Continuing my interviews with the cast of the new hit web series PRETTY, today on THE DOUGLAS MICHAEL SHOW, I welcome the lovely and talented Dee Freeman.
Doug: Ms. Dee Freeman is a force of nature. You play Ribina Champagne, mother of pageant contestant Annette in PRETTY. From the first second Ribina appears, it's like a comedy hurricane has swept through the room. Did you base your performance on anybody you know?
Dee: Yes, a part of this character is loosely (very loosely) based on an aunt of mine from Louisiana who owned a bar/restaurant. In a wild neighborhood, my aunt never had a bouncer or bodyguard cause she didn’t need one. It wasn’t because she was a big woman, she wasn’t. People knew her reputation and were afraid to step over that line with her. If her reputation wasn’t enough, she carried a pistol with her everywhere she went.
Doug : Wow, your aunt sounds like a hoot! Did you do any other research?
Dee: I also watched a lot of those reality shows dealing with pageants. There was a lot to pull from there. A lot.
Doug: Ribina is a professional smoker, which is totally hysterical. On set we used those herbal cigarettes. Do you smoke in "real life"?
Dee: I used to smoke but I quit 3 years ago. Just when I was weaning myself from the addiction to the nicotine gum, this role came along. One of my friends asked me if I considered not doing the role because of that. Hell no! Actually…it was harder to quit the nicotine gum than the actual smoking.
Doug: Those fake cigarettes smelled even worse than the real thing. Ribina also tosses around "the F word" pretty freely. Was that hard to do, or did it just come naturally?
Dee: No, it was pretty f----in easy.
Doug: LOL! You've done so many TV comedies, from COACH to a continuing role on THE HUGHLEYS, (one of my mom's favorite shows). Do you have a favorite comedy series?
Dee: Tell your mom she has fabulous taste. But…favorite comedy series? I guess it would depend on when you asked me. My favorite tv show of all time is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. But there’s a show on the air right now that I think is simply BRILLIANT, and that’s MODERN FAMILY. I LOVE it!
Doug : I totally love AB FAB, of course. I think Ribina would fit in nicely with Edina and Patsy! Along the same lines, who are your comedy heroes?
Dee: I’m glad you said heroes as in plural, cause I could never name just one. Whoopi Goldberg is one of my shereos. (no one could have been as brilliant as she was in GHOST. NO ONE!!!) Will Ferrell is hysterical and I think Tina Fey is just genetically inclined to be funny.
Doug: I remember running into Whoopi once on the street in New York back in the 80s. This was before THE COLOR PURPLE. She has the biggest brightest smile in the world. Like Ms. Goldberg, you've done lots of drama too. THE X FILES to DEXTER. Which genre do you prefer, comedy or drama?
Dee: I actually love them equally, but If I were forced to choose between the two (It would be hard. Much like Meryl Streep in SOPHIE'S CHOICE hard) But if forced, I would pick comedy. I love to make people laugh.
Doug: And that you do so very well! You were on an ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL! That is awesome. What
was that all about? Did you play a wise-ass school teacher?
Dee: Actually, I was a wise-ass cop. I was able to use my strength from my background as a Marine in this role. Oorah!
Doug: I think you are the first Marine I ever met. The Few. The Proud. The Pretty!!! So after PRETTY, what's next for Dee?
Dee: Well…I just finished filming a TV show called SVETLANA, which will be airing the beginning of this year. I’m scheduled to start a film sometime mid March/early April called WAY OF SEEING. I’m also performing in another play this summer (an original production written by a friend of mine). And…I’m writing two projects. I got the idea for a travel show a while back and hopefully I’ll be pitching that this year. Also…No one has really told the women Marines story. When people comment on the Marine Corps to me they’ll say…”Oh! We loved PRIVATE BENJAMIN”, or “Did it bother you to cut all your hair off?” We seem to be the service people know very little about. I’d like to change that.
Doug: That could be really interesting, especially if you base it on your real experiences-but inject your sense of humor. Best of luck with all these projects. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. Looking forward to seeing more Dee Freeman!
Dee: Thank you! And everybody keep watching PRETTY!