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October 9, 2015

Megan Mullally: The TV Squad Interview

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 25th 2009 11:03AM
Megan Mullally in In The MotherhoodThere aren't many actresses out there that you could affectionately call a "broad," but Megan Mullally's one of them. Ever since she came on the scene a decade ago as the caustic and spoiled Karen Walker on Will & Grace, Mullally has shown that she can be bawdy with the best of them.

Now, after a foray into the talk show world and a turn as a disabled and ugly -- but desirable -- chief of medicine on Rob Corddry's web series Children's Hospital, Mullally is back on series TV, on ABC's new comedy In The Motherhood (premiering Thursday at 8 PM ET), which was based on a web series that took episode ideas from submissions by real moms. In the series, Mullally plays Rosemary, a "bad ass," as Mullally calls her, who has raised the perfect son even though she's an imperfect mom.

In this quickie interview, Mullally talks about the new show, about a rumor that she was in a catfight with her co-star Cheryl Hines, about how Rosemary and Karen could be the new Odd Couple, and running her Kerry Weaver-esque Children's Hospital character past Laura Innes.

Did you ever look at the website this show is based on?
I did, way back last summer.

When you were approached to do the show were you kind of surprised the actors who were on the website -- Jenny McCarthy, Leah Remini, and Chelsea Handler -- weren't asked to be on the series?
I didn't know anything, because what happened was I did a whole other pilot for the same creators last spring, called Bad Mother's Handbook. Horatio Sanz and I both did it. And so ABC wanted them to do In The Motherhood. Bad Mother's Handbook -- you can tell from the title, as you're a very intuitive person (laughs) -- is similar in subject matter. So they wanted the creators of our show to do In The Motherhood instead. And they wanted me and Horatio to kind of like spin our way over from Bad Mothers to In The Motherhood.

Are they similar roles from that old pilot?
No. It was really confusing, because at the beginning we thought it was kind of going to be the same, but it turned out to be completely different. So my character and Horatio's character are completely nonexistent in the web series. So the only thing that's similar is that there's the sisters, where one is a single mother and it's chaos and the other has the perfect family.

The role seems to be something like Megan Mullally would do, a very outspoken and independent person. Was this a new challenge in this role?
It's totally different from anything I've ever done. It's way closer to... Well, I mean... physically I don't dress like that. And I'm not a ne'er do well and I'm not a criminal...

Right. I would hope not.
Well, maybe a little bit here and there (laughs). But I'm not a criminal, and not a punk rocker or anything like that, but I feel like I have never been able to play a character where the demeanor... I guess, I don't know... it's so early I can't even answer the question yet. But I feel I can use a lot more of my sense of humor and my body language in a way than I ever have.

Well, the closest people have seen to your real self was on your talk show. Would that be a good model as to what to expect from Rosemary, minus the clothes and criminal history, of course?
No, because on the talk show I would never go anywhere that was negative or dark or too edgy, because I wanted everyone to be comfortable. But this character doesn't care if anyone is comfortable or not. I feel like every single thing I do, every new job, is like starting over from scratch every time. And this is no exception. Every new series is utter complete pandemonium for the first two episodes as everyone settles in, and no one knows what they're doing.

So Rosemary has a different temperament from Karen Walker...
Oh, yeah, completely different.

Even though both can be very caustic, it's still different?
I think that Rosemary is so... I don't know, like... such a bad-ass. Karen was never a bad-ass at all. Karen would abhor someone like Rosemary and Rosemary would abhor someone like Karen, so... (laughs)

That's what I should do, a split-screen series with Rosemary and Karen. There's something. Now we're talkin'.

Just have them live together...
Like the Odd Couple, yeah. (Laughs heartily) Let's do it. You'll produce it, and we'll make millions...

One quick question about some news I had heard about some problems during an early table read for the show. Was that at all true?
No! (Laughs) It's totally, 100% not... You know you're the very first person to ever ask me about that. We had actually started shooting that morning (that the report came out). And we were like, "Whaaat?" So I called Cheryl and said, "Cheryl, guess what? We're having a big catfight!" She's like, "We are?" And I'm like, "Yeah!" (Laughs).

Cheryl's one of my best friends, so no... it was total complete and utter bullshit.

Where do you think the guy got that information?
I have absolutely no idea. None of us did. We were like, "Any ideas? Anybody? Anybody?" Everyone was just blank-faced.

Was that the first time a weird gossip item like that came out about you?
That's the first thing that's ever, ever been written about me like that. I've never had an article written about me that was a gossippy thing, because I'm so totally boring. So it was actually kind of fun because it was like, "Oh, wow, I guess I've hit the big time," you know? (Laughs) "I'm having a catfight with somebody, just like Linday Lohan!" Like this 50-year-old Lindsay Lohan.

We had fun with it. We really actually got a lot of mileage out of it, because we were laughing about it.

Are you going to be doing more episodes of Children's Hospital?
Yay! Um, yeah, we're supposed to do season two, and Rob (Corddry) is writing it right now.

Did you call Laura Innes and ask her for some insight on how to play your character?
Laura Innes and I went to college together, so she's a very good friend of mine. She thinks it's hilarious; I ran it by her first (before I did it).

It's a direct take off on her ER character.
It's kind of.. it's like... yeah. With the exception of my character is supposed to be repulsively hideously ugly, with a hunchback, and every man wants to fuck her. That's the joke. That does not apply to Laura Innes. The only thing with Laura is that she had that one crutch. My character has two crutches, two wrist guards, a hunchback and she's heinously ugly.

Yeah but Laura's character was a lesbian...
She was a big lesbo. But because of the crutches, I saw Laura and said, "I'm going to do this thing, is that OK?" and she said "I don't care..."

You became Eva Longoria Parker at the end of the first season, right?
(Laughs) Yeah. I think it's going to turn out that all the men are really sad because they don't think that she's sexy anymore, so I have to change back to what they all wanted.

So if In The Motherhood gets picked up for another season, you'll be able to do both shows at the same time?
Oh yeah. That was a three day shoot. Children's Hospital got 10 episodes out of a three day shoot (laughs).

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