Mira Sorvino first attracted notice in the ’90s with her Oscar-winning turn as the squeaky-voiced call girl in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite, and as one-half of the ditzy duo (with Lisa Kudrow) who reinvent themselves in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. These days, she’s switching things up, starring in the paranormal BBC America thriller, Intruders, about a secret society of body-snatching immortality seekers.
But acting isn’t her only gig. She’s also been busy behind the scenes raising four kids -- daughters Mattea, 9, and Lucia, 2, and sons Johnny, 8, and Holden, 5 -- with her husband, actor Christopher Backus. Whatever free time she can scavenge is devoted to her work combating global human trafficking. Since 2009, Sorvino has been U.N. goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, campaigning to reform laws and end commercial sexual exploitation.
How do you juggle four kids under age 10 and a busy acting career and find balance?
Improvisation. There’s no real magic-bullet formula for a working mother, especially in my industry. But I try and put family first -- that’s always my rule of thumb. I try to spend as much time with them as possible, and to take jobs that limit my time away from them.
What attracted you to your new show, Intruders?
At its heart it’s really about what we hold most dear, which is love, and what you would do for someone you love. Would you kill for them? Would you die for them? And will you ever see them again once you die? I think it’s a terrific series. It’s very gripping. It’s very moody, chilling.
How did you find time for family when you were shooting the show in British Columbia?
Everybody moved up there with me. My husband commuted back and forth from L.A. and spent a month with us. We all took snowboarding lessons and conquered the bunny slopes and just had so much fun.
How did motherhood change you?
It put everything into perspective. My career is important to me. It’s an expression of myself, and it puts food on the table, but it’s not my priority. My priority is my kids.
When your children fight, how do you restore peace?
I haven’t figured out how to get them to stop fighting. That’s the thing that I wish I could wave a magic wand and do. We just try and talk through it, and also sometimes I just lay down the law.
How does Christopher’s parenting style compare with yours?
He just has to use a big voice and then order is restored instantly, whereas with me it doesn’t happen so quickly. But that’s how it was in my household when I was a kid.
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