Melora Hardin from NBC's The Office as well as films like LAMBADA, ABSOLUTE POWER, SOUL MAN, RECKLESS KELLY and THE HOT CHICK talks with TV STORE ONLINE about creating "Jan Levinson-Gould" on NBC's The Office.
TV STORE ONLINE: What the heck happened to your show Wedding Band  on TBS?
|Melora Hardin and Brian Austin Green on the|
TBS series Wedding Band (2012)
TV STORE ONLINE: Do you think that first season will come to DVD?
HARDIN: I hope so, but I'm not sure. There has been some talk about a feature length film so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
TV STORE ONLINE: I've just seen online this totally cool web comic book series about your role in BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) and it's totally awesome!
HARDIN: I know! I've downloaded them all! They're totally awesome.
HARDIN: Oh...No...No....That was just made up.
TV STORE ONLINE: But you were originally cast in the role of "Jennifer" in BACK TO THE FUTURE. So what happened there? Why did they let you go?
HARDIN: Well, originally Eric Stoltz was cast as "Marty McFly" and they decided to let him go after the shooting had started. When Michael J. Fox came on and they saw how much taller I was than him they let me go. It didn't happen the way it does in this new comic book but Bob and I did re-connect like fifteen years later after the fact and we talked about BACK TO THE FUTURE and life. Bob's a real sweet guy.
TV STORE ONLINE: I like how the whole thing with Bob Gale is set up in this new web comic series...
HARDIN: It's so funny how they've got me smoking in it, and they've got me with big boobs in it. It was like they drew me as if I was playing "Jan" on The Office [2005-2013].
TV STORE ONLINE: Did it effect you to get let go from the film by him at the time?
HARDIN: Of course! I was so sad. I was only seventeen years old at the time and it made me cry. Bob was so nice though. He sent me a big boutique of flowers afterward. Read the comic HERE:
HARDIN: No we didn't. Because by the time I arrived Eric had already been there a while and I really was just on the set to shoot publicity photos is all. I hadn't even started filming yet.
TV STORE ONLINE: I really love the film that you and your husband Gildart Jackson made called YOU (2009). I really like how it's structured in the sense that it skips around from the present to the past and then around again. Was that structure something that you knew you wanted prior to going into the editing room?
TV STORE ONLINE: So your husband wrote a script about you dying and having to cope without you in his life. How does that make you feel? It seems like maybe we've all had these types of fantasy thoughts as if it's part of the human condition. Why do we think that way? Do humans have a sense or urge to be in dramatic situations naturally?
HARDIN: I'm not sure, but with my husband I think I understood where that came from inside of him. We had just had our first daughter and he had to leave and go to work in Canada. He wrote that script in three days and he told me that he just cried it out. He was just missing us, and I understand that because when you have a child with someone there is a very sort of primal connectedness that you have with that person. It's a very overwhelming feeling to have. So I know that those thoughts are really where the idea for the story of YOU came from.
|Available at Amazon.com|
HARDIN: Well my mom once told me that I wrote my first song when I was two years old. I've really been writing songs and singing my entire life. The first CD I released was called The Melora Drama and then I did Purr and then my third CD was called All The Way To Mars and the next one I put out will probably be tied into a theater piece I'm putting together for the stage.
TV STORE ONLINE: So growing up what kinds of music did you like? Anyone influence you in particular?
HARDIN: As a young girl I was always really into actresses that sang. I was totally obsessed with Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. When I was eight I discovered The Beatles. I got into Fleetwood Mac. I also discovered Billy Joel too and he's probably the one that has influenced me the most as a songwriter.
HARDIN: Steve Miner was so much fun to work with, and Steve Tish the producer was awesome and we we went on together to do Dirty Dancing: The Television Series [1988-89]. I can just remember reading the script for the first time and seeing all of the scenes that my character "Whitney" were in and she was supposed to be nude in all of them. I told my agent that I wasn't going to do them naked because it distracted from the comedy. Whitney was a very funny character and had she been naked it would've taken away from that.
|Hardin and C. Thomas Howell in the screwball|
comedy SOUL MAN (1986)
HARDIN: No actually that was all done in the script that way...laughing
TV STORE ONLINE: You mentioned Dirty Dancing: The Television Series a moment ago...Television critics at the time said that you were a better "Baby" than Jennifer Grey was in the movie...Getting cast as Baby...Did you feel any pressure that you'd have to live up to expectations that fans of the film may have had for that role?
|Patrick Cassidy and Melora Hardin |
on short lived Dirty Dancing television series.
TV STORE ONLINE: The show was canceled after a handful of episodes...Where do you think it went wrong? Did it not find it's audience? Was it on the wrong night? Was it because of the fact that it didn't solely focus in on the "Johnny" and "Baby" characters and it was more of an ensemble storyline?
HARDIN: It was just timing I think. That's the case for so many shows that get canceled before they really get anywhere. Look at The Office for example. Had reality television not been at it's peak that show might not have succeeded in my opinion. The whole mockumentary style of The Office I think really offered an audience something that reminded them of something real. Dirty Dancing: The Series was great. It had a great team behind it and it really had a great cast too.
|Hardin as "Jan" with Steve Carell's "Michael Scott"|
on NBC's The Office
HARDIN: Yeah, I had to go in and audition for it. When I auditioned for it at the time I had also went in to audition for a show called Wolf Lake [2001-02]. The casting director for Wolf Lake was also the casting director for The Office. When I first went in to audition for The Office is was supposed to be for a guest spot or maybe a reoccurring character whereas Wolf Lake was a lead part so I really wanted the part on Wolf Lake. But when I ran into the casting director and we started to talk about it she had told me that she really wanted me to get the part on The Office. In the end she was right...laughing
TV STORE ONLINE: There are those that would consider "Jan" on The Office to be a very aggressive and bitchy woman. What are your thoughts on that?
TV STORE ONLINE: What's your favorite episode of The Office?
HARDIN: I think "Dinner Party" is my favorite from Season Four.
TV STORE ONLINE: Were you around much for the shooting of the final season of The Office?
TV STORE ONLINE: I feel like I once heard that NBC was looking at a "Jan" spin-off television series? Was that just a rumor?
HARDIN: They were talking about that actually but that was a while back before they created Parks & Recreation [2009-current]. They had talked about it but for whatever reason it didn't pan out.
HARDIN: I just went in and auditioned for it. They knew I was a dancer but I didn't actually have to dance in the audition. Shabba-Doo choreographed the film and a lot of the dancers that he hired for the film I had worked with in the past.
TV STORE ONLINE: They didn't want you to dance in the audition because they wanted you to save it for that big classroom dance number!
TV STORE ONLINE: It's such a strange movie.
HARDIN: It is!
TV STORE ONLINE: Your character has a certain sexuality about her....Who knew that LAMBADA would twist and turn going from this potential sexual relationship between this female student and her teacher to being a message film about the importance of math in inner-city schools!
HARDIN: Laughing...That's so funny! That's probably why the film didn't do so well! Math is so important though!
HARDIN: No I didn't. I just think that I was very in touch with my sexuality in those films. Every actor brings themselves to the characters they play. I think the fact that I was a child actor is what was really my saving grace because I was never cast in any of those "cutesy" types of roles when I was younger so I think I was able to transition really smoothly into being an adult actor because of the fact that I was always doing serious drama when I was younger.
TV STORE ONLINE: Why did the dance Lambada become such a phenomenon in 1990? There was LAMBADA your film and then Greydon Clark's THE FORBIDDEN DANCE (1990) that same year...
|Hardin with Gene Hackman in 1997|
Clint Eastwood directed ABSOLUTE POWER
TV STORE ONLINE: I love what you did with Gene Hackman in Clint Eastwood's ABSOLUTE POWER (1997)...
HARDIN: That is such a highlight for me! Gene Hackman is such a lovely man and an incredible actor. I got to sing for Clint Eastwood a few years ago when he was honored at the ball. He asked me to sing for him. Gene Hackman was so sweet. When I arrived on the set he came up to me and said, "I'm nervous for our scene." I said, "Don't worry I'll take care of you". (Laughing) He was such a gentleman too. He'd save me a seat at lunch. It took us two weeks to shoot that fight scene and during the course of that scene my skirt was always up in the air. Every time we'd cut Gene would put my skirt down and help me up. It was a glorious two weeks of shooting.
HARDIN: I don't know I haven't looked at that film since I had my babies so I can't even remember how I played it! As an actor you can use your imagination too. Actors don't always have to be shot in the head in order to get into the moment. A lot of people asked me if I really got a "boob job" for that episode of The Office where we see Jan in a new light. I found it quite offensive actually. I don't think that people were asking Mark Wahlberg if he really got a penis extension for that scene in BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997). To answer your question, Yes, I think that life experiences do effect how actors approach a role. The older we get and the more life experiences that we have certainly pepper us and how we approach a character.
TV STORE ONLINE: What about RECKLESS KELLY (1993)?
|Hardin with Yahoo Serious in RECKLESS KELLY|
TV STORE ONLINE: You got to shoot a big ass gun in RECKLESS KELLY...
HARDIN: I did! That was really fun. I got to go and practice at a shooting range. I got to shoot a .44 Magnum. I was a good shot too. I put a shot right into the center of the target and afterward the guy that was helping me told me that most women are actually better shots then men. It was fun and I could totally see how someone could take up target shooting as a hobby.
TV STORE ONLINE: So the character you play in RECKLESS KELLY is a Shakespeare loving bank teller / actress....You're taking this character very seriously. What's your process in regards to how you approach any character that you play?
HARDIN: It's different with each character, but I guess similarly what happens is that I have to find my way into them. I need to find an emotional hook to get into a character. Also it's important in how a character looks too. There are times when I'll catch a look of myself in a mirror and see what the costume is that I'm wearing and that really helps me get the feel of who someone is. That's important to me. I do work from the outside inward but I also work from the inside outward at times. The process is different for each character but I'm always looking for that one thing that feeds me to find the character.
TV STORE ONLINE: But how do you ever know when you're on the right track in the initial creation of the character as the actor behind them?
|Available at TV STORE ONLINE.com|
TV STORE ONLINE: My last question for you...Where can we see you next?
HARDIN: I'm working on a one person stage show now. I don't know how long it's going to take to finish but it's so fun. I'm writing new songs for that as well. I just did a pilot for TBS called Do It Yourself with Cheech Marin and Bill Engvall as well.
TV STORE ONLINE: Actually...I forget to ask you about your short film SCREAMIN' BIG BAD FUN (2013)....Will you be directing more projects in the future?
HARDIN: Definitely. I just optioned a great book called The Cowboy And His Elephant that we just finished the first draft of the screenplay for and we're hoping to be in production on that by next summer. So watch for that.
Melora Hardin's Screamin' Big Bad Fun Short Film:
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