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Chandra Wilson Plans a Breather for Family Time

hollywoodexclusive1With "Grey's Anatomy" wrapping production of its current season, Chandra Wilson tells us, "For the sake of my kids, I will say publicly that I'm doing nothing for two months" over hiatus. "That makes them really happy.

"I've worked straight for three years," adds the mother of two daughters, who were born in 1992 and 1998, and a 4-year-old son. "It's nice to stop and go to PTA meetings and be there for their finals and regular stuff that needs my attention."

Still, she adds, "I'm so grateful for those opportunities, from start to finish. That's the balance all working moms have to deal with." Her non-"Grey's" activities in the past three years have included her Broadway run in "Chicago" and her Emmy-nominated performance as a homeless woman in the Hallmark Channel film "Accidental Friendship" — and "Frankie and Alice," the feature she shot with Halle Berry that wrapped early last year.

"It was a meaty subject, a meaty character," she says of the movie that has Berry as a woman afflicted with dissociative personality disorder — with an alternate personality who's a racist white woman. "I play the sister of Halle's character and, as with a lot of mental cases when they go undiagnosed, she's just viewed as 'the crazy one' of the family. It's a big deal for the family, which has built up a lifetime of resentment, to finally come to terms with it and learn that something clinical is actually going on with Frankie."

However, she notes, she hasn't heard anything about "Frankie" in a while, and "I don't know when it will be released."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Pundits have had a hard time predicting whether this will be the final season for Patricia Arquette's five-year-old "Medium" — or not. Arquette herself seems ready for either a yea or nay.

"You never know as an actor what the future holds. I'll always be grateful for this great time in my life," she tells us. "I've been able to play really interesting things the writers have written — different time periods, different personalities, all kinds of amazing things."

She's also enjoyed her on-camera family, series hubby Jake Weber and daughters Sofia Vassilieva, Maria Lark, and twins Madison and Miranda Carabello (who share the role of Marie). "It's so great to watch these girls grow up into such incredible young women. All the girls are taking on more and more and expressing their voices as actresses. Me and Jake love acting. We have great respect for it. They literally sat us down and asked, 'How do you prepare for a part? What do you do first? How do you break down a scene, a script?' It's impressive."

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: We're just 10 days away from ABC's fall schedule announcement, and Laura Prepon has her fingers crossed that "Awkward Situations for Men," the hybrid comedy pilot in which she plays spouse to British funny man Danny Wallace, makes the cut.

"I honestly wasn't in the market for another half-hour series," says the former "That '70s Show" cutie. After her long run on that show, "I thought, 'That was the best situation you could be in for half-hour comedy, so OK, done with that.'" She went on to do the short-lived but admired hour drama "October Road." Then, "This script just came along and my manager said, 'You've got to read this.' It's totally different, a blend of everything people love: British subtle humor and off-the-wall humor. Our director did a lot of the 'Seinfelds,' and that's also our vibe, playing off the awkward situations that happen to people."

Meanwhile, Prepon has been having fun playing with awkward and just plain kooky situations with her "Neighbors" Web show — starring her boyfriend, Scott Michael Foster of "Greek," and their buddy, musician Jaime Jorn. The two guys really are neighbors. Prepon directs and shoots the vignettes and sketches that make up the daffy offering that's been making an Internet splash. She's been gearing up to direct for years, she tells us.

"You have to fight for something you believe in. If I think something is worth doing, I will fight to get it. 'Neighbors,' for example — nobody is going to hand us a show like that. We're trying to build it grassroots because the three of us believe in it. Times are tough, and if people can click on one of our skits and laugh for two or three minutes, we've done our job."

Actors have to fight to work more than ever, she observes. "It's a really interesting time in the business — really, really tough and more competitive than ever. I fortunately found a show that I loved and was fortunate enough to do it — but I have a pulse on what's going on in the industry, as well as a lot of friends who are actors. Well-known movie stars want to be on television now, so guest roles are being offered to stars, and the next level of people aren't getting as much work, and there's a domino effect."

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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