This Sunday, the singer/actress will guest star on the season premiere of the Lifetime series 'Drop Dead Diva,' which stars Brooke Elliott whose model character (Deb) was plopped into the body of a savvy lawyer named Jane. Hiliarty, songs and guest stars continue as the show celebrates season 3.
Rimes will play the ex-wife of a movie star accused of hit and run. Is the show capitalizing on her off-screen life with new hubby Eddie Cibrian, star of the NBC fall series 'The Playboy Club?' Maybe. But the important thing is that Rimes is walking into the role hoping to poke fun at all the perceived drama that has surrounded her life.
AOL TV spoke to the actress about why she took on this particular role, how she and Cibrian handle being written about in the tabloids, her first gig with 'Supernatural' hunk Jensen Ackles and much more.
You've been doing more acting than singing lately.
Yes. 'Drop Dead Diva' asked me to do an episode last year. The character they offered me the first time is the complete opposite of this one. I loved it. But the timing wasn't right. We waited for next season. They wrote this character specifically for me, hoping I'd do it. I loved it when I read it. The show's great, really funny. I love the message of the show. I love playing the scorned ex-wife of a TV star.
Are you careful not to take on roles from producers who might be trying to capitalize on your off-screen life?
Completely. And I didn't feel that this was. This is very well written and there are enough differences between my life, what I've experienced and this woman [that I'm playing.] People don't normally see me in roles like this. They see me in love stories. To do this was really funny. During breaks people on set were like, "You play a bitch real well.' (Laughs) I said, "Thank you! That's a compliment."
What do you like about 'Diva?'
It's great. The message of the show is that this aspiring model died and came back in someone else's body, who is heavier, not necessarily who she'd want to be. But she has this amazing heart and is this smart as a whip lawyer. We think body image is black and white, but we all come in so many different body shapes and sizes. I just love that that's on television -- that there's a real woman on television playing someone incredibly smart and successful. They break into song every once in a while. It's really fun and really well-written, too.
Did you sing in the episode?
No. I do enjoy [non-singing roles.] I plan on staying away from singing roles as much as possible unless it's makes sense for the character to be doing it.
Hollywood tends to put people in boxes. Have you found it difficult to get producers to see you as an actress in non-singing roles?
Yeah. That happened before, but as you prove you have talent [that changes.] My voice will always be my God-given first talent, but acting is a different way of expressing myself. I'm really enjoying it. I'm trying to find roles that are right for me and I'm enjoying them.
Do you and Eddie talk about acting?
Yeah. He was on set with me a few times and he'd watch on the monitor. He'll say every once in a while, "Hey, try this" or "try that." It's always great having him around. But for the most part we let each other do what we do. (Laughs.) He gives me singing tips most of the time, which is even worse. (Note: Cibrian sang in a boy band called '3Deep.') I've actually been working on acting since I was 15. This episode [of 'Diva'] is really good. I'm proud of it. And I'm my worst critic.
You did a one-day gig on 'Days of our Lives' opposite Jensen Ackles ('Supernatural') way back in 1998.
Jensen was so sweet. The whole soap world is so hard. The hours [are long] and they shoot so quickly. I got that script that morning. It was one of the craziest things I ever did. But it was dipping my toe into the deep end. I did it because Jensen is such a good friend.
The NBC Salt Lake City affiliate doesn't want to air Eddie's new series 'The Playboy Club.'
No. I think the best quote was from NBC when [executives there] said they'll find some other station to carry it. It's such an iconic brand. It captures that era. They really recreated The Playboy Club itself and the hair, makeup and styling. It's all pretty genius.
There was a report recently about Tori Spelling having an accident after being chased by photographers.
It's definitely out of control. They hide in the weirdest places. Eddie has two children. When my step-kids are with me, I get very protective. We can get bombarded. If we ignore it, then the kids ignore it. I saw what happened to Tori. I felt so badly for her. You can get so freaked out when [the pararazzi] is following you, you don't know what you're doing. Hopefully, they'll back off.
What do you want people to take away knowing about you after watching your gig on 'Diva?'
People will either go "Oh, my God, I can't believe she did that" in a negative way or they'll say, "Oh, my God, it's hilarious!" After all she's been through, she played that role! There are so many lies that have been told about Eddie and me. It's just ridiculous. You go through phases where you can't believe people are doing this and being mean and hurtful. And then you have phases were you just laugh at it because it's so outlandish. That's the place that I've come to. People may think I'm an incredibly serious person but I have this really wicked, sick sense of humor. I think the way you see I play the role [will show that.] You've got to laugh at yourself and your life. You can't take everything so seriously.
'Drop Dead Diva' returns for season 3 on Sun., June 19 at 9PM ET on Lifetime.