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COUGAR TOWN’s Busy Philipps on being a troublemaker

by Jim on September 29, 2009 · 0 comments

Courteney Cox and Busy Phillips in COUGAR TOWN

Courteney Cox and Busy Phillips in COUGAR TOWN

You might know her from Dawson’s Creek or ER or Freaks and Geeks or from the motion picture White Chicks but Busy Philipps can currently be found every Wednesday night playing Laurie in Cougar Town, the new ABC sitcom starring Courteney Cox. Ratings were very strong for the Cougar Town premiere last week and ABC hopes viewers will continue to show up for the humorous look at single life post-40. Phillips took time out to talk about the show, her own thoughts on cougars and what project gets her recognized more than anything else.

Jim Halterman:  Tell me how the show came about and the role of Laurie.

Busy Philipps:  The show is from Bill Lawrence, who was the executive producer of Scrubs and Courteney Cox stars as a newly divorced woman in her 40s who is trying to get back out there and she meets some young guys and starts having fun! Laurie is one of Jules’ best friends and her assistant and she’s in her late 20s and she really wants to encourage Jules to get out there and have fun and meet young guys and party it up. Laurie is very encouraging of Jules and pushing her in that direction and getting her into a little bit of trouble.

JH:  So Laurie is kind of a troublemaker, huh?

BP: She is kind of the troublemaker and it’s totally fun to play, are you kidding me? You always want to be the bitchy girl or the troublemaker. It’s a fun job.

Philipps as Laurie in COUGAR TOWN

Philipps as Laurie in COUGAR TOWN

JH:  Do we see Laurie getting into any relationships in Cougar Town?

BP:  She has an on-again/off-again boyfriend named Dale who Jules can’t stand and Laurie’s relationship with Dale continues over the next several episodes. Dale is sort of ditching her and Jules has to pick her up from different places. We actually don’t ever get to see Dale, we just hear about him, which is kind of funny. Maybe at some point we’ll get to meet Dale but I kind of hope not. I hope he remains a mystery.

JH:  From what I’ve seen, cougars get a bad rap out in the world and on the show. What are your thoughts on that?

BP:  Yeah, I think so, too. I think it’s an empowering thing for women to find themselves single, in their 40s and newly divorced. The men around them are certainly able to live it up without much judgment and they should be able to live it up a little bit, too. I do think they get a bad rap but there are cougars as played by Courteney Cox and then Carolyn Hennesy, who plays Barb, the other real estate agent and she’s a lecherous older women who is just trying to get some so there is that side, too.

JH:  Do you think people need to be close to the same age to be in love and in a relationship?

BP:  I don’t think so. My husband is eight years older than me and for us that age difference really works. I know Courteney’s husband, David, is a couple of years younger than she is. I think it all depends on who you connect with. That sounds so lame but it’s true and you never know who you’re going to meet who is a couple of years younger or older but, I don’t know, people just need to be open to it wherever they found love.

JH:  I know the show just premiered but what has fan response been so far?

BP:  We haven’t heard too much yet but I have had people come up to me at Starbucks so that’s my experience so far but it’s been really nice. People seem to love it, think it’s really funny, love Courteney and love Laurie so I’m excited.

Busy Philipps and Christa Miller

Busy Philipps and Christa Miller

JH:  You’re known mostly from your on-screen work but you also received co-story credit for the Will Ferrell film Blades of Glory. Is that something you’re also interested in doing more of?

BP:  Yeah, I am. I’m working on a new screenplay with a friend of mine and it’s something that I’ve always loved doing. It’s hard work and I don’t think everyone can write [laughs] but I hate when my fellow actors say ‘How hard can it be to write a script?’ It’s really hard! It’s really hard for me and my husband is a professional screenwriter and I don’t want to ever take away from what he does because there’s no way he would be able to go to work and do what I do. [laughs] But, you know, I love writing and I am actually interested in producing and I could see myself getting into directing a little bit more. It’s a common ambition especially for television actors as they get older.

JH:  You have a one-year old daughter. Did becoming a mother give you a different perspective on life and your career?

BP:  Yeah, somewhat. I’ve read quotes before from actresses who say ‘Once I have my baby, it all falls away. Nothing is as important as my child.’ I think that’s a little false. I think if that is true then you’re putting way too much on your kid. Birdie is amazing and such an incredible child and I’m having such a great time being a mom but I still want to have a career and I still look forward to auditions and parts and when I don’t get them I’m disappointed. But I’m very lucky because for the first year of her life I was able to stay home with her by choice and then I did the pilot for Cougar Town and the show got picked up. I went back to work when she turned a year old so I feel like I had the best of both worlds. I was a stay-at-home Mom for the first year and now I’m back to work.

JH:  What do you recognized for the most?

BP:  It depends on who is doing the recognizing. A lot of people recognize me from White Chicks. People love that movie. It kind of got panned at the time critically but I’m telling you the fans…people love it so I get recognized for that a lot. I also get a lot of Freaks and Geeks now because that show was 10 years ago but because of Judd [Apatow], Seth Rogen and [Jason] Segel has done so well and, of course, James {Franco]. People have really gotten into that show so I really get a lot of recognition for that, too.

Cougar Town airs Wednesday nights at 9:30/8:30c on ABC.

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