.
So I remember being in Hvar, an island in Croatia, setting up our hotel room into a mini little audition space. And poor Jonny. He had probably a few glasses of wine at that point and just wanted to have a great night. And I was stressing over how to make the scene as good as possible. We staged it and put it on my laptop and sent it in. I think it took hours to figure out how to send it. I remember being up to 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning trying to...
Jonathan Silverman: I think you finally got enough Wi-Fi reception when we were at the airport on the way home.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah. And that went really well. And then they said they wanted to see me again. So I went in one more time before the casting director. And it sort of happened from there.
Michelle Tompkins: And now you're on Salvation. What do you like best about being on that show?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, three years of Tyrant was very, very difficult. We were shooting in Israel and Istanbul and Budapest and Morocco. So it was always exciting. I wouldn't take back the experience. But it was a difficult show for a lot of reasons. And it was also very dark subject matter. By year three they had me witnessing the death of my own daughter. And I had to go to a really, really dark place for that show consistently. And when it finally ended, I was ready to take a break.
And then Salvation came up. I wasn't 100 percent sold on the premise. But I took a meeting with Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, who are the creators and showrunners. And they were just so phenomenal and so intelligent; So sharp and funny. And they didn't take themselves too seriously, they had such a vision for the show. They were really passionate about the show and they were passionate about me playing the part of Grace. And I read the script and I thought, ‘My God. This is so much more than just a meteor hitting the Earth.’ And when they described to me the arc of season one, I thought, ‘This is going to be really exciting and really interesting.’ And it was so much fun to do.
Every script that came out was crack. Every cast member was aching to get their fingers on it. It just went so much deeper than just that initial premise. We got into conspiracy theories, government conspiracy, geopolitics. There were love triangles. It became a political intrigue type show. And I've never had more fun, ever, on a show in my life. I'm absolutely elated that we're getting a season two. And I was doing the whole thing while pregnant. So that's saying a lot because having had that much fun while being pregnant the entire time—yeah, it just says a lot about the show.
Michelle Tompkins: Now what was the first project you and Jonathan did together?
Jennifer Finnigan: I think it was Head Case wasn't it?
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah. Our friend Alexander Wentworth had a mostly improvised show. Was it on Starz Network?
Jennifer Finnigan: Yes, Starz.
Jonathan Silverman: And she played a fictitious therapist to the stars. And so they would get cameos from people playing themselves going to therapy. And the executive producer is a dear friend of mine. His name is Bobby Bauer. Robert Bauer. And he asked if I would help out and do the pilot episode, which I did. And then I think I did another version of the pilot once they finally got it sold to Starz. And then I met Jen in real life. And they said, ‘Hey, it would be really cool if you and your then girlfriend come on go to couples counseling therapy.’
Jennifer Finnigan: But it was later because I think I was doing the Bruckheimer show. And I was close to home at the time wasn't I?
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah. It was quite a bit later. So we jumped on to the show and did a few episodes as ourselves. And we had a blast. And that's really when I knew—
Jennifer Finnigan: We improv. It was complete improv.
Jonathan Silverman: So much comic timing and chops. You don't want to mess with her. You have to stay on your toes. It's difficult to try and get in the ring with Jen Finnigan. She's a master.
Michelle Tompkins: And you did others…
Jennifer Finnigan: Well I haven't done a lot of comedy in a while. But you'd never know it.
Michelle Tompkins: Have you've done other projects together?
Jonathan Silverman: We did, yeah. I guess we played boyfriend and girlfriend in the movie— Universal did a reboot of the Charles Grodin Beethoven movie. So whatever that one was called— Beethoven's Big Break.
And just did a movie called Conception, where we played husband and wife. Connie Britton was in it, and Sarah Hyland, and what else have we done together, babe? Well, we both acted in the movie that we directed, which was called A Bet's a Bet, starring Geoff Stults and Mena Suvari.
Jennifer Finnigan: You've done two of my shows.
Jonathan Silverman: I have. I have guested on a few of Jen's TV shows.
Jennifer Finnigan: He guested on Close to Home, which was a Bruckheimer show from years ago, and then he guested on my David Kelly show, which was Monday Morning. So we try to keep it in the family.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, is it hard to work together and then go home together?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well at least for me, when he comes and does whatever show I'm working on, I prefer to just have scenes with him in passing [laughter], because we know each other so well that I feel like sometimes it can take us out of the scene, or it can take the audience out of the scene, because a lot of people know we're married. But I have to say, my favorite thing was directing with him.
Michelle Tompkins: Now is that the project Andover that you just did?
Jonathan Silverman: Andover is our newest project, and we produced it together and we starred in it together, playing husband and wife. And it's a wonderful, and sad and touching, romantic comedy. I'm playing a geneticist and Jen is my beautiful wife, and she dies tragically. And I'm able to recreate and clone mice, and so I decide to recreate and clone my wife. So in a sense, Jen plays seven or eight different versions of herself in a really masterful performance. So masterful that she just won Best Actress at the Orlando Film Festival, so very excited.
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, it should have been you, babe.
Jonathan Silverman: Oh, I should have won Best Actress.
Jennifer Finnigan: You should have [laughter].
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah. But the film won Best Picture, and the Audience Award, too. So that was pretty much our first film festival, so we're awfully proud, and we'll hopefully go to a few more and then let the world look at it. And hopefully, it'll be playing in theatres and cable all that fun stuff soon.
Jennifer Finnigan: It's a very sweet movie.
Michelle Tompkins: Jen, what do you think makes it special?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, first of all, it's very sweet and very romantic, but it's bittersweet, and it gets dark. And it deals with loss, and the difficulties of loss and not being able to let go.
And I, personally, really related to that, in the sense that I've lost someone who is incredibly important to me, and that constant feeling denial and refusal to let go and in the story our leading man, Johnny has the opportunity to not let go, to not say goodbye, to clone or create this woman that he was madly in love with and that he's not prepared to let go of and so he does and each time it's more disastrous than the next. And it's tragic in a sense and so we see.
I don't want to give anything away but we sort of see the art of that character and how he finally comes to terms with that loss. So I don't know, maybe that's looking for the deeper meaning there and a deeper message but that was really what resonated with me.
Jonathan Silverman: That was beautiful, babe.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Michelle Tompkins: How did you guys meet?
Jonathan Silverman: Uh-oh, Jen?
Jennifer Finnigan: We met at a barbeque on the Fourth of July and we fell. It was one of the things where we were trying to keep milling around but we kept being drawn back to each other like magnets and we made each other laugh, I remember he was so present and because so many people in this town when you're talking to them they're sort of scanning the room for better options, we call it better optioning but Johnny was extremely present, and listening to me and responding, he was just such a different flavor that I've been dealing with. He was lovely and funny and charming and try as we may we couldn't get away from each other that evening and I think we spent 12 hours together the first time we met babe, is that right?
Jonathan Silverman: I think a little longer than that but sure [laughter].
Jennifer Finnigan: We don't need to go into total detail.
Jonathan Silverman: Twelve hours in public, how about that?
Jennifer Finnigan: Let's go with that.
Michelle Tompkins: Jonathan, what's your favorite thing about Jen?
Jonathan Silverman: I don't know just one.
Jennifer Finnigan: Oh, please.
Jonathan Silverman: I don't. She's my best friend and my soul mate—
Jennifer Finnigan: And your baby momma.
Jonathan Silverman: And now my baby momma. She's everything to me. I don't have a favorite thing, she's got it all and not to mention that she's gorgeous and smart and funny and challenges me and spars with me and we made a really beautiful human being together. So I really lucked out.
Michelle Tompkins: And you were married in Greece, that must have been beautiful.
Jonathan Silverman: It was so great.
Jennifer Finnigan: It was everything.
Jonathan Silverman: It was spectacular. It was basically her five closest friends and my five closest friends and her oldest friend and my oldest friend officiated.
Jennifer Finnigan: We partied all week, and we got married at the end. Now, looking back I would reverse that because I married the first day and then party because I looked like a haggard troll by my wedding day but it was so much fun and we actually went back to the scene of the crime, we went back to Mikonos last summer and even though it's over tread by tacky tourist at this point we went back to all of our little spots and it was so romantic and so much fun and if you find the hidden spots in Mikonos, it's still one of the best places on the planet.
Michelle Tompkins: Is there anything you'd like to share about your family? Your new little girl?
Jennifer Finnigan: I'd like to share that she is the cutest. She has the most ridiculous beautiful head of hair that every single person that's ever met her comments on because it's almost like a little afro. It's kind of amazing. And she is just alert and plenty and she is an unbelievable handful. And yet she makes our day every day. And she's started to smile and she's started to laugh and we are putty in her hands.
#fbf To our little Ella Jack when she was only 2 weeks old....today she’s already 8 weeks ? It’s going by so quickly!! So far, being a parent has been the most beautiful yet humbling experience of my life. It’s not easy...you can feel broken and terrified that you’re doing everything wrong. And you’re so damn tired all the time!! But then they look up at you and smile for the first time, or coo and giggle, and it’s all worth it. My heart is 100 times bigger. I’m so grateful for you, little one. ❤️
Michelle Tompkins: How old is she?
Jonathan Silverman: She will be seven weeks on Friday.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, she's that little? Congratulations.
Jonathan Silverman: She is so tiny. So tiny, I'm wearing her right now. I just ordered this shirt that has a kangaroo pocket in it [laughter], so I have slid her in it—
Michelle Tompkins: A daddy Baby Bjorn kind of thing.
Jonathan Silverman: Exactly. So I'm able to hold the phone with the other hand and talk to you while keeping her comfortable.
Jennifer Finnigan: He's a very good daddy.
Jonathan Silverman: Well, she is the best mom.
Michelle Tompkins: What do you both like to do for fun?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, we used to like to travel.
Jonathan Silverman: Remember those days [laughter]? We used to like to sleep too. Remember those days?
Jennifer Finnigan: We used to like to sleep, we used to like to travel, we used to like to wine taste. All of those days are—
Jonathan Silverman: And wine drink.
Jennifer Finnigan: And drink. Those days might be temporarily on hold. And now we're sort of the Netflix and chill type couple because we are so tired when she finally goes to sleep that we have no energy to do anything else.
Jonathan Silverman: We will be traveling again, though. Jen's Salvation series got a season two pickup and, unlike the last four years in a row, where Jen was shooting her series in Morocco, Israel, Hungary, last year Toronto, I would come and visit. I would be working on my own thing and I would come for a week and I would rejoin her again in a week or two. But now I'm daddy and baby's coming, so we're all moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, from the end of February until August. So we will be traveling gypsies again.
Jennifer Finnigan: We will.
Michelle Tompkins: Well, right now, the baby is portable. They're portable for at least the first year or so, so you can move her around.
Jonathan Silverman: Right. Right.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, is there any charity work you'd like to mention?
Jonathan Silverman: Oh, that's a nice question. Thank you for asking. We are on the board of a few different charities. One in our sort of adopted other home, New Orleans. It's a charity that our rock and roll buddies from a terrific band called Better Than Ezra have put together. And it's called the Ezra Open and we do tremendous work for the inner city schools in New Orleans and the magnificent city of New Orleans is still rebuilding from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, that's how it started. I mean it started as an effort to come in and rebuild after Katrina and it was disaster relief, basically. And it's expanded so much since then and they've done so much for the city. And that city is very near and dear to our hearts and these guys— all the money goes exactly where it's supposed to.
Michelle Tompkins: What are your social media handles?
Jonathan Silverman: Oh, social media handles. Jen?
Michelle Tompkins: Don't you hate it when someone steals your name [laughter]?
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, whoever took that is hanging onto it because it's not an active account. They're clearly waiting for me to come and pay them, but we'll see [laughter].
Jonathan Silverman: And my Instagram is jonnysilverman. That's J-O-N-N-Y, Silverman, S-I-L-V-E-R-M-A-N. And my Twitter is the same, but there's an underscore between Jonny and Silverman. So it's jonny_silverman.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what kind of roles do you guys want to play but haven't played yet?
Jennifer Finnigan: Oh, God. So many. I really like the sort of quirky, super quirky, character roles. And occasionally, I'll get to go in for those, but for the most part I guess in the last—well, for many years I tend to go-- maybe I play more the leading lady, and I'm certainly not complaining about that [laughter]. That has been a gift, a giant gift, but I'm assuming as I get older, and this happens to most women, they're sort of relegated to more character roles, and I'm actually looking forward to that. The weirder and quirkier the better. I like to dive into that type of role.
Jonathan Silverman: I'm also weird and quirky, too [laughter]. My first reaction to your question would probably be to play someone so unlike me and to play someone who is evil and nefarious and might be a killer or a rapist. And you mentioned the Law and Order, the SVU episode, I did [laughter] where I was this standup comic rapist.
I still get a lot of very scary looks from people who turn around and run when they see me. So maybe playing those kinds of roles aren't as wonderful or redeeming as I would have thought. I'm actually looking forward to playing a dark version of myself. I sold a pilot where I would be playing a character named Jonathan Silverman but one [laughter] who has got a lot of similarities to me, or at least my career and recognition factor, but has a far darker, sadder life than I do. So we'll see if that happens, but that would be an interesting attack. [A ruckus is made in the background.]
Michelle Tompkins: What happened?
Jennifer Finnigan: The dog just disseminated this piece of paper [laughter]. Pieces everywhere. There's like 2,000 pieces of paper strewn across our kitchen.
Jonathan Silverman: Not only do we have an almost seven-week-old baby; we have a six-month-old puppy, so [laughter].
Jennifer Finnigan: You have to see this thing. It's like a trail.
Jonathan Silverman: I hope it wasn't a residual check that was lying around [laughter].
Jennifer Finnigan: Sorry about that. Her name is Scully, as in Vin Scully, same as the Dodgers announcer, and she is a ginger-colored miniature poodle, and she is such a little shithead [laughter]. We love her. We love her so much, but dear God. And, of course, I thought it was the greatest idea to get her when I was seven and a half months pregnant…
Michelle Tompkins: You were nesting when you acted on that idea?
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, exactly. I was like, ‘I just need something more to put against my bosom.’ And, meanwhile, I'm doing 16-hour days [laughter]. Worst idea ever but she is incredible and they both love the baby and just try to lick her head all day.
Michelle Tompkins: Is your baby's name kept private?
Jennifer Finnigan: No. Her name is Ella Jack. Ella Jack Finnigan Silverman.
Michelle Tompkins: Beautiful name. Sounds like she'll be a drinker.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you [laughter]. Did you say she'll be a drinker?
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm a Jack Daniels drinker [laughter]. I'm sorry. I hope I didn't offend you with that.
Jennifer Finnigan: No, but that's just hysterical, I love it. I hope so. I'd love to have a beer with my daughter one day. Things to aspire to...
Jonny and Jen's favorites
Michelle Tompkins: What are some movies and TV shows that you like to watch?
Jennifer Finnigan: We're binging Stranger Things like the rest of the planet right now. John Oliver, Bill Maher, The Voice [laughter]. I'm sorry, it's my guilty pleasure. I love The Voice. I'm owning it. You know what else I love? The Bachelor. Here we go, I'm saying it out loud [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Admitting it is the first step.
Jennifer Finnigan: It's well edited.
Michelle Tompkins: I say the same thing about Survivor.
Jennifer Finnigan: There you go.
Michelle Tompkins: I say, ‘I only want to see the challenges.’
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah. I'm only watching it because I'm fascinated with their editing. I think its brilliant [laughter]. And what else do we watch, babe? We watch—
Jonathan Silverman: Well, I'm a big sports junkie so now that it's the baseball season and my hopes and dreams have died with the Dodgers because we have been adopted by the City of New Orleans and we adopted New Orleans, all things New Orleans. We are big New Orleans Saints football fans.
So, of course, every Sunday we spend a few hours watching the Saints game. And I will say, ever since Ella was born, she was born on a Friday, so the Saints played that weekend, an early game. They had the game in London. So at 6:00 a.m. LA time and she and I watched it together up until this past Sunday. She is six and zero. They are turning things around.
Jennifer Finnigan: It is all because of our baby.
Jonathan Silverman: We are friendly with the general manager…
Jennifer Finnigan: You need him to pick those names out for you?
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah. I sent him a picture of Ella wearing whatever Saints gear we have her in watching that Sunday’s game. Letting him know the good luck charm is working magic.
Jennifer Finnigan: I also love Glow right now.
Michelle Tompkins: I love that you like TV. I speak with many actors and I’m always a little sad if they don’t dish on their favorite shows or movies.
Jennifer Finnigan: Oh, my god. I'm an only child. Television raised me. I am madly passionate about all things TV. I mean, I always blank— I need to write a list because I always blank when people ask me this question. But Jonny can attest to the fact that I am an obsessive television watcher. It's my bread and butter too, so...
Michelle Tompkins: Now, Jonny, I heard that you're really involved in a charity regarding donations to Jewish federations. Is that still active with you?
Jonathan Silverman: Well, sure. My dad is a rabbi and his dad was a rabbi and the Jewish Federation is something that our family has been participating in and donating to for decades or generations, so sure. They know I'm always there for them and how I have a hard time saying no to good causes.
Michelle Tompkins: Did you ever think about becoming a rabbi yourself?
Jonathan Silverman: No. It was thought for me [laughter]. Actually, at least my parents, family, family friends expected it. I was the only son so I would have made three generations. Never was too interested. My oldest sister's oldest son became a rabbi and, ironically, at the same congregation where my dad had his first congregation in Dallas, Texas. So it sort of skipped. Someone else has taken over the mantle but, no, I never wanted to pursue that livelihood. I admire it. I think my dad is terrific and probably the best public speaker I've ever heard, but I couldn't do it.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what is something you have— this is for both of you. What is something you want to do but haven't done yet in life?
Jonathan Silverman: Well, I guess I just checked one off the bucket list. I became a dad.
Michelle Tompkins: You're a daddy. That's a good one, yeah.
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah. So I hit that. I don't know. Jen, you got something?
Jennifer Finnigan: It's a tough question because I think that entails looking ahead and not to get all philosophical but I've tried to train myself these last couple of years to be in the now and to be in the present. And because right now we're new parents it's so all-encompassing and overwhelming that, at the present time, the only thing I want to do is be a really amazing mother to my daughter. And that is occupying my entire brain right now—
Jonathan Silverman: What we have left of the brain [laughter].
Jennifer Finnigan: And body, and mind and soul. But I think for the first time ever I don't want to answer that because right now all I want is to be is a good mom.
Jonathan Silverman: We also sort of live in two-and-half hour cycles [laughter] of eating, sleeping, functioning, parenting, including bathing our baby. It's so hard to think beyond what's going to happen in the next 90 minutes let alone what's going to happen in the next 9 months, 10 months. So, yeah, it's a tough one to answer right now.
Michelle Tompkins: What are your plans for the holidays?
Jonathan Silverman: We are staying in. We've sort of been sequestered at home. I know it's known as nesting but you have the thought of getting on a plane or getting into a car for an extended period of time is just so daunting right now. It's hard enough just to make it downstairs to the kitchen and all the plodding. And then if you need it just for that, I can't imagine going anywhere. So Jen's mom, my mother-in-law, is coming to town in a few days. We're going to have Thanksgiving with her, and we are going to just enjoy being a family.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah. We never stay home for the holidays.
Jonathan Silverman: Yeah. We're always gone.
Jennifer Finnigan: We're always in Europe or—we love to travel, as I said. Yeah, we're always gone this time of year. So I guess in a way it's refreshing for us to stay home and now we have a little one too. We're going to get a big Christmas tree, and we're going to celebrate Chrismukkah, and, yeah, it will be nice. It's a refreshing change for the first time in many years to just be staying in LA.
Michelle Tompkins: Well, you guys seem to have so much going on and a wonderful baby. I knew that you had a child. I didn't know it was that fresh out of the oven.
Jonathan Silverman: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Jennifer Finnigan: This oven is still hot [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Well, what's next for Andover? Is it going to more film festivals?
Jonathan Silverman: Yes, it's going to more film festivals. It's playing--
Jennifer Finnigan: New Jersey.
Jonathan Silverman: New Jersey in a few weeks. I know there's one coming at the Los Angeles and, I believe, Chicago soon. So, yeah, we're hoping we could all agree and close the deal soon, and get what I imagine to be a very limited theatrical release, then off to cable, and Netflix, and all that stuff.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, that's exciting…
Jonathan Silverman: But I hope you'd see it and I hope you like it. It's a really special little movie. We're proud of it.
Michelle Tompkins: I love the concept of it. It sounds like you can have that wonderful happiness of not losing someone but then realizing that you can't recreate something from scratch.
Jonathan Silverman: It really makes you think and it's very touching and very funny, and sad. I've seen it so many times but I've only seen it with a large audience once. And it was so lovely to be a part of that reaction and hearing the laughter, and then hearing people sniffling, and reaching for their Kleenex, and clapping at the end. So we're awfully proud of it. I hope it gets a nice long life [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Well, thank you, guys, both very much. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Jonathan Silverman: Michelle, thank you. Thanks so much.
Jonathan Silverman: Oh, and here she goes. She wants out of my kangaroo shirt. Good timing.
Jonathan Silverman and Jennifer Finnigan can be seen in Andover now in selected theaters. Pre-order your copy on iTunes or Amazon today!