Actress Annie Potts is known for playing quirky characters in a variety of roles over the years. She played a gun-toting secretary in two Ghostbusters movies, and Bo Peep in two Toy Story movies. She has had numerous television appearances most notably with Mary Jo Shively on Designing Women.
She returns again to the small screen in the comedy-drama Good Christian Belles or GCB for short. She plays grandmother Gigi Stopper whose daughter returns home to the lone star state with her two children after a divorce. Small town drama ensues when former classmates are thrown into the mix.
We caught up to Potts right before the premiere of the show.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Annie. I have been watching you perform since the movie Pretty in Pink so very excited to talk to you today.
Annie Potts: Well, I am very excited to talk to you too.
JN: I read you were born in Nashville.
AP: I was.
JN: That’s where I grew up.
AP: That is a nice place to grow up, isn’t it?
JN: Yes it was. It doesn’t seem like a having an accent stopped you from landing roles.
AP: I am trained so I don’t have to have that accent.
JN: I watched the first episode last night and you have the juiciest role.
AP: I think I do, don’t I?
JN: You have the best one-liners.
AP: They are awesome I know.
JN: What attracted you to this sitcom? I heard you had some other offers.
AP: I though it was the best one. One of the others, I won’t reveal what it was, is a success on TV right now and the other one didn’t go. This was by far and away the juiciest role. Robert Harling is an old friend of mine. Even if he wasn’t it was easy to see that the script is going to be a whole lot of fun. Robert has such a pedigree of writing southern women such as with Steel Magnolias. So who wouldn’t take door number one?
JN: Your hair looks fabulous on the show by the way.
AP: Thank you, that is a wig.
JN: Is it?
AP: It is an awesome wig! Yeah, isn’t it great?
JN: Do you know people similar to your character being from the South?
AP: She is kind of an amalgam of people I have known and people I have heard about. She is not unfamiliar to me.
JN: Do you film the show in Texas being set there?
AP: We shot the pilot in Dallas but we film the series in Los Angeles.
JN: How is it working with Kristin Chenoweth?
AP: Well, that do you think? Pretty fantastic! She is so darling and talented. What fun that is…
JN: Leslie Bibb who plays your daughter is really good in the show.
AP: She’s terrific and not hard on the eyes, huh?
JN: No, she’s a knockout. There’s also a gay character on there.
AP: Yes but don’t reveal who yet.
JN: This article will be out right after so no spoilers here. Were you raised religious?
AP: I was. We were raised Presbyterian. My parents said we were real Presbyterians because they believe in everything, which meant it was okay to drink for them. We went to church every Sunday. I always loved church.
JN: The line you have “if you are under my roof then you are going to church” rang very familiar with me. I saw some guest stars are coming up from Sheryl Crow to Sandra Bernhard.
AP: Yes that is right.
JN: You have a Hallmark movie coming out also. You are playing a music teacher?
AP: Yes, it’s called The Music Teacher where I play a drama-music teacher. It is kind of a female version of Mr. Holland’s Opus. That is what the producer had in mind. It is so lovely. Most of us have had a teacher that changed our lives and that is what it is. I have had several of those in y life so I am very happy to play a role and live that out myself. Through that I can honor them in acknowledging what they gave me.
JN: Do sing in the role?
AP: A little bit.
JN: You did God of Carnage. Do you want to do more Broadway?
AP: I did and I loved it and hope to do more. It is my first love and I will always return to it whenever I can.
JN: I wanted to give a big shout out to Designing Women. The AIDS episode was phenomenal.
AP: It sure was! Our fantastic creator Linda Bloodworth wrote it. Her mother was at the time dying of AIDS. She had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion before the CDC was screening blood for that kind of thing. So it was very personal for her. Around 1988 she managed in a little half hour comedy to make a big correction in the attitude of way that people looked at AIDS and people that had it. It was really extraordinary. We were really proud of that.
JN: With good reason, it was ground breaking.
AP: GCB is like an hour of Designing Women. We are counting on our core audience, which is gay. I believe we are going to give you plenty to enjoy.
JN: It has a good timeslot right after Desperate Housewives.
AP: Yes, that is right. So get the word out.
JN: I will. Are they going to make a Ghostbusters 3?
AP: If they do I am in certainly!
The entire first season is out on DVD on June 12.