Actress Lea DeLaria has been working since her stint on Matlock in 1994, but most know her affectionately as Big Boo from Orange is the New Black. However, most might know that the lovely Lea is also an accomplished jazz musician. Now she can also add voice actor to her list of accomplishments as she took a turn in PIXAR’s highly anticipated Cars 3 hit the theaters earlier this summer. In fact, she was so good her character Miss Fritter has her own short coming out with the Blu-Ray release!
I was out in Charlotte, North Carolina to celebrate the upcoming in hom release for Cars 3 and had the chance to interview her. So let’s get straight to the interview:
So when did you get the call that there was gonna they were gonna make a Miss Fritter short?
LD : The racing school? That was that in June? I think it was like June. The movie hadn’t been released yet, and when they called us: we got this idea we want to do this DVD extra, and we’re like, really? I mean, that was exciting, right? So yeah, and then we went in and recorded it, and I mean, making any Pixar movie, I imagine, is probably very akin to what my experience has been. And my experience has been awesome and fun-loving. I mean, what a great place to work. Honestly, if this acting thing doesn’t work out for me, I’m going to Pixar, [LAUGHTER]. It’s just so kind and there’s so much fun, and everybody’s having a good time, so it took us- I don’t know, I think my work was done in about two hours. Yeah, I do work fast. I mean, people generally say that to me. So we did it in about two hours, but then extra- ‘cause you’re mommy bloggers, I know you’re gonna love this.
So, they recorded it at Oprah’s studio, so I was in OWN studio, and I was running around going, where’s Oprah? Where’s Oprah, [LAUGHTER]? ‘Cause, I love her. So everything about that day was just so great. And then, when they sent it to us, we saw it, was maybe two weeks ago; three weeks ago? And they sent it to us, and it was sent from my manager Jeremy, that’s who I keep referring to, he keeps me honest. It’s not that I’m dishonest, it’s just that I’m fifty-nine and I sweat a lot and I forget things.
We sat in that office, and I swear to you we watched it like three, four times in a row, just laughing and laughing and laughing. ‘Cause, of course, you’re watching her, but then it’s like okay the taxi, you know what I mean? Look at this guy’s face. Are you kidding me with this one? Like, it’s so funny. Yeah.
How much of it is script and how much is improv?
LD : It’s kind of a combination of all of that. The entire thing is filmed like that. They hand me a script but they have, generally ten alternate lines that they want to do. Then the writers, directors, producers they’ll go, try this, try this, try this. Hey, Lea, do you have any ideas? Then I’ll do it, and it’s often that line ends up being a combination of all of it. You know?
What do you prefer; on screen or the voice acting, and what are the differences?
LD : I prefer to pay my rent, [LAUGHTER]. Whatever’s gonna pay my rent and put food in my mouth is gonna- you know, ‘cause I like my food. So yeah. That’s it. I think what I like about voice acting, or that is how big it can be. Like I was in Saved by the Bell, the new class, so I used to do Saturday morning television. And when you do Saturday morning television, you get to be really big.
But television has turned into, um, especially with a single camera shoots like Orange that I’m on, you have to be, you know, real. You have to be real, you have to be honest, you have to sit there, and as you can see, that’s not my personality. I’m kinda big, so that’s probably what I like best about the voice acting is that I can make the big choices that I would make, for example, on stage, like when I do a musical, I’m making those big choices all the time. It’s acceptable there, you know? Those are fun choices.
What goes through your head when you get told, Pixar called?
LD : Oh, what went through my head? I’m buying a house! [LAUGHTER] No- oh honey, I jumped up and down, I can’t even tell you. We were so excited when they called. I mean, I love Pixar. I love cartoons, I’m a big fan of animation, and I’m a huge fan of Pixar’s. Always have been. See all of their movies. So, when we got the call it was like- that’s like bucket list stuff for any actor. There’s not an actor on the planet that doesn’t want to do that, you know what I mean? So, yeah, I was excited.
What did you think of Miss Fritter when they came to you with that character?
LD : Oh, well, this is the actual drawing that they came to me with (pointing to shirt). Now, they made a little t-shirt for me of the actual original drawing of Miss Fritter. When I saw it, I was laughing, we were all laughing. I was like, well, of course, they came to me for this; look at her. You know? [LAUGHTER] When I saw the character, and I knew she was a demolition derby, and I grew up where there’s demolition derby and went to demolition derby as a kid, I kinda knew exactly who she was.
So I thought, actually, honestly, I’m gonna be honest, I’m not going to make a joke. I went; perfect casting. If this is anybody, it’s definitely me.
Is there a role in either theater or movies that you are just dying to grab a hold of?
LD: Any role where I get to kiss Angelina Jolie, is the role for me. [LAUGHTER] No, I’m still waiting for somebody to write that musical for me. That’s the one thing. I’ve actually had someone just write a play for me, so I will probably be doing off-Broadway next fall. Called Innocence, written by a guy named Aaron Mark. It’s an amazing play. But, I’m still waiting for somebody to write that musical. I want that. I want it. I want it. I’m hoping it will happen sometime.
Disney and Pixar present CARS 3, a fast-paced new tale of Lightning McQueen, his classic CARS friends and a new spirited trainer Cruz Ramirez! Lighting finds himself pushed out of racing by a new generation of faster and younger cars and goes on a journey to discover where he belongs in this new type of high-octane competition. CARS 3- the third film in the now-iconic CARS film franchise—will cruise home Digitally in HD on Tuesday, Oct. 24!
***Disclosure: I attended the #Cars3Bloggers Event My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***