A Drop Dead Exclusive
Kathy Najimy speaks about Drop Dead Diva and its phenomenal success.
Joining Najimy on this week's Drop Dead Diva is a certifiable "Focker," Teri Polo. The August 23 Drop Dead Diva, entitled The Magic Bullet, has a guest star in Najimy who has gone from a Soapdish and Sister Act scene-stealer to the go-to voice-over actress and Broadway superstar.
Her Dirty Blonde stage production (that began at San Diego's own Globe Theatre) allowed her to channel her inner Mae West contributing to Najimy's reputation as a performer capable of triumphant success on numerous levels.
Najimy has starred alongside some of Hollywood's biggest. The actresses' guest stint on Drop Dead Diva arose out of her friendship with Margaret Cho.
Cho plays Brooke White's Jane's legal assistant. Najimy is no stranger to Cho's creative power. After arriving on the show's Atlanta set, she realized that Drop Dead Diva has tapped into something truly extraordinary that was a true honor for the award-winning actress to appear.
Najimy is one class act. How classy is Kathy? Najimy makes her own phone calls.
Kathy Najimy calls SheKnows
SheKnows: Hello, this is Joel.
Kathy Najimy: Hello Joel, this is Kathy.
SheKnows: Hi Kathy, how are you?
Kathy Najimy: I'm doing great.
SheKnows: First of all, I wanted to ask about Drop Dead Diva.
Kathy Najimy: Yes!
SheKnows: If you were a fan of the show when this guest starring opportunity came about or if the opportunity came about and you checked out the show?
Kathy Najimy: Actually, none of us had seen it when we agreed to guest star.
SheKnows: Oh, really.
A Drop Dead hit
Kathy Najimy: They filmed about seven or eight before it even aired. I didn't see it. I just got a call from Margaret Cho, who is a friend of mine, and she said come do my show. I didn't even know what it was (laughs) – historically when Margaret says come, I come.
SheKnows: I would, she's so hysterical.
Kathy Najimy: She did two or three independent movies that she wrote and directed. She just tells me where to go and I go there and I find out what I'm going to be (laughs). I always have a great time. She's brilliant. Honestly, when she called and said come do my show (laughs), I thought hse was doing another Margaret Cho show (laughs) in Atlanta. Then, I got a call from my friends Craig Zane and Neil Barren, who are the producers of Drop Dead Diva, and we've been friends for years. You know for sure if it's a Zane Mara joint, it's going to be great. No matter what it is, for TV or film, whatever. Then, they called and I figured I'd better see what this is. I had a great time. I spent a lot of time with Brooke.
SheKnows: Brooke's sensational.
Kathy Najimy: She hasn't had a lot of experience. She's from Broadway. It was interesting spending time with her. Not only did she have a lot of questions about television and all that, but also she was really vested and concerned that her character and what her character on the show represents, really represents all women fairly and correctly and with celebration.
SheKnows: Well, it clearly does that in droves.
Kathy Najimy: Brooke wanted to have what she was depicting suppress women or make them feel worse about themselves than they already do (laughs). I'm been doing that kind of work for a long time. So, we had a lot in common and a lot to talk about. She's really smart and really concerned and really tuned in, which I find very refreshing. Usually, actors and actresses will do anything (laughs).
Drop Dead Diva: the everywoman model
SheKnows: Well, Brooke's character on Drop Dead Diva is a model in more ways than one.
Kathy Najimy: She was concerned with her character and where it was going and how it was portraying this woman. How other woman were going to relate to her. I just found her, well, she's young, you know?
SheKnows: Drop Dead Diva handles all women with such grace…
Kathy Najimy: It does, I think Brooke's really relieved.
SheKnows: The production, the acting, the casting, the writing -- it all comes together and creates that grace…you mentioned Margaret. I love Margaret and I'm so thrilled to see her on a hit show.
Kathy Najimy: I know it. She deserves it. Me too!
SheKnows: Particularly last week's episode when she was so challenged by the option of being replaced, it allowed her to go to another place as an actress.
Kathy Najimy: Yes, she did! It was great.
From Peggy Hill to Wall-E
SheKnows: You just mentioned you go where the work is quality. You do accept a lot of voice-over work including Wall-E, of course King of the Hill -- hello Peggy Hill -- if for you that provides a different challenge or if it is still capturing the essence of a character?
Kathy Najimy: That's a really good question. Again, it's still the same job because you need to find out what the story is, and what you're part in the story is and get to the heart of the character. That's all the same for film, TV, voice-over or Broadway. Now, voice-over, I have to say, I'm very fond of because there's no hair, no make-up, no costume fitting – and no 6 am calls.
dSheKnows: Yes! I worked at voice over for a few years.
Kathy Najimy: I can hear it! So, I (laughs), I loved doing Wall-E, obviously. I was so honored to be a part of that. That was a gift from heaven. Then King of the Hill…and a ton of other things too -- some good writing -- some, not so good. King of the Hill is certainly some of the best writing on TV.
Brooke's brilliant Diva
SheKnows: Back to Drop Dead Diva, now, for you to actually be sitting and part of the show, like you said, you film guest appearances before, now it's out there and the world is adoring Brooke and Drop Dead Diva, how do you feel now that you're guest stint is almost upon us?
Kathy Najimy: (Laughs) I've been doing this for a long time. (Laughing)…It's great. I love working with good people. I think it's a great show. People always say, what do you like better – TV or films or Broadway. I always say, I like where there are good words -- where the writing is good. I was on King of the Hill for 13 years and I was on Veronica's Closet for three years. I did a Broadway show and blah, blah, blah…the projects that I love the most were the ones with good writing. It doesn't matter if I'm performing in the alley, if it's good words, I'm happy. It could be a huge film with a bad script, and I've had a couple of those…I'm devastated. I can't stand the experience (laughs).
SheKnows: Well, than Drop Dead Diva must have been a blast.
Kathy Najimy: I had a great time there because I loved my character and I thought the writing was really, really great.
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