Mom’s in the movies
July 4, 2008
Pam Eichner knows the ins and outtakes of being a mom.
The 40-something actress has given birth to not one but two sets of twins born 13 years apart. She also has spent time in the last year playing moms on the sets of two movies filmed in Utah, "HottieBoombaLottie" and "Teenius."
Eichner took a vacation from her day jobs to strut down red carpet at the Los Angeles Film Festival June 21 to June 26.
"HottieBoombaLottie" screened three times to sold-out audiences before organizers decided to schedule a fourth showing of the comedy about a boy trying to win the heart of the most popular girl in high school.
"I always get goofy mom roles," Eichner laughed. "I’m in my 40s now, and that changes what roles you can get. It turns out it’s a plus. While there aren’t as many roles out there, there isn’t as much competition."
Eichner doesn’t have the body of a woman who has given birth to twins. She is youthful and fit with an easy smile. "If you took it all too seriously your head would explode," she said, adding that being a mom in real life helped prepare her for her role in "HottieBoombaLottie."
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"They were looking for a mom," she said. "I really felt like I had been through these things with my own kids. I came on set and I was like, ‘How can I help?’"
The biggest role of her life
Eichner was 27 when she gave birth to her first set of twins, identical boys. She was living in a small one-bedroom apartment in New York with her husband and searching for work as an actress.
The couple was not trying for twins. Then it happened.
Eichner remembers feeling "hectically pregnant," she said. The feeling, it turns out, would lead to the biggest surprise of her life when she visited the ob-gyn for a routine sonogram. "I was shocked stiff," she said.
Putting her dreams of being an actress on hold, Eichner moved with her young family to Cape Town, South Africa, and spent her days caring for her newborns.
It wasn’t until 14 years later that Eichner considered resuming her pursuit of film and television roles.
that time her first marriage had dissolved and the still sprightly blonde found herself happily remarried and living in Park City. Her boys, now teenagers, were splitting time between Cape Town, where Eichner’s ex-husband lived, and Utah.
It was time for Act II. Her second set of twins, a boy and girl, were born in 2003. "I’m still in shock at the first set of identical boys," she said. "It’s a freak of nature thing. It’s totally random. Someone is having a great laugh at my expense."
The ones who would get the last laughs would be Eichner and her family. In 2005, Eichner started working on a book called "Honk If One of the Twins Falls Out."
The writing project stagnated and instead turned into a one woman show, which Eichner performs at parenting conferences. She said her sense of humor has carried her through the rough times that come with kids. "Memories are made from tickling your kids on the floor," she said. "You need that carpet time."
Not that every moment of raising twins has been easy. "It’s daunting," Eichner said. "But part of the joy for me is to figure it out with them. There were some hard lessons to learn [with the first set of twins] like being honest. I would try so hard to protect them and at the end of the day you’re just human."
The second time around, Eichner said she is a better listener and is willing to take life as it comes. "I have a firm, steadfast view of parenting," Eichner said. "The message I’m trying to get across is to enjoy the time with your kids because its fleeting."
Eichner lives with her mom, husband and second set of twins. She said her family’s support has made a career in movies possible. The availability of film work in Utah, she said, has been an unexpected pleasure.
"HottieBoombalottie" was one of just a handful of film selected for the Los Angeles Film Festival from a pool of 4,500 applicants. The film was also one of the only comedies selected. "I’m just ridiculously proud of it," Eichner said of the film that finished shooting in Provo in summer 2007.
Eichner said the film’s producers are hoping for a distribution deal that would give the movie a theatrical release. "I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen," she said.