Judy Greer ‘Driven’ to role
Judy Greer’s latest two projects are at the opposite ends of the acting scale. She stars in the based-on-a-true-story film “Driven,” out now, and then can be seen in the second season of the Showtime series “Kidding” when it returns Nov. 3. One is about a genius who reaches too far, the other about a genius who’s losing his grip.
“Driven” is set in the early 1980s when the automobile world’s mastermind, John DeLorean (Lee Pace), is trying to make his dream car a reality. When Delorean Motor Company begins to face massive financial problems, DeLorean turns to some questionable people to help save the business. The desperation leads DeLorean to a plan to get involved with drug trafficking. What DeLorean doesn’t know is the plan is a sting operation by the FBI pitched by informant Jim Hoffman (Jason Sudeikis).
Greer, who plays Hoffman’s wife, Ellen, recognizes the differences between the acting jobs but knows there is something similar about both.
“I always feel a little bit like my roles are a part of me,” Greer says. “I do see my characters in a little graph where I can see how this led to that. I can see where I played this scene one way and today I would play it differently.”
Ellen Hoffman is a don’t-ask, don’t-tell kind of ’80s housewife. She’s smart enough to know the lifestyle they are living is beyond their means but prefers not to know the details.
On “Kidding,” Greer portrays Jill, the ex-wife of Jeff/Mr. Pickles (Jim Carrey), the iconic host of a children’s television show. The dark comedy swirls around Mr. Pickles and those around him with serious emotional and mental problems. The second season will focus on the healing process for everyone in the show.
“In Season 1, my character was focused on her autonomy and separating herself from the Pickles kingdom,” Greer says. “In this season, she’s starting to come to terms with what that means. I feel she’s having a harder time understanding who she is separated from the Pickles family.
“She’s experiencing some times when she is questioning if she is making the right decision or not. She’s fighting for Jeff to have some experience of pain and loss like she has. In Season 2, as he’s starting to do that, she feels a softness and a love for him.”
Where her “Driven” character preferred to be in the dark, Greer’s “Kidding” character pushes hard to gather as much information as possible. The knowledge will help Jill get to the healing process she needs.
“So one character wants to be dumb and happy, and the other character wants to shine light on the situations and problems,” Greer says.
That Greer is playing two such varying roles is not a change for her, as the Detroit native has tackled a wide range in her career, including “Ant-Man,” “Arrested Development,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Jurassic World,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Descendants” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Greer has also worked as a voice actor with the role of Cheryl Tunt on the animated series “Archer.”
If you ask Greer which role is her favorite, the answer is always the same. Her heart belongs to the job she’s currently doing, as she finds the character stays with her whether it is on set or while grocery shopping.
And if asked to pick between doing movies like “Driven” or a TV series like “Kidding,” Greer has equal love for both. She likes how movies let her know the beginning, middle and end for a character but enjoys equally the fun of taking on a series role where there is more time to work on showing the character’s growth.
As soon as Greer read the script for “Driven” she knew it was a part she wanted because the character was unlike anything else she has played before, particularly because it’s based on a real person. Generally actors have extra concerns about taking on a role based in reality, but Greer had no such hesitations. She knows the real Ellen Hoffman is in a witness protection program, so there is almost no chance she will be hearing from her if the performance isn’t to her liking.
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