Interview with Megan Mullally from "You, Me and the Apocalypse" on NBC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Megan Mullally

Interview with Megan Mullally of "You, Me and the Apocalypse" on NBC 1/29/16

This was a fun interview. She's very nice and likes to talk. It's clear from what she says that she's a very kind, intelligent person that really cares about people. Nothing like the characters she usually plays!  (Megan plays Leanne, a white supremacist on the show.)  What a great voice she has, too. I really enjoyed this. She's now the third star of "Will & Grace" that I've interviewed. Sean Hayes is the one remaining! That was such a great show, and they were all so good in it. I have to say that although I liked all three interviews with the stars, Megan is definitely the kindest and most warm of the three. The others were not unkind-- they were just more business-like and not as friendly. They probably were very busy, and rushed, and had many other interviews to do. Still, you can tell the really kind ones because they make the time, whether they have it or not.  This show is really good; make sure to watch it because it's very rare for broadcast TV. Here's my review of it.

Moderator: Nikki Lichterman
January 29, 2016 12:00 pm CT

Operator: ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Megan Mullally You, Me, and the Apocalypse Press and Media call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question and answer session.

At that time, if you have a question please press the one followed by the four on your telephone. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please press the star followed by the zero.

As a reminder, the call is being recorded Friday, January 29, 2016. I would now like to turn the call over to Nikki Lichterman. Please proceed.

Nikki Lichterman: Hi everyone and thank you so much for joining the call today with Megan Mullally. Just a reminder, the call will take twenty to twenty-five minutes. Weíll ask everyone to please refrain from asking any follow-up questions until we get through everyone on the line. And there will be a transcript available tomorrow morning that I can email everybody. And our second episode airs next Thursday at eight oíclock.

So letís open the call, please.

Operator: Okay. Again, to register a question, please press the one followed by the four. Our first question is from the line of Suzanne Lanoue from The TV MegaSite. Please proceed.

Suzanne Lanoue: Good morning.

Megan Mullally: Hello.

Suzanne Lanoue: Yes, great to have you on here. Did they give you any - did they tell you much about your character before you started? And did they give you a little bit as you went along? Or did you just have to figure it out? Or did they give you a lot of information?

Megan Mullally: I read the first episodes. They sent me the first two episodes and I thought, why in the hell are they - who started me to this part? Was the first thing I thought.

The second thing I thought was it seemed like a really interesting show and the character would certainly be something very different from anything Iíve ever done and be a challenge in that respect. And I always love a challenge.

So I decided to do it, but then I didnít know how it was going to unfold. And everybody that works - everybody involved with that show is pretty great. So as soon as I got to London, I got a little more info about how everything was going to unfold. But I didnít know beyond the - maybe three or four episodes because they were writing as we went along. It wasnít completely - I think Ian knew what he wanted. He knew the story he wanted to tell, but the actual scripts were not in hand yet.

So we learned as we went. And Iím not in episode six, seven, and eight. So I - as the show gets along, it gets much more suspenseful and I got very caught up in - I couldnít really remember, actually, who makes it and who doesnít. So as I was watching the show - because I watched the UK version. I was on tender hooks, myself.

Operator: Our next question...

Megan Mullally: I need to add that the character being a white supremacist was obviously - gave me some pause in light of all of the horrible racial injustice that weíre faced with around the world, but particularly here in the United States. And I did not feel - itís part of the character, so in that regard I was okay with it. But I certainly wouldnít want to - anyone to think that thereís anything funny or comedic about it.

And later in the show I have to handle a gun, which is another thing that Iíve never done and never thought I would be called upon to do. And I was very uncomfortable with that as well. But it is, again, part of the story and itís part of the character. And so in that respect it was justifiable.

Operator: Our next question is from the line of Lisa Steinberg from Starry Mag. Please proceed.

Lisa Steinberg: (Unintelligible) with you. Thank you so much for all of your time and the incredible laughter youíve given us throughout the years.

Megan Mullally: Thank you. Thatís so sweet of you. Thank you so much.

Lisa Steinberg: How did you find the voice for this particular character? We know that Karen Walker was higher than (unintelligible). Sometimes you alter it per character. How did you find the voice for this one?

Megan Mullally: The actual voice - well, itís all kind of a piece, I guess. Like sheís from Tennessee. So I knew that she had to have an accent. But like I said, the character is so different from anything Iíve done. And as it goes along, youíll see sheís quite a badass. Sheís tough and sheís kind of scary.

So those arenít really - like I play a lot of crazy people, and thatís fun. And sheís pretty crazy too, but in a different way and in a more sort of real way. And then she also has another side -- the psycho with the heart of gold or whatever.

But that comes out slowly and itís sort of a one step forward, two steps back kind of (unintelligible). But in terms of the voice and the whole package, I donít know. I just had to think of - Iíve always wanted to play a character that was tough like that and more of a dude.

And so the way she moves, sheís very low to the ground. Sheís got like a - her center of gravity is a little bit lower. And so as I said, it was a character that I had to - I couldnít reach into any kind of bag of tricks for this one. There is nothing about this that bore any relation to any characters that Iíve played before.

So there are certain things that Iíve done like, say, something Iíve been a guest on a half-hour show. Thereís certain times where I can be like, thatís character 127B. You know what Iím saying? Iíve done that kind of thing a lot, but this was not that. So I had to build it from the ground up.

Operator: Our next question is from the line of Bill Harris from the Toronto Sun. please proceed.

Bill Harris: Hey Megan. We were talking to Rob Lowe last week and he said, you know, Megan really inhabits these roles when - he says Iíve known her for years and she was unrecognizable. When she was on Will and Grace, people thought that was her.

And last year I was talking to Nick Offerman, who we obviously know, and he said, you know, Megan really inhabits these roles. People think that itís actually her.

So Iím wondering if you know about this reputation that you have with the men in your life, and do you have any specific examples of when people have mistaken you for your actual characters? And God forbid it actually happens with this show, but do you have any specific examples?

Megan Mullally: First of all, thatís a few pretty good endorsements. So Iím pretty flattered.

Yes, I donít know. Thatís very sweet. Iíve - as you know, Iím more of a character actress and I traditionally get tasked in these character roles, although right now Iím doing a movie where Iím playing closer - Iím actually playing a normal person. I donít know what to do with myself. Mind-bending.

But yes, I guess I donít - I think the secret to my success is reading comprehension, honestly. I donít mean that as a joke, even though Iím laughing.

I think I just - whatever the character is I just try to be sure Iím telling the right story. So itís telling the story that the writer is wanting to tell. And so I just go from there and I just use my imagination. I donít - I never studied acting so I just try to - Iíve read a lot of books. Iíve read a lot of fiction and I learned a lot about characters from that, I think.

But I just go with my instinct and I try to use my imagination. And I try to imagine a person who would do these exact things. And I try to get as close to that as I can. I donítí know how else to describe it.

Operator: Our next question is from the line of (Rena Carrison) from Metro Boston. Please proceed.

Rena Carrison: Hi. Thanks so much for meeting with us.

Megan Mullally: Thank you. Thatís (unintelligible) everybody.

Rena Carrison: So I - you said that this is a very new role for you and not one in your bag of tricks. So I was wondering - how did you prepare for this very different role?

Megan Mullally: Well, okay. And by bag of tricks - I want to go back because I donítí know that I have an actual bag of tricks. But I have a - thereís a certain timbre or a pace or a tone of a lot of comedies that Iíve done, including theater - so including some of the plays Iíve done and a lot of the musicals Iíve done. Like Will and Grace was sort of like a musical comedy without the music.

And so Iím familiar with that pace and that rhythm and all of that kind of thing. And Iím familiar with being - when I was younger, I was the ingťnue. And then I was a little bit older, I was the sidekick. And then this is something different. Sheís still sort of a sidekick, but now that Iím older thereís a difference in weight to it. Thereís a difference. It takes on a whole different timbre.

So I guess I really had to start from scratch on this one and I just had to try myself out in a new way as a character who - I donít know how Iíd put it. Iím just so not analytical about it. But I guess I had to find a way to be this woman who - you have to play it - itís not - the show isnít a comedy, per se, even though itsí been marketed that way. Itís not.

And I didnít really play it as such. I didnít ever go from a joke, although she does say some things that are kind of funny. Some - a lot of things that were scripted and some were improvised. There are quite a bit of improvisations just because the character was just very Southern American woman. And the writers were all English.

So I was allowed to take some liberties in that department. So I donít know. Iím not sure how to answer it exactly because part of - I donít know. I can just tell you that acting is so dreadful, but I guess part of it is slightly mysterious. So I donít know. All I know is that it was very different for me and I thought, okay, this is going to go one of two ways.

Operator: Our next question is from the line of Brittany Lovely from Hypable. Please proceed.

Brittany Lovely: Hi Megan. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us.

Megan Mullally: Thank you.

Brittany Lovely: So I wanted to ask you just about the industry in general because this is a show thatís airing in the UK a little ahead of schedule than the US. So I just wanted to see what the experience of working on this project has been like in comparison to just a strict American comedy.

Megan Mullally: Well, it was very different and it was very much the same. We were shooting in London and South Africa, and all of our crew were from various parts of the UK and just lovely people. And I talked to my makeup artist. (Maggie Vaughn) is a genius. Really, sheís won two Emmys. She won an Emmy for makeup for Downton Abbey and she won an Emmy for hair for Downton Abbey. Quite something.

And she and I had collaborated at the beginning by email and phone about the look of the character because that was a huge factor. Iím sort of answering the last question a little bit and then Iíll get to your question because Iím suddenly realizing that the look of the character was a big part of it because I couldnít - I didnít want anybody seeing shiny sitcom anything in this character. So we went to work on that.

But it was different in the sense that I was shooting in different countries and - but similar in the - regard to just simply focusing on storytelling and working with some - just working with other actors and working with directors in a certain way. And those kinds of things are universal to a degree.

I loved working with Shannon Fisher. Shannon and I had not really - weíd only met once briefly before and fortunately we got along like a house on fire. And sheís a great actress and it was such an odd couple relationship. There are a lot of odd couples, Iím sure youíve noticed, in the show. We had a blast working together and I feel like her style and my style are different but they complement each other in the (unintelligible) of these characters.

And I also just wanted to add that wrapping my head around playing a white supremacist and playing somebody who endorses - who - (unintelligible) is played in that and in an ugly direction like that with - itís not something that you long to do and yet it was the character. So you find a way to sort of embrace it, however reluctantly, because thatís part of the story.

Operator: Our next question is from the line of Suzanne Lanoue from TV Megasite. Please proceed.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi again.

Megan Mullally: Hello.

Suzanne Lanoue: I was enjoying the comments earlier about how you inhabit the role because, honestly, I didnít know that was you when I watched it. I didnít know you were in it...

Megan Mullally: Iím so glad. Thank you.

Suzanne Lanoue: Iím like, thatís her?

Megan Mullally: I wouldnít say we were going for that, but I was very happy when that started to happen.

Suzanne Lanoue: Well, Iím glad it wasnít me. I was like, how stupid am I that I didnít recognize her voice or something? You seemed so different. (Unintelligible).

Megan Mullally: I heard early on a lot of people in the UK didnít know it was me until almost the very end. But I heard very early on that when they first screened at NBC, people were like, whereís Megan? I thought Megan Mullally was in this. Where - when does she come in?

And I thought that was pretty funny because if anybody knows me at a network, itís NBC.

Operator: And we have run out of time for questions on todayís press and media call. Ms. Lichterman, Iíll turn the call back to you.

Nikki Lichterman: Sure, thanks everyone so much for your time. And as a reminder, I will have a transcript if you send me an email tomorrow. Iíd be happy to email it to you. And thank you so much, Megan, for taking the time to participate this morning.

Megan Mullally: Thank you all so much. Iím very grateful. Thank you.

Nikki Lichterman: Thanks everybody.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines. Thank you.


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