FX is having a blast with its new series ANGER MANAGEMENT with Charlie Sheen. There is a great cast that includes the lovely Noureen DeWulf! With a great body of work under her belt (no pun intended) she has also been voted one of Maxim’s Hottest 100. It was great to have the opportunity to talk with Noureen about her career and role in ANGER MANAGEMENT.
Hi Noreen, thanks so much for talking with us today.
Absolutely, it’s my pleasure.
Lacey is a pretty over the top and crazy character in this comedy and you’ve said you have nothing in common with her and you’ve never shot anybody. How do you relate to her and make the character real?
Well, a lot of sitcom is the jokes. So I try to keep a balance between hitting the joke and keeping her grounded. It’s a precarious balance but it’s a sitcom format. So that’s what I do.
The anger discussion group – how are you enjoying working with the rest of the cast as a group?
I adore every single member of our group therapy. Barry Corbin and I eat lunch together everyday. It’s such an unusual pairing. Actually, in this week’s episode coming up we have a solo scene together which I think turned out pretty well. I love him. Derek (Richardson) and Michael (Boatman), I just couldn’t say nicer things about them. Then, of course, Charlie (Sheen) leading our group. It’s amazing because he is such a sitcom legend. So we all look at each other and just feel like, wow. You know, we’re working with Charlie Sheen! That’s really cool for actors in a sitcom world. So we’re excited. I personally just adore our group. I feel the closest to them of our cast, I feel, because I spend the most time with these guys. I love them!
Did you have any hesitation working with Charlie because of the press?
Yes, because you never know what you’re walking onto. Charlie did have an amazing crazy last year with so much media attention. But when there are a discussion of Charlie Sheen and coming back to TV, I knew that Charlie, of all people, probably had the best odds of making a come back and a successful one. I wanted to be involved in his comeback on any level. It’s an honor. I was excited because no matter what he’s an eccentric guy. He’s interesting. I knew it was going to be an awesome experience for me to have personally and professionally. I think it turned out for the best. Our premier episode opened, it debuted higher than any other cable premier ever had. So that’s the risk I took and it was an amazing one. I’m so glad I jumped on board with him.
Do you rehearse a lot or what is the process for the show?
We don’t really rehearse that much on our show. We shoot at such a rapid pace that we pretty much shoot the rehearsal. I mean there is no rehearsal, essentially. We just shoot. So everyone is just kind of being very instinctual. I think it works that way because of how they cast the show. The actors have kind of shown that these characters exist inside them. They’ve played similar things before or they’re characters that we can all live with. We kind of just run with it.
Do you follow a script?
We do follow a script. It’s just we don’t follow the traditional sitcom format of shooting. Typically, you would get the table read on Monday and then you would rehearse Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday shoot in front of a live audience. On our show we shoot on episode on Monday and Tuesday. We have a table read on Wednesday and we shoot the next episode on Thursday and Friday. So we’re working twice as fast and we don’t have a live studio audience. So it does provide an interesting, not dilemma, but it does provide a challenge, I think, to all of us actors. Because you know we do want to tell and nail these jokes at the same time. There’s a certain kind of confidence that it does build in you and freshness and that I think is pretty unique. So we all try to focus on that and just give it our all everyday that’s what we have to do.
Sounds like work and a lot of fun.
It’s a blast. Working with Charlie is amazing. You can’t ask to work with a more interesting person honestly.
And you will be doing a film with Paul Rudd?
Yes. It stars Paul and Amy Poehler. It’s directed by David Wain who is responsible for CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. I play Paul’s secretary. It’s very similar to the role that I played in GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST with Matthew McConaughey but this time I’m speaking in that role. The movie is kind of a spoof of romantic comedies. So it’s interesting. I’m playing a character by the name Melanie. I actually already shot it. I went to New York and shot it in our earlier part of the hiatus. It will be out in 2013.
Do you enjoy TV, movies or both?
I enjoy both, honestly it was really fun. You forget how fun it is. With Paul I just can’t say nicer things about him. He’s so hilarious and lovely. Watching him and Michael Ian Black improv – I felt like I was learning. I felt like I was just around the best of the best. I just was kind of blown away by how amazing they are at it and it was fun to kind of tag along and just add when I could. I love working on movies because of that, and especially in comedies where we can improv and stuff. TV is amazing too and this is my first time as a series regular even though I’ve worked for so long. I’ve never really been on a regular show. It’s awesome to me because every Thursday night I get to watch at least a couple of jokes that I’m doing or something that I didn’t. That’s awesome for me as an actor to have that. Oh and be able to say I’m on the show, that’s pretty cool to be in people’s homes. I think that’s a nice thing.
Going from film to television, does it help your acting?
Yes, definitely. I love to go back and forth because there are such different mediums that it’s fun to remind yourself how to be more thorough, how to be less thorough, how to punch a joke, how not to. Usually, I’m going back and forth in comedic television and comedies. Honestly, that’s really what I do. I learned from Charlie Sheen, Paul Rudd and I feel like every acting job I’ve gotten there has been someone legendary. I don’t know why. I’m so lucky to stand in the scenes with them. I’ve learned so much from my costars. They’re better acting lessons than I ever could take in a class in L.A.
You are ready to sign up for 90 episodes?
I hope so. The fact that they said they’re not going to tell us until all the episodes have aired. They said that along the way. We’re all hoping and our fingers and toes are crossed that we will get picked up and have a chance to kind of come back and do more, I’m excited about the possibility.
Is there a possibility of a storyline for you outside the therapy setting?
Actually, in an upcoming episode I have two scenes outside out group therapy setting. One with Barry Corbin and one with Charlie. Those are dealing with my road rage issues. So I think that’ll be my kind of experience, at Lacey’s first experience out of the house. It still has to do with fixing her issues but that’ll be the first time I get out of the house. I look forward to having more scenes in the future. Maybe even in a bar or outside the house more.
You are from India correct?
Is your heritage an issue or do you find it easier to get more roles now?
When I first started in 2003, I felt like I was maybe one of five people. I’ve worked hard to get out of the box, out of the roles that are completely defined by my ethnicity. I don’t want every line to be about the fact that my heritage is Indian or every joke to be about my race. So at the beginning of my career, I did have some of those. I played a foreign exchange student, but as the years have gone by I’ve made a conscience effort to get out of that and really fight for the roles that are not ethnic specific. Lacey for example, or my character in THE GOODS with Jeremy Piven. In a lot of films that I’ve been in having nothing to do with my race, that’s really important to me. I think the more the better. The more diversity that we have in our cinemas is positive for everybody. It represents the true diversity of our country. I think that’s how film and television should be. We should have some ethnic diversity in the cast. My personal goal has always been to test against other actors that are not – I don’t like to go into an audition and only see other Indian actresses. I much more want the roles that are not designed that way. That way I can serve my own self better and serve people who look like me better by not making everything focus on my race.
Did you find that easy and people understood you?
Well, I think once I started to kind of do good work and playing some of the more stereotypical roles and kind of get some notoriety a little bit like that, I did a movie called AMERICAN DREAMS with Hugh Grant. I played a comedic role in that. It was a Persian role and I was part of a Persian family. I played the daughter. I did WEST BANK STORY and played the character Fatima who was Palestinian. I kind of hopped around different ethnicities but yes, the ethnicity was important. Then I think that after I did maybe five or six kind of bigger projects and I started to get called in for more mainstream roles and more pilots. So, for me, it was kind of a process. I established myself as a good actress and then seen as well as fought to read for mainstream roles.
So, what gets you angry in real life?
Well gosh, I don’t know what I can say to that because there’s specific things that do, obviously make me angry. Probably things I’ve been warned not to talk about like politics and religion.
So then what makes you happy is obviously watching your husband win a medal in hockey at the Olympics since you were tweeting about it right?
Yes, honestly, I cry every time I see somebody medal in the Olympics. I generally do. It’s crazy. I’ve watched the sport. I have no idea anything about handball and all of these obscure sports, mental biking or whatever that biking is when they keep turning around and looking back. I just think it’s such an amazing honor to be the best in the world at something or one of the three or four best in the world. For me, I was just dating my husband at the time, Ryan Miller. I watched him play and he said, “You know I’m going to be in the Olympics.” So he would call me every day. I went up and surprised him at the gold medal game. I didn’t tell him I was there until after because I was actually working here in LA and I didn’t think I would be able to go. It was amazing and on my birthday! I can’t describe it but I was just touched. It’s amazing to see somebody work from the time that they are three to the time that they’re 30 or I think he was 29. But he worked for so many years to get to the point where he’s at and then they gave him the medal. He was disappointed it was silver, but I think it’s team sports and they do everything they can.
What part of Georgia are you from?
I’m from Stone Mountain, Georgia actually. It’s near Atlanta. It’s home of the largest freestanding piece of granite in the country.
That’s a nice place to call home! Thanks Noureen for talking with us today about ANGER MANAGEMENT, working with Charlie Sheen and everything in between! ANGER MANAGEMENT is on FX on Thursday’s at 9:30 p.m.