Actress/Producer talks about bringing her newest TV character to life.
At the Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association, Courteney Cox answered questions about her new series on FX. In Dirt Courteney plays Lucy Spiller, a ruthless tabloid editor. She is also co-producer of the show. Here is some of what Courtney had to say:
Was there ever any talk about David (Arquette, her husband) appearing in the show?
Courteney Cox: You know what? Strangely enough, before I thought of doing Lucy, we were talking about David doing [the part of] Holt [the part which is played by Josh Stewart], but then when Lucy was created, [it was] 'sorry, David.' It was too good of a role [for me] to pass up.
Do you guys look for opportunities to work together, or is that an uncomfortable thing and you try to work separately?
Courteney Cox: We don't look for things to work together, no. We did it in Scream three times. We actually did another movie we produced. I think we hang out enough, I think we decided.
Does it get too much time together when you work with your spouse that much? Do you need a break?
Courteney Cox: I think after you've been married for a long time, I think that's important. Before we were married, we did literally four projects together, and I think that was perfect. But not anymore.
Does it ever occur to you that people in real magazine offices are saying the lines Lucy is saying?
Courteney Cox: No. It doesn't. I mean, I kind of figured they were... Does it really seem that realistic? I think we're more of a drama and salacious show. So that's good.
In some ways, sadly, it does seem realistic.
Courteney Cox: That's good.
Are you shocked to find out the tone at the editorial meetings?
Courteney Cox: No. It's a very competitive world. I'm sure this goes on. I don't know exactly the dialogue of what they say. But I know how competitive it is.
Is it hard to do love scenes in front of your husband?
Courteney Cox: It would be if he was there. Yes, that would be really brutal. He doesn't come to the set ever on those days.
Are you still finding this character, do you feel, in terms of what she's all about and how you're adjusting your performance to get more into the character?
Courteney Cox: During the pilot I was really trying to find her, but since then I feel like I found her.
What's been the reaction of friends or acquaintances that are well known? Are they pissed that you're doing this show? Are they shocked at what your characters do?
Courteney Cox: Not at all. They just want us to keep going, you know, the meaner the better, -- Jennifer [Aniston] loves the show. She's already [asking], 'what am I going to do?' I'm like, 'I don't know if we can put you on, Jen.' No. All my friends that are in this business think it's fantastic and love it and are addicted. Literally like I can name a lot of them, but they love it.
Has anyone reacted in any way of - even jokingly - being mad that, you know, the bane of their existence, so to speak, are three-dimensional humans?
Courteney Cox: No, not in my world...We show that every person, whether it's the actors, the editors, or the paparazzi, we all have issues, and we all have a dark side. And I don't think anybody is coming out smelling like they're perfect in any way.
Do you read any of these magazines Do you even bother to look at them when you are at the supermarket?
Courteney Cox: Mostly at airports is when I look at those magazines. And I don't read them, I usually just look at the pictures because I love to look at pictures. I love to see what people are wearing. ...I don't believe everything that's written obviously just because I mean, yeah, just because it's not all true.
Do you think that there are women like this that are out there that because of their high-power careers just prefer boy-toys over getting into relationships? And do you think your character will eventually have a real relationship?
Courteney Cox: I'm sure there are women like that that are afraid of commitment and don't have time [for relationships]. And I'm not sure exactly what is going to happen in the future, but I will be in that writers' room making sure it's someone I want to be in a relationship with. That's for sure.
Given that you have such high-profile friends, if any of the story lines tend to really sort of go into real-life and something that's happened to them, would you pull back?
Courteney Cox: Yeah, I would. I mean, there are many times that I'll call up and say 'guys, I really know that person.' Not that it's the person but it sounds too much like someone that could possibly take that the wrong way. We do that a lot. ... And so I'm very careful about that. But gossip repeats itself. So even if you think you know who, or you think you know what we're talking about, we're really not ... It could be a little bit of a story here and a little bit of a story there, and then they combine it and pepper and salt it and shake it up, and then it's someone else.
You say many of your friends are excited about the show, and Jennifer wants to come on. Is it because they see it as sort of some revenge, or is it because it's just a good show?
Courteney Cox: I think it's just because it's a fun show. There's no revenge.
This obviously is far removed from Friends in terms of the character that you're playing. Was that part of your motivation, your doing this in the first place?
Courteney Cox: Yes, absolutely. I mean really the motivation for this was I was going to produce the show. ... And when I read it I said okay. I have to be in the show. I wouldn't have done anything that was like Monica, just because, first of all, I did it for ten years, and I'm older now. And this just seemed like the perfect fit.
Can you tell us the most preposterous story you ever read about yourself in one of the tabloids?
Courteney Cox: There was a period there when I was on Friends when I was really thin, really thin. And I thought I looked great. In retrospect - not so good. But I did not have anorexia. And they kept writing about it. And it wasn't great - I mean, it's just bad for kids across America to think that people on the show that they look up to have [anorexia]. But that's the only kind of preposterous thing.
Can you talk about the challenge of creating Lucy? Do you want to keep her as hard and mean as possible, or do you want some of this niceness to slip in? Do you want us to feel sorry for her?
Courteney Cox: I personally love when she - in her job - is ruthless and has this warmth that she has with Don and her brother. I love that. To me, you can't go too far with her doing her job and doing whatever it takes to do it.
Dirt airs Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX.