KM: The passion for acting started a long time ago actually. A lot of people don’t know I was pursuing acting long before I went on American Idol.
I was born and rais ed here in LA and I was going out for pilot season and films and then just sort of fell into doing Idol, and obviously music was always something that I wanted to pursue.
But as soon as the show was over I got to take time to go back and really focus on trying to pursue acting a little bit more. And then I did The House Bunny. Community came up and I love the show and was really excited to be a part of it. It’s such a great cast so it was a fun.
Are you a Community fan?
KM: I got on the show and I was in a really crazy cycle because I was just coming off of my first promo week of my record being released and so I wasn’t watching any television at that time.
And Joel was like, ‘How do you like our show, you been watching it?
And I swear to you since then I’ve Tivo’d and watched literally every episode. In all sincerity, separate from me being a part of the show for this one episode, I think it’s one of the best shows on TV right now, because it’s so well written. All the characters are so defined and I wish the best for all of them on that show because they really deserve it.
Are you going to be able to balance the music career with your film career if, let’s say, Martin Scorsese comes up to you and says ‘Okay Katharine, I’ve got this great role in my next film with Leo, can you do it?’?
KM: Sure. I think that there’s been a lot of great examples out there of people who have done it. Barbara Streisand is a perfect example, even J. Lo was doing it for a while, you know. My husband always jokes like that I’m ADD just because I can’t really focus on something for very long.
Will we see you in Community again?
KM: You know, I think there’s always a chance. The producers had come up to me – they always have a couple of characters come back and reoccur. And they said, ‘Well maybe we’ll be able to have you back,’ which was a nice thing to hear.
I got this pilot that is also on NBC. If it gets picked up I highly doubt I’ll be another guest.
How was it to work alongside Chevy Chase? You play his stepdaughter?
KM: He is a fun guy. You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth, it’s just unpredictable.
And he’s very sweet. And I was worried the first day and I get intimidated easily and he was just such a lovely guy – really, really, lovely.
KM: Well, you telling me that right now makes me feel good because I never heard him say that. He’s so sweet and he was really so kind to me on the set and I appreciate his comment. Coming from Joel…I’ve been a huge fan of on The Soup for a long time.
Do you have any scenes with Ken Jeong?
KM: I do. There’s not much interaction between us but it’s Family Day on Community and one of the first scenes takes place in his Spanish class. So we’re all sitting there and he pokes fun at quite a few of them. And his character is not politically correct at all, but he’s hysterical in this episode.
What can you tell us about your character in the NBC pilot that you’re filming; it’s called The Pink House?
KM: My character’s name is Emily and she’s from Chicago. [She] is identified by the other character, Jamie, who they’re in the process of casting right now.
They’re roommates but they don’t like each other very much and they’re both very opposite from each other.
My character is the anti-Hollywood. She doesn’t worry about the calorie consumption she’s taking in. She is a nice girl but says what’s on her mind.
And Jamie, is like the quintessential girl who comes here to LA to simply not really even have a career just to marry a rich man and that’s her goal in life. And mine is to have a career. I work for a pharmaceutical company but I don’t enjoy it. She makes a lot of money but from an integrity standpoint she doesn’t think that’s a great job, selling products that make people have horrible side effects.
I was wondering if you found any similarities between the characters you’ve played on TV and on film and if you were looking to sort of establish yourself as a certain kind of actress?
KM: Someone asked me that earlier in a different interview and I mean, not exactly that, but I never would have envisioned that for myself.
I’ve always seen myself doing more dramatic stuff. I love both. I would love the opportunity to do more serious films.
I think that it’s just a matter of what’s out there right now and what people want to see.
I did a romantic comedy last summer in Hawaii called You May Not Kiss The Bride, and it’s obviously a romantic comedy but I’ve always played the sort of straight character.
With regards to going out for acting jobs, does it ever feel like you’re still on Idol, still having to prove yourself?
KM: Sometimes you do feel like it’s like a never-ending competition but that’s what it is in the acting world. Next week I’m reading for a director on a really big comedic film and I can’t even believe it’s a Judd Apatow film – well, he’s producing it – and I’ve got to go and meet this director and there are you are again, right on the stage being set up to perform or fail. It’s always that fine line.
I don’t know if you’ve watched Idol at all this season but if you did or maybe you heard about it, I wonder what you thought about Didi Benami singing the song, “Terrified” which you have on your album?
KM: I did not catch that episode. I actually have not caught very many episodes just because I haven’t been able to watch a ton of television. The only one I’ve been TiVoing is Community. But people will probably be mad at me for not Tivo’ing Idol. The next day I got a bunch of phone calls from my label and e-mails and things because there was like 20,000 downloads in less than 24 hours just from a girl singing 20 seconds of the song and didn’t even mention that I was the artist on it.
Kara Dioguardi wrote that song and she also wrote your current single, “Had It All”. What do you admire about her writing?
KM: Yes. I’ve written with her a couple of times and I just admire that she has this continual inspiration for new melodies and new music. She just keeps coming up with new stuff and she does it so fast too, it’s incredible.
How are you feeling about these changes on Idol with Paula and Simon leaving? Was it inevitable or are you just as surprised as we are?
KM: I think it’s inevitable that people move on and want to do something different with their life. I mean, how many years has the show been on now? That’s a long time for them to be doing that. I don’t knock anybody for changing their mind to do something different.
Even if Simon did leave and the ratings are half of what they are now in a year from now, the ratings are still going to be pretty good.