Fans tuning in to see the premiere of Last Man Standing on its new network, Fox, may be in for a bit of a surprise, if they haven’t been keeping up with news about the show’s impending return. That’s because the Baxter family will feature some new faces in some old roles, one of whom is the family’s middle daughter, Mandy, formerly portrayed by actor Molly Ephraim.
So why has Ephraim been replaced? According to the show’s creative team, the reason is “unfortunate.”
“When the show was cancelled… [Molly] got involved in some different things, so when [Last Man Standing] came back, she was not able to do it. It’s unfortunate. We love her deeply. She’s a big part of who we were. But [it’s] exciting for us to look around and see who we can get to play that character. We want someone to come in and not play Molly Ephraim. We want somebody to come in and play Mandy. We’ve seen a lot of great actresses,” EP Matt Berry told reporters at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour, according to an August 2018 report from TV Line.
Such is often the way of the entertainment industry. Ephraim has been involved with several projects since production wrapped for Last Man Standing. She’s made a handful of appearances as a bartender in IFC’s comedy series, Brockmire, in addition to appearing several times as Alexa Vonn on AMC’s 80s tech drama Halt and Catch Fire. Ephraim will also be seen in the upcoming film, The Front Runner, a comedic look at the fall of Senator Gary Hart, who was considered the presumptive favorite for the Democratic nomination in the 1988 Presidential Election until the scandal of an extramarital affair caused him to drop out of the race.
“Irene Kelly (another composite character) is the scheduler for Hart ‘88, the person who coordinates the candidate’s every moment. She’ll be played by Molly Ephraim from ABC’s ‘Last Man Standing,'” Entertainment Weekly reported in August 2017.
Ephraim hasn’t responded to any of the chatter about the new Mandy Baxter, nor has she mentioned anything about potentially returning to the show.
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