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April 10, 2008

Tina Fey on Top

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AP: When you work, you are very intense. You wouldn't let anybody make eye contact with you; you were super-serious; you had a trainer; you had a dialect coach . . .
TF: I played a woman from Philadelphia, and I am from Philadelphia, but I had a dialect coach anyway, because when you get stuff like that in your contract, the studio has to pay for it. And I did insist that people refer to me as Andy Kaufman on the set, which is not my character name, but, you know, I believe in process. I believe that having a really difficult process is more valuable than a good outcome.

AP: To all you young actors out there, remember, the more difficult you are early in your career, the less you will work and the better the work will be.
TF: Exactly. Always show up trying to win the scene. And always have a lot of questions about the writing. Acting is really about showing up that day and telling the writers what you feel like saying.

AP: That's great advice. What are some songs that you play to pump yourself up before a scene?
TF: I like to listen to 911 tapes from the show COPS—just people calling in saying, "I need a bamb-a-lance," that kind of thing. Also, just a lot of Joan Baez.

AP: What did you do during the writers' strike?
TF: I worked out three times. Well, I went to the gym three times, but I only worked out two of the times. One other time I used the bathroom. Actually, I spent the whole time with my kid, which was nice. It was like the maternity leave that I never got. She is now able to pick me out of a lineup of four or five women.

AP: What's her favorite show?
TF: Her favorite show right now is Wonder Pets. [sings] "Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we're on our way to help the baby dinosaurs and save the day. We're not too big, and we're not too tough, but when we work together, we've got the right stuff."

AP: You did a version of that for Baby Mamafeaturing Ghostface Killah—it's basically the song with Ghostface rapping in the middle. It's pretty badass, actually. Scott Storch produced it. What's some good advice your mother gave you?
TF: Always wear a bra. Whether you think you need it or not, just wear one. You're not going to look back and regret that.

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