Being Barb: A Conversation with Multi Award Winning Megan Mullally for the Home Entertainment Release of WHY HIM?
Multi-award winning actress Megan Mullally has been a fixture in our living rooms since 1998, when she started her run as Karen Walker on the hit NBC sitcom WILL & GRACE. A range of guest spots on shows as diverse as SEINFELD, FRASIER, 30 ROCK, HAPPY ENDINGS, BOB'S BURGERS, PARTY DOWN and PARKS AND RECREATION have further confirmed Mullally’s comedic talent.
Born in Los Angeles, Mullally’s career began in Chicago theatre. She made her Broadway debut in the 1994 revival of GREASE, and only a year later starred alongside Matthew Broderick in the revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. In 2008, Mullally played Elizabeth in Mel Brooks’ hit musical YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and in 2014, to rave reviews, played Adelaide opposite Nathan Lane in GUYS AND DOLLS at Carnegie Hall. Most recently on Broadway, she starred with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in Terrence McNally's smash hit IT'S ONLY A PLAY. Off-Broadway, she has starred alongside husband Nick Offerman in Sharr White's two-hander ANNAPURNA.
Recent film roles for Mullally include ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY, THE KINGS OF SUMMER, SMASHED, SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME and FAME. She will appear in the upcoming films THE MASTERPIECE (dir. by James Franco), INFINITY BABY (with Kieran Culkin), and LEMON, starring Michael Cera and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Janicza Bravo. In television, Mullally had a leading role in last season's Working Title/SkyTV/NBC mini-series YOU, ME AND THE APOCALYPSE, alongside Matthew Baynton, Jenna Fisher and Rob Lowe.
In WHY HIM?, Mullally plays Barb, the mother of the Fleming family, whose daughter Stephanie invites them to spend Christmas with her new boyfriend Laird (James Franco). While the eccentric, uncensored billionaire Laird provokes the ire of the conservative Fleming family patriarch Ned (Bryan Cranston), Barb comes to admire her daughter’s boyfriend.
From the film’s set at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, Mullally discusses her role.
Who is Barb? What’s her relationship with Bryan Cranston’s character, Ned?
Well, they're a conservative (American) Midwestern couple. But Barb is a little more unbuttoned than Ned is. She's an artist. She's a photographer. She was always a little bit wild compared to Ned, but she's not wild by any other standard. Over the course of the movie, she gets to let her hair down just a little bit. And she encourages Ned to do the same.
Laird takes a shine to Barb, doesn’t he?
I think it's just that James Franco thinks I'm really hot. [laughs] In the script, Laird definitely says some inappropriate things to Barb right in front of Ned and Stephanie - my character's daughter and his girlfriend - about how hot Barb is and what a great body she has.
How did you become involved?
I got a call last fall saying that John Hamburg – who I was already a big fan of because I loved his movie I LOVE YOU MAN – was doing a new movie. I feel like I LOVE YOU MAN kind of kicked off a series of comedic movies that have a slightly different tone-- they're a little more grounded in reality, and also a little more comedy-forward.
So, I was a fan of John's, and my agents called and said he was doing this movie called WHY HIM?, and that there was a role-- Bryan Cranston's wife-- and that John was considering me for the part. I was very excited. So we met over Skype because I was in Boston with Nick [Offerman], who was working there at the time.
John and I had a really great talk. I actually knew his wife slightly because she had done an episode of CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. She's a really great, hilarious actress named Christina Kirk. It also turns out that John and I have a lot of mutual friends-- the Rob Corddry, David Wain contingent. We all know each other, we're all friends, but I'd never met John. So, right away I felt like he was somebody that I would be friends with.
We talked for an hour. At the end, I was like, "Well, whatever happens, we're having a double date." I felt that we were on the same page. I knew that it was between me and only a couple of other people, and then I got a call that I had gotten the part.
Why Him? is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Monday May 1, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment