Interview 29

(2002)

Carey's Cross-Dressing Comedy!

Richard Chamberlain has worn many different get-ups in his career. He dressed as a priest in "The Thorn Birds," wore tights and a sword in "The Three Musketeers," and, of course, scrubs in "Dr. Kildare."

Still, with all the varied roles, his "The Drew Carey Show" appearance is the first time the famed actor's gone femme! He explains below just why he's playing a cross-dresser!

ET: Have you gotten into wardrobe yet? Describe what you are going to wear.

RC: Well, I have a wild, semi-black wig, a lot of make-up, plus a very full body, if you know what I am referring to! The costume is also wild. It's black and white with a red flower.

ET: What are your feelings on this?

RC: Well, the first day it felt really weird. It really shakes you up on a deep unconscious level, because there are a lot of no-nos. Men do not wear bras, for instance. But after the first day, it was all just another character.

ET: You are rather well-endowed, I understand.

RC: Quite well-endowed when the costume department gets through with me!

ET: How does it feel to get in touch with your feminine side?

RC: Quite interesting. My character is very funny and very witty. She makes people laugh.

ET: Your character is not a cross-dresser or a transsexual, though.

RC: No. She is a woman. She's Mr. Wick's mother.

ET: Why did you decide to play the character?

RC: Because I like to laugh. There is almost nothing more wonderful for an actor to do than to make people laugh.

ET: Are you buddies with Drew?

RC: No, we hadn't met. They wanted a man to play this part, and my agent found out about it. He knew I had this other project in mind for a woman character, and so he said, "What about Richard?" And Drew said, "OK!" So this is a kind of a debut for me.

ET: Is her name Mrs. Wick?

RC: No. She has another name -Daphne Papaya.

ET: From Hawaii?

RC: Well, she is originally from England.

ET: Are there any cross-dressing role models that you have in mind?

RC: No. An awful lot of actors have done it, but a lot of actors do it differently. I am trying to find my own take on this character. I don't know quite how she is going to turn out.

ET: Is this your first sitcom?

RC: I have never done a sitcom before. I have always been very intrigued by the four cameras and the whole scheduling of it. This bunch of people -Drew and everybody- is so wonderful, like a big family. They come together every week and do this funny show. It seems like a good life to me.

ET: You're a dramatic actor and these people are a bunch of improv comedians. Have you been able to fit in?

RC: Sort of. They have been very generous to me, and they know I'm a novice at this, so they've been patient. I admire anyone who can do standup or improv.

ET: Is your character going to hit on Drew at all?

RC: Sort of, yes.

ET: She does? What is it about Drew that Mrs. Wick finds appealing?

RC: Well, she has an ulterior motive in that she wants Drew to come back to the store and help out Nigel, who is failing fast.

ET: Is this a one-shot gig or is there a possible story arc here?

RC: I think if she gets a lot of laughs, they might invite me back, I don't know. I hadn't even thought about it until you mentioned it.

ET: Any fashion tips or beauty tips that you want to pass on?

RC: Don't wear your lipstick too red. Don't cover up all your fancy eyebrows and things with your bangs. And move with grace and animal Úlan.

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