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Judy Greer interview: America’s favourite co-star
October 12, 2015
Did you know that Judy Greer has recently published a book? The Detroit-native and character-actress extraordinaire made her literary debut last year, expanding her already rather impressive resume, which includes 90 roles to date across film, television and Broadway. Yet, despite appearing in three blockbusters this summer (Tomorrowland, Jurassic World and Ant-Man), her meatier roles still come from independent flicks like new comedy Addicted To Fresno, which is released in the UK this week.
Directed by TV veteran Jamie Babbit, the film follows codependent sisters Shannon (Greer), who is fresh out of sex rehab, and the younger, overly optimistic Martha (Natasha Lyonne) who lands her a job as a maid at the local hotel where she works. When Shannon jeopardizes her fresh start by accidentally killing a hotel guest after a post-rehab relapse, Martha goes to great lengths to help her sister cover up the crime.
Beyond Addicted to Fresno, Greer has made the most of her not-so-big-name star status, making fun of herself and her career path in her new book I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, which includes humorous essays such as ‘Celebrities I’ve Peed Next To’, or ‘I’m Not America’s Sweetheart, I’m America’s Best Friend’.
Speaking of the theme of your book, in today’s industry, is it actually a blessing in disguise being that kind of actress who may not be a huge star but still works a lot and has had so far an amazing career between the small and big screen? I guess not having to deal with annoying paparazzi or crazy-obsessive fans has its perks. Or have you ever felt bit jealous of not being one of those mega stars?
[Laughs] I know what you mean. Well, I’m an ambitious person so I definitely have certain things I want that I’m striving for that don’t have to do necessarily with fame but with the type of work I’m interested in. I don’t get jealous of people who are more famous than me but I do envy their opportunities. For instance this morning I woke up with this script I read that’s stuck in my head and I need to email my agent and manager about it cause it’s something I’ve been keeping my eyes on for a while. I know I’m just not famous enough to star in it but that’s not going to stop me from trying. So yeah, I guess I miss out on certain opportunities and when people tell me, “You should star in that thing”, I’m like, “I know, as if it depended on me.”
But then, at the same time I feel like the level of where I’m at in my career, my sort of brand of celebrity, has afforded me so many more opportunities than some of these actresses that I know because it’s tricky for them to not star in something, and in the end they don’t work that much whereas I work practically every day. I’ve been booked non-stop for the past three years, it’s been wonderful and I know I can get away working that much ‘cause I’m sliding through the cracks here and there, and I’ve never turned down anything. You know, the grass is always greener but it’s nice I can look out my window right now and see the sun shine and I don’t need to have my shades drawn or some barrier wall ‘cause paparazzi are waiting behind it. I can go to Target, wander around with no makeup on and it doesn’t matter. I think what I have is really special and I feel really fortunate.
Let’s talk about your new film, Addicted to Fresno. Audiences would’ve probably expected you to play Natasha [Lyonne]’s character and vice versa but I can imagine why you were intrigued by this anti-hero. Were there ever talks of you guys switching roles?
I really loved doing this movie and I must confess that when I read the script I had to double check they wanted to cast me as Shannon but once we were on set I actually felt Jamie [Babbit]’s casting choices were right. I think there’s a strength that Natasha brought into playing Martha that really was needed for the role of the good sister, whilst probably I would’ve been a doormat, and yet Shannon has a vulnerability that fits me well. I think Natasha and I had great chemistry together and we would’ve done a good job in each other’s role as well, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did.
Is there anything you’d say to help promote Addicted To Fresno besides obviously that you star in it?
Oh man, I don’t know! I suppose I should know the answer to that question about my movie but marketing films and TV shows is such an enigma to me because how do people love the things they love and don’t watch the things they don’t watch? It doesn’t make any sense. I think this is a really funny movie and it’s dark and all of us, Aubrey Plaza included, are playing against type and I believe it’s interesting to see us in roles you wouldn’t expect from us.
Considering how many projects you’ve been involved with between film and TV, I’m wondering if you’re a fan of anything in particular that you wish you’d been cast in.
I just finished watching Bloodline on Netflix and now I’m so obsessed with it. And it was easier to get on it ‘cause at the moment there’s only one season so it didn’t seem too daunting to get on board for me and my husband, as opposed to something with five or more seasons already. However, when I fall in love with a TV show I tend to not want to be on it ‘cause I want it to just be what it is and I want to be able to lose myself in it. Even if I personally know anyone who stars in it, I’m still able to lose myself in the characters and the story so I prefer to leave my favourite shows as entertainment rather than work, although Bloodline is so good that I’d probably make an exception.
Words by Francesco Cerniglia