© Summit Entertainment/courtesy Everett Collection
For someone who’s been kind of nomadic most of her life, Watts says she’s now “enjoying nesting, buying furniture, and being settled” in Manhattan when she’s not filming. At home, food is dictated by what her boys eat. “I’m not a brilliant cook, but I do love cooking. And with children, you end up cooking a lot more than you used to.” She luckily has no problems with them eating healthfully as they love “tons of greens,” and her home-cooked specialties include lightly fried tilapia. Another one really hits the kids’ sweet spot: “They love my honey, soy, and ginger chicken drumsticks baked in the oven. They just love holding those drumsticks. And yes, they love making a right old mess of it.”
Last summer, when she and Schreiber were in Manhattan, they’d take the boys out on bikes to Central Park, have a picnic, “and let them run free.” And now she says the boys are “just getting to the age where we can explore the city, do more adventurous things like taking a long walk to the river or to the natural history museum, which is fantastic. And I can still walk around a little unrecognized.”
The sense of adventure that Myfanwy Watts gave to her kids Naomi now imparts to her children when she goes on location to film. “When we get away with them now, we spend a lot of time at the beach, looking for crabs with buckets and spades. Liev and I have gone diving with the sharks and other sea life in Tahiti — an incredible experience. I think he’s dying to get the boys into it when they’re ready. These types of trips are now becoming interesting to the boys because they can participate.”
© Dreamworks/courtesy Everett Collection
Watts, who was actually pregnant during the filming of Mother and Child, confirms that motherhood has changed everything, that it’s “both challenging and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.” But there’s been an added bonus to her career. “Now that I have children, you feel everything more. Life has more layers. You’re not just thinking of yourself anymore. So when you’re reading a script or working through a character, you feel the depth more by understanding of things beyond just yourself. You see things through the eyes of somebody else now as a parent, and maybe as an actor that helps you get closer to a character. You’re more attuned.”
She also admits that being a mother may impact some of her future work choices. “It would be great to do a movie that would impress my kids, make them smile. Maybe get to do a voice-over in an animated movie or something like that.”As the interview winds down, she politely asks, “Can this be the last question? I’m sorry, Ashley, but my kids are waiting.” And even as her career continues to roll, Watts admits once her workday is over, she finds herself racing back to her kids and not bringing her work back with her in the way that she used to. “I used to stay up in the wee hours, going over the script, thinking about the character, what I was going to do the next day on the set.”
After work these days, it’s more about getting those drumsticks in the oven, enjoying some playtime with the kids, and, yes, there’s that precious thing called sleep.