Allison Janney, Loretta Devine, & 5 Other Actresses Who Should Actually Be In Every Movie Ever
Dear Hollywood: I know you're super busy and everything, but I want to confront you about something that's been on my mind. There's a community of actors — amazing, hilarious, intelligent actors — who, despite their talent, have been relegated to the sidelines and assigned the career-spanning title of "character actor." They don't play leads, they're not allowed on the A-List, audiences don't know their names, but they get to be in a lot of things and every now and then they win an Emmy. Well, I say that's a raw deal for actresses like Allison Janney, Loretta Devine, and Kathy Najimy. In fact, I say, "No more!" If you want to create the greatest movie ever, then for the love of everything good, gather up your character actors and put them in the same movie.
You see, I have a habit of frequently saying that "So-and-So should be in everything" when writing or talking about certain actors that I like. I have noticed a pattern in my usage of this hyperbolic fanboy phrasing, which is that I am usually talking about my favorite character actors who I feel don't get enough credit (particularly women). These are the Rachel Dratch's and Clea DuVall's of the world: amazingly insightful, idiosyncratic, and truly intriguing performers that never really get to be the star. Hollywood seems to think that audiences can't handle more than one or two regular looking people in a movie, regardless of how talented they are. Call me crazy, but I think we could handle it (and maybe even love it).
With that in mind, I've got a few requests for all the casting directors out there: Please, please cast these women in leading roles, or even better, as a whole ensemble. I swear, a buddy heist action comedy or a kitchen sink dramedy starring these women would be the greatest thing ever made.
Kathy Najimy first stole my heart when I was a wee 7-year-old as the robust singing nun in Sister Act, and she's had it ever since. Every time she appears on screen, I audibly gasp and start saying, "You guys! It's Kathy Najimy!" even if there's no one else in the room.
Remember little lovely Lori Petty? For a few glorious years in the early '90s, she was a star. After A League of Their Own and Free Willy, her career was gaining some serious traction. Then, alas, Tank Girl flopped, and it was goodbye for a little while. I want her back! Recently she guest starred in Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black (and she's returning next season), but that's not enough. The people demand more Lori Petty.
Loretta Devine has been in a lot of things, and she was flawless in every single one of them — from her role in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls to her regular appearances on Grey's Anatomy. Devine is a sharp, empathic, and flexible performer. The clip above is a really intense fight scene from that old Fox show Boston Public, and it features a young Taraji P. Henson from Empire playing Devine's daughter. And, folks, this only a taste of what Devine can do.
You guys: She's got, like, 18 Emmys. (OK, she's got three and was nominated for four more, but that's still pretty great.) Plus, she's Aunt Jackie from Rosanne for crying out loud. Just watch the clip above if you don't remember how amazing Laurie Metcalf is (or watch her on the utterly brilliant HBO series Getting On ).
She's so much more than Stifler's mom, you guys. She is everything.
She's the other one on this list that actually already is kind of in everything, not to mention, she stars in her own sitcom on CBS. But, seriously, who has a problem with putting her in more things? No one.
Dear, sweet, daffy Carol Kane. From 1979's When A Stranger Calls to 2015's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, your high pitched voice has entertained audiences for decades.
So, you know, get it done, Hollywood.