Tag Archives: Annie Potts

ABC’s Upcoming ‘G.C.B.’ Not Anti-Christian Explains Jennifer Aspen

Jennifer Aspen ABC photo by Bob D'Amico

 “G.C.B.” actress Jennifer Aspen weighs in on the title controversy on the forthcoming ABC prime time serial drawn from Kim Gatlin’s book, Good Christian Bitches — which then became “Good Christian Belles,” and is now reduced to its monogram.

“It’s not an anti-Christian project.  I would never, ever be a part of something that attacked any religion.  That’s not my thing,” says Aspen.  “I spoke to the author of the book, who is a devout Christian.  The point of the title was, she felt there were certain people in the Christian community acting inappropriately and giving the religion a bad name, and she wanted to call them out.  If you’re going to talk the talk, you should walk the walk.  So she wanted to coin the name and make it strong so people would remember it.  Well, I could get behind that idea.  It was a risky move, but for me, it was an enlightened one.”

 However, Aspen goes on, when the company went to Dallas to shoot exteriors, “We went to church there, and talking to the members, I realized that name is very offensive to various people.  When we got their viewpoints on it, I was really glad they changed the name.”

Aspen points out that “Two of our executive producers are Christians, and their faith does mean a lot to them.  This project was not born out of a Hollywood idea — it was born out of that community.”

The midseason replacement comedy, set in Dallas — “Where every day is judgment day,” per the promo tag — has Leslie Bibb as a former high school mean girl who has to return to her Texas home, and face all her one-time frienemies, after her marriage ends in scandal.  Annie Potts and avowed Christian Kristin Chenoweth are also in the cast.

“Leslie is the girl who was bad who has now gone good, but you’re very suspicious when she tries to friend you on Facebook.  ‘How do you have the nerve to request me?  Don’t you remember the terrible things you did to me?’  But you see her picture with two kids there and she looks nice.” 

According to Aspen, who a Scientologist, the set contains “a rainbow of faiths.  Normally, you don’t talk that much about religion or politics on a set, but on this one, we do.  Not in an argumentative way.  It’s more like, ‘What do you practice?  That’s cool,’ respecting each other’s beliefs.  I’m personally a lover of religions. because each of them contains universal truths.”

That may be, but the lusty ladies and their lines like “cleavage makes your cross hang straight” are bound to rankle more than a few.  However, by the time viewers see “G.C.B.,” production of the first 13 episodes will be complete, Aspen says.  “We’re dying to see when we get on the air.”

Annie Potts Plows New Career Territory With AfterMath

Annie Potts is definitely plowing new career territory with her current theatrical stint in Elliot Shoenman’s AfterMath, which debuted this month at L.A.’s Odyssey Theater.  It’s a drama with comedy about the widow and two nearly-grown children of a suicide victim.  Annie has been in on its development for the past couple of years.

“The writer, who has had a long and wonderful career as a comedy writer, lost his own father to suicide when he was 19,” she reports, speaking of Shoenman, whose credits include six years of “Home Improvement.”  “He’s taken the bones of his experience and put it into a present-day situation.  He’s changed the characters some.  It’s really an anti-suicide piece; the psychological damage they leave in their wake is unbelievable.  I think the extraordinary thing about the piece is how funny it is,” she adds.  “You wouldn’t think that subject matter could possibly, possibly be funny, but there are a lot of laughs in it.”

Certainly the “Designing Women” veteran knows her way around a funny line — but AfterMath requires moments of silent despair as well, and her multi-layered work has been praised by critics.  “My character is trying to put her life back together, trying to figure out why what happened, happened,” she says.  She also says that Shoenman “actually used his own father’s suicide note in the play.  It was just three lines:  ‘I couldn’t take it anymore.  Take care of the kids.  Sell the car.'”

Annie notes, “I had never been part of developing something so long-range.  It’s been great and one of the reasons it’s been great has been such a lovely, easy collaboration.  Elliot Shoenman is such a prince.”  Also, says the mother of three sons, “Having that empty nest made it really appealing to develop this piece.  I had freedom to do that.  Idle hands, devil’s hands — it was good to be involved in something.”

After her two younger sons moved out to their respective schools last year, “It was a little rough the first month or so,” she admits.  However, she did soon come to appreciate “not having to get up at quarter to six to make eggs they don’t eat.”

As for what’s next?  “I would love to take AfterMath other places.  I’m having such a great time.”  Broadway?  “I’d settle for Off,” says the actress, who did a Broadway run in God of Carnage in ’09.  “Stage was my first love, what I always wanted to do. The roles are much richer on stage for me right now.  But I love it all, you know.  I love every medium.”

Annie Potts Finds Empty Nest Sooner than Expected

Annie Potts

Annie Potts admits, “I was not quite prepared to have an empty nest” – but such is soon to be the case for the former “Designing Women” star, whose three boys “are just about all grown.  The oldest is 29 now.  The middle son is graduating this week, and the youngest is a freshman off to boarding school in the fall.  My work is done.”

She adds, “The little one chose to go to boarding school.  He saw the older one leaving for college and thought, ‘If he’s going, I’m going.’  I thought, ‘Oh, man.  I thought had another four years,’ but I’m thrilled for his opportunity.  He’s going to a fine school.  I believe we have arrived at this place now where they will now take their place in the world.  I do have mixed emotions about it.  Nothing has been as comprehensively overwhelming as it has been to have been raising three boys and working all the while.”

Turning to the professional side of her life, however, “all options are now open,” she says.  Not that things have been quiet in that regard.  She recently finished a run of “God of Carnage” on Broadway and is dying to get back onstage.  She stars with Drew Seeley in the Hallmark Channel in HD’s “Freshman Father” original movie, debuting tomorrow (6/5).  It’s drawn from the true story of young man who somehow got through Harvard on a scholarship while caring for his baby son after the mother left the scene.

“You don’t often see movies about men who step up.  It’s usually the woman who’s been left forlorn to raise children by herself.  It’s refreshing to see this young boy who had so much promise, caring for his son at the same time he put himself through school.  I had the pleasure of meeting the real guy.  He’s quite successful, charming and sweet and you just love him for what you know he did.”

Potts plays the neighborhood psychic who befriends and helps Seeley.  “There’s not many categories of roles for women over 40.  You’re either a psychic or a naughty mother-in-law or a mother,” she dryly observes. “I like the psychics.”

WINNING BY LOSING:  It’s a sign of the times – the ongoing parade of storylines in films and on TV of late that give us silver linings to economic hardships.   Tom Hanks’  forthcoming “Larry Crowne” is about a middle aged man who goes back to college to reinvent himself after losing his job – and finds Julia Roberts.  The film festival ultra low-budget comedy “Laid Off” – about two guys who plan to burn up their severance pay by drinking and living it up, but end up doing surprisingly different – just came out on DVD.   Universal’s “Wanderlust,” soon to go into production, has Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as a couple facing the black abyss of financial ruin when he loses his job.  Sadly, they give up their home and go to live in Atlanta where his brother can put him to work.   But along the way, they stop at a bed and breakfast place that turns out to actually be a commune – and a life adventure.

IN AWWW:    Rob Reiner has been lining up actors of a variety of types and ages to tell the stories of their first loves for his feature, “Flipped,” about the relationship of a boy and girl next door.