By Luaine Lee
PASADENA, Calif. — Fighting menacing Terminators or six-legged fiends or indestructible robots is nothing to actress Moon Bloodgood. She does all that on practically a daily basis in TNT’s “Falling Skies.” Battling Skitters or Mechs or the Espheni is no big deal.
It’s real life that unnerves her. She never wanted to be an actress, she confesses over a plate of fruit in a café here.
“I started as a dancer and I wanted to be a singer-songwriter. I didn’t start acting until I was 29. I was so against it because I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. When I was a dancer everything was auditory. When I sang, it was music. Having to use my words to communicate was not something I was drawn to. I fought it and fought it,” she says.
Even though she eventually succumbed, she is still critical of her acting. “I watch myself on screen and nine out of 10 times I’m so bad. I just cringe. I force myself to watch the show because I need to do press and remember the storylines, but I literally go, ‘Awwwww.’ Sometimes I say, ‘That’s not so bad.’ My husband sees my insecurity and he says, ‘You’re missing enjoying how good you can be.’ But I watch some of the greats. And then I watch me and go, ‘Oh, my God, how do I get hired?’”
It’s not surprising that she’s hard on herself. Her mother’s family immigrated from Korea to Nebraska, where she was born. “There are 11 family members living in a one-bedroom house,” she recalls.
“They’re all living in Nebraska and they don’t know where the hell they are. They have no idea. They don’t speak a word of English. They’re thinking the United States is Beverly Hills or New York, but they’re not thinking Nebraska. They were shell shocked.”
She left Nebraska when she was 2 1/2 and later her parents divorced. But once they adjusted to America, life still wasn’t easy. “I had a rough childhood, we were very poor, we were on welfare, my mom had three jobs,” she says.
“I almost dropped out of high school and my friend — she’s a CPA now — convinced me (not to) and I’m so glad I finished high school. And I hated high school. I was ethnic in a predominately white high school so I felt like an outsider. I felt like an outsider — even though I was, at one point, even voted ‘most popular’ — I oftentimes would sit by myself and have lunch. I always felt confused because I was accepted on one hand because I was on the dance team and was talented, but I also felt unaccepted because I was poor and I was Korean and I was mixed.”
When she was 17 her father, who’d been a railroad man, committed suicide. “He wasn’t living with us, I think he was in Arizona at the time.
“What happened was I became so serious. I was already pretty serious and I don’t know if that’s my nature. But someone told me when I was 18 I was the most serious 18-year-old they’d ever met. Another dancer said that to me. I was going to join the Peace Corps, I was going to make music that was going to make a difference.
When she was 26 she was caring for her mother, who’d been injured at work, and she needed a decent paycheck. That’s when she seriously entertained the idea of acting. “I had bills to pay … It was a necessity. There was a part of me that wanted to be a good actor and I studied and all that, but it was like I was trying to catch up.”
She landed the lead role in “Eight Below,” then costarred in “Terminator Salvation.” “Once I got ‘Terminator’ though, I literally sabotaged myself because I saw what it took — all the press you do, all the attention, all the obligation and I went, ‘Oh, this is insane.’ And I’ve never liked chaos, so I think I backed up.”
Seven years ago she vowed to make up for her self-contained youth. “I decided I was going to have a little fun — I was going to try some drugs, I was going to drink just to see what I missed. And I didn’t miss out on anything. That stuff is OK, but I feel it’s such a waste of time. I do think that alcohol can help relieve stress, but partying just to party has never really interested me,” she says.
“I partied, but it was almost out of curiosity. I just always thought it was shallow. I’m glad I did it. I just wanted to know what that world was that I was avoiding all those years, and I’m glad I tried it, and I’ll never do it again because it’s just not an important thing to me.”
She’s married to Grady Hill, a businessman and writer who has his own Internet business. They met in a bowling league (she’s still a terrible bowler) and married six months later. “I said, ‘Let’s do it!’ I’m not orthodox in any way.”
Now, at 38, she’s the mother of an 18-month-old daughter. “She’s the light of my life,” she sighs. “I thought I’d be strict, I’m kind of a softie. I still breastfeed her. I’m Mommy.”