Allison Janney and her co-stars are addressing Anna Faris’ exit from Mom.
The actress was joined by castmates Kristen Johnston, Jaime Pressly, Mimi Kennedy and Beth Hall on Friday to discuss the eighth season of the CBS sitcom, which will be the first without Faris. Janney and Faris played mother and daughter on the half-hour series.
“It’s a huge loss for the show to not have Anna because she was part of creating a character, Christy, that everyone fell in love with, who was so lovable and warm and gullible and funny and we will miss her so much,” Janney told ET’s Matt Cohen. “I think I’ll miss the most, for me, the relationship between Bonnie and Christy, even though that will still continue. But she won’t be present. That’s what I’ll miss.”
Janney’s co-stars also shared their reactions to Faris’ departure and promised that her character will still be part of the show.
“We all, in general, didn’t really know how it was going to be, also dealing with all the COVID precautions and everything. it’s a whole different set right now. But I do want to say that it feels like she’s still here because we do talk about the character all the time,” Pressly said. “And [Janney’s] character is always calling her or vice versa. We still hear the name, we still talk about her. She’s not gone as far as we’re concerned, and we all spent so much time together over the years and love each other and support each other and we all want each other to be happy, so we’re happy for her and we miss her no matter what.”
“I had the dressing room next to her and I played her sponsor. And I got to know how smart she is and as blondes, you know, playing blondes all the time, she’s one smart cookie and I really, really enjoyed talking to her,” Kennedy recalled. “She was also very funny and very witty and I’m going to miss that because as we walk to the end of the hall, there would be one quip at the end of the night and I generally entered my dressing room laughing.”
“The thing about Anna was she was always so encouraging,” Hall added. “If you were funny, if you did a great scene, she was always the first one to compliment you and tell you how well it went. That was always great about her.”
With Faris’ Christy out of the picture, that means Janney’s Bonnie will be an empty nester. That means more time for Bonnie and her husband, Adam (William Fichtner), to discover their marriage.
“It’s been actually fun because Adam, Bonnie’s husband, we find that we have more time to discover our relationship and that we in fact do like each other very much,” Janney teased. “In fact, we think we’re so good at being in a relationship that we decide we can give advice to other people in relationships.”
“Because of the way the writers have set it up, she’ll never have an empty nest because her grown child is going to be popping in all the time,” Johnston noted.
Faris announced her departure from Mom after seven seasons on Sept. 4 “to pursue new opportunities.” Her sudden exit, which occurred midway through a two-year deal signed in 2019, was a shock.
“The past seven years on Mom have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career. I’m so thankful to Chuck, the writers and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience,” Faris said in a statement to ET. “While my journey as Christy has come to an end, allowing me to pursue new opportunities, I’ll be watching next season and rooting for my TV family.”
“From the inception of Mom, Anna was the first and only choice for the role of Christy,” read a joint statement from Warner Bros. TV, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions. “We are so proud of the stories we have been able to tell during Anna’s seven years with us. We wish Anna all the best, and we thank her for her beautiful portrayal.”
Less than two weeks later, Janney shared the first video from the Mom set in Los Angeles as filming on season 8 started back up. She didn’t directly address Faris’ exit at the time.
“We are all back at Mom on our first day,” Janney said in the 30-second video posted Sept. 14. “We are all here and it’s a whole new territory but we’re excited for season 8 to begin!”
In the upcoming premiere, Bonnie (Janney) invites the ladies to a slumber party, where childhood games reveal adult problems. For the first seven seasons, the half-hour comedy centered on the mother-daughter duo of Christy (Faris) and Bonnie, who reunite after being estranged for years while dealing with their addiction issues. They move in together with the promise to stay sober in an effort to start new chapters in their lives, as well as repair their relationship.
“It is a show everyone still needs because it’s a show about positivity and hope and relationships. We’re so grateful that we get to continue telling the stories about these amazing women and all leaning on each other, and helping each other get through whatever life throws at them,” Janney said of why the show still works. “Women who are all striving to be the better version of themselves and trying to do it in recovery.”
Mom premieres Thursday, Nov. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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