D: Continuing my series of interviews with the cast of the new hit webseries PRETTY. Today's guests is Stacy McQueen! I met Stacy almost 10 years ago and she never fails to make me smile.
Stacy : Awww! Right back atcha.
D: In PRETTY you're playing five-year-old Annette Champagne. How did that come about?
S: Steve Silverman tells me he wrote something and sends me a script. Says there's a part in it for me but doesn't really tell me more than that. I opened the document and laughed like a loon from beginning to end. He called me fifteen minutes after sending just to make sure I got it and I screamed "IT'S BRILLIANT!" He was stunned. "No notes?" I said "NOT A ONE!" We both went WOO HOO. All I wanted to know is when we were shooting it. I pretty much knew I was playing Annette because I've played a character named Annette two other times for Steve. One was an insane stalker type and another incarnation was in the show The King & I Know What You Did Last Summer. I played a five year old Asian (possibly retarded) baton twirler. In that show, the part of Annette was very small. But Steve and I milked it for all it was worth and I ended up getting some big ol' laughs. I think it was always in the back of his head to give Annette another shot.
D: I was a big fan of The King & I Know What You Did Last Summer and your Asian Annette was priceless. Is your performance of non-Asian Annette based on anyone you know in real life?
D: What kind of research did you do for this role?
S: None. D: Who are your comedy heroes?
S: The tired, lame-o answer is no one on the planet compares to Lucille Ball in I LOVE LUCY. That's just a fact. She's my hero not only because sixty years later that show still makes me laugh but because she didn't start it until she was 42. (Not that I'M 42.. and hey 42 is YOUNG! I'M JUST SAYING).
D: Is that true? I need to check my Lucy facts. I'm more of a HERE'S LUCY/MAME/STONE PILLOW kind of Lucy fan myself. Who else do you love?
S: I love Saunders & French. I adore Amy Sedaris.
D: Me too! Amy is a genius.
S: Yes, although her book almost destroyed me because I had been doing my craft act for like four years and after that book people would say "oh, like Amy Sedaris". Little Stacy had to learn the cold hard facts that nothing is original, no matter what you do, someone, somewhere is doing it as well. And it's just a matter of who's gonna get known for it first. Like the theory of evolution. I am the Wallace to her Darwin. But also because of Amy, I learned the wonderful truth, THERE'S ENOUGH ROOM FOR EVERYONE.
D: Any funny men?
S: Men? I grew up listening to Steve Martin's album over and over and over. Listen to him read his book BORN STANDING UP. Brilliant.
D: I had his albums and George Carlin's Class Clown. Loved them. Earlier in your career you were a cast member of GENERAL HOSPITAL. What can tell us about that experience?
S: I auditioned and screen tested for the role of Jenny. It was between me and a gal named Cheryl Richardson. We hit it off in the waiting room and I told her (and I really meant it) "Well, if I don't get this, I'm going to be happy you got it." She did get it and I was truly happy. I got a call a week later from the wonderful Mark Teshner saying they really liked me and would I like to come on as a candystriper? My manager was like ABSOLUTELY NOT. He pointed out that it was only a three day gig and we should hold out for something bigger. But I was new in town and I LOVED that I didn't have to audition for it. That's how I got the role of candystriper Sheila Cantillion. The three days turned into four, then a week, then a few months and then they offered me a two year contract.
D: Wow - that's like being discovered in Schwabs! What where the Port Charles folks like?
S: Everyone was petrified of late, great Gloria Monty but I really liked her and she really liked me. She always paid extra attention to me and once told me she was grooming me to be the next big thing on the show. Thanks Gloria! But this was during that weird alternate reality time on GH when the wonderful Tony (Luke) Geary came back as some guy named Bill, just a working class Joe. Because we all know what soap fans want is to watch a world that's JUST LIKE THEIRS. Anyway, there was very little glamor and it was all about working and not getting paid. All the ones that had been there forever were really wonderful to work with. Except one. Let's call her "Ms. Soap Diva". She was mean on and off camera. I was so young and still in that place where I wanted everyone to LIKE ME! (Now I don't give a flip) I liked being on the show the most when I got to be funny.
D: Damn - I wish I could see an episode with you!!!
What kind of storylines did you have?
S: I had a story line for awhile that Bill's cousin and I were always trying to find a place to make out but no matter where we'd end up, we'd always get caught. One time we even ended up in an underground tunnel. (Artie Johnson discovered us!!!) THEN Gloria Monty got fired. Everyone I worked with were getting fired left and right. My story line was growing (Elizabeth Berkley auditioned for my sister!) and we were at a part where I had an abusive father that came back to Port Charles and I got to do this kick ass crying scene.
D: Holy shit! I so need to see that!!!
S: When the scene was over, the whole crew applauded, and the producer stopped by later and told that head honchos in New York had called and were really impressed. Everyone talked about how this story line was going to MAKE MY CHARACTER ON THE SHOW.
S: I WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD! And then... it was completely and utterly dropped. The new producer took hold of the show had different ideas. So there never was any mention of it again. My boyfriend, father and sister were fired, and I would go to work, hand Dr. Quartermaine a clip board and go home. I joked about being the highest paid extra in television.
D: Daytime TV. One day you're almost on top, then...
S: It was around that time that I met Steve Silverman. He wrote a fan letter to the show that was hilarious. We had it posted in the make up room for awhile and then one day this guy shows up and is like "I wrote that note and now I'm working here!" I backed away real slow like, nodding and thinking "Okay, CREEEEPPPYYYY." But he and I hit it off. He'd bring me my mail and we'd yuk it up in my dressing room. We've been friends ever since. When my two year contract was coming to a close, I started packing my dressing room, I figured they weren't going to renew it (nice positive thinking on my part huh?). I was kinda done with that experience anyway.
D: Is there any chance that GH will have you back now that you're on you way to becoming a superstar?
S: I'd go back in a heartbeat if I could play a SUPER VILLAIN! Or a SUPER KOOK!
D: I'd love to see either of those. Maybe candystriper Sheila Cantillion flipped out and returns to Port Charles as an nutjob with a criminal mind!!! You've also been on CRIMINAL MINDS. What was that like?
S: Short answer? GREAT! But what happened is this: my oh so talented and pretty friend Gina Garcia Sharp was casting on it and one day she calls me and say "Hey, there's something I think you'd be good for, wanna audition?" Of course I said yes. It was the wife of a poisoner. I was excited because I am truly fascinated by poisoners! I get the script and I immediately knew that this role... the whole scene in fact was going to be cut.
D: They always cut the poisoner's wife!
S: Well, IF I were a writer/producer, I'd cut that scene too because it doesn't take the story further in any way. I told my friend Gina this and she said come in and audition anyway. I got cast and then Gina called the next day saying "They cut the role." I wasn't disappointed because I thought it was a good call. Then she called me a few days later when I was running errands and says "Hey, they put the role back in can you be here by 3 for a table read?" I had to go straight there and lemme tell you I looked a fright. Got to shoot the scene the following week with Mandy Pantinkin and Shemar Moore (love love love them both, both deliciously kooky) and then two days later Gina tells me they cut the scene but not to worry, they would bring me back for another role....someday. I was dang happy, because not only did I get to cash a check but I hoped they'd feel sooooo bad about cutting me, they'd bring me in for an EVEN BETTER ROLE!
D: Did they?
S: When they finally did bring me back to audition for a role of a neighbor, I did it like I was auditioning for 30 ROCK and blew chunks. That was also the day I realized I have absolutely no interest in playing it straight. But I love me some Scott David. Not because he's in casting but because he's cool and if tomorrow they needed a funny victim, I am so there for him.
D: So when you are not playing a five-year-old what are you doing?
S: Well, for a while now I've been goofing on crafts as the THE CRAFT WHORE. Started off as a stand up thing and then after Oxygen offered me not once but TWICE a webseries only to have them mysteriously change their minds, I realized I can create my own web series! I've made many videos. Check them out!
D: You certainly are crafty!
S: Oh and I make GRUMPS. They are candy colored creatures made from recycled sweaters that have big frowny faces. Their tag line is: WE MAY BE CUTE BUT WE DON'T HAVE TO BE HAPPY ABOUT IT.
D: I love Grumps! I've purchased a few over the years. They are the perfect gift for someone who has everything else. So, after PRETTY, what's next for Ms. McQueen?
S: I am concentrating on getting my new webseries/blog MCQUEENDOM up. I want to learn to sew my own dresses and speak Italian.
D: I wanna learn those things too. Well maybe not dresses, but I'd like to be able to mend stuff. But the Italian thing is a lifelong goal. Until then, we have "Translator". Ringraziamenti per richiedere tempo chiacchierare con me. (Thanks for taking time to chat with me.) Where can readers buy Grumps?
S: Well, first let me say that mother lives in a small trailer in George West Texas and her dog just got run over by a truck (this is her 4th dog to die in this manner). She's got walking pnemonia and on her way to Beeville to get some medicine SHE ran over a puppy.
D: Jesus! Poor thing...the pup! And poor Mom too.
S: Last year her VW van blew up with her in it, she got out but the van was completely destroyed. Needless to say this woman needs to get away.
D: Really - if QUEEN FOR A DAY was still on, she'd be a perfect contestant!
S: She has always wanted to go to Ireland and I'm so hoping that I can sell enough Grumps to take her and I for our birthdays in 2011. So I will be launching a huge Grump campaign and putting them on ETSY. If you'd like to see her and where/how she lives, go to youtube and put in CRAFT AND A COCKTAIL TEXAS STYLE! And then please help me to make her dream come true. www.etsy.com/grumpsville
D: From West Texas to Dublin..now that's a dream! Put me down for a few more Grumps.
S: Thanks Doug for this wonderful little chat. And STAY PRETTY!