Hilary Duff (left) and Francia Raisa enjoy a morning coffee in "How I Met Your Father." Photo courtesy of Hulu
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Hilary Duff said she relates to her character on How I Met Your Father, premiering Tuesday, even though they are in different life situations. Duff plays Sophie, a woman dating in New York City.
"Even though I'm in a totally different place in my life, I just felt like I was drawn to Sophie and that we had a lot in common," Duff said in a Television Critics Association Zoom panel. "She doesn't give up. She's kind of struggling. Odds are kind of against her in her career."
Duff has been acting since she was a child, and she is the mother of three. Sophie is a birthday party photographer who dreams of being a street photographer.
Duff has 10-month-old Mae James and 3-year-old Banks Violet with her husband, Matthew Koma, and 9-year-old Luca with her first husband, Mike Comrie.
Sophie still is going on Tinder dates, none of whom seem like the potential father of her future children until she meets Ian (Daniel Augustin).
How I Met Your Father is a follow-up to the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother, which ran from 2005 to 2014. Duff said her series addresses the dating landscape of 2022 in which using apps is more common than it is "to meet someone face-to-face," Duff said.
Like the main character on Mother, Sophie has a group of friends who support her romantic pursuits, and have their own. Duff said she hopes viewers who relate to Sophie's problems finding love also can relate to her friendships.
"They are not alone," Duff said. "It's brutal out there."
Sophie's friends include her roommate Valentina (Francia Raisa), her Uber driver Jesse (Chris Lowell) and his passenger Sid (Suraj Sharma). Sid proposes to Hannah (Ashley Reyes) the night Sophie shares his ride, and all five remain friends through the series.
Duff said it is important for anyone to have "the support system of your friends."
Even though Duff is married with children, she said she still relies on her friendships during challenging times.
"It's really fun for me to play because I'm in a completely different space, flailing somewhere," Duff said.
Before How I Met Your Father, Duff was developing a modern-day reboot of her Disney sitcom, Lizzie Maguire, which would have picked up her teenage character as an adult. Disney decided not to proceed with the show.
Duff said Sophie is not the grown-up Lizzie who Disney kiboshed.
"Comparing it to the Lizzie that never was, I think she's a totally different character," Duff said. "We get to, obviously, have a lot more fun with what people are doing in their 30s."
Even though Sophie hits it off with Ian, the show throws roadblocks in their way. Ian accepts a job in Australia, but Sophie keeps in touch with him.
On How I Met Your Mother, it took Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) nine years to meet his wife, largely because of the success of the show. Father inherits some of the format of Mother, including combining sitcom footage filmed in front of an audience and location footage shot outside the studio.
How I Met Your Father also includes Easter eggs fans of Mother will spot. However, Duff said they are not trying to redo the previous show.
"This is its own show," Duff said. "We are trying to create something original by stealing a few things from them that worked really well."
New episodes of How I Met Your Father premiere Tuesdays on Hulu.