TV WEEK – March 12th, 2012
About to start filming opposite Charlie Sheen in Anger Management new mum Selma Blair admits she’s finding it hard to cope…
Selma Blair might be about to star in one of the most anticipated new TV shows of the year, but she’s also mum to an eight-month-old baby and suffering from a severe lack of sleep. And she admits she’s not functioning very well.
“I’m seriously sleep-deprived; I can barely put a word together,” confirms the actress, who gave birth to son Arthur Saint in July last year. He’s the first child for Selma and her husband, fashion designer Jason Bleick.
Nearly every night, Arthur has been waking up every hour – and for two months, he woke every 20 minutes.
“I have not functioned,” Selma says frankly. “I’d go to these ‘Mommy & Me’ classes and they’d be like, ‘Oh, my God, my kid still wakes up twice a night or once a night,’ and I’d just burst into tears, thinking, ‘Oh, I wish! I wish my child woke up twice a night!'”
The 39-year-old actress was recently cast as the therapist and potential love interest for Charlie Sheen’s character – a baseball player turned anger-management counselor – in sitcom Anger Management.
It’s Charlie’s first big project since leaving Two And A Half Men and it’s set to premiere in the US mid-year. Based on the 2003 film of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, filming on the show gets underway this month – and Selma has nothing but praise for her new co-star.
“I adore him,” she says of Charlie. “He has a wonderful work ethic… and he’s brutally intelligent.”
But while Selma’s looking forward to starting on the show, she adds she also has to get on track by then.
“I’m definitely struggling right now, like so many mums who are trying to be as close to their child as they can and get back to work,” she says. “It’s such a common problem, but you feel like you’re the only one in the world.”
Selma adds that as it’s so noisy on set, Arthur won’t be able to spend the day in her trailer. But she hopes he can visit, and she plans to keep breastfeeding.
“It’s a real challenge,” she concedes. “I have to figure out how to juggle it.”
And while many women credit breastfeeding with helping them lose their baby weight, that’s not a line you’ll hear from Selma.
“I’m not someone who says, ‘Oh, it fell off,'” she reveals. “I just haven’t gone to the gym enough! I try, but it’s so hard to tear myself away from my baby.”
On top of all that, she’s reeling from a recent scare in the US involving some brands of baby formula.
“I was trying to supplement with formula, and that’s the one they found arsenic in,” she tells. “It’s very daunting, wanting to do the best for your child.”
Selma only settled on acting as a career in her mid-20s after studying English and psychology at university. Her breakthrough role was playing an innocent teenager in the 1999 movie Cruel Intentions, even though she was actually 26 at the time.
“Because I was so new to the business and I so looked up to [co-stars] Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan [Phillippe], I felt like a giddy schoolgirl,” she grins.
More hit films followed, including Legally Blonde, The Sweetest Thing and Hellboy. In 2008, Selma accepted the role of Kim in the US version of Kath & Kim. But it ended up being quite a different project from what she initially signed on for.
“It turned out to be a very bright, bubblegum sort of show,” Selma says. “It was what it was, but I really liked it.”
She isn’t sure why it wasn’t a success.
“But it was fun to play a spoilt kind of adolescent woman,” she laughs.
Afterwards, Selma took on more movie roles, including the lead in Columbus Circle (out on DVD and Blu-ray on March 22). In the thriller, Selma plays a rich heiress who hasn’t left her apartment in nearly 20 years.
“She’s a recluse who was damaged as a child and when she could afford to go into hiding, she did,” the actress explains. “She lives her life pretty much contentedly in her Columbus Circle apartment until people move in across the hallway and shatter her peace.”
Dark Horse was another of Selma’s recent projects – and just five weeks after giving birth, she took Arthur with her to Italy to promote the movie at the Venice Film Festival, before moving on to the Toronto Film Festival and then later making appearances in New York.
“Somehow I was just hanging on,” she shares. “But then it caught up with me – totally – and, since then, I’ve just fallen apart. I need to get myself back together so I can go back to work so I can pay for a house for this baby.”
The exhausted Selma is refreshingly honest about her own experience of motherhood so far.
“It’s one of the most horrendous things that’s ever happened to me, as well as the most amazing,” she admits.