Francesca Ling plays Parker on the new American drama series God Friended Me. The show is more about human connection than expressing religious components. She talks with ATM about her take on the show and how it is influenced by social media.
ATM: How do you see the bigger picture in things in your life?
FL: For right now, I am based on LA and moving back and forth to New York as I shoot the show. I see myself continuing to do this. It has expanded my horizon. I am bicoastal. I have my home base here in LA and all the supportive people here and I have a lot of friends in New York. It is wonderful every time I get to go to New York. I take advantage of the time there and see a lot of people who either moved from LA to New York or I have gone to school with. I am from Chicago, born and raised. I have friends who moved from to New York from Chicago. I try to always connect with people no matter where I am.
ATM: How does acting influence or help your growth in your adulthood?
FL: I think everyone should try acting at some point. I believe acting is very therapeutic. To be a great actor, you have to understand human behavior and your own pattern. From early on, we developed certain behaviors to protect ourselves. Or we learn behaviors because it is more accepted by people. We talk or present ourselves in a certain way that appears to be more professional or polite. We are taught this whether it is by our parents or teachers.
Actors are always trying to get back to childhood where the imagination can just run free before we learned to make ourselves more presentable to society. Like do not cry in public, or shout. Be ladylike. Or for a man, do not cry. This is not manly. Being an actor has allowed me to get rid of some of these things. I am very in touch with my own emotions and own patterns of behaviors. This makes me a smarter person and to avoid bad situations. This helps me see other people in a way that I understand what motivates them. If somebody wrongs me in some way, then why? Maybe they are not just a jerk. What are they feeling? Where are they coming from? It has made me a more empathetic person.
ATM: How does a lack of human connection impact how a person moves throughout this world? If you had limited human connection, then how would this influence you as an actor?
FL: I would not be able to do my job. My whole job is based on different behaviors, nature, and connection. This is why I tell stories whether it is on stage, T.V, or wherever, because we want to see conflicts that we struggle with played out. This goes back to where I said acting is therapeutic.
In terms of God Friended Me, this show is very much about human connection. It is so necessary more than ever in the world we live in today. We are all preoccupied with what is happening on our phones. I am guilty of this too. I am on Facebook and Instagram.
I can see what my friends in other places are doing FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is such an interesting concept to me because when you look at someone’s experience, this is the best version of the experience they want to present. This is not necessarily the truth or reality. When you look at this, then what is missing in your own real life. What kinds of experiences could you be creating for yourself instead of disconnecting and looking at someone else? It is fascinating how God Friended Me uses social media to connect people in real life.
ATM: How imaginative is the storyline? Would you ever think there would be a storyline like this on television?
FL: I love reading the script because I never know exactly where it is going to go. I think the trends now is the cop, medical, and lawyer procedures. These are great. I did an episode with Hawaii 5-0. This is the type of show where something happens, the cops show up, and they have to figure who the killer is. They find out it was someone we met earlier in the show. There is always sort of a formula to this. These are fun. They are violent and there is a lot of them out there. This show is different, there is no show out there like God Friended Me. I love being in it, but I am also watching every episode. I love the story.
ATM: What does this say about the versatility in the television culture and industry now during today’s time?
FL: It is great this show is on network T.V because we have more streaming platforms, so you can have lots of different types of shows. Now that we have a show like this on CBS, shows this world is expanding. It does not have to be same, “like this show is successful, let’s make 10 more of them.” The audience is hungry for something different. Like I said before in today’s world, the news gets crazier and crazier every day. Seeing something that goes back to something personal where someone’s fate is changed or restored. Simple stories of connection are important for viewers today.