Katherine LaNasa talks about playing the wife of Will Ferrell's Cam Brady in The Campaign, opening in theaters August 10
When I visited the set of The Campaign earlier this year, I got to speak with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, although, since it was one of the last days of shooting, there were many other cast members I didn't get a chance to meet. One of them was Katherine LaNasa, who plays Rose, the wife of Will Ferrell's Cam Brady, the North Carolina Congressional incumbent who normally runs unopposed, until Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) enters the race. Unlike Cam, Rose is actually rather ambitious, with political aspirations of her own. I recently had the chance to speak with Katherine LaNasa over the phone about The Campaign, arriving in theaters August 10.
Here's what she had to say.
A lot of times, when you hear about actors or actresses going out for parts, they don't know exactly what they're going out for. Did you know you would be playing Will Ferrell's wife right away?
Katherine LaNasa: I knew what I was going up for. I never thought I would get it. I had a bunch of auditions that week, and I didn't get to work on it as much, as I normally would. I stumbled on my lines the first time, and I asked to do it again. It was this monologue where I was just barking at him. We did it once or twice and I thought later, 'You know, I think I was right for that part. I should have canceled some of those other auditions.' A couple of weeks later, I got a callback with Will and (director) Jay Roach. I showed up at the audition, and there was only one other person there. Oh goodness! This is within reach! I had just finished a movie with Robert Duvall, and, just to trick myself, I said to myself, 'You shouldn't be nervous with Will Ferrell. You just worked with Robert Duvall!' I sort of puffed myself up with that.
Will mentioned on the set that we don't see as much of the Brady home life as we do with Marty. Can you talk a bit about those home scenes, as compared to the Huggins family?
Katherine LaNasa: Oh, I don't think that Rose is much of a hands-on mother. I think Rose is a little bit of Sarah Palin, a little bit of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and a little bit of Dance Moms (Laughs). I think she probably has somebody doing her hair and makeup. Rose does not waste her time on the domestic stuff. She's got better things to do. I think Rose is highly ambitious.
Will said that Cam's big goal is to be Vice President, because being President is too much work. Do you see Rose waiting for her own moment to launch her own political career?
Katherine LaNasa: Yeah. There is an earlier draft of the script where she ends up running against Cam, running her own campaign. Even if it doesn't make it in the movie, it's always great information to have.
Both Will and Zach are great improvisers. Can you talk about that dynamic on the set? Does that add to the level of fun, never knowing what's going to come out of their mouths?
Katherine LaNasa: Yeah, I like that, actually. I kind of like to not know what's going to happen, in general (Laughs). It's really great to fill up a suitcase full of ideas, and just bring it with me and see what happens. I don't like to have too firm an idea.
It's great how relevant this is, regarding the current state of politics. Were you looking at anyone specifically, to mold your character after?
Katherine LaNasa: I had just come from Alaska. I made friends with this liberal radio host up there, who is the anti-Sarah Palin. I got a lot of information about Sarah Palin, I watched her documentary, and read her book, so I kind of based it on her. I also looked at these different political wives, who are always changing their look. These people must be hiring hair and makeup people at every turn. When I was down there, just before I started shooting, there was this radio interview with Rick Perry's wife, and it was just divine. She was talking about all the other wives, so I stuck some of that in there. My best friend is a Hormel ham heir. What if she was from this well-off, redneck family? When I grew up in Louisiana, there was this chain of stores called Furniture Country. I just decided that Rose's family owned Furniture Country. She was really smart, so she got to go to Sarah Lawrence. I just stuck it all in there. I think Rose is a smart cookie.
Since they shot in New Orleans, what was it like to go back home for this? The whole thing was shot in Louisiana, I believe.
Katherine LaNasa: I love Louisiana and I love being from there. It was a long shoot, so it was very nice to have my family nearby. I don't get to see them as often as I'd like, so it was nice to be down there for four months, just to visit with them.
Can you talk a bit about working with (director) Jay Roach? It's such a perfect marriage of his comedy movies and his political movies. Can you talk a bit about his style on the set?
Katherine LaNasa: He does a lot of takes, which I actually like. I'm used to repetition, so I don't feel tired by it. I feel it's an opportunity to do more stuff. Also, I had such an appreciation for his films and how perfectly crafted they are. He's giving himself a lot of options, and he's really confident. He really couldn't be a nicer guy. It's just one of those gifts that some people have, where they control by graciousness, as opposed to micro-managing and shutting people down. He was wonderful to work with. I hope I get to work with him again.
What would you like to say to anyone who's looking forward to The Campaign about why they should check it out in theaters this Friday?
Katherine LaNasa: The great thing is, if you have half a brain, you will really enjoy it. It's a very smart movie, as well as a funny movie. Zach's character is something I've never seen him do in a movie before. It's just packed with wonderful performances. Dylan McDermott is this perfect straight man, I love his performance so much. I mean, granted, the whole movie basically rides on my portrayal of Rose, but these other guys are worth looking at (Laughs). You should probably see it twice, just to pick up on some of the nuances (Laughs).
Excellent. That's about all I have. Thanks so much, Katherine. It was a pleasure talking to you.
Katherine LaNasa: Thanks. You as well. Take it easy.