She’s been called uber-butch, and foul-mouthed, but after meeting Lea DeLaria, the word that might best describe her is energetic. The Orange is The New Black star is funny, exuberant, and outspoken and her personality is bigger than any room she’s likely to walk into.
She should be a household name considering her resume; she’s an actress, a comedian, a recording jazz artist, she voices Miss Fritter in Cars 3 and has been on Broadway. I had no idea what to expect when she walked in the room because both of the characters I’ve seen from her – Boo and Miss Fritter – were loud and boisterous. Her real-life persona was not too far from those characters.
Today’s guest post is written by Dusty at As Mom Sees It. All opinions are her own.
The Blu-ray of Cars 3 will hit stores on November 7th and contains fun extras like a short featuring the hilarious Miss Fritter, DeLaria’s character in the film.
Meet Miss Fritter, Lea DeLaria, from Cars 3
“It’s so good,” she said, laughing. “I shouldn’t say that – it’s my own short. But, oh my God! It’s so good though.”
She wasn’t made aware that there would be a movie short featuring her character until June of this year so she is still reeling from the fun and surprise of it all. “The movie hadn’t been released yet when they called us. We got this idea we want to do this DVD extra,” DeLaria said. “I mean, that was exciting, right? So yeah, we went in and recorded it. 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.”
Can you really blame her? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a Disney/Pixar production? How would one react when you get a call from the studio asking you to be a part of a project as popular as the Cars franchise?
“What went through my head? I’m buying a house!” DeLaria said, laughing. “No- oh honey, I jumped up and down. I can’t even tell you… I love Pixar. I love cartoons, I’m a big fan of animation, and I’m a huge fan of Pixar. Always have been. See all of their movies. So, when I got the call it was 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.”
DeLaria shared with us that her lines were recorded it at Oprah’s studio was so thrilled to be there because she’s such a huge fan of the television mogul.
“I was running around going, ‘Where’s Oprah? Where’s Oprah?‘” she said, laughing. “I love her, so everything about that day was just so great.”
She’s not shy about loving her voice as the character, as well as Miss Fritter herself. When she finally saw the film, DeLaria said she watched it several times in a row, laughing each time. The character of Miss Fritter is as if the role was written strictly for her. We wondered how much of the character was scripted and how much improv she put into the role since it’s one of her many specialties.
“They hand me a script but they have, generally, ten alternate lines that they want to do,” DeLaria explained about the process. “And then the writers, directors, producers they’ll go, “try this, try this, try this. Hey, Lea, do you have any ideas?” And then I’ll do it, and it’s often that line ends up being a combination of all of it.”
Having starred on Broadway and on television, as well as a jazz recording artist and the voice of an animated character, we asked which hat she preferred to wear.
“I prefer to pay my rent,” she joked. “Whatever’s gonna pay my rent and put food in my mouth because I like my food. What I like about voice acting is how big it can be. I used to do – I’m gonna say it – I was in Saved by the Bell: The New Class. When you do Saturday morning television, you get to be really big.
“But television has turned into – especially with single-camera shoots like [Orange is the New Black] – you have to be 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.”
When Pixar approached DeLaria with the character of Miss Fritter, they showed it a drawing of the pimped out school bus and immediately, she knew why they had her in mind.
“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?” she told us, laughing. “When I, when I saw the character, and I knew she was 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. I’m gonna be honest, I’m not going to make a joke. I went: perfect casting. This is, yeah, this- if this is anybody, it’s definitely me.”
There were even personal touches that the studio made to really make Miss Fritter more like DeLaria and her strong personality. “They went out of their way, I think, to personalize her for me, in a very lovely way,” she said. “I mean, I was very flattered. They called up and said ‘What year are you born?’ That’s the license plate. ‘Where did you go to school?’ [It was] Bellville, and they have the name of my school on the side of my bus. They even have a rainbow bumper sticker. Those are my eyes. you know what I mean? They paid very very close attention to my eyes and made those eyes her eyes. So that’s kind of cool too.”
Check out Lea DeLaria as Miss Fritter when Cars 3 arrives in stores on Blu-ray and DVD on November 7th.
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