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Originally published Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 5:07 AM

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Anna Faris plays a mess — ‘very much like me’ — on ‘Mom’

An interview with Anna Faris, Edmonds-Woodway High School and UW grad, who stars in the CBS sitcom “Mom.”

Special to The Seattle Times



9:30 p.m. Monday on CBS.

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — After the birth of her son with husband Chris Pratt (“Parks and Recreation”) a year ago, former Edmonds resident Anna Faris wasn’t ready to get back to work.

Then the script for CBS’ “Mom” (9:30 p.m. Monday) arrived.

“I had left the script on the kitchen counter, and my husband picked it up,” said Faris, a 1994 Edmonds-Woodway High School grad. “And he read the first page, and he said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, put it down right now.’ He’s like, ‘This is you.’ And it felt like that. Every once in a while you get fortunate enough to play a role that kind of feels like Cinderella’s shoe.”

Faris said she was especially intrigued to play a more multidimensional character in “Mom,” which is executive produced by CBS hit-maker Chuck Lorre (“Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory”).

“She’s a mess, very much like me. And it’s a story about relationships and character,” Faris said. “I’ve played a lot of one-dimensional characters in my career that haven’t been so bright.”

Heck, she made her career playing dim-bulb Cindy Campbell, heroine of the “Scary Movie” franchise.

But in “Mom” she plays a more grounded, realistic role. Christy is a recently sober mother who works as a waitress and has a combative history with her recovering alcoholic mom (Allison Janney, “The West Wing”).

Perhaps no one would be more surprised by Faris’ success in comedy than her teenage self. In high school she felt most at home in serious dramas.

“I had no comedic skills. I was never the class clown, never did stand-up,” she said at a July CBS party. “I took myself very seriously, which probably is what made me funny without even knowing it.”

Faris said she once asked “Scary Movie” director Keenan Ivory Wayans why he cast her when she had limited professional acting experience after graduating from the University of Washington in 1999.

“Because you had no idea what you were doing,” he replied.

“I translated that into me being really malleable,” Faris said.

With a new child in the family — the only grandchild for her parents, Jack and Karen Faris, of Edmonds — there have been frequent grandparent visits in Los Angeles but fewer trips home. But Faris does make it back occasionally, helped by the fact that Pratt is from Lake Stevens, making trips to Seattle a twofer.

“It’s a really amazing place,” Faris said a little wistfully as she looked around a party roiling with the stylishly dressed stars of CBS series. “It’s a totally different world than this world.”

Freelance writer Rob Owen: or on Facebook and Twitter as RobOwenTV.

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