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Home Girl

Felicity Huffman looks back on her Aspen childhood and forward to her next TV series.

It’s a long way to Aspen from Wisteria Lane. But actress Felicity Huffman, who lived on that fictional street as a character in TV’s Desperate Housewives, returns to her childhood home whenever she can. And like any good Aspen local, “I can’t tell you one street name,” she admits.

Huffman, one of eight kids, was about 5 when her mother moved the family to Aspen in the late 1960s. “My mom wanted a complete and utter change, and boy, did she get one,” she recalls.

They rented a house from tech genius Nick DeWolf, and Huffman attended the nascent Aspen Community School. She speaks fondly of that time: “Those years I spent at the Community School take up about 70 percent of my psyche. It was a such a seminal time of my life.” After a short stint at Aspen High, Huffman graduated from the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

These days, Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, and their two daughters spend time at their vacation home in Sopris Mountain Ranch. Favorite outings include hiking to Capitol Lake, going to Aspen Music Festival and School concerts and heading to Basalt, which, Huffman says, “feels like Aspen used to.” She also enjoys hiking on the public lands near her house: “You go out the back door, and, boom, you can be gone for hours.”

The family was most recently in Aspen for an early July preview of Macy’s feature-directing debut, Rudderless, starring Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Selena Gomez and Huffman. Being directed by her husband felt “familiar and comfortable,” says Huffman; the pressure came from the project’s indie-film nature. “Independent film is like riding a bike across a tightrope balancing a glass of water on your head,” she notes. “You only get two or three takes. It’s an education in streamlining and efficiency.”

Her latest project, the new ABC series American Crime, written and directed by John Ridley (screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave), shoots this summer in Austin.

Another project is her website, What the Flicka—the moniker comes from Huffman’s nickname. “I grew up in a house with seven girls, and some of my happiest memories were sitting around the kitchen counters talking late at night, sharing, complaining, learning, crying. I wanted to create a virtual kitchen counter.” The site covers a range of issues, including mothering.

As for her own mother, Huffman says, “I’m very grateful to her for uprooting the family and taking us all to Aspen. It’s imprinted in my being and my heart.”