Melissa Joan Hart talks motherhood on and off the screen in an exclusive PEOPLE interview surrounding the trailer for her new Netflix series, No Good Nick

By Octavia Akoulitchev
March 28, 2019 11:00 AM
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Melissa Joan Hart has moved on from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and is more likely to be helping her three sons with homework than casting spells nowadays.

But art and life are intertwining. In the upcoming Netflix sitcom No Good Nick — which recently released its new trailer — she will play a mom for the first time.

Hart and Sean Astin play Liz and Ed Thompson, a married couple who unwittingly allow 13-year-old con artist Nicole (a.k.a. “Nick”) into their home. Nick is determined to seek revenge on them for unknowingly ruining her life, but as she builds relationships with the Thompsons, she finds it increasingly hard to stick to that course.

Astin speaks fondly of the cast, telling PEOPLE of his and Hart’s dynamic with the younger actors, “As co-parents on the show, [Melissa] and I both care deeply for Siena [Agudong], Lauren [Donzis] and Kalama [Epstein]. Of course, I have a million dumb dad jokes to offer and I pester them. I don’t care how corny it is to say: We are a family.”

The sitcom’s family focus is exactly what made Hart, 42, so excited to get involved, she shares with PEOPLE.

“You’ve got the story for the kids and the story for the adults happening but the whole thing follows along the same track, so it really is a show the whole family can watch together,” says the Clarissa Explains It All alum.

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Credit: Melissa Joan Hart/Instagram
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Even Hart’s own sons — Tucker McFadden, 6½, Braydon Hart, 11, and Mason Walter, 13 — are fans, and she jokes that “they fell in love with the girls” at the live-audience tapings.

But did they recognize any aspects of their real mom in Liz? “No! I’m the complete opposite!” she says with a laugh. “In this role, I actually have to go against my normal instincts for parenting, and sometimes Liz does something that completely goes against what I would do — like we just did a scene where I had to tell my daughter, ‘If you want to be a winner, you have to be ruthless.’ ”

“I think Liz is a lot more selfish, and not quite as nurturing, as I’d like to think I am,” Hart explains. “But then of course, you’re not always the mom you want to be, and I have my moments where I lose it, and scream and yell, you know, when you’re tired and your kids are bugging you.”

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Astin, 48, recognizes much more of a crossover between his parenting on and off the show, joking that “it’s like the show runners are spying on my wife and family.”

“Something will happen in Astin-world — cell phones or homework or some activity — and when I get the next script, bam … it’s in there,” he tells PEOPLE. “I’ll go to Christine, my wife, and show her the scene or the line of dialogue and say, ‘Did you tell them I just said that? That’s not cool. You’ve got to check with me before throwing me under the bus.’ ”

“Of course, she smiles and thinks that there is justice in the world,” jokes the Stranger Things star who, while Hart is mom to three boys, is dad to three girls: Isabella Louise, 13, Elizabeth, 16, and Alexandra, 22.

How has Hart been balancing full-time motherhood both on and off the screen? She shrugs, recalling, “I took my son home to Connecticut last weekend to visit his friend for his birthday. Then I came back to L.A., and then I dropped him off in Lake Tahoe, where we’re living right now, and then came back to L.A. Then I had to come back to Lake Tahoe to celebrate his birthday, came back again to L.A., and then tonight I’m going back again.”

“So I go back every weekend and I try to go back as often as possible,” the actress explains. “Halloween, I went back. Braydon’s birthday, I went back for one night, so I do what I have to do to spend as much time with my kids as possible.”

It sounds grueling, but Hart doesn’t whine about driving hundreds of miles to pick up her kids. In fact, her voice rises excitedly as she raves, “You know that moment when you pick them up from school and they come running out and jump in your arms? That is such a great moment. I try not to miss pickup because I love that moment so much.”

No Good Nick premieres April 15 on Netflix.