Jaime and Ethan discuss playing their characters and what fans can expect from the season finale!
Ethan Suplee and Jaime Pressly know a thing or about karma. As part of the comic tribe that has made My Name Is Earl so popular (and so good!), these two actors recently sat down for a conference call to discuss the future of the show. Embodying the roles of Randy Hickey (Suplee) and Joy Turner (Pressly), they seem very comfortable with the myriad of directions the show has taken since in began airing in 1995.
In the eve of the finale episode, "The Trial," Earl (Jason Lee) has it all -- a GED, a job, a new apartment -- and now with his new, unlikely love interest, Earl is finally an adult. Nothing can seemingly stop Earl on his road to maturity... except, of course, Earl himself. Joy (Jaime Pressly), on the other hand, puts her future in the hands of the law as the trial finally arrives. Earl commits the ultimate good deed to help Joy, but ends up sacrificing everything.
Jaime, how do you feel that playing edgier characters may prepare the Joy character as she faces possible jail time?
Jaime Pressly: Well, luckily the jail time isn't real time; I'm not really going. I feel that every character I've played... people say I've been pigeonholed but the truth is every character I've ever played is different from the next. While they might have southern dialects they were different southern dialects. Once I got My Name Is Earl, which is a couple of years ago, I immediately thought to myself, "Those were all homework. It was all work leading up to this one role." As far as the jail time? I don't know that anybody can ever be ready for jail time.
What was it like to work with "Dog the Bounty Hunter" in this finale episode?
Jaime Pressly: He was really, really cool. When I first met him, because really I'm the only one who got to do scenes with him, I think?
Ethan Suplee: Yeah, it was such a bummer, man, to come to work and everybody's talking about him but he'd already left.
Jaime Pressly: I watch that show, I couldn't be more interested in that show. He and his wife and his sons and his brother, the whole thing, they were all there, the whole team. The whole posse showed up and it was really great actually. When I first walked up to meet him, they introduced me and I said, "Hi" and his wife goes, "Keep your hands off my man." I went, "Don't worry honey, I'm pregnant." I was fully, I was like 8 months pregnant, it was really obvious. She thought, because Joy is always pregnant that I had a pregnant suit on. Obviously, I didn't have my ring on because I'm playing Joy, she went, "Oh, you're really pregnant?" I said, "Yeah, you don't have anything to worry about." I'm thinking, you don't have anything to worry about anyway but if it makes you feel better that I'm pregnant. And she said, laughing, "I'm so sorry" and then we became like best buds.
Do you feel like Joy has become more proactive this year? Whereas the first year she was just the foil for Earl's good deeds? She's really had her own story lines.
Jaime Pressly: Absolutely... the first season you're always having to get it off the ground. You kind of have to go into the main character's backstory and everybody needs to kind of get familiar with the character, especially the main character. The second season, so that you don't bore the viewers you delve into the lives and the backgrounds of the other characters. Randy, Ethan's character, and Joy, my character were both much more involved this year and much more involved with the story lines and... story lines that I think helped carry show and keep the viewers interested.
Have you guys had a hard time getting people to guest star on the show?
Ethan Suplee: What happens a lot is that, actor friends, I'm friends with Michael Pena who was just recently in Shooter, he's the second lead in World Trade Center... he's an amazing character, right? He'll say, "I really want to be on your show." So I'll go to the producers and say, "Hey, Mike Pena really wants to be on the show." Then they're looking for something to put him in but then I have Mike coming to me and saying, "Yeah, I really want to play a drug addict, stripper with a twitch and he's a compulsive thief." In his defense he doesn't realize that in TV they're writing 5 or 6 episodes ahead, so maybe when he has a week when he can do it, they can't just quickly throw together an episode where one of the main character is a compulsive thief, drug addict, stripper with a twitch.
I think that happens sometimes where we'll talk to somebody, they'll really want to do the show, and then its just a matter of finding a good enough role for them. You don't want to take some great talent like that and throw them a line or two.
There's a lot that goes in the background, Randy is usually the main culprit in that stuff, how is that written?
Ethan Suplee: A lot of the stuff in the background isn't written... I think I'm on camera more not doing anything because I'm kinda Earl's tagalong. If you have a scene with Joy its gonna be about Joy and there's lots of those. The same with the other characters. If they're in the scene there's a reason they're in the scene. I find myself in scenes a lot of the time, literally a two page scene, where I don't say anything and I just kind of have to be there.
Jaime Pressly: That sounds frustrating.
Ethan Suplee: Yeah, if I don't find something to do I'm just gonna be standing there and that's kinda boring. I think it kinda came from that.
How much do you guys know about next year?
Jaime Pressly: None.
Ethan Suplee: Not a whole lot but, from what I heard, they have the first, not written, but the first 8... maybe 6 to 8 episodes fully fleshed out. Now, they just have to be written which a lot of times that's the really tough part about writing shows. Figuring out exactly what happens in an episode. That they have those fleshed out is incredible and we'll be going in with a bunch of ready scripts.
How long are each of you signed on to the show for?
Jaime Pressly: As long as the show goes.
Ethan Suplee: Yeah, you sign on and its up to them, basically, how long they want you to do it.
Ethan, have you ever been handed a script, seen a line and said, "Wait a minute, Randy's not that dumb!"
Ethan Suplee: No. I'm sure I've had that thought but then as an actor, I always think its my job to figure out, if Randy's not that dumb to say that, than figure out a way to say that line smartly.
Jaime Pressly: Yeah, it's a lazy actor who says, "I can't do this."
My Name Is Earl Season Finale premieres Thursday June, 10 from 8-8:40pm on NBC.
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