Tag Archives: “Drop Dead Diva”

Kim Kardashian Gains Actor Cred With Castmate April Bowlby

Has Kim Kardashian been putting the diva in “Drop Dead Diva” with her forthcoming recurring role?  Not at all, to hear the series’ April Bowlby tell it. 

“She was much better than I expected,” the actress lets us know.  “You never know with someone as famous as she is, who has such a following.  But she showed up on set on time, she knew her lines and she was very professional.  She came in ready to shoot and have fun.” 

And fun they do have, assures Bowlby, who plays Stacy Barrett, the wayward best friend of Brooke Elliott’s dual soul attorney character, Deb/Jane.  In the fourth season, due to launch June 3, Stacy’s inventive side emerges again.  (Fans will recall the “armvelope” driving accessory she came up with.)  This time, she has the “pake” — a pie encasing a cake — and she does so well with it, she launches “a pakery, of course.  It’s super fun,” Bowlby says.  Working with her is Nicky, as played by Kim Kardashian.

“She’s not playing herself, you know,” Bowlby points out.  “She comes in and gives me some love advice, and I follow it.”

The “DDD” writers have been having a field day with Stacy, who really did become naughty last season, what with becoming a TV star, getting a runaway ego, breaking the heart of her angel-man, Fred (Ben Feldman) and having an affair with her costar.  She also managed to turn Deb/Jane against her with her wanton ways.              

“I got around, I’ll tell you that,” Bowlby says with a laugh.  “I was really surprised with the writing.  I was like, who is this character?  I’m playing a diva.  It was awesome.  I feel I lucked out.  My character kind of gets to do anything and everything.” 

However, she admits, “A lot of people were very sweet, and they would come up and tell me, ‘I don’t like what you’re doing.  I want the old Stacy to come back.'”  And, is she back?  “She is doing good,” reports Bowlby, as the team is in the midst of its seasonal production outsideAtlanta.  “She is actually being really supportive of Jane, so thank goodness for that.”

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Even as Halle Berry’s “The Hive” is being shopped to foreign investors at the Cannes Film Festival, director Brad Anderson is prepping for a late June production start on the thriller.  It hasHalleas a worker at a 911 call center who becomes involved with a call from a young girl — Abigail Breslin — who has been kidnapped and is frantically phoning from the trunk of her abductor’s car.  Already, there is buzz about how demanding each of these roles is, not to mentionAnderson’s obvious directing challenge with a plot that centers on two people who are on the phone, one in a dark, cramped spot.

Brooke Elliott Says ‘Diva’ Will Get Flirtier

Brooke Elliott Lifetime photo

“Drop Dead Diva” star Brooke Elliott says viewers will find her character “becoming more comfortable in this new life, and becoming flirtier” as the just-launched third season unfurls.  “DDD,” of course, follows the unique saga of a vapid model whose spirit has mistakenly been dumped into the body of a brilliant plus-sized attorney.

Brooke says “I had no idea” the Lifetime series would wind up lasting this long

— with an ardent following and critical kudos.  “You never know which thing is going to hit and which one isn’t — and then to have the show continually picked up and continually supported by Lifetime is amazing,” says the Broadway veteran.

“DDD” also has a list of guest stars to die for, a particularly impressive feat considering they have to travel to the town outside Atlanta where the show shoots.  This year’s list includes LeAnn Rimes,  Kathy Griffin, Wendy Williams, Mario Lopez, Amanda Bearse, Tony Goldwyn, Howard Hesseman, Sharon Lawrence, Faith Prince, Jennifer Tilly and Louis Van Amstel.  Appearing in the forthcoming “gay prom” episode are Wanda Sykes, Lance Bass and Clay Aiken.  Brooke says she didn’t have scenes with Bass and Aiken, but loved working with Sykes.  “I think she had a really good time doing

her scene.  Her timing is impeccable.  Working with her was such a fun day.”

More ‘Diva’ Time for Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho Lifetime photo

Fans of Margaret Cho will like this.  The “Drop Dead Diva” costar tells us, “I’m in this season much more than in the last two.  It’s been a lot more work for me.”

The ever-provocative comedian is happy about that, and says the extra load hasn’t been any burden.  “I’d been touring for months beforehand so it was great to stay in one place for awhile.”  Now, with just a handful of episodes left to shoot in Season 3 — which premieres June 19 — she says she’s been flying back and forth between L.A. and Georgia, where the series shoots.  “I’m kind of getting out there and getting ready for the next leg of my tour.”

Her character, legal assistant Teri Lee, has “a couple of love interests this season,” Cho informs.  One of them is a former boyfriend of her boss, Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliott) — the plus-sized attorney into whose body plopped the spirit of a self-centered model at the outset of the quirky hit Lifetime series.  (Season 2 was released on home video last month, for those interested in catching up.)  Also coming up is a dance-centric episode in which Cho got to reunite with her “Dancing With the Stars” professional partner, Louis Van Amstel.

“I really love him,” she says.  “We got very close very quickly, which is what happens on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’  It was really fun.  I’m such a fan of his.”  As far as having to brush up on her ballroom dance moves?  “Oh, yes.  I forgot everything.  No — you don’t really forget.  That kind of intensity stays with you,” she says.

Her dance card outside the series is definitely full as well.  She has commitments all summer, and her tour takes her to the U.K. this fall.  She also has her “Cho Dependent” concert film that she recently unveiled at the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival.  Expect that to get a cable premiere, then move to DVD.  “I’m excited because it’s a great show.  I do a lot of set comedy, I do a lot of music in there.  It was received really well in Hawaii.”

And on the TV side, Cho, who recently did an outrageous turn as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il on “30 Rock,” says “I hope to do more of that.  That was so cool.  It was Tina Fey’s idea.  It’s really exciting to do a show you’re a fan of.”

Brooke Elliott: ‘Drop Dead Diva’ Gay Prom Episode Includes Prom Controversy Teen Constance McMillen

Brooke Elliott Lifetime photo

Constance McMillen — who was all over the news last year as the central figure in a firestorm of controversy, when her high school in the Itawamba County, Mississippi refused to allow her to bring her girlfriend to the school prom — will appear in a forthcoming episode of “Drop Dead Diva” that’s been dubbed the gay prom episode.

That is the word from “DDD” star Brooke Elliott, who tells us McMillen pops up as a bailiff in the July-airing episode, in which Brooke’s crusading attorney character is representing a “client who wants to go to the prom with her girlfriend.  They’re in a committed relationship, but the school won’t allow same sex couples to go together.”

Constance McMillen on Ellen Degeneres' show

Out stars Wanda Sykes, Lance Bass and Clay Aiken all appear in the segment as well.

“I think it’s great,” says Brooke.  “I think we do it in a way that, hopefully, is not preaching to people but is a reflection back of what is happening in our society right now, and what we as a group are going through.”

MEANWHILE:  Season 3 of “Drop Dead Diva” launches June19 with an armada of interesting guest star names including Paula Abdul returning as Brooke’s voice of reason (that’s right), LeAnn Rimes,  Kathy Griffin, Wendy Williams, Mario Lopez, Amanda Bearse, Tony Goldwyn, Howard Hesseman, Sharon Lawrence, Faith Prince, Jennifer Tilly and Louis Van Amstel.  The latter, you may recall, was “Drop Dead Diva” costar Margaret Cho’s dance partner on “Dancing With the Stars” — and Brooke says the two had a great time reuniting to perform together again.

The season opens with an episode that includes a musical dream sequence choreographed by “So You Think You Can Dance’s” Keith “Tyce” Diorio.  It also that gave Broadway veteran Brooke (Taboo, Wicked, Beauty and the Beast) a chance to exercise her pipes.  “The voice you’ll hear is mine.  It was a complicated song.  I hope people will like it,” she says.

Of course, Brooke has more than enough to do playing the character of a
shallow model who died and then, in an accident of cosmic cross-wiring,
wound up sharing the plus-sized body of a brilliant, socially conscious lawyer.

The role “is a challenge every day.  That’s why I like it,” she says.  With it all, “Drop Dead Diva” continues to be a show widely praised by critics — particularly for Brooke’s seamless performance — yet undiscovered by many viewers.  Brook observes, “You can drive yourself crazy spending too much time thinking about things that you can’t control.   I’m focused on my job and doing a good job with this character.”   Naturally, she is hoping that “Diva” will draw bigger viewership this coming season — and points out that people can catch up by watching the Season 2 DVD that just came out.  Of course.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE:  The L.A. Jewish Film Festival’s sixth year got off to an auspicious start in Beverly Hills with an eclectic group of luminaries — ranging from Buzz and Lois Aldrin to Miss India Préity Üupala, to “American Idol’s” Tim Urban — turning out for the opening night film, “An Article of Hope.”  The fest itself is eclectic as well, celebrating the Jewish experience from intense dramas like France’s “La Rafle” (The Roundup) to comedies, “Shalom Sesame” to the “Article of Hope” film about Israel’s first astronaut.  Thursday’s (5/12) closing night film is “Who Do You Love,” the story of rock ‘n’ roll’s fabled Chess Records.  Songwriter Diane Warren is among the musicos expected.

TRY, TRY AGAIN:  With the Disney Channel’s “Lemonade Mouth” movie attaining the distniction of being the No. 1 original television movie of the year among kids and tweens, it looks like the hoped-for sequel is a shoo-in.  “We hope so, we really want to do it,” says producer Debra Martin Chase.

Nick Roux

That’s also good news for the new collection of young stars in the movie.

Interestingly, Chase tells us that Nick Roux, who does a memorable turn as a rival band member in the flick, almost didn’t make it in.  “We brought Nick in give times.  There was a feeling in some circles that he might be too old” to play a high schooler.  But the handsome twentysomething actor, who is managed by none other than Blake Lively’s mom, changed his look to try again.  “I said, ‘Have him come in with his hair down like Justin Bieber,’ and he did, and he wore baggy pants and sneakers.”  And he got away with acting younger.

Besides her new Disney Channel franchise, Chase is the long-time producing partner of Whitney Houston, and she tells us they have another project in the pipeline.  “I can’t talk about it yet, but Whitney and I are planning something, hopefully for later this year.”

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  A Sept. 7 start date has been set for the Adam Arkin-Ethan Embry feature “Insecurity,” about a pair of security experts who decide to beef up business by robbing houses themselves — but run into major complications when they find a duffel bag full of money.

Scottish star Robert Carlyle (“Trainspotting,” “The Full Monty,”  “Angela’s Ashes,” etc.) will be tapping into his inner rock star for “California Solo,” in which he’ll play an aging rocker who lives in Los Angeles, but faces deportation back to Scotland after he’s stopped for DUI.  The movie’s described as being full of Brit pop and L.A. cultural references and pathos.  We’ll see.

Brooke Elliott Talks About What’s in Store on ‘Drop Dead Diva’

Brooke Elliott Drop Dead Diva Lifetime Photo

“Drop Dead Diva” star Brooke Elliott reports that the just-launched second season of her Lifetime series is at least as star-studded as the first season was, or more.  Viewers can expect to see Lee Lee Sobieski, Robin Givens, Jasmine Guy, Rosie O’Donnell back in her judge character, plus Sharon Lawrence and Kurt Fuller as Elliott’s parents,  plus Cybill Shepherd.  “She was a riot and so much fun,” says Elliott.  “She plays a character that’s sort of like Meryl Streep’s in ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’

“They’re all so great.  We’re so humbled by the fact they want to come play with us,” she adds.

Elliott’s ability to make her insanely complex role work is crucial — as viewers of the series, and critics, are well aware.  How many actresses could convince us they’re a ditzy model who came back from heaven and is inhabiting the body of a zaftig crusading attorney who has left residual personality traits behind?   But the Broadway-bred actress remains quite modest-sounding about the impact she’s made.  The network’s website and other “Diva”-related comment areas are full of grateful remarks from fans who love the series’ approach to body image.  “It’s wonderful to hear.  When people talk to me about the show, they’re so polite and kind,” Elliott says.

Playing Deb the model/Jane the attorney “does take a tremendous amount of focus, to be sure,” she allows.  “There are always questions to figure out about when Jane is influencing Deb’s behavior.  I’m always making sure everything is seen from Deb’s perspective.  It’s one of the tricky parts of the job and the most fun.”