JANE CURTIN RISES TO MOTHERHOOD ROLE
By BILLY HELLER
November 4, 2005 -- IT'S been more than a couple of decades since anyone called Jane Curtin an ignorant slut on national television. Part of the inaugural class of clowns on "Saturday Night Live" Dan Aykroyd branded her a slut in the "Point-Counterpoint" spoof Curtin has so moved on. She doesn't watch "SNL" never has since she left after five years, in 1980.
"I did it," she explains. "You're not going to be able to watch it objectively. You're going to be critical of everything everybody does. So you're not going to do yourself or the show any favors by watching it."
What Curtin, 58, has done is work steadily on TV sitcoms a single mother on "Kate & Allie" and the Earthling straightwoman to John Lithgow's space alien on "3rd Rock From the Sun" and the occasional movie.
Her latest foray on the big screen finds her a mom again, in the indie "Brooklyn Lobster," opening today. Set in New York and based on a true story, it's a tale of a multigenerational family struggling to keep their Sheepshead Bay lobster shop out of the claws of insolvency. "I am not going to share my home with dead fish," she tells husband Danny Aiello at one point in the slowly dissolving marriage.
The film, written and directed by Kevin Jordan is based on the real-life Jordan-family lobster business near the end of Flatbush Avenue, so the cast and crew had their fill of the tasty crustaceans during shooting. It was a treat for Curtin, who says, "I love lobsters," adding, "I'm a big lobster-roll person. I grew up in Massachusetts and I can make a mean lobster roll."
Another treat was the commute to the Sheepshead Bay set from a Village apartment.
"I never really spent that much time in Brooklyn. I didn't know anything about Brooklyn," she admits. "The great thing was driving through Williamsburg and those places where you have these different cultures. I couldn't close my mouth, it was so much fun to drive down those streets." And they didn't even run into traffic on Flatbush Avenue. "We'd go down at 4 in the morning," Curtin says.
Next up for Curtin is another sitcom, the ABC midseason show "Crumbs," where she plays a mother again (in real life, she and her producer husband, Patrick Lynch, have a 22-year-old daughter, Tess, "just graduated and finding herself"). As Curtin explains it, when her husband (William Devane) runs off with a restaurant reviewer, her character has a nervous breakdown and ends up in an institution.
"The show starts with me getting out of the institution and my gay son [Fred Savage] I don't know he's gay comes back home to help me with the transition."
"It's funny," she says, laughing.