Actress Lea Thompson has played mom roles throughout her career, and she continues to embrace that type of character in “Switched at Birth.”
Minnesota-born Thompson, 51, has past credits that include lead roles in the “Back to the Future” film series, the “Jane Doe” Hallmark Channel television movies and the “Caroline in the City” sitcom.
“Switched at Birth,” which airs at 7 p.m. Mondays on ABC Family, and also stars D.W. Moffett and Constance Marie, centers on the blended Kennish and Vasquez families.
Teen daughters Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc) were accidentally swapped after they were born in the hospital. Also, Daphne became deaf after contracting meningitis as a small child. Now, the two families are trying to learn how to live together for the best interest of the girls.
Thompson recently discussed playing mom Kathryn Kennish on “Switched at Birth” during a media conference call and included how she enjoys the expanded fan base she's acquired from the show.
“It's been really exciting connecting with a different demographic ... The network's targeted toward teenage girls and their mothers, but there's also men that really like to watch the show with their families,” she said.
“I think teenage years for girls are so complicated and so hard to navigate, and I feel really proud to be part of a program that in some way helps young women have a voice and deal with issues and think about things in a productive way.”
Thompson has firsthand experience with this topic, having raised two teenage daughters herself.
“I've just lived through those years, and I know how they need good role models and ways of speaking about issues with their moms. And, sometimes when you see it on TV, it's a great way to talk about things.”
Thompson and the rest of the “Switched at Birth” cast aren't given information on what's going to happen on the show ahead of time, which is also helpful in relating to the fans.
“They do not tell us what is going to happen ever. And the only reason that Lizzy Weiss, the creator, doesn't tell us is because she loves watching us go, ‘Oh, I can't believe that happened' ... What's nice about it is that we can understand how much fun it is for the fans to discover these things as they happen,” Thompson said.
In the show, while the focus of Thompson's character has always been her family, a memoir she recently wrote has brought new opportunities to her, creating transition in her life and marriage.
“I think it's one of those things where you've been married for a long time and then all of a sudden the person that you thought you knew everything about changes and your perspective on them changes,” Thompson said.
“Kathryn is just coming into her own. She's getting a voice of her own.”