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The A-List Interview: Allison Janney

The A-List Interview: Allison Janney

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Janney in Spy


You played a religious conservative nut in Funny or Die’s Prop. 8–The Musical. What do you recall about that experience?
I was so happy and flattered that Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman called and asked me to do that. Oftentimes I feel like I don’t do enough to help the LGBT community and other important causes that I believe in, but that’s the way I feel most comfortable showing my support: by being a part of a performance or project that makes a powerful statement. It was an exciting, amazing day to share with all those incredible people.

You also participated in Broadway Bares, the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS burlesque benefit, while starring in the Broadway musical 9 to 5. If the photos are any indication, no one had more fun that night than you did. You clearly appreciate a muscular chorus boy.
That I do. [Laughs] Yeah, I did have a good time. I must’ve had a cocktail or two. I’d never heard of Broadway Bares before that, but I said, “Count me in!” That was a crazy night.

You earned a Tony nomination for playing Violet Newstead, Lily Tomlin’s role, in 9 to 5. Would you like to do another Broadway musical?
Never say never, but I felt like I did that and can check that off the list. I don’t feel so confident about my singing voice. It would have to be a part that didn’t require a really great voice. I could maybe see myself doing Wonderful Town, and I’d love to think of myself as someone who could play Lauren Bacall’s role in Woman of the Year. That would be fun. But I’d want to know I was doing that years in advance, so I could start working on the material and getting comfortable with it. It’s really terrifying. I don’t like feeling like I’m the least talented one on the stage.

You tackle another tough cookie in Spy. Tell me about CIA head Elaine Crocker.
She’s the smartest woman in the room, and she has nice hair. She and her husband aren’t having sex either, so she basically just needs to get fucked. She also has the mouth of a truck driver.

At one point she uses the word thundercunt. It rolled off your tongue so naturally.
Oh, my God! [Laughs] Our director, Paul Feig, is famous for throwing things at you while the camera’s rolling, like, “OK, say this! Now say this!” After thundercunt, I was like, “Wait, what did I just say?!” I’ve never used that word before, but I do curse a lot. I love to swear.

What’s your go-to expletive?
You fat fuck! I like the alliteration.


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