“There. I did it!” Ever Carradine proclaims proudly. We’ve just started our phone interview, but her two-year-old old son has interrupted the conversation, as little boys are wont to do. I wait patiently as she diffuses the situation easily and competently, and even though we’ve only started talking less than five minutes ago, in that singular moment, it’s easy to see why she’s such a great mother.
For Carradine, that competency and ability to “roll with the punches” is what helps define her. Part experience (her expansive resume spans work in both film and television) and part family legacy (she’s the daughter of Robert Carradine, granddaughter of John Carradine, and the cousin of Martha Plimpton), both converge to make Carradine one of the most dependable and successful actresses working today. And while she may come from a famous family, she also didn’t run to the stage the moment she could walk.
“I think I saw it as it was something that I secretly wanted to do, and later, when I got into college, I found on my own that I enjoyed—and if I could make a living out of it, how lucky I would be,” said Carradine of her trajectory into the acting world. Focused and determined to forge her own path, she entered Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon with the intent of being an anthropology major. Midway through college, however, she switched her major to theater, and started landing roles in popular 90s television shows, such as Diagnosis: Murder and Tracey Takes On… before landing her first recurring guest role on Party of Five. An equally memorable guest appearance on Veronica’s Closet followed, and in 2003, she landed her first regular series role in Lucky, a cable drama about a professional poker player.
“I think something that really helped me was knowing that it’s a job,” mused Carradine of her decision and how her upbringing shaped her unique view of the profession. “I guess now it’s so different with social media, but back then, it was very much associated with glamor. I grew up on film sets and TV sets, so I always understood long hours, and that everyone does their part.”
From film (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dead & Breakfast) to network television (24, House, Will & Grace) to cable television (Shameless, Rizzoli & Isles) to streaming outlets like Hulu and Amazon (Runaways, Goliath), Carradine has been all over the map. But while most actors would be focused on settling into one kind of entertainment medium or making it big in a starring role, she simply enjoys working. It’s a refreshing thing to hear, especially in an industry dominated by the pressure to be successful.
“I’ve been all over the place, right?” she asks with a laugh when I start to list her credits. “And you know what I think is exciting about it? I’ve gotten to work with so many different people. Everybody—actors, directors, EPs. I get to see how everyone does their thing and through that, [develop] my own style and tricks to acting a little better and things to avoid. Working on shows, some for short amounts of time and some shows for longer, I just get to reconnect with so many more people.”
Carradine credits this experience with her longevity in the industry, adding, “It all comes back to knowing my job is special. I’m so privileged to be able to do what I do for a living, but I know it’s a job and all the people there are doing the same thing I am—working long hours away from their families, eating weird catered food.” Still, Carradine is only human, and there are some big things that she has on her career bucket list.
“I would love to do a film in Europe—that’s something I have not done. I’ve done a lot of snowy elements,” she adds with a laugh. “I don’t need to do that anymore!”
When I talk to Carradine, she’s not only dealing with parenting duties at home—she’s in deep dealing with parenting duties on screen, playing the role of Janet Stein in Hulu’s critically acclaimed Runaways, the series based on the popular Marvel comic book.
“It was crazy,” Carradine recalls of the whirlwind audition that landed her on the show. “I was just finishing [The] Handmaids Tale, and I flew home from Toronto on Wednesday and had the audition in my email to go in Thursday. So I prepared as quickly as I could, and at that point, it wasn’t called Runaways—everything was dummy-named, because there’s so many secrets involved. So I auditioned on Thursday and on Friday I tested—on Friday night I knew I had it, and by Monday, I went to the table read. I was jetlagged and had finished this one incredible working experience, and just moved into the next one.”
While the kids on Runaways may be the ones with superpowers, their respective parents have their own chilling secrets. That’s on-screen, though. Off-screen, everyone is a big, happy family…and no, Carradine assures me, that’s not a super-powered trick.
“I have to give a big shout out to Patrick Rush, our casting director, and Josh Schwartz and Jeph Loeb,” she explains. “Often on a pilot, someone gets recast for whatever reason. And this show, all sixteen of us, we shot the pilot and continued the show. The odds of that are insane.” Carradine goes on, telling me, “We all met at the bowling alley after we got cast—all the parents and the children…we kind of all gravitated towards each other and we bonded quickly and authentically. I’ve always believed that relationship translated onto the screen in a really exciting way.”
Since Carradine is a mother and decidedly family-oriented, I was curious if that influenced her choices for playing a parent. Or maybe she read the comics, to get a feel of how she should act towards her teenage son?
“I read the comics a little,” Carradine admits. “But the same thing happened when I was reading Handmaid’s Tale—I was reading while I was shooting, and then everything got jumbled and I couldn’t remember if the parts in the book were what we were supposed to be shooting. But I trust Josh and Stephanie [Savage] completely, so I just kind of went with what was on the page, and then built it out the way I build all characters out in my head.”
On Runaways, the secrets and dark exploits create a dangerous environment. On The Handmaid’s Tale, the landscape is as different as night and day. But both shows don’t steer away from the uncomfortable, whether it’s women’s rights or parenting while being part of a cult-like group.
“I think Elizabeth Moss said it best [in her Golden Globes speech]: they always wanted The Handmaid’s Tale to be relevant, but not quite that relevant. But there were definitely nights that we were filming and it was all during the debates and the build-up to the election,” says Carradine, who marched alongside Margaret Atwood, cast member Yvonne Strahovski, and costume designer Ane Crabtree at the Toronto Women’s March last year; she would then watch the debates in costume on her iPhone while scenes were being set up. “In Episode 9, there’s a very big scene on a bridge that took two days to film. One of those days is the last day of Obama’s presidency, and one of those days was the first day of Trump’s. It was nuts.”
Thankfully, Carradine’s tenure in the industry means that she knows how to leave work at work, which allows her to be present with her family when she’s not on set. As the mother of two sons, it’s important for her, she says, to be present.
“Our kids are 2 and 7, and the 2-year-old is a bit of wildcard, so we like to eat together when I can,” says Carradine. “My daughter loves to help me cook even though she’s a really picky eater, and my son just wants to do whatever his older sister does. We like to do a little dance party with the kids sometimes. If it’s nice outside, we like to let the kids play in the garden and my husband and I will maybe make a cheese plate and have a glass of wine. We’ve been trying to agree to do an hour of putting our phones on airplane mode and not think about that.”
“Oh, I’m terrible at it,” I offer, freely admitting my dependency on technology.
“When you do do it, you realize how addicted you are to going back and checking it,” agrees Carradine. “We try to be really aware of it, but we’re only human.”
As our conversation draws to a close, I ask Carradine what people would be surprised to know about her. I’m all about learning quirky, secretive things about people I interview, because I like forcing people to think of fun things that the public might not otherwise be aware of.
But it appears I’ve stumped her, as Carradine thinks hard before responding. “I’m tall?” she starts. “Maybe people don’t know that I’m tall; I’m 5’9”. I speak a little German. I did show jumping and horseback riding, and that was a big part of my childhood.” (Carradine’s mother, Susan Snyder, was a horse trainer’s assistant.) Suddenly, something sparks her to remember a recent interview question.
“They asked when I bought my house and I said 17 years ago,” she says proudly. “I’ve lived in the same house since I was 25 years old. It was the first house I bought.”
See? Carradine is just that dependable. And we’re very thankful she is, because we like having her around.
Features Editor Andrea Towers
Photographer Brie Childers
Stylist Gabriel Langenbrunner / Statement Management
Hair Charles Dujic / Tomlinson Management Group
Makeup Andre Sarmiento / Tomlinson Management Group