POSTED BY STUART LEVINE
Few celebrities faze grizzled TV critics but it was genuinely weird to see Mary-Kate Olsen on stage as part of the "Weeds" panel during Showtime's three-hour TCA session on Saturday.
The actress, who just turned 21, fielded more questions than star Mary-Louise Parker, though her answers left something to be desired, in most cases. (It didn't go unnoticed by the scribes when Olsen misidentified "Weeds'" fictional setting as "Majestic" sted "Agrestic.") Olsen plays Tara Lindman, whom she described as "a good Christian girl with a twist" and a Bible-loving love interest for Nancy Botwin's older son. When pressed about exactly what kind of Christian she would play (campy, evangelistic, goodie-two-shoes, etc.), "Weeds" creator/exec producer Jenji Kohan filled in the details and confirmed that yes, the character will be seen tugging on the chronic.
"She's comfortable in her Christianity and her drug use," Kohan said.
"Weeds" makes the most mature series by far for Olsen, who reached stardom by starring with her sister, Ashely, in "Full House" from 1987-95. She's also become a film producer and extremely successful businesswoman.
Olsen learned of the role from her agent, auditioned and met with Kohan, who initially had a bit of trepidation about the actress.
"We might have been nervous about her reputation but her performance was wonderful," Kohan said. "We wanted someone good for the part, and we got it."
"I've spent the last year going on auditions, acting and working hard," said Olsen, who seemed a bit stunned by the criics' interest in her being part of the cast. On the difficulty of getting more grown-up roles after a career as a child star, she added: "There will always be my celebrity, but my work speaks for itself."
"Weeds" marks Olsen's first on-screen appearance without Ashley. She was recently cast in Sienna Miller's "Factory Girl," but her part was cut.
The series launches its third season on Aug. 13, and will air 15 episodes, up three from season two.
-- Stuart Levine