“Sopranos” star talks life aboard “The Muthaship”

Emmy winning actor Drea de Matteo (pictured, center) says she didn't know what she was getting into when she signed on to do a digital reality series for Endemol Beyond USA.
December 2, 2014

Drea de Matteo (pictured, center) admits her move into the digital video space with Endemol Beyond USA reality series The Muthaship, which debuted online yesterday (December 1), is not the product of a well-thought-out, forward-thinking career strategy.

“I don’t understand what the Internet is that much or social media,” the 42-year-old actor, who won an Emmy for her role as Adriana La Cerva in The Sopranos and was most recently seen on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, tells realscreen’s sister publication Stream Daily. “To me doing it on the web, it’s like, ‘Nobody will see it. It’s fine.’ Maybe I’m an old lady, and they tricked me,” she laughs, “but I guess that was my thinking.”

That perceived lack of visibility was appealing to de Matteo, who had sworn she would never do a reality TV show. But money was running low, she needed to get her garage fixed and when her childhood friend, director Carter B. Smith (pictured above, right), suggested she team with another old pal, Endemol Beyond USA president Will Keenan - who she’d known since the mid 1990s – she figured, why not?

“I guess at this stage in my life, I don’t take my life as seriously or my career, and I’m not that precious about the kind of light that I’m seen in,” says the New York  native. “I don’t hate myself, so I don’t mind.”

When it comes to the question of whether or not she’s getting share of the revenue from the series, de Matteo claims ignorance. “I don’t know if I’m making money off of anything, if that’s the question you’re asking,” de Matteo says. “I’m not really business-oriented, which is why I needed to take this thing for the initial check, because we were so broke over here,” she laughs.

themuthaship_logoThe Muthaship gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at de Matteo’s life as a working single mother of two children — seven-year-old daughter Bama and three-year-old son Blackjack — from her relationship with her ex, musician Shooter Jennings (son of the late outlaw country legend Waylon Jennings). The cast of characters also includes her musician boyfriend (Michael), her childhood nanny Munkey (pictured above, left) and Chela, one of her best friends.

The intimacy of the show is heightened by the fact that it was shot entirely on an iPhone by Smith, whom de Matteo has known since they were in the 9th grade.

“Carter is definitely a part of our family,” de Matteo says. “When we first started [shooting], he was living in my house. That’s how the whole thing started. It was, ‘How can we get you to stay out here? Okay, we’ll shoot this show. That will keep you in LA for a little while. Yeah, you can fly your girlfriend out and now we can all be together.’ Because my family is kinda like this vortex — people just sort of wander in and out of my life all the time.”

That casual wandering quality rubbed off on The Muthaship a little too much at first.

“When we first started shooting, we just let the camera run all day and night,” de Matteo says. “We just went for it, and then we realized that maybe we need to just at least mic ourselves.”

As shooting progressed, they also added a bit of plot to the proceedings, such as an episode where de Matteo learns to drive.

When the show was in production, de Matteo couldn’t wait for it to be over. But now that it is, she says she wouldn’t mind doing a second season.

“I miss the crew. I miss Carter being here,” she says. “Now, we’re like, ‘How are we going to get you back out here? Is someone going to pick this thing up?’”

In the meantime, she’s set to co-star as the mentor of Vanessa del Rio in a biopic about the now-retired adult film star, set to begin shooting in February. “That’ll be fun,” says de Matteo of the movie. “It’s ’70s New York. I’m right there, man.”

Original episodes of The Muthaship will post every Monday at Check out a clip below:

  • From Stream Daily
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