From her star-making turn on ABC’s LESS THAN PERFECT to her memorable recurring characters on both RULES OF ENGAGEMENT and THE BIG BANG THEORY, Sara Rue has always been on one of those actors who puts a smile on our face every time she steps into frame. Which is precisely why, when recently afforded the opportunity to spend a few minutes on the phone chatting with the actress, who can now be seen playing Reba’s nosy neighbor on the ABC’s hit Friday night sitcom MALIBU COUNTRY we jumped at the chance. See for yourself, after the jump.
Considering there is a very good reason why the MALIBU COUNTRY writers decided to make your character on the show pregnant, let me start off with a hearty congratulations!
Sara Rue: Thank you… it’s one of those things you can’t hide after a while!
Let me also start of with an apology of sorts for what will quite possibly be the most unprofessional question I’ve ever asked of an interview subject… but as a fan of MALIBU COUNTRY who has seen every episode, I simply have to tell you that your boobs were really starting to steal the spotlight from the rest of the show!
[Laughs] Yeah, they’re out of control these day, I don’t know what to do. The pregnancy has taken over my body in these crazy ways. Luckily, it works for my MALIBU COUNTRY character.
Is it safe to assume that making your character pregnant wasn’t the original plan for her?
No it was definitely not in the show’s original plan. And usually you want to wait until you’re out of the first trimester, but I actually told the show’s writers a little earlier because I felt like, in fairness, I wanted to give them as much time as possible to either write the pregnancy into the character’s storyline, or figure out the best way to hide it. I sat down with our executive producers Mindy [Schultheis] and Mike [Schiff], not knowing how they were going to take it and they couldn’t have been nicer and more accepting. They said we’d make it work and they’ve been great.
Were you relieved when the writers decided to write your baby bump into the show versus having to spend the next few months hiding behind couches, shopping bags, and over-sized purses?
Very happy because as an actor it’s a bummer when you’re in the scene thinking about how you can hold your purse in the right place to hide your belly when you’d much rather be present as a performer and not worry. Because we wanted to hide the pregnancy for the first few episodes in order to establish the characters, there was a lot of “Turn left, hide that!” so now it’s really nice to be free with my body, although there is a little bit of me that feels exposed. The nice thing about hiding my pregnancy was that I felt like I was keeping it a bit more private for me and my family, but there’s also something nice about sharing. Pregnancy is such a happy thing, my husband and I couldn’t be more excited, we’re stupidly over the moon about it, so ultimately it’s great. Great to be able to throw on a maternity dress and just go shoot a scene!
Plus, unlike regular people who have to suffice with a photo or two or their pregnancy, you’ll have a high definition television show to look back on!
I know! And some of the stuff I’m doing is so, well, my child is going to have a clip show of embarrassing moments while in my womb. There’s an episode coming up, the Christmas episode on December 14th where mine and Reba’s characters are in a singing competition. So the embarrassment of having to not only follow Reba singing but have Lily Tomlin’s character watch horrified from the audience will sure be fun in fifteen years when I get to show my kid what I was doing while in my belly!
Speaking of Reba and Lily Tomlin, what is it like working with two legends in their own right?
I know right! There’s Cher, there’s Madonna, there’s Oprah and there’s Reba. There are not that many people who can have just one name. Reba is such a sweet person, so professional and the thing I love most about her — I mean she’s talented, smart and so great — is that she’s never late, always knows her lines and is just great to work with. A lot of people, in her position, they don’t care about being on time for other people, they show up when they want to show up. Yet Reba is not like that at all. She is fabulous on set, so kind and so normal… which is crazy considering what a huge star she is. As for Lily, I’ve been a fan of Lily Tomlin as long as I can remember so it’s surreal at times. Some of her movies, 9 to 5 is still to this day one of my all-time favorite movies. The other day Lily was on set rehearsing a scene where her character was getting a cup of coffee — and I don’t know if you remember that scene from 9 to 5 where her character is dressed as Snow White and trying to poison Dabney Coleman’s character — but I just had this flashback to a six year old me watching the movie my parents had recorded off the television over and over again. It was a crazy out of body experience, which happens a lot because I’m such a big fan of hers.
And finally, I can’t let you go without talking about another pregnant character of yours, Brenda on RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Is she ever going to have Jeff and Audrey’s baby?
Yes I have been pregnant for three years and yes it is going to be the world’s largest baby! But I’m happy to report, on hiatus from MALIBU COUNTRY I go over to RULES and just recently shot the birthing scene. Finally! So I’m really happy that my character Brenda, the surrogate, is no longer pregnant because she has been pregnant for a while. It has been so odd shooting this season, because despite being pregnant in real life, the show has been using padding on my belly so I looked more pregnant than I am and doing a scene where I was pretending to give birth, being actually pregnant and trying to not push too much for real, it was a bizarre experience. But I love doing that show and I hope they get a time slot and start airing again soon because what we’ve been shooting has been really great.
MALIBU COUNTRY airs Fridays at 8:30PM on ABC following LAST MAN STANDING (CityTV in Canada)