Interview with Lea DeLaria is a sponsored post on behalf of Cars 3.
While I don’t usually watch a lot of television, I had found myself binge watching tons of shows on Netflix and Hulu. One of those shows is Orange Is The New Black – and it was already well into season 3 before I started. Umpteen hours later I was caught up – and was totally in love with a few spectacular characters, one of which was Boo aka Lea DeLaria aka Madame Delphina. Okay, fine I may be biased since I was already familiar with Lea through her role as Madame Delphina from One Life To Live, but still, Boo rocked OITNB. Hearing her cast as the voice of Miss Fritter for Cars 3, and seeing who Miss Fritter was – it felt as if the role was written just for her. I couldn’t wait to interview her, and as luck would have it, a quick pit stop to the bathroom led me right into her arms – you can check out our selfie on Instagram. And this folks is why it’s important to take your phone to the bathroom with you LOL. Check out my interview with Lea DeLaria and let me know your thoughts on this amazing woman!
Interview With Lea DeLaria
As it turns out, Lea is a fan of us, the mommy bloggers, as much as we are a fan of hers!
“I’m so excited. I love you guys. You’re always so much fun. I have bug eyes right now. You can’t see them. Let’s do that (takes off sunglasses). How’s that? That’s better, right? Oh, we’re taking pictures. So hilarious. See, I love mommy bloggers.” And so begins my interview with Lea DeLaria professing her love for Mommy Bloggers!!!
Pixar called and wants YOU. First thought that pops into your head?
I’m buying a house! No, oh honey, I jumped up and down, I can’t even tell you. We were so excited when they called. I mean, I love Pixar. I love cartoons, I’m a big fan of animation, and I’m a huge fan of Pixar’s. Always have been. See all of their movies. That’s like bucket list stuff for any actor. There’s not an actor on the planet that doesn’t want to do that. So, yeah, I was excited.
What did you think of Miss Fritter when they came to you with that character?
Oh, well, this is the actual drawing that they came to me with (pointing to shirt). They made a little t-shirt for me of the actual original drawing of Miss Fritter. When I saw it I was laughing, we were all laughing. I was like, well of course they came to me for this; look at her. You know? When I saw the character and I knew she was demolition derby, and I grew up where there’s demolition derby and went to demolition derby as a kid, I kinda knew exactly who she was. So I thought, actually, honestly, I’m gonna be honest, I’m not going to make a joke. I went; perfect casting. If this is anybody, it’s definitely me.
Did you have any influence in changing the character, or shaping the character a little bit?
The influence I had, it’s not really my influences, they went out of their way to personalize her for me. In a very lovely way. I was very flattered. They called up and said what year are you born? That’s the license plate. Where did you go to school? Bellville and they have the name of my school on the side of my bus. They even have a rainbow bumper sticker. Right? You know what I mean? Those are my eyes. They paid very close attention to my eyes and made those eyes her eyes. So that’s kind of cool too.
As a comedian, improv comes natural. How much of the movie was scripted vs improv?
It’s kind of a combination of all that. The entire thing is filmed like that. They hand me a script but they have ten alternate lines that they want to do. And then the writers, directors, producers they’ll go, try this, try this, try this. Hey, Lea, do you have any ideas? And then I’ll do it, and it’s often that line ends up being a combination of all of it.
You might also enjoy these CARS 3 Activity Sheets
On Screen vs Voice Acting – any preferences?
I prefer to pay my rent. Whatever’s gonna pay my rent and put food in my mouth is gonna- you know, ‘cause I like my food. T’s it. I think what I like about voice acting is how big it can be. I was in Saved by the Bell: The New Class, so I used to do Saturday morning television. And when you do Saturday morning television, you get to be really big. But television has turned into, especially with single camera shoots like OITNB that I’m on, you have to be real. You have to be real, you have to be honest, you have to sit there, and as you can see, that’s not my personality. I’m kinda big, so that’s probably what I like best about the voice acting is that I can make the big choices that I would make, for example, on stage, like when I do a musical, I’m making those big choices all the time. It’s acceptable there, you know? Those are fun choices.
The low down on what it’s like to be working in a booth for recordings…
You’re never in a booth by yourself. You’re not with the other actors, but you’re not by yourself, either. You’re with the animators; they’re all there while you’re recording, and they’re filming you. They’re drawing you while you’re recording. That’s what they use, they institute that into the character’s face. The facial expressions and stuff, let’s say that Miss Fritter makes the facial expression that I was making when I said the line. That’s one of the reasons why their characters are so real. The writers are in the room, the directors are in the room, the producers are in the room. You’re never by yourself. They’ll throw you a line, they’ll say here’s what the character says. They’ll throw you that line, so you are working with people, just not the other actors.
On Lea’s “Miss Fritter’s Racing Skool” short (available on the DVD and a must see!)
The movie hadn’t been released yet when they called us: “we got this idea we want to do this DVD extra”, and we’re like, really? I mean, that was exciting, right? Then we went in and recorded it, and I mean, making any Pixar movie, I imagine, is probably very akin to what my experience has been. And my experience has been awesome and fun-loving. What a great place to work. Honestly, if this acting thing doesn’t work out for me I’m going to Pixar. It’s just so kind and there’s so much fun, and everybody’s having a good time, so it took us- I don’t know, I think my work was done in about two hours. Yeah, I do work fast. I mean, people generally say that to me. We did it in about two hours and they recorded it at Oprah’s studio, so I was in OWN studio, and I was running around going, where’s Oprah? Where’s Oprah? ‘Cause, I love her. Everything about that day was just so great. They sent it to us and it was sent from my manager Jeremy, that’s who I keep referring to, he keeps me honest. It’s not that I’m dishonest, it’s just that I’m fifty-nine and I swear a lot and I forget things. We sat in that office, and I swear to you we watched it like three, four times in a row, just laughing and laughing and laughing. ‘Cause, you know, you see of course you’re watching her, but then it’s like okay the taxi, you know what I mean? Look at this guy’s face. Are you kidding me with this one? Like, it’s so funny. Yeah.
I really wanted to know if there was a role in either theater or movies that Lea was just dying to grab a hold of…and she didn’t disappoint…
A role that I’m dying to grab a hold of…any role where I get to kiss Angelina Jolie, is the role for me. I’m still waiting for somebody to write that musical for me. I’ve actually had someone just write a play for me, so I will probably be doing off-Broadway next fall. A play called Innocence written by Aaron Mark. It’s an amazing play. But, I’m still waiting for somebody to write that musical. I want that. I want it. I want it. I’m hoping it will happen sometime.
Lea wasn’t the home ec type…so she challenged her school to be the first girl to take auto mechanics…
When I went to school in the tiny little town of Illinois that I went to school in, it was a requirement for girls to take typing and home ec. You were required by your gender to do those things. I didn’t want to take home ec, and I didn’t want to take typing, so I brought my parents in, and we sat down, and I took auto mechanics. I was an assistant manager at a gas station, and I actually taught a course of basic auto mechanics for women, like this is how you change an oil filter. This is how you change your oil. This is how you check to make sure your battery’s good. Stuff like that. I love cars, I work on their engines, if they are before the computers came in. Pretty much anything until 1976 I can roll my sleeves up and fix that car.
Her love for cars is real…
Lea doesn’t own a car now because she lives in NYC – and with their vast public transportation system and lack of parking, it’s more of a headache than it’s worth. But she would LOVE to own a 1966 Ford Mustang, convertible. But, if not that, then she says “the ’79 Ford hatchback Mustang is a beauty of a car. It’s a beautiful car. I love vintage cars. I’m big into vintage.” I’m a Mustang lover myself and am totally for her choices.
Her favorite line in the movie just happens to be my favorite line – which I tweeted about…
“I’m gonna fritterize ya”
Hey Pixar, can you make that a ringtone???
During the interview with Lea DeLaria is was imperative for me to know who were her biggest inspiration?
I have a lot of people who are inspirations. People that I feel have made a difference – from politics to entertainment, if you know what I mean? Lucille Ball is someone who I admire greatly as a woman who was able to start her own studio. She started her own studio and had this huge sitcom, and is immensely talented and not afraid of her talent.
I feel the same way about Barbra Streisand and Lily Tomlin when it comes to that kind of stuff. I think that’s amazing. And there are politicians that have been out there, ‘course Harvey Milk is someone I greatly admire, and thank. These are people who make a difference. Those are the people who have influenced me more than anyone. And then you go right to the Rat Pack, ‘cause I’m from that school where if you have talent and you have a lot of things you can do, then you should do all of them.
Just do them, you know? Again, that’s something we should teach little kids because in my business people are just weird about that. They’re like, oh, she thinks she can sing. Oh, no honey, I know I can sing. I don’t think I can sing. In fact, singing is what I did first. Oh, she’s a stand up, so now she thinks she can act. I know I can act. They tend to get that way with women way more than they do with men. Then every actor always gets oh, so now they want to direct. If people can do things, let them do things. Why do we stand in people’s way and tell them you can’t do that. That’s crazy. People should be encouraged to be the best person that they are. That’s Oprah. That’s right out of Oprah’s mouth, I’m telling you. That is Oprah.
Lea is hoping for a CARS 4 and wants Miss Fritter a part of the story. She wants to hang around and reprise her role and says “Pixar is fully aware that I want to hang around.”
On making a standalone Miss Fritter movie…
Make a Miss Fritter movie? I want my own movie! It’s Fritter time.
Lea doesn’t just do TV and movies…she also does theatre and sings!!!
She’s in an off-Broadway show called Innocence, has ten ideas for different television shows and even has a new record she want’s make. Her latest record – House of Davis, is available for order on her website. Lea says if you appreciate vinyl you should buy it because, “…mine is good vinyl, too. It’s a hundred and eighty grams, you know? It’s really well done. If you like vinyl, you should order that right now, it’s good. Right now.”
Cruz’s character is put down a lot and everyone told her she couldn’t do things. Have you had anybody specifically tell you, you can’t do something? Did you ever feel the way she felt?
My entire life. Always. Everyone from the nuns in Catholic school, on. I’m, I’ve heard nothing my entire life except, you can’t do that, which just makes me want to do it more. But that’s my personality. I was blessed with amazing parents. Amazing parents, who encouraged us, my four siblings and I, to be who we were and to speak our mind, and to think for ourselves. Not be afraid to say what you think. That’s a part of my upbringing, so I have to say that’s them. My entire life all I’ve ever been told is you can’t do that. My response, oh yeah? watch me! That has always been my response.
That’s what I like about this movie. This is something that we’re teaching young girls. When I was a kid I was taught that ladies don’t spit and holler and ladies sit with their legs crossed. I was told constantly what it was I wasn’t supposed to do, rather than, you can do anything you want, you can be who you are, you can get your dreams, you can have any of that. You can be president of the United States. My mom used to say – you could be president of the United States.
Before finishing my interview with Lea DeLaria I asked Lea to share a few words of inspiration for young girls coming out of their shell…
Words for inspiration to give anyone is you’re absolutely perfect as you are, and by that, I mean, you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do, you don’t have to say anything that you don’t want to say, and if you feel like you want to say something, when you know what it is that you want to say, you’ll say it, you know? I think it’s a good thing, ‘cause kids are always pushed to do things, but you do things in your own time and your own way, and that’s good enough.
What did you love most about Lea DeLaria as Miss Fritter in Cars 3? Leave a comment and let me know!
Join the conversation online using #Cars3 and #Cars3Event and be sure to pick up a copy of Cars 3 on Amazon (affiliate link) available now!
Photo Credit: www.lovebugsandpostcards.com and Pixar