Actress Mastrantonio likes one role the most


NEW YORK — Recently, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio woke up early to see someone special: her youngest son, Declan, 16.

“I hadn’t seen him in a couple of days,” she explains.

He’s juggling high school and she’s spending afternoons and nights at the American Airlines Theater for her first Broadway work in a decade. The play opened earlier this month.

“Let’s face it: I invited them to join me on this journey and I should be around for most of it,” she says, laughing, referring to her family. “I quite enjoy it, actually. I like doing that job — mother.”

Mastrantonio, the “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” veteran, has built a respected career as an actress. She shot at Tony Montana in “Scarface” and was a fishing boat captain in “The Perfect Storm.” But mom has always been her preferred role.

“I think parenting is the most humbling experience,” she says.

She and her family — husband Pat O’Connor, the director of “Inventing the Abbotts” and “The January Man,” and her sons Declan and Jack, 20 — recently returned to America after more than two decades in London.

Mastrantonio landed a role on CBS’ “Hostages” and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s “That Winslow Boy,” a British play by Terence Rattigan about the lengths a family will go to after their son is expelled from a naval college for stealing.

The 54-year-old actress recently discussed the play, the show “Hostages” and life in England.

Q: Why is Rattigan such an important playwright?

A: I find his plays so linear, so real. They’re pointed and they’re dark, but they’re lacking in vindictiveness. He’s not there to grandstand. Ever. He just gives you an honest depiction of people.

Q: Does doing this play make you wonder how far you would go for your kids?

A: I would go to the wall.

Q: But what about the costs?

A: I don’t think you know. You just keep going. It’s not a decision. In retrospect you might say, “If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have done this.” But all you can do is keep going.

Q: You’re also on the new show “Hostages,” about a surgeon who’s ordered to assassinate her patient, the ailing president of the United States, to save her family. What can you tell us about your story arc?

A: I don’t know! Evidently, there’s been a shift in the cast ..., so I don’t know. I looked at the script the other day and wondered, “Did I do it? Is it me?”

Q: What’s a big difference between the West End in London and Broadway?

A: In England, you’re neither praised nor criticized too drastically. They’re like, “That’s a lovely performance. Let’s get on with it.” So nothing becomes this unbelievable thing that actually can’t satisfy everybody.

Q: There’s less pressure?

A: There are a lot of newspapers, which means there are a lot of opinions about what you’re doing so you’re not striving for that one critic or that one kudo or that one accolade.