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Malin Akerman Talks 'Trophy Wife,' Kid Actors and Deportation Scares

The star of ABC's bubble comedy tells THR about her first year on broadcast TV and jokes about her renewal strategy: "I'll go over there and knock some teeth out if we don't get our second season"

Malin Akerman April 1 Trophy Wife - P 2014
ABC
Malin Akerman

One major drawback to being a cult favorite is not always attracting the biggest audience. Such has been the case for ABC's Trophy Wife, which compensates for modest ratings with a growing number of evangelist fans.

"We're just hoping for more," Malin Akerman tells The Hollywood Reporter. "People are really loving it, I have definitely noticed that we've gotten quite an engaged following, and I think the material is great. It takes a minute to get a show off of its feet. You've got to find the characters, the rhythm, the tone. I think we've really nailed it now. The last half of our season is pretty darn good."

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Trophy Wife wrapped filming in February, and Tuesday marks the first of the season's final five episodes. Akerman, enjoying her hiatus, chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the show's prospects, working with so many younger co-stars and the time, like her character, she thought she was going to be shipped back to Canada.

Kate recently had a deportation scare, and you moved to L.A. from Canada. Did that hit close to home?

No, but I very well could of. I was here at one point, not illegally, but on a visitor's visa, and I overstayed my welcome not realizing. That made me a little nervous, and at one point I got pulled over by a cop at the airport for a registration tag that was expired. I though, "He's going to put me right back on that plane to Canada, and I will never be able to come back again." Thank god, it was all kosher.

Kermit and Miss Piggy's wedding got a shout-out during Kate and Pete's (Bradley Whitford) planning. Are you a Muppets fan?

Growing up, I loved watching the Muppets, but I haven't seen any of the movies. Now I'm thinking maybe I'll see them with my son -- but he's only 10½ months. There are a few huge Muppets fans on set, namely [co-creator] Sarah Haskins. That's her dream wedding.

Did you have any issues with the Swedish Chef?

There's no resentment there. We make fun of Swedish all the time. My sisters and I speak in Swedish, and if you're around other people who are English speaking, when they repeat it back to you what it sounds like to them, it sounds like the Swedish Chef. There's some truth to that. It's a sing-song-y, funny kind of language.

Kids can be hit or miss on TV. How's it been watching your younger castmates develop their comedy chops?

It's been unbelievable. Bailee Madison and Ryan Lee area really professional actors who brought it from day one. We had no doubts or worries about them. Little Albert [Tsai] has become the breakout. This is his first TV show that he's ever done. He did a school musical before this. He's had the biggest growth.

He's kind of become the star of the show.

The first day of the pilot, the first scene that he had, he did one take and said, "OK, thanks! Have a good day." So for him to learn how TV works has been really hilarious. He used to walk into a room and look up at the mic boom or stare straight into the camera. Now he's telling us what to do. He's come into his own and feels really comfortable. It's so special what he brings to it.

What do you think your chances are of a second season?

It's nerve-racking. For me, it feels like they'd be silly not to order a second season considering all of the good feedback we have, but I don't know how TV works. I'll go over there and knock some teeth out if we don't get our second season. (Laughs.) If I'm going to be sort of unbiased, I would just say that I think it's a good show and it deserves a second season, whether I'm part of it or not.