There’s no ‘Hope’ of keeping feisty Cloris Leachman in line.
The 84-year-old actress was a rambunctious riot at a Fox press conference Monday afternoon in Los Angeles, taking control of (or spinning out of control, depending on your perspective) the TCA (Television Critics Association) panel for her new fall show ‘Raising Hope.’
Costars Martha Plimpton, Lucas Neff and Garret Dillahunt (‘Deadwood’) sat, smiled and snickered on stage, as they were held hostage by the antics of the award-winning scene-stealer, who had her way with the press.
The incorrigible Cloris forced reporters to stand up, sit down, say their name, and ignored questions for the fun of it, in between changing the seating arrangements, dropping an F bomb and (playfully) slamming her octogenarian “rival” Betty White.
Leachman, who was memorably outrageous on Season 7 of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ apparently keeps things just as exciting on set too.
“We go through this every day,” quipped Dillahunt, who played along, removing his mic and getting out of his seat to please Cloris, who wanted to sit closer to executive producer Greg Garcia (‘My Name Is Earl‘). She, of course, changed her mind about the musical chairs after he moved the furniture for her.
Other Quotable Moments from ‘The Cloris Leachman Show’:
On why she wanted to do the show:
“It’s funny, brilliant. F**k. Great cast, great story, a baby. Do we have a dog?”
On what she thinks of Betty White’s “It Girl” status:
“I’m so sick of Betty White,” Leachman joked. “Never liked her.” Leachman then explained the two Hollywood golden girls are appearing together in a new movie called “You, Again,” costarring Jamie Lee Curtis and Kristen Bell.
On whether or not she wants to continue to win awards (she already has a record nine Emmys, an Oscar, and a few Golden Globes):
“You bet your life. If I don’t get an Emmy for this show, I’m leaving.” Costar Garret Dillahunt said at one point, “She left years ago.”
On whether or not one of the plot points in the pilot might be “too dark”:
Exec Greg Garcia said, “I checked with Cloris, and she thought it was funny.” Unable to recall whether she thought it was funny or not, Cloris said, “That’s sort of dark, isn’t it?”
In the new Fox sitcom, Leachman plays Maw Maw, the occasionally lucid grandmother of a twentysomething slacker (Lucas Neff) from the wacky Chance family, who inherits a baby–the product of a one night stand. Plimpton plays his mother (she’s just 39) and Dillahunt is his father, Burt.
‘Raising Hope’ premieres Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. on Fox.