By Sugandha Rawal
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Louie Anderson jumped at the chance to essay the role of a woman “without being cartoony” in the series “Baskets”. The Emmy-award-winning star says getting under the skin of the character has altered his view of what women are up against in the world.
“It (essaying role of a woman, being a man) did change my perception (about women). I realised how hard my mother worked and how much I took for granted,” Anderson told IANS.
“I thought my mom woke up with make-up and her hair done. I learned much more about empathy, and humanity having the opportunity to play Christine Baskets. I was treated differently being dressed as Christine than I was as Louie Anderson,” he added.
Anderson took on the influences from his late mother Ora Zella Anderson to get the Emmy-winning role of Christine right.
Talking about the influence of his mother on the show, he said: “My mother for sure is the architect of this character along with my five sisters. My mom was a strong mother character. She bore 11 children and had a difficult marriage, and yet showered us with love and adoration and gave us hope for our futures.”
Did it take a lot of convincing to say yes to the role of a woman?
“Almost no convincing, I jumped at the idea. You get to a certain age in life and you realise that you should take chances, you should broaden your horizons. I have five sisters and a mother, I have a good catalogue of gestures, nuances, personalities and points of view to draw from,” he said, adding that he got attracted to the role due to the “chance to play a woman without being cartoony”.
The actor has retained little idiosyncrasies from his growing up years with his mother to add authenticity to the character of Christine — a mother of twins, Chip and Dale, both played by the series co-creator Zach Galifianakis. The series, which streams on Hotstar Premium in India, will end its run with fourth season.
“I wish I would have been more understanding and grateful to my mother, I sure miss her. I play a mother of two with Christine. My mom played a mother of 11 in real life and at the end of my work day I got to go home and relax. My mother” work day never ended. I guess she got to relax a little bit when we were asleep. I’m glad the world seems to be changing especially towards women, in regard to equality and equal pay,” said the 66-year-old.
When it comes to the conversations around gender equality, gender pay gap, #MeToo movement and diversity, Anderson feels there has been an increase in awareness.
“There is a general new awareness of all these things and I hope that awareness is causing a shift in the equality, pay and storytelling. But the truth is it will take a big effort and all of us working together to make real change happen in Hollywood, and everywhere else around the world,” he said.
What’s next for you?
“I’m open to doing a lot of things. I’m working on writing and producing some television right now and I never tire of doing my first love, stand-up comedy,” he said.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])