‘Walker’ Star Molly Hagan Explains Abilene’s Soft Spot for Hoyt

Molly Hagan in Walker
Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

They say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman. So it makes sense that Walker‘s Abeline Walker (Molly Hagan) is a double-barrel shot of greatness, given that she’s raised both Cordell (Jared Padalecki) and Liam (Keegan Allen). But she’s also raised a little hell, what with her extramarital affair and her no-nonsense approach to patching things up with the emotionally distant husband, Bonham (Mitch Pileggi).

Honestly, it’s her flaws — and maternal fondness for rakish surrogate son Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr) — that make her one of our favorite on-screen moms. So of course, it was a treat to talk to Hagan about her role on the hit reboot on the eve of a very emotional episode that explores an event that devastated the entire Walker family. And bless her heart, she’s as much a straight-shooter as Abbie. (Also: If you have not seen Some Kind of Wonderful, fix that immediately… she is late ’80s perfection.)

OK, so you have been an icon to me since Some Kind of Wonderful.

Molly Hagan: Are you the one who told Anna [Fricke, showrunner] that you’re upset she made me a grandmother? [Laughs]

Yes, I did!

[Laughs] She told me that! I think you said something like, “Oh, I’m so glad to see she’s on the show, but how dare you make her a grandmother!?”

I’m not ready to live in a world where you’re playing a grandmother. But if you had to play a grandmother, this is a fantastic grandmother because, so love that Abeline is the one who strayed. It’s always the guy who strays because the wife stopped giving him what he wanted!

Yeah. He just didn’t give enough attention. I’ve given my all to this family, it’s Abeline time. But then Emily (Genevieve Padalecki) died and it changes everything.

Walker + Matt Barr + Molly Hagan

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

A lot was set up at the end of last week’s episode and I know this week explores Emily’s death, but I want to first know, what is her soft spot for Hoyt? Where does this come from?

I know, I know I was thinking about that because I don’t know how much to reveal.  First of all, Matt is so amazingly charming. How do you not have a soft spot in your heart just for that? He’s just so charming. The way Hoyt is written, he’s charming, he’s full of life. But there’s something else…when you have your own kids, it’s like, whatever their problems are, they’re your problems too. They’re your kids. So it’s like “Oh God, what did I do to make this kid do this?” It’s on you. But Hoyt’s not her kid, so there’s no baggage that comes with it. Yes, he’s a problem child, but it’s not Abby’s problem. There can be even more generosity to someone that’s not your own.

We know he didn’t get the childhood that Cord and Liam got and in a way, they’re do-gooders. How much of this is Abeline appreciating that Hoyt’s a bad boy? Like she might be a little troublemaker, too.

Well, I feel that that’s true. She has to paint inside the box all the time. And when she’s with him, it’s the one time there’s no painting in the box. He has no expectations of me. Everyone else has expectations of me. He has none.

Walker + Molly Hagan + Mitch Pileggi

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

This week’s episode also fills in some blanks about the Abbie-Bonham situation. How has it been working with Mitch Pileggi?

He is just the greatest. When I found out he was going to be in this, I was like, “Oh my god!” He’s just the most fun. And the scenes are really effortless with him, he’s so good. And yeah, I’m having the time of my life. He is so silly.

And I know you’ve got some big, big twists coming up, big developments. Where are Abbie and Bonham headed? Because we’re rooting for these two.

Well, I think it’s what’s so interesting. How often do you see older people depicted as real humans with real problems? And you know, I think they’re really trying. I think this is a couple that’s really, really trying. I think they’re learning how to communicate in their way.

Walker + Molly Hagan

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

And how does she feel about Liam running for office and potentially exposing some of the Walker secrets?

It’s not like she’s on social media. It’s not like she belongs to a country club where people are going to shun her. I mean, maybe the worst that happens is no one buys her jelly? [Laughs] If this kid wants to do this, Abbie believes in him and thinks he’d be a great DA who would probably really change things. You know, she’s like “I’m 60 years old, who the hell cares? I had an affair. What’s in your closet?”  If you think about your son dying all the time, which I think she does with Cord, I think everything else pales in comparison.

Have you gotten into any of the action stuff? The kids have, Liam has…I feel like the whole family is eventually going to end up just getting into something.

I wonder if they looked at me and go, “She can’t handle the action.”  Which is fine! We saw her run. She’s not great with the running. As she’s on her horse, she can walk a horse, so that’s good. I think they’re more ready to have me have an affair than to have me mow down a bunch of people with a gun. [Laughs]

Walker, Thursdays, 8/7c, The CW