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Jane Bingum, April Bowlby, and Josh Bermanby Pattye Grippo    

Drop Dead Diva

This is a transcript of an interview with Brooke Elliott, April Bowlby, and Josh Berman on May 24, 2012 about the show Drop Dead Diva.

Question:
Could Brooke talk about a little bit where Jane's feelings lie for Grayson this season?

Brooke Elliott:
That's so confusing for Jane. Her love life is going to be such a rollercoaster this season. I'm actually really excited to hear what the fans think about it. She's with Owen. We left her at the end of season three going off to Italy with Owen and that relationship does blossom and move forward. And yet there's Grayson and he kind of keeps popping in every once in a while. And Grayson's feelings actually start to change a little bit. He starts to entice Jane and while Jane doesn't really see that at first, she obviously always notices Grayson. But, it's torn. She's always torn because she really does love Owen but Grayson's kind of always in the back of her heart, if that makes any sense.

Question:
Josh, what kind of dynamic does having Lex on the show now bring to the cast?

Josh Berman:
Lex Medlin is just such a wonderful person and a phenomenal actor. So, whenever you're lucky enough to get someone like that onto an ensemble, especially an ensemble that's so cohesive like ours, it's really wonderful. And as a writer, you want to write to that. You know, originally we brought Lex in for just a couple of episodes and I think we all fell in love with him and then made him a series regular this year. And, he has allowed us to take Jane's character in another direction. I think the Jane of season one probably wouldn't have seen herself. But I don't think she would have seen herself falling in love with anybody else, let alone Owen because she is Deb and she was so in love with Grayson. And the fact that after three years, her character has grown so much that she opened her heart to love somebody other than Grayson has been a joy to write but, also messy, which as a writer and as an actor it's kind of a fun place to be.

Brooke Elliott:
Deb in Jane's body had such a close-minded view of life and how it was supposed to be lived. And when she got into Jane's body and was shown a whole different world and was confronted by so many different things. She really ended up finding all the beauty and the joy of being in this other life and it has opened her mind to look at other people other than Grayson and I think that's great and I love that Jane has grown like that.

Question:
What do you continue to enjoy the most about working on the show?

Josh Berman:
What I enjoy is that these characters continue to get richer and more complex. I think with each passing season, I'm allowed to take characters in new and more exciting directions. You start off with just in a pilot you have one hour to tell the story of so many people that you just can't go - you can't dig very deep. And now after three seasons we can not only get to know these characters well but we take them in new directions. I think April's character, Stacy, is a great case in point for three season the characters thought that the ultimate success in life was to be an actress and a model. But after three years, she's realized that there's a lot more to life than being the pretty face. And I am just so excited to tell her story which is this season, Stacy's character uses her brains to achieve a new level of success and starting her own business. And telling that kind of story is what makes a show in its fourth season so rewarding. It's something you never could've even anticipated, just after the first season or after the pilot.

Brooke Elliott:
I continue to enjoy the blend of Deb and Jane. It is Deb's soul in Jane's body so there's no soul fighting going one and it is always Deb's perspective. But as she grows and changes and really is in Jane's life and so essentially is Jane, I love finding that mixture and I love finding the little quirks and things like that. You know, the script analysis part of this show has always been one of my favorite parts and it remains so.

Question:
Other than a Kardashian this season are we looking for any other quest stars?

Josh Berman:
Yes, absolutely. We have so many great actors of this show and Emmy Magazine has actually singled us out as one of the great shows for guest stars to work. On the traditional actor side, I think we've had six Academy Award nominees; we've had over 20 Emmy nominees, 15 Global Globe nominees, countless Screen Actors Guild nominees. But on top of that, we also love to get people from pop culture, from reality. Jim Gunn's been on our show, Patti Stanger, Nancy Grace, this season Kim Kardashian. Also this season, Serena Williams, who is a huge fan of the show and we saw her tweeting about the show and based on her love of Drop Dead Diva, we contacted her and invited her to come onto the show. Joan Rivers, who I'm a big fan of, has a multiple episode appearance on the show. Brandy returns. We bring Patty Duke on. So I think we continue to bring in a great host of guest stars that just kind of add to the fun of the show.

Question:
I wanted to actually ask April about the Kardashian experience?

April Bowlby:
Yes, I had a great experience with Kim. You kind of already have in your mind what it might be but it was anything but. She came, she was really serious, she had her acting coach, she wanted to do a good job, she showed up on time, she knew her lines. She's beautiful. I couldn't stop looking at her face and I would always watch her makeup artist. Yes, I would watch her makeup artist and then ask, what is he doing to her. Why does she look so glowy? She was really great and I think she had a really good time and she's a lovely businesswoman and it was a real pleasure to work with her.

Question:
And since I did know that you created a pie cake, a pake, were you actually eating a real pake? Did you guys actually create one?

April Bowlby:
We didn't. I can't take credit for that but our beautiful props, they connected with someone who created this pake and they're really, really delicious. I had a pecan pake and it was like the butteriest, we ate a lot. We ate a lot.

Apparently there's already a bakery that is selling pakes in Georgia and they didn't get permission so I'm not sure what Sony's going to do about it. But apparently Sony has trademarked the pake and People magazine apparently is doing a little piece on the pakery and I just think it's great. I just love the fact that of all the characters on the show, it's Stacy who creates a business sensation.

Question:
Josh, what vision do you want to bring from your imagination to the screen this season?

Josh Berman:
I's funny you say from my imagination because by season four I feel that my actors are talking to me in my head all the time. I hear Jane's voice, I hear Stacy's voice as I'm writing so it's so much nicer than when you're looking at a blank page in season one and still trying to figure it out. And I think what this season is all about for all of our characters is growth and confidence. For Jane, she really grows emotionally and I think Brooke could speak to this as well too but she makes some very clear decisions about her romantic life that propelled the character forward. And of course, like any good drama, two steps forward, one step back and she may be questioning her decisions as well but there's a real emotional maturity that comes to Deb when she realizes she's moving on. She's leaving behind some of her preconceived notions of what her life may have been but she's finding just as much joy in what her life is becoming.

In term of Stacy's growth is she's let go of her dream of becoming an actress and a model and she is pursing the dream of being a business woman, which wasn't even a dream she knew she had. And she's discovering that yes, she is blonde, she could be a model, she is gorgeous but the truth is she's finding more satisfaction in using her brain and hard work to see results. And right now coming off of such a bad recession in our country where so many people lost their job and so many people are reinventing themselves. For me it's really fun to use Stacy as the character who reinvents herself economically on the show.

Question:
Now that season four has kicked underway, what elements of your characters have you taken on yourselves as your own new readapted trait?

April Bowlby:
Stacy gets a haircut so, I'll be taking that trait on personally. I got my short hair now.

Question:
What fears did you encounter or overcome upon beginning this season, besides the hair thing?

April Bowlby:
I think the way we shoot, we shoot five months out of the year and when we come together, we're very bonded and we're much a family and then you kind of disperse and then you forget about your family. And I think it's always a little nerve wrecking to come back from such a long hiatus and then reacquaint yourself and then there can I remember how to play this character and then you get the scripts and you see all the changes and sometimes you agree with them and sometimes you don't. And it's like how do I play this because I don't understand it. And then I think that kind of, like, gearing up and you kind of oil the wheels and then once you pass the first episode then everything kind of flows and each week it unfolds for us. Because we don't get the script super far in advance so, I think overcoming that, like, kind of is where is the character going is something that we have to do, which is also fun. And I think we do it really well.

Brooke Elliott:
The biggest fear that I have about coming back to Diva ever is the allergies. The allergies are so terrible down here that they make things just that much harder. So when you are shooting very intensely they're tough down here. Georgia has some tough allergies. So it's the fear of the migraines and the fear of the stuffed up heads and things like that. But, it sounds crazy but that is actually my fear as I head back in to Diva every year.

Josh Berman:
I think the actors have a more specific schedule than I do. For me, Drop Dead Diva seems more seamless. It feels like just as I finished one season I feel like I'm starting on the next so, it's a much more seamless journey for me. So, my only fears and insecurities is I want every season to be better than the one before. And so that's kind of where I'm coming from each year is how do we better ourselves. Each season I get 13 hours to try and tell the best stories I can and I want to make sure I'm not letting anyone down.

Question:
Has there been a storyline that you've wanted to include in the show but it didn't happen for whatever reason and could you maybe tell us what that reason was?

Josh Berman:
I would say that I am still pretty lucky that in the first season there was a lot more pressure on me not to tell certain stories. And if I can answer it this way by saying I pitched something for the very first episode of Drop Dead Diva that I was not allowed to do until this year on the show. This season, episode four is based on a true story in which a reality show, it's like a makeover show and it was a true story in LA where a woman was promised a complete makeover.

And the producers spent months with her and put her on videotape and were going to transform her into a ???beautiful person??? and the day before the first surgery, the producer called her up and told her she was too ugly and they couldn't fix her and the woman committed suicide. And I really wanted to expose that side of reality television and also kind of deconstruct the beauty myth and what I can do to people. And it is kind of a messy subject matter and it's not something that I think a lot of TV shows would delve into. But, this season, I really pushed for it. So, four years later we actually shot an episode that is really meaningful and poignant and I think only in success would a show be able to tell that story.

Question:
Stacy is such a fun character and I absolutely love her. When we left in season three we saw Grayson kiss her and I'm just wondering what happens when we come back in season four between Stacy and Fred and how the show's handling Bed Feldman/Fred's departure.

April Bowlby:
There's a lot that happens in season four, episode one with my storyline. A lot is covered and Ben Feldman and I have it out. There's a lot. I don't even know how to answer the question because you will be surprised how it works out and miss him a lot.

Josh Berman:
I would say that the whole Stacy/Fred relationship has been building to the season premiere and in every way the relationship comes to a head. And if you are a Stacy/Fred fan, you don't want to miss this episode. It's the first time that I've ever seen an editor get emotional while showing me a cut, while watching a scene between Fred and Stacy. There's a lot of times where relationships that don't honor the viewers. But, in this case, we really, really honor the people that have been invested in that relationship.

Question:
What about the relationship between Brooke and April's characters after the fact that Grayson kissed Stacy?

Brooke Elliott:
That's a little tricky for a little while. It's a little rocky. I'm going to say there's some pretty gnarly fight scenes in the first couple of episodes but, like all good girlfriends, we kind of smooth it out and figure out a way to smooth it out. But the first episode is really intense, there's a lot that happens.

Question:
In three words or less, describe working with Kim Kardashian?

April Bowlby:
Glowy and really sweet and just a good sport.

Josh Berman:
Professional, appreciative and surprising.

Question:
Have you ever considered Wendy Williams to guest star?

Josh Berman:
Wendy Williams has already been on our show. Wendy Williams has an open invitation to come back. We loved her on the show. You know, it's really tough getting with her schedule more than anybody but, the good news is she had such a good time and Brooke Elliott's actually going on to her show.

Question:
The whole guardian angel rules, I'm sure you've been asked before but how does it exactly work that Stacy is allowed to know about her past but nobody else really is. Why is that?

Josh Berman:
It was in the problem where when Jane realizes how smart she is, she actually outsmarts Fred in a walk and talk at Harrison and Parker and Fred at a loss for words is able to kind of give Jane a free pass with Stacy as long as no one else finds out. So, that's kind of how we do that.

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