In a conference call interview, Drop Dead Diva guest star and actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler spoke about her role as Tina Howard, a woman who is suffering from a fatal cardiac disease and needs a heart transplant to continue living in the Season 3 Finale episode. As well, Executive Producer Josh Berman was in on the call and spoke to some show related questions.
Question: Jaime, what was it about the show or about this particular role that drew you to Drop Dead Diva?
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: Well, I?ve been a fan of the show since the beginning and I got the pleasure of working with Josh Berman on a pilot last year. And so, we always knew we would want to work together again, and we had talked about me doing a guest spot on the show.
And when he called and told me about this role, I was very excited and happy because it?s a different type of role than I?ve ever gotten to play; very emotional. And I got to work with most of the lead characters that I?m fans of just because of being a fan of the show, and that?s really how it all came about.
Q: So how did this role challenge you?
JLS: Well, I had to be very dramatic, very emotional, somebody dying of a heart disease. So as somebody that?s not going through that themselves fortunately, that?s always a challenge – and, also entering into a set as a guest star. When you?re the new one and you?re sort of trying to sneak in unnoticed into this well oiled machine is always a bit of a challenge, but the actors and the crew couldn?t have been more welcoming. And I had a great time.
Josh Berman: Our actors fell in love with Jamie. They?re already, ?We want to figure out how to bring her back for Season 4.?
I wanted to add one more thing about the challenge of the role because Jamie?s so modest. In this role – this character has to decide whether or not she will accept a heart transplant from her brother who is on death row. That?s played by the very talented actor, Johnathan Schaech. And she has to decide whether or not, once he is executed, she wants the heart of man who has murdered someone.
So, the moral ambiguity of a woman whose… survival depends on getting the heart of a convicted murder is really challenging, and it can come off as a little slip in the hands of a less talented actress, so we were just so lucky to get Jamie.
Q: Jamie-Lynn, what do you think it is about Drop Dead Diva that keeps people returning?
JLS: I think the show has a lot of heart… We can learn about different things and go through cases and care about characters and care about the outcome of things. Then, you also have this cast of characters and they?re constantly growing and you?re challenged and you?re asked a lot of moral questions about how you?re perceived on the outside and how you feel on the inside.
And I think that, you know, with all of the hard comes a lot of lightness, with all of the drama comes a lot of humor, and I think that?s how all of us should approach life. And I think that?s a lot of what Jane does.
Q: Josh, what impresses you most about how the show has come along since the beginning, and working with the cast in a way that people in the public don?t always get to see some of their behind the scenes work?
JB: You know, I think what keeps me so enthusiastic about the show is that our actors are the kindest, nicest, warmest bunch I?ve ever worked with on any ensemble show. We just had a finale party and all of our actors showed up and we?re excited and couldn?t wait to watch the show. And they loved the show, they loved their characters, they?re completely engaged. And when you work with a group of actors that are still excited to come to work every single day as if it were the first, it keeps me going as a writer and wanting to better myself and do right by them.
By the same token, I love the fact that our audience is so passionate about the show. When you have a lead character who looks different than lead characters on other shows, and people have embraced her and love her and appreciate her differences, it makes me feel really good about what I?m doing.
Q: Josh, you mentioned earlier about Season 4, is there anything specific you can tell us about those storylines or any confirmed guest stars?
JB: There isn?t… but, we have actors on our wish list and we have actors that have contacted us. Brandy would like to come back for as many episodes as possible. We would like to have Paula Abdul come back for one or two. And then my wish list, which I always talk about, is I?d love to get Cher on the show.