Lea Thompson already lives with a lot of animals, including dogs and horses, but inspired by "Switched at Birth" co-star Gilles Marini, who got his own little flock, she recently acquired 20 chickens. "I find them to be extremely green," she says, pointing out that the manure is great fertilizer, they serve as composters because they eat food waste, they produce a lot of eggs so they save money, and she adds, "they're hilarious. They're adorable, funny, and are great pets."
Marini got his birds in order to have organic eggs, "and we have more than you could imagine. They don't smell and they're not difficult to care for." He still eats chicken, he says, but only the store-bought variety. "Not mine," he assures.
This season on "Switched" has been quite a switch for his character, Angelo. In short order, he became a millionaire as a result of a legal settlement and discovered that the woman he had a one-night fling with is pregnant with his baby, jeopardizing his relationship with his family. "I was not prepared for something so amazing," he says of the juicy plotline. "The scripts are to die for and the writers keep us on our toes. Where am I going to get something like that again?" he has wondered. "I'm very, very happy."
There are interesting developments ahead for Thompson's character Kathryn, starting with the Feb. 4 episode, in which she volunteers to direct a play at daughter Bay's school, and in a case of life imitating art, she'll direct one of the upcoming episodes of the show. Starting with the Feb. 18 episode, her daughter Zoey Deutch will play a young woman working for John Kennish's political campaign who becomes involved with Toby (Lucas Grabeel). Thompson had nothing to do with the casting. Zoey, who was in TV's "Ringer" and is in "Beautiful Creatures," opening Feb. 14, "originally auditioned for the show as one of the daughters, and they liked and remembered her," she explains, adding that sadly, she has no scenes with her daughter in the two episodes in which she's appeared, but hopes to if there are more. In another milestone, on March 4, "Switched at Birth" will follow a student uprising story and will be presented entirely in American Sign Language, with captions for hearing viewers.
Both Thompson and Marini have upcoming projects outside of the series that they're excited about. For Thompson, there's "Ping Pong Summer," a coming-of-age comedy in which she plays the mother of a kid who loves and excels at table tennis, and Lifetime's "Five More," which follows the format of the breast cancer anthology "Five," this time about mental illness. In her installment, "My husband is a standup comedian who's depressed," says Thompson, who hopes to direct a comedy, written by her daughter Madelyn, on her next hiatus.
Marini shot a TV Land pilot for Kirstie Alley sitcom called "Giant Baby" in which he plays an eccentric French chef, but he's not concerned about having to work on two series if it's picked up. "I'll juggle it. Work is not something I'm scared of," he says. "Besides, it serves both shows, because the more you're out there the more attention it brings."