Actress Sara Rue - whose television credits include “Popular,” “Less Than Perfect” and “Malibu Country” - recently spoke with Phoenix Movie Examiner about her role in the new romantic comedy “Dorfman in Love.”
In “Dorfman in Love,” which opened Friday, March 22 exclusively at Harkins Shea 14, Rue plays a single suburbanite who volunteers to cat sit at her unrequited love's downtown L.A loft and meets another man who appreciates her thereby prompting her to transforms not only the mess of a loft but also the mess of herself.
Question: Tell me about this character and what she goes through over the course of this movie. How would you describe her in your own words?
Answer: Basically, at the beginning of the movie, she is in mourning for the loss of her mother. She is dealing with her father, who is horribly depressed. And she doesn't really do anything for herself. Then she takes this risk and moves downtown, which is the first thing that she has done that is truly for herself in a very long time. With that move comes this change that reinvigorates her. She has this born-again sort of feeling.
Q: You have a lot of different looks in this movie, though, too. What can you say about the character’s physical transformation?
A: All the sudden she says, “I’m going to get a makeover to become the person that I want to be.” It is not necessarily about a physical change but I think that is something that goes along with the emotional change that a lot of women go through. They want to cut and dye their hair so that the whole world can see this new person that they feel inside. That is what the character goes through over the course the movie.
Q: Can you expand upon the message that the movie is trying to relay?
A: It is a really sweet love story but it is also about this woman finding her voice - figuring out who she is and then sharing that with the world. I think that is the one thing that we all as people have a hard time with. At least I do. Who am I really? What do I really believe in? What is actually important to me? We get so swept up in sort of what the media tells us to care about and all these other influences that we really have to dig down deep and figure out what is it that we as human beings really care about and want for ourselves. When you figure that out, you see who you really are.
Q: That is a very admirable message indeed. But it is not so much about becoming someone else as opposed to embracing who was there all along, right?
A: It is so interesting. The older that we get and the different stages we go through in life, it seems like we become different people. But I think that the truth is you are always the same person. You just discover these new things about yourself. I think that is what this character is doing. It is about self-discovery and embracing that self. It is about finding your voice and embracing that voice.
Q: What is your greatest takeaway from playing this character?
A: I really loved playing this character and hope that people will go out and see the movie. It is based on [screenwriter Wendy Kout’s] life story. She was on set every single day and I was able to draw a lot of the character from her. That was really gift. We made this movie for not a lot of money. The one thing that this movie has is a lot of heart. There is a lot of passion behind the making of this film. I think how much people cared about this movie while we were making it comes across in the film and that is really refreshing.
Q: “Popular” is one of my favorite television series of all time. Can you tell me about your experience working on that show?
A: I think that was the first show that I did that had this young cult following. People who watched it were really passionate about it. And they still are. I think that we were sort of the “Glee” for people who were that age 15 years ago. That was really fun to be a part of something like that. And to go on and get to do “Less Than Perfect” where I was sort of the central character was so much fun. That has such a great ensemble of fabulous actors - from Andy Dick and Sherri Shepherd to Zachary Levi and Patrick Warburton. We are actually all going to “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday for Andy. It is going to be great to see all of those people again. It was such a good experience for me as an actor to not only have the responsibly of this role but also the responsibility of doing a lot of press and promotion. I learned a lot.
Q: Finally, you currently co-star with Reba McEntire and Lily Tomlin in “Malibu Country.” What is is like working with them?
A: Working on “Malibu Country” with Reba McEntire is truly a gift. She is one of the nicest people that I have ever had a the pleasure to be around. She is so professional and always on time and has it together. It really is a joy to be around her. And Lily Tomlin is one of my comedy heroes. So to be able to hang out with her on the set and hear the stories that come out of her mouth - just the little things that she says every once in a while make me laugh. Both she and Reba have been so incredibly supportive. When they hired me, I don't think that they planned on me being pregnant the entire first season. They have been more than loving and welcoming to the baby and to me through my whole pregnancy. It really is a great place to work and I am so thankful for the gig. I hope that people tune in to our season finale [tonight] on ABC. I just feel really lucky to have worked with so many great people.