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Interview with Desperate Housewives' Dana Delany


Katherine and Robyn on Desperate Housewives

So how much fun are you having with Susan? All that's missing is a mustache you could be twirling.

Dana: Can you tell? I'm having a ball.

Can you talk about what you thought when - I don't know if it was Mark that told you - what Katherine's journey was going to be this season?

Dana: Yeah, he called me a week before we started shooting and said, oh, I realise I should tell you 'cause I told Teri already. You're not marrying Mike. And I was in shock. I really thought it was me ... And I said "okay". He said, "And you're going to have a nervous breakdown". And I said, "Thank you. Much better." (Laughter).

So do you think it's some kind of mental ... this something that's we're going to be seeing is gonna gradually head to a point where it -

Dana: Yeah, I think it's probably just temporary insanity. I think we've all been through that when we get dumped by somebody. You kind of lose your centre and start behaving badly and have no control over it. I know I've been there.

So, yeah, I think it's something a lot of people can relate to. We're not - still not sure how far we're taking it. It's still kind of playing out. I like riding that edge of is she crazy, is she not. You know, how vindictive is she. And I like always having that edge of the question.

And like we just shot a scene yesterday with me and Teri and again, you think that, oh, she's realising that she's behaving badly and then, no, doesn't get it. You know, we're kind of still playing with that edge.

Do you still have that joy of revelation when you pick up the script and going, Ah-ha, that's what's going on?

Dana: Yeah, just the scene that we just shot yesterday. I was reading it in bed and we tend to get the scripts late at night before our table read, so it was like 10 o'clock at night and I was too lazy to go and turn on the computer, so I was reading it on my iPhone in bed and I was just laughing out loud because there was a moment that I ... there was something that I had said in my life that I never expected to see in Desperate Housewives. And I went to the table read the next day and I said to Marc, Have you been reading my diary? How did you know this? So, yes, I'm still surprised.

What kind of reaction do you get? Do fans empathise with you, or what kind of feedback do you get?

Dana: I think it's mixed. I think some people don't like Katherine at all. And that's fine with me 'cause I think you need to have somebody who's the provocateur. You know there's always going to be people who are in Susan's camp and then there's going to be people in Katherine's camp. And I think that's what's great about the show, is there's something for everybody.

I know we talked last year about whether anyone ever really saw Mike and Katherine ending up together because there was always that feeling that everybody wanted Susan and Mike.

Dana: Right.

So were you genuinely surprised?

Dana: I really was, because Marc always said that the last thing in the final episode will be Susan and Mike getting back together. And I really thought he was going to wait until then, but he didn't. So, you know, you never know. It's good. It keeps us on our toes.

So do you think she [Katherine] was genuinely in love with Mike?

Dana: Oh, yes, I think so. I think she really was. One of the things I like about Katherine is that I think for all of her trouble-making and her coldness, she's a very lonely, sad person underneath it all. And I think that there's such a tenderness there that she's terrified of showing. And once in a while it comes out and I like that.

When you first joined the series you spoke about coming in as an outsider. Is it a different experience these days?

Dana: Yeah, it is. I feel like it's just ... I truly am grateful every day that I have this job. You know, I didn't expect it to last this long. It's just been a revelation for me how big the show is. Especially talking to people from around the world. It still blows my mind how many people watch the show. So I - I feel so grateful that it all worked out so, yeah. I mean, even though it still is just a job, it's a great job and I'm really happy to be here.

If you weren't an actor, what would you be?

Dana: Well, it's funny. As a kid I always wanted to be a private detective or an FBI agent, because I grew up reading, you know, John B. McDonald and Ross Macdonald and Hammett, and I just was a big reader of mysteries. And I'm a huge fan of Michael Connelly's books and he's become a friend of mine. So I just love that world. And it's not dissimilar to being an actor because you're, you know, having to play different people and investigate and you have to have a lot of curiosity about human nature. But I recently had to hire a private detective ... for a Facebook issue - somebody impersonating me. And I got to go to their - their lair, as it was, and it really was something out of a novel, like a spy novel. And I was so fascinated with it. I thought, boy, if things don't work out with acting, I still would like to do this.

What's gone from the show because Edie is dead, and what is the new housewife, Angie, bringing to the show?

Dana: I think with Edie gone you've kind of lost the vamp of the street. So I think that's, you know - I appreciate that's what she brought to the show and I thought she was great at it.

And I also love what Angie - Drea - brings to the show. I am a huge fan of Drea as a person. And I think she brings kind of an East Coast, New York edge that the show didn't have before. So I think it's great to have this kind edgy, east thing - I always picture Fairview being in the Midwest somewhere. I don't know why. But I think of it as kind of central America. I mean, central North America, not Latin America. (Laughter.) And she brings kind of an edge to it that I think is good.

Did you sort of have sympathy for Drea, knowing what it felt like for you when you first arrived?

Dana: Yes. Yes, I made sure that I went up to her and said, any questions, ask me. I can help you. You know, I know what it's like to be the new guy in the street. But she really didn't need help. She's very cool. She knows what she's doing.

What do you like to watch on TV? Is it very different to Desperate Housewives?

Dana: I'm now addicted to television, I'm finding. Probably because of TiVo. I'm watching so much television now. I mean, I'm still madly in love with Mad Men ... It's so good. It's so sexy. I had to e-mail Matt Weiner to tell him that. I mean, it's just the sexiest show, I think. But I discovered Nurse Jackie. I thought Nurse Jackie was great. Great roles for women, really good writing. I like Bored to Death. I think that's really good. I like ... what's it called, Modern Family. What else is new out there? There's some really good new shows, I think.

Do you have any guilty pleasures that you're not as proud of watching? (Laughter.)

Dana: Yes. I have watched all of the Rock of Love. (Laughter.) Including Daisy of Love. Who I adore. (Laughter.) And I watch all of the Celebrity Rehabs. I'm addicted to both of those.

You mentioned there's some great roles for women on television now. Obviously, Katherine is one of those. Are there any directions you'd like to see her this year that haven't been explored?

Dana: Right now I'm so happy with what I have. I haven't even thought about what else I would want.

She doesn't appear to have an off switch. Nothing seems to be out of the bounds. I was just wondering if there's -

Dana: No, that's what's great about Katherine - she would do anything, I think, to get what she wants. I am very happy that she's back to being kind of crafty. I missed her craftiness last year. And Marc and I talked about that. And I totally understand why Katherine was softer last year, because she had to sort of be accepted on the street. So now I feel like, you know, she's your real neighbour that can cause trouble again.

So the big question for the whole season this season is who strangled Julie?

Dana: I think who strangled Julie and who are the Bolens. I think that's the big question, who are these people? I mean, I don't know. I'm curious.

How do you get along with the rest of the cast?

Dana: We get along. You know, I probably hang out with Marcia the most, just because we have a lot of mutual friends. So I probably see Marcia the most. But, no, everything's great. I think you have just really professional actors who are happy to have a job, you know. They know what they're doing and they know that they should be appreciative.

Are there activities off set?

Dana: Last weekend Felicity and Marcia and I went to this fundraiser together and yeah, I mean, there's various things like that. Yeah. I'd say the thing that brings us closest is the games nights, you know, where we play Charades. That's the big glue that holds us together.

How often do you do that?

Dana: Like, once a month, I'd say.

How good are you at that?

Dana: I'm pretty good. I'm pretty competitive. Not as good as Felicity. She's the best. But I'm pretty good. Marc is killer. Marc is having one in a couple weeks and he's dangerous.

I was going to say, obviously, you're very grateful to have an amazing job now. But was there ever a job you had that was really terrible when you were trying to make it [as an actor]?

Dana: Yes. I think the worst is when I was a bartender in New York. First of all, you know, bars close at 4 o'clock in the morning in New York, so it's very hard to have a life. And one bar that I was a bartender at was run by the mob. And I remember at work one night the owner came up to me and he said, Put your hand on the bar. And I said okay. I put my hand out and he took out a hammer and he said, If I see you giving a free drink one more time, I'm going to smash every one of your fingers. (Laughter.) So that was the end of that job. I never went back.

That was a wise choice. (Laughter) The Katherine technique.

Dana: Yes, exactly!


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