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Molly Shannon Talks 'Neighbors From Hell,' 'Glee' and Betty White

by Chris Harnick, posted Jun 3rd 2010 5:00PM
Molly ShannonYou may think it, but your neighbors probably aren't from hell, unless of course, they're the Hellmans from TBS's new animated series 'Neighbors From Hell' (Mon. Jun 7 at 10PM ET).

What happens when a company, Petromundo, makes an oil drill that is capable of entering the center of the earth? Well, if you're Satan, you step in to do something about it by sending demons Balthazor (voiced by Will Sasso) and Tina Hellman (Molly Shannon) along with their kids to pose as a Texan family and figure out a way to stop the drill.

Molly Shannon, fresh off a 'Saturday Night Live' reunion show hosted by Betty White and verbal sparring with Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) on 'Glee,' shared her thoughts those two projects, the new series and its timely nature given the BP oil spill and what Mary Katherine Gallagher really means to her.

How do you pitch 'Neighbors From Hell' to you friends? I watched a couple of clips and it looks entertaining.

Oh good. I play the wife, Tina (left), and I have a husband, my kids and my immediate family travel to earth to try and stop this super oil drill that can bore straight to the center of earth where hell is and it's our job to stop that oil drill. My husband is sent there on that mission to do that. Basically we're just a family in a Texas suburb to do our job and kind of disguise ourselves and do our job as a regular Texas suburban family.

Neighbors From HellIn the show, people are tortured in hell by watching reruns of bad TV shows. What show would torture you if you had to watch it repeatedly and why?
[Laughs] Oh, god. Let's see, what show would torture me? Oh god, that's a funny question ... I'm sure there's a lot but I can't think of any right now. I don't want to hurt any body's feelings...

What drew you to this project?
I just really liked the writing and Pam Brady [writer and director]. They sent me the script and I liked it, I thought, "I really like this idea," and it was really fun and easy to read. It really flowed and also, doing voice-overs is such a great fun job. I've done 'My Neighbors The Yamadas' translated into English which I love ... I also did 'Igor.' I just love the world of animation because you can show up in your comfortable clothes with no makeup. It's fun, it's easy, it's super creative because they have so much freedom visually, so as a performer it's really fun because you can do so many crazy things to animation. I like it and it has turned out to be such a fun job and I really just mostly love working with Pam Brady, so that's one of the biggest, most appealing parts of the job.

You inadvertently answered my next question: What do you like most about voice work?
Yeah? Oh, good! It's all that stuff. It's just so easy and fun. I did it before, I'd done those other jobs when I was pregnant with my kid and I love that you could do the work without having to worry, "Oh, I'm about to deliver a baby!" You're still an actress, you just use your voice so it's great that way too.

You said they go to earth to stop this super oil drill, it's very timely considering what's happening in Louisiana right now.
I know, it's so interesting that that happened. You know, this was thought of a while ago. I don't think Pam Brady thought it up, I think the head of the studio thought it up and pitched it to her. It's interesting -- that timing -- you know?

Yeah. Can we switch gears a little bit and talk about 'Glee'?
Sure! [Laughs]

GleeHow fun is it?
It's so fun! Isn't the show great? It is so fantastic. It is so fun and everybody wants to be on it, so I feel so lucky that I've been able to be on the show. Jane Lynch [with Shannon, right] and I have performed together years ago, so I know her -- I've known her for a long time -- I'm so happy for her success. She's so talented and I love that my first scenes were all with her. Then I got to meet the cast and Matthew Morrison and those guys are just so -- Ryan Murphy, Ian [Brennan] and Brad [Falchuk] -- they're so talented. For me it's such an easy fun job because it's already such a beautifully well-oiled machine that you just show up and do your acting. I feel really lucky to be on it.

Do you have any more episodes left to air this season?
No, I just did the last two right before they shut down for their summer national tour. I did two of the last three.

Any chance we'll see you again in season two?
Maybe, I don't know. We have to see. I don't expect anything. I feel like they have so many people to accommodate, but I'd love to do it if they ask me!

I went on Twitter -- are you on Twitter?
No, I'm not. Uh-uh.

Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine GallagherI went on and asked if anybody has any questions and one that came back was: How do you react to the cult-hit status of 'Superstar'?
That is such a nice question! Aw, I love it! Well, first of all, I'm really not aware of that "cult-hit status." Really? I'm so flattered! [Laughs]

It is! One of my housemates during college would watch it repeatedly. It's a sort of phenomenon, cult-hit type of thing.
God, thank you. You know what, I love that character. It's based on me during my childhood and then I just exaggerated it, so it really comes from my heart and how she feels like she just wants to be a superstar! I really relate to it, I put my body and my soul into it and I do love the movie. I love the dancing and I love Bruce McCulloch -- the way he directed it. I care so much about that character and I loved the movie. I liked that the movie has heart. She really has such a big heart and she wants it so badly and I just put so many things from my childhood in that movie, so I feel really proud of it. It makes my heart swell with pride when I hear that.

How fun was the Betty White episode of 'Saturday Night Live' for you?
It was the most fun I've ever had. It was phenomenal. First of all, Betty White is a comic genius. She's such a deft comedienne. She's the nicest person. She's like, "Oh, honey, I love you!" For some reason -- I'm from the Midwest -- she reminded me of one of my dad's sisters, I had an instant feeling of familiarity with her. On top of getting to spend the week with Betty, I got to have a reunion with all my old female castmates, you know Ana Gasteyer, Tina Fey, Rachel [Dratch], Maya [Rudolph], Amy [Poehler]! It was like this incredible reunion. Almost all of us have children now, so we all brought our kids and the feeling of the audience during the live show was a feeling I've never seen before. The people that were there -- they were just so excited, they were screaming so you just felt like they were so ready to laugh and have fun. It was a truly incredible experience. In fact, going back it felt like no time had passed.

Saturday Night LiveMoviefone did an article about the 'SNL' skits they'd like to see made into a movies and 'Delicious Dish' topped it. Is there any character --
Whoa, that's cool! Wow, I'll have to tell Ana. That would be fun, I wonder what their lives would be like. Hm, very interesting. No, there isn't a character that I want to make a movie out of. But that's really nice. What other skits were on it?

'Ambiguously Gay Duo' ...
Oh that's great. That's so cool with 'Delicious Dish.' It was so nice to do that again with Ana because we haven't done that for like nine years, so it was really fun to do that. But, we have no plans of doing any 'Saturday Night Live' characters as movies, but I'm glad I did Mary Katherine Gallagher, I'm glad I did that.

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That Molly is such a lady! She knows that Betty White has comedic power! http://321contact.bigcartel.com

June 07 2010 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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