Sarah Chalke is best known as Dr. Elliot on the long running sit-com Scrubs. The phrase Man Eater is best known as a cheesy Hall & Oates song. Put them both together and they magically transform into Lifetime’s new mini series Maneater, premiering Saturday May 30 at 9:00 PM. Chalke trades in her white coat for couture, playing Clarissa, a Hollywood socialite who is determined to marry a film producer. Maneater is based on a novel by Gigi Grazer, (The Starter Wife), who famously married and divorced producer Brian Grazer. So this summer confection promises to dish the authentic dirt on Hollywood. Chalke gave us the scoop on the project.
Is Maneater going to become an ongoing series like The Starter Wife?
I don’t know what will happen. I guess we’ll just see how it does in a couple of weeks. But I think the set up of it kind of lends itself to that, just because you’ve got that close group of girlfriends, kind of like Sex and the City, and all the drama that they go through and share. We went in, and I thought they did such a great job with that.
Gigi Grazer, who is such a Hollywood insider, is known for basing some of her characters on real people. Who do you think in this mini-series corresponds to actual celebrities and socialites? Is Clarissa based on anyone in particular?
I don’t know the answer to that. We’ll have to ask Gigi. I actually had heard a similar thing, though. I was actually in a store buying with the costumer, we were getting clothes for the mini-series, and the costume designer told the person who worked there what we were shopping for, and they said, “Oh, the person who that book’s based on actually shops here as well, so you’re actually buying the exact same clothes she buys.” So, I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m very curious.
Scrubs has been renewed for a 9th season. What is your involvement with the new season?
It did get renewed for Season 9. I don’t know yet what mine will be, but regardless, I’m so glad that it got picked up, because I think for us on Scrubs, pretty much since Season 4 we really never knew the future. As a result it kind of kept everyone grateful, because we had the attitude of, “This could be it, let’s just enjoy it.” I think we just all felt really lucky to have that rare combination of enjoying your character and loving the writing, but also really liking the people you work with. I think for that to last for this long is pretty rare.
What do you think your favorite role is? Is it Scrubs, Elliot, or Stella on How I Met Your Mother, or this new one?
You know, they all hold different places in my heart, I think. Like I feel like Elliot, I got two months after I got here, and from the second I read the script, I was like, “Oh, I want to be a part of this so badly.” I just thought it was so funny and fast paced and different and such a fun character. There’s something about getting to play the same character for that many years. So, you kind of get to really get to know her and play around and try different stuff. Any time you thought you had her sort of pinned down, the writers would throw you another curve ball.
With Stella, it’s such a fun working environment over there. They have a great time. It was cool doing multi-cam setup again. I really enjoyed that. It’s such a different pace than doing single camera, because single camera, they’re filming it more like a drama or like a movie, and you know you get this angle. So, there might be six or seven different setups to get one scene, whereas with the four cameras, it happens much more like a play. We have a great cast over there, and I think they write the relationship stuff so well. So it was really fun to get to play that.
With Clarissa, it was such an intense experience. Our hours were bonkers, and you’re squishing so much into that nine weeks that we were there. It was fun being on location and getting to dive in fully, because I think that when it’s something that intense, it’s almost harder to be home dealing with all of your stuff from your everyday life. I think to play somebody who’s that confident and really thinks that I pretty much get whatever I want and I’m going to get whoever I want and everything’s going to work out for me, and then to kind of have her life take a different turn and she realizes that that’s not the case and she kind of sort of ends up figuring out what’s important. So, to get to play a character that schemes and plots a wedding and gets engaged and falls in love and gets married and is pregnant and gives birth and does everything in kind of the wrong order, is pretty fun to get to do.