Sweet Magnolias Joanna Garcia Swisher & Brooke Elliott Dish on the Magnolias Feud & More

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The ladies were busy during Sweet Magnolias Season 3. For the first time, Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), Maddie (Joanna Garcia Swisher), and Helen (Heather Headley) had a nasty fight.

We had the opportunity to chat with Brooke Elliott and Joanna Garcia Swisher during a recent press day. This interview was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Elliott and Swisher shared their thoughts on the Magnolias’ fight, Maddie and Cal reconnecting, and Dana Sue’s issues with Kathy.

For Granted - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 8

The actresses were optimistic about a potential Season 4 and discussed what they would like to see in additional seasons.

Check out our in-depth discussion below.

Face Off - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 5

Hello Joanna and Brooke. It’s great to see you again. This season focused more on friendship; we’ve never seen the Magnolias fight like that. What do you think triggered the all-out fight, and what made them come back together again?

Joanna: The love, history, and relationship made them come back together. Helen was grappling with some significant decisions, and Maddie was meddling like Maddie. We all had this moment where it was high stakes, high stress, and things happened.

Brooke: There was a perfect storm that happened in energy sometimes where someone’s not in a place to take a question that they usually wouldn’t have responded to in a negative way.

But what they’re going through personally, there was a limit and a boundary set there that the others don’t know about.

From that, it requires everyone to adjust to that energy. Doing that also shows personal things you need to learn about yourself, and you’re off to the races in a situation that no one intended to happen in the first place.

Making Up - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 8

I agree with Joanna about the love and the long-standing commitment to that friendship. I don’t think that they’re ever going not to want that in their lives.

Absolutely not. You, ladies, have such a wonderful friendship. Joanna, after Cal’s incident at Sullivan’s, both Maddie and Cal decided to take a step back and better themselves and rebuild their relationship.

How much fun were all those flirty moments this season, and do you think it helped your relationship?

Joanna: I was just talking about that. It was entertaining for us. Cal and Maddie had this great sexy little relationship leading up to this point. Giving yourself a little break allows you to connect on a different level. And it was a lot of fun to explore that while working together.

They fell in love, and it was this beautiful arc of love. But then, inevitably, life happens. They both met at an exciting time in their lives, and it was inevitable that they would deal with some stuff. This season is all about them personally and individually dealing with their stuff and if they can come out of it together.

Swinging Romance - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 4

Watching them rebuild the relationship this season was a lot of fun. Brooke, Dana Sue had to deal with a lot of drama this season when Kathy came to town. Why do you think she hates Dana Sue so much?

Brooke: Oh, Kathy. Kathy has some resentments for some things, and whether she should have those resentments or not, she has them. She would disagree with whether Dana Sue would think that that’s fairly directed at her. But Kathy is Kathy in who she is.

It’s difficult to comment fully, and there’s certainly more to say about Kathy regarding her entire character. It’s also a sister-in-law thing.

She’s got some jealousy over the brother choosing the wife. Earlier, we were talking about that. When a spouse is involved, the spouse will pick the spouse.

So that leaves the sister-in-law or the friend to deal with the fact that they weren’t picked. That’s hard for people more than that gets talked about. I know that is a prominent thing that happens, and you think you’re super close or you would be picked, and the spouse gets picked.

Causing Chaos - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 5

Will she ever be part of the family or not?

Brooke: There has been a mutual decision that it might be for the best not to happen to remain apart. But you never know, and you never know with this show because just when you think you can rely on something or think something will be one way, you know it does not go that way.

We all have a lot of fun with Sheryl Anderson, our creator and showrunner, and things can change on a dime in Serenity. And that’s so I don’t know. It could change.

Fair enough. And let’s talk about the money that Ms. Frances left Dana Sue. Will we see more of the new foundation that the Magnolias have formed with the money?

Brooke: I would hope so. That foundation is going to begin making its mark positively through Serenity. That was the intention. So, yes, we’ll see more of that. And it’s a great thing that came out of that money, especially under Ms. Frances’s name.

Celebrating Their New Venture - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 5

On that note, does that mean that there is potential for additional seasons?

Brooke: I always hope there’s potential for additional seasons. I mean, always. The stories could go on and on in so many different ways. I’m always hopeful for that.

Joanna: I’ll cosign that.

What would you both like to see in additional seasons for your characters?

Joanna: I’m excited for what the future holds, especially about the promise of this book that’s looming in the background for Maddie. We hinted at many things for my character this season, and I’ve talked a lot about it with Sheryl.

Mother & Daughter Project - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 10

Half the time, she has this maniacal laugh that when you ask her something, and you’re like, what’s going to happen? Sheryl knows where all the bodies are buried, is what I say.

And she’s also just such a sweet gem of a human, but she is like a mastermind at these things. So she will sometimes like do a wink and a nudge at something.

I sometimes don’t want to know too far in advance, but sometimes you need to know. I think many moments in this season were laid out for Maddie that I would be excited to see come to fruition for her.

I really liked how your character grew this season.

Joanna: Yeah, I did too. I felt satisfied or proud of her at the end. That was a journey this season and a very emotional one and so different from the first season when her whole world came crumbling down around her. It was a different kind of rebuild.

The Happy Couple - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 10

What would you like to see, Brooke, for Dana Sue and her family?

Brooke: I don’t know precisely. I would like to see more of Ronnie and Dana Sue together. I really love them. And I love the growth that they go through.

This is more general, but what I love best about the seasons as they go is seeing more and more of Dana Sue and all of the characters. But speaking specifically about Dana Sue, more and more the facets of their being. We’re not just one thing; we’re all the things.

I love to see those little pieces of nuance and intricacies that come out about her personality that round her out. You get to know who Dana Sue is, where she came from, how she became the way she is, and all the pieces of how she is.

Friends for Life - Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 10

I’m loving through the seasons because we’re getting that gift of learning about who someone is. So, I’d love more of that.


Sweet Magnolias Season 3 is streaming now on Netflix.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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