'Schitt's Creek' star Annie Murphy opens up on how she's using Nintendo Switch to stay connected with friends and family during lockdown

By Sarah Trumbley

Ask Annie Murphy what her perfect Friday night in lockdown looks like and she'll paint you a very detailed picture. First, there will be food – goldfish crackers as a snack, followed by either pizza, Indian food or nachos. And of course, there will be wine.

"I've been drinking red wine recently, because it's cozier in the winter weather," says the Schitt's Creek star. And finally, she’ll have her Nintendo Switch charged and ready to go.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Annie has been using the portable gaming console as a way to stay connected with her friends and family.

"I feel like we've been living one big rainy day for the last 10 months and having this Nintendo Switch has honestly provided me with so much entertainment," says the 34-year-old Ottawa-born actress, who counts Mario Kart, Just Dance 2020 and the exercise-themed Ring Fit Adventure as her go-to games.

"And the benefit of being able to interact with people who, unfortunately, you don't get to see face to face these days is a huge appeal," she adds. "I know especially for someone like my mom ... being able to interact with me or with her nieces and nephews over a game is very appealing."

Considering Annie's newfound love for gaming, it seems fitting that she's become the newest face of the Nintendo Switch system, for which she recently starred in an ad campaign alongside none other than her own mom, Deborah Murphy. (You can watch it above.)

HELLO! Canada joined an interview with the Emmy winner and current Golden Globe nominee to talk about her new partnership, plus what it was like co-starring with her mom and which member of the Rose family she thinks would win a round of Mario Kart.

How did it come about that your mom would be starring in the Nintendo Switch ad with you?

Annie Murphy: Nintendo said to me, "We could cast your mom or we can cast an actor mom." And when Deborah Murphy heard the 'actor mom' part, she was like, "No no no no, I will be stepping in! There’s only one person that can be Annie’s mom." [Laughs] And I think she nailed it.

In the ad, your mom was actually beating you at all the games! What's the dynamic like when you two play together in real life?

That was where Deborah Murphy's acting chops really came into play, because she is not a competitive person. It was actually quite funny because when we were shooting the commercial, the director kept kind of throwing her lines being like "I'm gonna beat you!" Just a lot of chirping. And my mom was like, "Oh, I would never say that. No, that's just mean." [Laughs] So yeah, that was full acting. I'm going to submit that to the Emmys for Deborah to see what happens.

Nintendo Switch's portability makes it a go-to choice for any type of gaming, from being in home during lockdown to on the go on public transit post-COVID. Photo: © Nintendo

Do you have any fond memories of playing Nintendo as a kid?

I grew up as an only child, so there were a lot of books and imagination games for me as a kid. But my cousins had Nintendo – they lived in Kingston and I lived in Ottawa. So whenever I got to go to Kingston, I would always choose my cousins with Nintendo to sleepover with, because it was not a part of my day to day world. [Laughs] I remember getting yelled at by my aunt and uncle because it was like 11 o'clock at night, and we were still up playing Nintendo. And mind you, I was terrible at it because I didn't have it in my life. I would be playing Mario Kart and I would just be going backwards and bashing into walls. But it was the fact that I actually had it in my hands, that was a real thrill for me.

What's your go-to Mario Kart character? And what do you think Alexis Rose's would be?

My go-to Mario Kart characters are kind of embarrassing, because I am just purely about aesthetic – like adorable aesthetic. [Laughs] So I'm a Yoshi or a Toad lady. I know that they are not perhaps the strongest contenders, but god they're cute. And then I think [starts talking in Alexis's voice] I don't know I think like, for Alexis a lot of people would think that it's kind of like a Princess Peach situation, because like, they kind of look the same. But actually, I think it's probably like a Luigi because she actually used to date this fashion designer, this like Italian fashion designer named Luigi. And he actually looks quite a lot like the actual character. So it's just like a nice reminder.

The Schitt's Creek cast at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Photo: © Getty Images

Hypothetically, if the Rose family were to have a game night at the motel, what would they be playing and who would win?

David Rose would win. They would be playing whatever game David Rose told them that they would be playing. [Laughs] This is interesting, this is painting a lovely picture ... maybe this can be a spinoff idea. I think it would certainly be, maybe like a Mario Kart situation. But with a lot of very high pitched yelling from David Rose about how the rest of the Roses are cheating. I think that's kind of the picture that I'm envisioning.

Finally, how do you think Catherine O'Hara would do on a Nintendo Switch?

I think initially she would absolutely hate the idea, because I think she'd be one of those like, "it's too complicated for me" people. But I do think Just Dance 2020 [would be her game]. Catherine loves to be goofy and she loves to be physical. I think this is actually something I do need to introduce her to. I think you would have a hard time seeing her get angry [or competitive], but I think you would see her get the giggles and that's a glorious sight to behold.

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